Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam, #1) by Margaret AtwoodOryx and Crake is at once an unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future. Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey–with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake–through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride. Margaret Atwood projects us into a near future that is both all too familiar and beyond our imagining.
Margaret Atwood at MIT - 'Oryx and Crake' Revisited - 2004 Abramowitz Lecture
From the very beginning of this novel, you feel that you are setting out on a journey masterminded by a sure and energetic guide. The starting place is a point some way into the future, where a character called Snowman is contemplating the devastated landscape around him and his own situation as probably the last human left on earth.
Oryx and Crake
In her chronicling of contemporary sexual manners and politics, Atwood has always been interested in pilfering popular forms—comic books, gothic tales, detective novels, science fiction—in order to make them do her more literary bidding. Snowman formerly Jimmy has become arboreal, living in trees and in shelters of junk, roaming the beaches and picnic grounds of a former park—where fungi sprout from rotting picnic tables and barbecues are festooned with bindweed—scavenging for food. Freed from their experimental lab, the Crakers also live near the beach. They eat nothing but grass, leaves, and roots; their sexual rituals have been elegantly and efficiently programmed to minimize both sexual reproduction and unrequited lust. To them, the man they call Snowman is a demigod or a prophet.
The book opens to a seemingly post-apocalyptic world where our narrator, Snowman, appears to be the last true human on Earth—and the caretaker of a small band of child-like humanoids he refers to as the Crakers. Oryx and Crake presents an almost implausibly dark view of humanity and the potential dangers that come with fixing the power of unregulated genetic engineering in the hands of a few. Spoilers to follow. The plot of Oryx and Crake of is superbly rich and seems almost impossible to briefly summarize. Nonetheless: Snowman grew up as Jimmy, on a biotech compound—think the Googleplex or the Facebook campus —with his friend Crake.
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Contributed by Lars Schmeink. Oryx and Crake is a near-future dystopian novel with strong satiric undertones that revolves around the innovations of gene splicing and their consequences. The novel follows Snowman, the survivor of a global and apocalyptic gene plague, in his every day struggle for survival and in his caretaking of a new race of bioengineered posthumans called the Crakers. In order to hunt for supplies Snowman returns to the bioengineering facility where he used to work, and in flashbacks reveals his pre-apocalypse life as Jimmy, best friend and unwitting accomplice to Crake, the genius behind both the plague and Crakers. She obtained an M.
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Still trying to decide what I think about the book overall. I found the biological disaster entirely plausible, perhaps even likely at some point. The world-building was wonderfully well-done. My book club read this. Atwood is so clever - she really packs a lot of themes and ideas in.