Margaret Atwood's 2003 novel, Oryx and Crake, may have been unprecedented in the history of dystopian literature for conjuring a terrible near future and then dialing it up to an apocalyptic one. It envisioned an environmentally exhausted world of gated communities, gruesome Internet broadcasts and pigs with human cunning, and then it swept this landscape clean of people with a man-made virus. With her new book, The Year of the Flood, Atwood has returned us to this same world only to wreck it all over again. Between these apocalyptic scenarios, in her 2008 Massey Lectures, she painted our present as a non-fiction dystopia wrought by the greed and gluttony of modern-day Scrooges -- that is, us; the lectures were published as Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth.
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