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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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10,909311259 (3.96)2 / 911
Member:exfed
Title:Oryx and Crake
Authors:Margaret Atwood
Info:Anchor (2004), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 376 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (2003)

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English (303)  Swedish (3)  Finnish (2)  Spanish (2)  Danish (1)  All languages (311)
Showing 1-5 of 303 (next | show all)
Shelf Notes Review

Dear Reader,

I loved this book. I stayed up way too late every night reading this book. Lack of sleep didn't stop me from picking up the second book The Year of the Flood the same night I finished Oryx & Crake. Not many books can keep me up like that, let alone wanting me to pick up the sequel directly after. Usually, I'm the type of person that likes to let it digest and even wait a few months to pick up the second book (if at all). Books with series (3 or more) get me anxious (mostly because of the invested time required), I find that I don't usually finish a complete series unless the book rates 4 stars or higher for me. There is just too many books and too little time!

Let me rewind a bit though, I haven't even told you anything about the book yet. Meet Snowman (a.k.a Jimmy), a self absorbed and somewhat dis-likable character who somehow survives this crazy Apocalypse. No, I didn't give anything away that wasn't already given to you by the books description. There are quite a bit of plot twists and surprises and I promise I won't divulge any of those delectable secrets. Atwood brings us back and forward through time using Snowman/Jimmy's eyes. Through Jimmy, we see as he reflects back upon everything that has happened and we meet all the characters that play the part from his perspective. Everything he goes through plays a small part of the impending changes of the future. Since I don't want to give anything away, I think I'll leave it at that.

I like the genre "speculative fiction" and this novel fits perfectly under that category. I really wish I had read this when it came out in 2003. Atwood has taken some scary ideas (most of them could very likely be true) and given us a novel that could very well be the next 1984. I predict that this novel will be looked back upon as a reference for future generations, almost like a warning that wasn't heard (hopefully I'm wrong about this). Wasn't that the same feeling Orwell's 1984 gave us? I obviously wasn't alive when 1984 was published, so I can't say personally but the book has that stigma of predicting the future.

Some of the creepy things we come across in Oryx & Crake include, animal splicing (the Rakunk which is a combination of raccoon and skunk), genetic alterations (chemically injecting food so it won't rot or attract bugs), voyeuristic programming (watching the most taboo of topics on the internet and becoming desensitized by it, like kiddie porn and suicide). Does any of this sound familiar? Atwood definitely gets her inspiration from our own technological advances, she brings the current inventions to a new scary futuristic level. This is a world that you can imagine, a world that could be our future... now THAT is scary!

SPOILER!!! Don't Read Below This If You Haven't Read The Book ... (ALSO contains Battlestar Galactica Spoilers, if you've never seen or finished that show *and SHAME on you if you haven't seen the show!!*)

I just wanted to talk about the main theme of the book, the Apocalypse. I think what I loved about this book reminded me why I loved Battlestar Galactica so much. Both give us a decaying world filled with crime, overuse of technology, morals gone wrong and pretty much complete disrespect of the land we call home (again, doesn't this sound a bit too familiar!) Also, both BSG and Oryx & Crake reset the world, taking away everything that was destroying it (including the mass population). Neither this book or the show gives us the aftermath but one can only imagine how the world will be rebuilt with the remaining survivors. BSG went one step further pushing the idea that humanity will just make the same mistakes over and over again. To quote from the show "All of this has happened before and will happen again".

I think the idea of resetting and starting anew, making the survivors live with the earth and nothing else, is SO fascinating. I've often thought of what we would do without all the technology we have, would we be able to survive? Would we be able to reset our own way of thinking and go back to scavenging for food and shelter? I actually think it would be kind of wonderful to get a second chance, but I think the same problems would arrive and like BSG showed us... humanity would be in an endless loop, making the same mistakes over and over again.


SPOILER DONE!!! I have nothing else to say but READ this book.

Yours,
AmberBug ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
I really liked this book. I really like Atwood's style, and the way she gives things to you a little bit at a time until everything finally becomes clear at the end.

I also liked the many different issues explores on this book - the obvious ones of playing God with genetics and survival, but also the underlying issues of love, loss, and what it means to be human. Are the Crakers human? Can you take from them everything Crake did and still call them that? And is it better to suffer and be human, or to have that suffering taken away, and with it all the beauties that come from suffering in literature and the arts? Interesting thoughts raises on the importance of arts and words as well. Crake seems to scoff at their importance, but when it comes to the end, it's a words man he chooses as his Moses. Lots of interesting things to think about. ( )
  sammii507 | Aug 19, 2014 |
I read this book for a posthuman course at university. While I think the writing is very intricate and complex, this book just wasn't my cup of tea.

Atwood is a good writer, to be sure. Very imaginative and bold. Part of what makes this story so effective is that some of the technologies don't seem too futuristic. We already try to alter our looks with technology, we already have scientists creating food in labs, etc. So the future Atwood proposes doesn't seem too unlikely which is really unsettling.

I know this is the first in a series, so that's why the ending was so open. However, I didn't like that it just cut off since there was so much build-up to Jimmy "Snowman" finding other humans.

As I said, the writing is very smart and well-done, but the pacing is slow and overall this book was just not something I enjoyed reading. ( )
  CaitlinAC | Aug 10, 2014 |
The narrational tone of Oryx and Crake reminds me of The Caveman's Valentine even though their narratives are quite different. ( )
  pussreboots | Aug 4, 2014 |
2nd [a:Margaret Atwood|3472|Margaret Atwood|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1193779345p2/3472.jpg] novel, and I am just as impressed as the first.

In this futuristic dystopia novel (a genre Atwood has perfected), there is one human left on Earth. He calls himself Snowman, and was put in charge of caring for the 'Crakers' a species similar to humans, but genetically altered to resist infections, destruction, even the "God influence".

The really interesting thing in this book, very similar to [b:A Handmaid's Tale|38447|The Handmaid's Tale|Margaret Atwood|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/417SV938KJL._SL75_.jpg|1119185], is that, you know something terrible went wrong...but it takes the entire book to figure out how .

In this novel...you know at the beginning it was a virus, but you don't know where or how this virus was created or spread.

It's really amazing how Atwood uses language. When you are reading, the language is so natural and fluid, it's easy to read...but then, you have to pay close attention because she throws in important clues and details in parts you may not think would be important. So good!

Spoiler:
The end was super creepy. Throughout the entire novel Snowman is searching for other people...and then he finds some. And he is faced with the decision to either kill them (for fear they would harm the Crakers)...or try to talk to them). This novel really pushes the idea of how destructive human beings are....and Crake tried to eliminate all of those destructive parts of the human gene pool...but as Snowman begins to notice, the Crakers are developing the same problems man did... ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 303 (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 (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Margaret Atwoodprimary authorall 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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:16 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Jimmy, perhaps the last living human unaltered by science, struggles for survival in a post-apocalyptic world as he tries to make sense of how everything went wrong, mourns the loss of his beloved Oryx, a girl he met through a kiddie porn Web site, and considers the role of his genius friend Crake who had been working on a formula for immortality at the RejoovenEsenseCompound.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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