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Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
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Oryx and Crake (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Margaret Atwood

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11,935367219 (3.96)2 / 1006
Member:mr.mcox
Title:Oryx and Crake
Authors:Margaret Atwood
Info:Anchor (2004), Edition: first, Paperback, 376 pages
Collections:Your library
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Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (2003)

  1. 241
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    Lord of the Flies by William Golding (PghDragonMan)
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    A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. (Oct326, goodiegoodie)
    Oct326: Both post-apocalyptic novels, Atwood's one is satyric and sarcastic, and skilfully projects some trends of current society in a not-too-far future, suggesting that they can lead us to catastrophe; while Miller's one is very sad, even tragic, deeply pessimistic about humanity, which it describes as inherently stupid and evil, and inevitably bound to repeat its mistakes and destroy itself.… (more)
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(see all 27 recommendations)

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English (357)  Swedish (3)  Spanish (2)  Finnish (2)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (366)
Showing 1-5 of 357 (next | show all)
My favourite speculative fiction book, one of my favourite books overall, Oryx and Crake takes our mundane and often cut-throat, competitive, and capitalistic world, fast forwards a few decades and through Atwood's articulate and multi-layered writing, along with a bit of sci-fi fantasy, brings us into a world that can very well be ours down the road. Brilliant, moving, scary, and educational. I would recommend everyone read this book before they graduate high school - there are some real issues out there in our world that need to be addressed, and reading this book is certainly a great way to find out about them.

Word of warning - one of the subplots revolves around child-porn rings in East Asian countries, so if you're not comfortable reading about that, I suggest you wait before reading this book. ( )
  meowism | May 17, 2016 |
I would categorize this book as a "Sci-fiction" book.
This books shows a possibility of life on earth if certain things happened which in turn may lead to the fate of mankind t start over with a new path.
Oryx and Crake are normal humans but with some abnormal ideas on evolution of mankind. They want a better world , a better human, a better livelihood. And Snowman is the only one who's left to see that part and to judge on the creation of Oryx and Crake.
I loved some of the quotes like-
"Toast is me.I am toast."
"It was Crake preserving his dignity, because the alternative would have been losing it."
“She liked to keep only the bright side of herself turned towards him. She liked to shine.”

and all the quotes on Crake's fridge magnets :)
( )
  PallaviSharma | May 9, 2016 |
Oryx and Crake is a tale of a near future when climate change, corporatism and genetic engineering have run amok. The story is told by Jimmy, who now calls himself Snowman, after the rare and elusive yeti, and is as far as he knows the only human left alive. Jimmy lives in a wasteland and has become the de facto caretaker to the Crakers, a group of simple, passive hominids create by his genius friend Crake. The story is about Jimmy's struggle to survive in this hostile world while he ruminates on the past, dissecting his relationships with childhood friend Crake, lover Oryx, and his rebellious and absent mother. These story lines converge in a shattering ending to reveal the mystery of the destruction. This is an absolutely wonderful book, having only read the Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, I never imagined she was so funny. Or so scary. I couldn't wait to sit down and read it every day, it was exciting,suspenseful, hilarious, sad and terrifying all at once. The disembodied voice of Oryx, a former child prostitute, acts as the conscience of the book. There are some distasteful themes here, such as child prostitution and pornography, but I believe they are treated appropriately within the context of the dystopian future. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the trilogy, but need some to digest this first.(less) ( )
  Kkamm | May 7, 2016 |
Review Originally Posted At: FictionForesight

Snowman is alone in a post pandemic world, with nothing but memories of a better time and a love long-lost to haunt him as he attempts to survive in the present, while reliving the past. He is accompanied by mysterious, genetically modified humans he calls Crakers, and the grisly, genetically modified animals that have turned into feral beasts after humanity was wiped out by a disease. Is Snowman really the last human on the Earth? How was his childhood friend, Crake, involved? And what about his lover Oryx? This is a tale about the past told in the present, that makes us question the amount of genetic modification and perceived control of animals that we possess. How much is too much?

I don’t normally read dystopian science fiction novels. They tend to make me cynical and start to scrutinize society. That’s exactly what this did, which isn’t bad but it was definitely a hindrance; especially considering this is a book about advertising and genetic modification. There may have been a panicked moment when I read the description of a shower curtain and jumped to conspiracy theories. At any rate, Atwood does a good job of making the reader question society and the way humans tend to feel dominant over everything involving their world, regardless of whether the facts agree.

Snowman slowly introduces us to the world in which he exists, and eventually we find out that a pandemic killed every human except for himself. He has to survive as an idol to the human-like race called the Crakers, a genetically modified race of human-like creatures that have more in common with other animals, apart from looking like humans. The Crakers know that they were created by Crake, and worship him as a god; along with the woman named Oryx who helped to teach them of the world in their enclosure, before the pandemic struck. Snowman has made himself the messiah who can communicate with both Crake and Oryx in order to make rules to follow, because Crake and Oryx love them. As the story progresses, we see the ups and downs of creating your own religion among the natives, including how he should have specified his ability to kill animals but was foolhardy in forgetting to add it into the rules.

We learn about the past in bits and pieces, with short stories that give us information into Snowman’s previous life as Jimmy, who was just a confused boy growing up in a scientific world in which he didn’t quite fit. His mother ran away from their compound home (a gated and secured area away from the dangerous outside world) when he was young. She had issues with the research that his father was conducting on pigoons, involving pigs genetically modified to grow and be harvested for human body parts. Snowman knows little about his mother, but she reappears in small snippets as he grows up, though she isn’t as important as Crake. He and Crake did drugs while watching internet pornography as teenagers. For whatever jaded reason, they liked to watch child pornography, and found Oryx as an actor in one of the movies. She looked into the camera in such a way that Jimmy took a screen shot of it and it haunts him until he sees her in person many years later. Crake is the driving force behind much of what Jimmy does, from the past up until the present.

Snowman was the only member of the trio to survive, and he has survivor’s guilt from this, as well as the loneliness of being the only human to survive the disease. He has to deal with the pigoons who have now turned feral and dangerous, as well as genetically spliced version of wolves called wolvogs. He needs more food supplies, due to his lack of planning the rules about eating the animals Oryx loves with the Crakers, so he has to leave them and journey back to the remains of the compound where he was before the disease broke out, and killed the majority of humanity.

What I didn’t like about this book is that the jumping around in time got cumbersome by the end. We would jump back to the past and there would really be no reasoning as to which time period we were in, or why we transitioned. The beginning was done well with trying to introduce us slowly to the world and let us know that Crake did something really bad. I think that the revealing of what it was is delayed to the point that it is easily figured out and becomes tiresome to have Atwood keep alluding to it but not actually giving us the answer. I also think that the pacing was a bit off when it came to showing how the disaster day happened, being a slower paced book up until that point, and then everything happened at once.

I liked the fact that it was a mystery in the beginning as to what happened. Was it a tragedy? War? Alien invasion? Everything seemed to be possible and as it narrowed down I was able to deduce the event that left Snowman alone. Oryx is referred to as the best thing he ever had and poor Snowman is still very much in love with her; the only woman he ever loved. It seemed like it was doomed from the start, and by the end I was accepting that viewpoint without much thought. Nothing good ever happens to Snowman, and he is stuck in a never-ending loop of tragedy after tragedy until the end of his days. I was disappointed with the ending, mainly because I really wanted it to end a lot darker, but instead it ended with some hope. Not to say that hope is a bad thing, but when the overall tone of the book is that nothing will ever be okay, ending on a hopeful note is odd.

I really liked the idea of the Crakers, though I feel like they were never fully fleshed out in terms of what they actually thought. We just get the random insights from Snowman into how he thinks they are thinking, and they take up a disappointingly small part of the novel. I want to see more of the Crakers, to see if it was human involvement that led them to start thinking about religion after Crake took the supposed “removable part” out of their brains, or if they are demonstrating some larger, intrinsic nature of spirituality. I’m not sure if Atwood’s intent is to continue the series and delve into this, or if she was shying away from that topic in order to make the reader question rather than argue about an answer.

The writing itself was very good. I think she got a little cocky with using larger words in places, and she seems to have fallen in love with the word ersatz for the number of times that she uses it. Not that it’s a bad word, but if it stands out enough to be countable, it ruins some of my immersion in the novel. I liked that Snowman was almost the reject of the scientific society; being the advertising, word loving man. The depiction of his slow descent into madness is also very enjoyable to read, making it something that is both believable and heart wrenching at the same time.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys dystopian and science fiction novels, which center around genes and the future of humanity in a world plagued with disease and biological weapons.

(www.FictionForesight.com) ( )
  FictionForesight | Apr 26, 2016 |
The post apocalyptical dystopia is not a literary seam that I had prospected very often until recently, so I had been unaware of the gems it had to offer. In recent months I have been especially enthralled by Emily St John Mandel’s ‘Station Eleven’ and ‘Louise Welch’s ‘A Lovely Way to Burn’, each of which brought a new twist to the genre. Both of those books start in the present with a particularly virulent form of flu breaking out and spreading around the world in days, obliterating the population and leaving the survivors struggling to salvage any dregs of civilisation in the hope of maybe forming a future.

Margaret Atwood’s ‘Oryx and Crake’ deservedly stands alongside both those books, but strikes a different pose. Set in an unspecified but presumably not too distant, hi-tech future, we see the fractured world through the eyes of Jimmy, now known as ‘Snowman, who is living wild, not sure whether he is the last real man still alive. He passes his days taking care to avoid the scorching midday sun and moving warily to avoid attracting the attention of a number of wild beats, including wolvogs and pigoons, creatures created in the laboratories of the high tech genetic engineering firms that had proliferated throughout the last years before the catastrophe.

We soon learn, however, that Jimmy is not entirely alone. There is a village-dwelling community of simple folk who look upon him as a sort of magus, and offer him food (particularly fish) in return for his messianic intercession with the godlike ‘Oryx and Crake’. We also gather random insights into Jimmy’s past as he remembers various episodes from his childhood and adolescence. We gradually learn about Jimmy’s fractured family, with his mother increasingly disillusioned and mentally dislocated while his father became increasingly absorbed in his work to create designer livestock. These memories also offer an insight into the nature of the world before the catastrophe, with the privileged elite living in heavily guarded corporation-owned compounds away from the wild ‘pleeblands’ where order was already crumbling. It was at school in this sheltered world that Jimmy first met Crake, a brilliant student whose family had just moved to the same compound.

Atwood captures the cynicism, disillusionment and sense of disenfranchisement of the adolescent boys brilliantly, as they dabble with increasingly inappropriate computer games and sample the horrific porn and other, worse experiences that the internet has to offer. Soon snuff violence and degrading images of women are insufficient to whet their appetites, and they are drawn to ‘Extinctathon’ a bizarre game that combines some of the worst ‘shoot ‘em up’ violence with extreme biotechnology. Meanwhile, the corporations for which their families work continue to push the boundaries with ever more amazing experimentation to create new species to solve the burgeoning world food shortages. What could possibly go wrong?

Alternating between Jimmy’s present, when it evidently has gone wrong, and scenes from his early life, Atwood builds up a fascinating, spellbinding and often frightening story, liberally sprinkled with literally allusions and wry observations on twenty-first century life. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Mar 28, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 357 (next | show all)
Oryx and Crake is a piece of dystopian fiction written from the point of Snowman (known as Jimmy in his former life) – the last human left on Earth. At least, he believes he’s the last human left on Earth until the end of the book.

I found the parts of the book describing Snowman’s journey to Paradice (the dome in the compound where Crake did his work) to be a lot less interesting than his recollections of his previous life as Jimmy. I loved reading about how Jimmy and Crake met, the little signs that Crake gave off as to what he might be planning and the direction his thoughts might take in the future (though Jimmy didn’t recognize these until it was too late), etc.

Crake is really the star of the show in this book in my mind – Jimmy simply acts as a vessel for us to learn about a character who is dead and who therefore cannot teach us about himself.

Snowman’s adventures in real time seem almost pointless to me. Why not dedicate the whole book to Jimmy’s friendship with Crake, with just a bit of general explanation as to what’s going on now? I think the present would have been much more interesting if the Crakers were explored more than Jimmy’s struggle to survive and come to grips with what Crake had done.

On the whole, however, I thought it was a great book.
 
Set sometime in the future, this post-apocalyptic novel takes scientific research in the hands of madmen to its logical and frightening conclusion. Inspiring readers to pay more attention to the world around them, Atwood offers cautionary notes about the environment, bioengineering, the sacrifice of civil liberties, and the possible loss of those human values which make life more than just a physical experience. As the novel opens, some catastrophe has occurred, effectively wiping out human life. Only one lonely survivor and a handful of genetically altered humanoids remain, and they are slowly starving as they try to adjust to their changed circumstances.
added by stephmo | editMostly Fiction, Mary Whipple (May 28, 2004)
 
In Margaret Atwood's first attempt at writing a novel, the main character was an ant swept downriver on a raft. She abandoned that book after the opening scene and became caught up in other activities, which she has described as ''sissy stuff like knitting and dresses and stuffed bunnies.'' That certainly does not sound like Ms. Atwood, who is known for the boldness of her fiction. Of course she was only 7 at the time.
added by stephmo | editNew York Times, Mel Gussow (Jun 24, 2003)
 
Margaret Atwood has always taken a jaundiced view of human nature. Back when her mordant observations about marriage and other relations between the sexes had her marked down as a feminist, she took pains to fire off several novels in a row featuring weak, manipulative, dishonest and outright bad women, partly to prove that her skepticism was distributed fairly. She has always been of the opinion that people are a mixed bag of the occasionally decent and the frequently mendacious and that there's not much anyone can do to change that fact.
added by stephmo | editSalon.com, Laura Miller (May 27, 2003)
 
Genetic tinkering. Rampant profiteering. A deadly virus that sweeps the globe. Are these last Tuesday's headlines or our future?

In Margaret Atwood's novel Oryx and Crake, the answer is both. For Atwood, our future is the catastrophic sum of our oversights. It's a depressing view, saved only by Atwood's biting, black humor and absorbing storytelling.
added by stephmo | editUSA Today, Jackie Pray (May 26, 2003)
 

» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Margaret Atwoodprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chancer, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davids, TinkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Drews, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scott, CampbellNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
I could perhaps like others have astonished you
with strange improbable tales; but I rather chose to relate plain matters of fact in the simplest manner and style; because my principal design was to inform you, and not to amuse you.
- Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels
Was there no safety? No learning by heart of the ways of the world? No guide, no shelter, but all was miracle and leaping from the pinnacle of a tower in the air?
- Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
Dedication
For my family
First words
Snowman wakes before dawn.
Quotations
If he wants to be an asshole, it's a free country. Millions before him have made the same life choice.
Crake had worked for years on the purring. Once he'd discovered that the cat family purred at the same frequency as the ultrasound used on bone fractures and skin lesions and were thus equipped with their own self-healing mechanism, he'd turned himself inside out in the attempt to install the feature.
So Crake never remembered his dreams. It's Snowman that remembers them instead. Worse than remembers: he's immersed in them, he's wading through them, he's stuck in them. Every moment he's lived in the past few months was dreamed first by Crake. No wonder Crake screamed so much.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385721676, Paperback)

In Oryx and Crake, a science fiction novel that is more Swift than Heinlein, more cautionary tale than "fictional science" (no flying cars here), Margaret Atwood depicts a near-future world that turns from the merely horrible to the horrific, from a fool's paradise to a bio-wasteland. Snowman (a man once known as Jimmy) sleeps in a tree and just might be the only human left on our devastated planet. He is not entirely alone, however, as he considers himself the shepherd of a group of experimental, human-like creatures called the Children of Crake. As he scavenges and tends to his insect bites, Snowman recalls in flashbacks how the world fell apart.

While the story begins with a rather ponderous set-up of what has become a clichéd landscape of the human endgame, littered with smashed computers and abandoned buildings, it takes on life when Snowman recalls his boyhood meeting with his best friend Crake: "Crake had a thing about him even then.... He generated awe ... in his dark laconic clothing." A dangerous genius, Crake is the book's most intriguing character. Crake and Jimmy live with all the other smart, rich people in the Compounds--gated company towns owned by biotech corporations. (Ordinary folks are kept outside the gates in the chaotic "pleeblands.") Meanwhile, beautiful Oryx, raised as a child prostitute in Southeast Asia, finds her way to the West and meets Crake and Jimmy, setting up an inevitable love triangle. Eventually Crake's experiments in bioengineering cause humanity's shockingly quick demise (with uncanny echoes of SARS, ebola, and mad cow disease), leaving Snowman to try to pick up the pieces. There are a few speed bumps along the way, including some clunky dialogue and heavy-handed symbols such as Snowman's broken watch, but once the bleak narrative gets moving, as Snowman sets out in search of the laboratory that seeded the world's destruction, it clips along at a good pace, with a healthy dose of wry humor. --Mark Frutkin, Amazon.ca

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:58 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

With the same stunning blend of prophecy and social satire she brought to her classic The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood gives us a keenly prescient novel about the future of humanity-and its present. Humanity here equals Snowman, and in Snowman's recollections Atwood re-creates a time much like our own, when a boy named Jimmy loved an elusive, damaged girl called Oryx and a sardonic genius called Crake. But now Snowman is alone, and as we learn why we also learn about a world that could become ours one day.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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