Peter Idone's Reviews > Oryx and Crake

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
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Oct 06, 12

Read in October, 2012

This is a very disturbing book and how could it not be when the author is dealing with genetic chimeras that are initially bred to provide human transplant organs(and then escape from the lab to run wild and dangerous outside of the confines of the lab setting)or genetically engineered food stuffs like ChickieNobs(I couldn't help but think of KFC's chicken #9; I wonder what that poor creature looks like). But these are only details. We've been living in a world where sheep are cloned, Trans Humanism (H+2)has gained a tenuous foot-hold and the concept of developing some sort of biological human organ harvesting entity has been bandied about since the 1980's from my recollection. It makes the reader wonder what sort of experiments are going on at the Plum Island Research facility and some of the weird biology that has washed up on the north shore of Long Island. Atwood is relentless in hammering these concepts in a precise, horrifying narrative. She is also good at getting into the head of her protagonist Snowman/Jimmy. As an adolescent youth abandoned by his mother during his formative years and in the post apocalyptic setting as Snowman, he possessed the right amount of neuroses bordering on psychosis attempting to exist in such a lonely, formidable environment.
What didn't hold true for me was the reappearance of Oryx as an adult and the relative ease in which his friend Crake was able to obtain her from the clutches of her kiddee porn/prostitution enslavement. That topic alone is a real can of worms to deal with and was unsettling to read. Any child sold to that industry is devoured in a matter of a few years I would imagine. I just could not buy Oryx' as a teacher to the 'Crakers', or that, for Jimmy, she retained the same beauty and allure when first seeing her on the porn site. But I won't dispute the novel's craft. It is thought provoking and timely. But make no mistake, it's not entertainment. This is dark stuff Atwood has committed to paper. The bookshelves are crammed with apocalyptic -post or otherwise- and dystopian novels of which most are morbid, talentless junk. There's a reason why this genre has flooded the marketplace and there's a voracious appetite on the part of the readership. Something is terribly wrong with the world we inhabit and deep down the population knows it. The books and novels, despite the suspect quality in many cases, just lend credibility to what many are thinking. In regards to Oryx and Crake this is the standard that writers of this genre of fiction should aspire toward.
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