by Mar­garet At­wood (Blooms­bury) at www.ama­zon. com

Friday - - Leisure -

MaddAddam is the fi­nal in­stal­ment in Mar­garet At­wood’s lat­est sci-fi tril­ogy. Like its pre­de­ces­sors, Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood, the novel paints a dis­turb­ing dystopian por­trait of an Earth in the not-too-dis­tant-fu­ture that is all but de­stroyed thanks to the self­ish ex­cesses of hu­man ex­is­tence.

Most of mankind is dead fol­low­ing a hu­man­made plague, and the world is now over­run by danger­ous an­i­mal hy­brids cre­ated in hu­man lab­o­ra­to­ries.

Amid this de­struc­tion is a mot­ley group of hu­man sur­vivors and the sim­ple-minded ‘Crak­ers’, blue hu­man-like crea­tures that graze like her­bi­vores, and have no con­cept of hate. To­gether, they must try to sur­vive against the vi­cious ‘Pain­ballers’, two for­mer gla­di­a­tors who have lost all sense of com­pas­sion, as well as against an Earth that is en­vi­ron­men­tally un­friendly to hu­mans.

Al­though MaddAddam starts quite slowly, its fu­tur­is­tic yet painfully imag­in­able world quickly be­comes ab­sorb­ing.

At­wood’s en­vi­ron­men­tal puns can get laugh­able but fans of her dystopian fic­tion will find much to en­joy here.

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