HADRON AGE SF (49)
December 6, 2022
One in a series of posts about the 75 best sf adventures published during the genre’s Hadron Age era (from 2004–2023, according to HILOBROW’s periodization schema). For Josh Glenn’s Hadron Age Sci-Fi 75 list (a work in progress), click here.
Margaret Atwood‘s MaddAddam (2013).
MaddAddam concludes the postapocalyptic trilogy that began with Oryx and Crake (2003) and continued with The Year of the Flood (2009), which ran along a parallel timeline. This story, also set in a future world of unfettered and completely deregulated capitalism, science and corporatism, and written from the perspective of Zeb and Toby (onetime members of a religious sect called God’s Gardeners), whom we met in the trilogy’s second installment, continues the plot of both books. Here we learn more about Crake, who single-handedly created this dystopian future: his connection with God’s Gardeners, the conception of the MaddAddam group, and the homegrown mythology underpinning the artificially created humanoid Crakers’ society. Brainy, omnivorous, and enormous “pigoons” threaten to attack; so do vengeful Painballers — hardened, criminal veterans of a Rollerball-esque gladiator game from whom Zeb and Toby have rescued another survivor, Amanda. It’s a tragic, grim tale — yet at the same time, both hopeful (Atwood has ideas on what qualities will be required in order for humankind — though not necessarily humans as we’ve known them — to survive an eco-catastrophe) and quite funny. Some of the best foul-mouthed language in sf — or in all of literature.
Fun facts: “Genetic engineering is proceeding at quite an astonishing pace,” Atwood has said in an interview about MaddAddam. “And with all our technologies […] they all have pluses, and they all have minuses, and they all have things we haven’t thought about, unintended consequences. Donald Rumsfeld was right — it is the ‘unknown unknowns.'”
JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST HADRON AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES.