It’s for certain the case that the deeper an author gets into a setting that the more possibilities and avenues to expand the setting pop up. For some authors its planned out all along, to extend and explore various storylines and characters through the world they’ve created in a series of stories or novels. And sometimes it’s unplanned. Sometimes an author looks back at the world they’ve created and realized something’s missing—a story still needing to be told. In The Year of the Flood (2009), Margaret Atwood looked back to her earlier novel Oryx and Crake and decided to tell the other side—what was happening in the world beyond the titular pair, what role did in fact God’s Gardeners play in the circumstances that brought about the global pandemic, and what was life like outside the affluent, protected bubble of life in CorpSeCorps?
A parallel sequel rather than a sequential one, The Year of the Flood features storylines occurring at the same time as those of Oryx and Crake. Unknown whether Atwood planned it all out in advance, Oryx and Crake did end on an open note that left room for, but did not by default require more. What was added, however, makes the larger story much more immersive.