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A FAMILIAR CAST OF FIGHTERS IN A FINAL BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF THE EARTH

by Dawn, September 17, 2009

From Michiko Kakutani at the New York Times

The flood referred to by the title of Margaret Atwood’s new novel isn’t the biblical deluge, sent by God to wipe out wickedness and sin, but a waterless one: an uncommon pandemic that cannot be contained by “biotools and bleach,” and that sweeps “through the air as if on wings,” burning “through cities like fire, spreading germ-ridden mobs, terror and butchery.” This flood has killed millions upon millions, and electrical, digital and industrial systems are failing, as their human keepers die.

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Like “Oryx and Crake” and the author’s 1986 novel, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” this is another dystopian fantasy that’s meant to be a sort of cautionary tale about the wrongs and excesses of our own world — be it antifeminism, denial of global warming, or violence and materialism. But while those earlier books were hobbled by didactic asides and a preachy, moralistic tone, Ms. Atwood has loosened up in this volume and given her imagination free rein. Having already mapped out the basic geography of her futuristic world in “Oryx,” she dispenses here with exposition and focuses on her two heroines’ efforts to survive in the wake of the Waterless Flood.

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I love Margaret Atwood and dystopian stories, so this is right up my alley. And while some of the book focuses on global warming, which I’d rather here less about, there is also a biological pandemic, which for some reason intrests me to now end.

What do you think about dystopian stories?

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