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Never mind the pigoons

In her post-apocalyptic trilogy Margaret Atwood has seen into the future

By Ruth Franklin   September 2013

MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood (Bloomsbury, £18.99)

“I am going to stick my neck out and just say it: science fiction will never be Literature with a capital ‘L,’ and this is because it inevitably proceeds from premise rather than character,” the literary critic Sven Birkerts declared 10 years ago in the New York Times. The book under attack was Margaret Atwood’s novel Oryx and Crake, the first installment of what has now become a trilogy set in a dystopian America some decades in the future, depicting—graphically, satirically, brilliantly—an environmental disaster. Birkerts declared that the novel, like all science fiction—also…

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