This is the third in Margaret Atwood's science fiction trilogy, which started with "Oryx and Crake" and progressed to "The Year of the Flood." The title of the third, MaddAddam, you will notice, is a palindrome. There is plenty of wordplay to come.

MADDADDAM, by Margaret Atwood. Bloomsbury, 2013, 416 pp., 18.99 (hardcover)

This is life in a planet devastated by a pandemic, by rising water and many other catastrophes. Nobody knows just how many people are still alive. Out there in this dystopian world are the giant pigoons — carnivorous pigs, once bred to provide organs for humans, now feral — and the Painballers, who are — I think — Mad Max figures, up to no good. Rape and abuse of women is their recreation of choice.