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The Year of the Flood - Margaret Atwood "Glenn (Crake) used to say the reason you can't really imagine yourself being dead was that as soon as you say, "I'll be dead," you've said the word I, and so you're still alive inside the sentence. And that's how people got the idea of the immortality of the soul--it was a consequence of grammar. And so was God, because as soon as there's a past tense, there has to be a past before the past, and you keep going back in time until you get to I don't know; and that's what God is."

Animals have evaporated from the planet crushed under the dominance of the human race. Scientists have unraveled the DNA of life and are populating the world with creatures that are blends of several species. The future is about gene splitting and synthetic drugs and powerful corporations with names like CorpSeCorps have been formed around the creation of a flood of genetically mutated products. There is an addictive form of coffee called Happicuppas and an equally addictive form of a mysterious meat source burger called, with no deception, Secretburgers. There are Liobams (cross between a lion and a lamb), pigoons (creatures engineered for organ harvest), Mo'hair (sheeps with human hair),pigs with human brain tissue, rakunks (animals bred to be good pets), green haired glow in the dark rabbits, and snats (an experimental hybrid of a snake and rat). There are a genetically engineered blob-like chicken that produces only breast meat. This creature, if you can call it a creature, is the source for the popular take out food outlet ChickieNob Nubbins.


The story revolves around two women/girls named Toby and Ren who at bisecting points spend time under the protective wing of The God's Gardners. A group of naturalists that are vehemently vegetarian. They are lead by Adams and Eves, differentiated by numerals, who see themselves as the beginning of the rebuilding of the Earth. Neither woman is a firm believer, but stay because the alternatives in this chaotic world are rather grim. Toby escaped from the drudgery work of a Secretburger outlet where the manager, Blanco, demands degrading acts of sexual gratification for her continued employment. Even after she escapes his clutches he continues to be a menacing presence in her life. Blanco is like the Terminator... he just won't die. He is punished for his many criminal acts by being sent into a game called Painballer where instead of paint pellets participant's weapons are loaded with an acidic compound. He survives not only one, but several campaigns into the arena and when not creating mayhem for other people he continues to hunt for Toby.

Ren's mother falls in lust with one of the Gardeners and leaves her cushy position as the wife of a corporate executive to join The God's Gardeners. She takes Ren with her and when the relationship sours she takes Ren back to her father with a dramatic story of her abduction and degradation by the Gardeners. Ren later becomes a trapeze artist at a high end sex club called The Scales and Tails.

The world unravels when Crake releases the Blysspluss pill that is advertised as the greatest sexual experience of your life. It activates a plague that effectively wipes a large percentage of the population off the planet. Through luck, more than skill, both Toby and Ren survive the outbreak.

This book weaves around the book Oryx and Crake and is the second book in a proposed trilogy. It isn't even really a continuation of the story, but tracks over the same ground from a different perspective. We learn more background about Jimmy (the Snowman)and Glenn (Crake). I loved Oryx and Crake and this book is a shadow of O&C mainly because even though I am exposed to more elements not covered in the first book...the plot does not advance. If you liked O&C you probably should read this one. It reads fast and you will appreciate having your view of this world expanded. I believe the third book will determine how highly elevated this trilogy will be regarded. I highly recommend reading O&C before embarking on The Year of the Flood.


The thing of it is Margaret Atwood is brilliant, and I have a feeling she has a wonderful surprise in store for us with the much anticipated conclusion. You will only be slightly disappointed in this book, maybe my expectations were too high for a middle book, but it is well worth the few hours of your time.