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November 25, 2009 / jadettman

Oryx and Crake

Last week, I finished reading Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. It’s a novel with a post-apocalyptic setting in which a man-made plague has ravaged our planet. At least one man has survived, the narrator, and we learn about his world and what led to its destruction.

Margaret Atwood, though, does not write SF. She says so, which is how I know. After finishing Oryx and Crake I tend to agree.

[Beware possible spoilers below.]

In my experience, SF is about wonder, human achievement, and, yes, technology, aliens and all of the other whiz-bang fun of the genre, too. There is a lot genre there but of what I’ve read little of it is about fear. In retrospect, that is what Atwood’s novel is about.

It is fear of what science could create, not just the bio-plague but also the more mundane frankensteinian creations that may hobgoblin our future. The entire book is a cavalcade of humanity’s possible future depravities, including televised executions and child pornography for entertainment, human trafficking (which, granted, is not a fictional future crime but a sad reality), and a host of other crimes that, frankly, I don’t recall.

Really, it just isn’t all that interesting and I think that’s true because much of it is just so unbelievable. Perhaps, I lack the proper pessimism.

Anyway, the book was an okay read. Like I said, not SF but, as long as that isn’t what you’re looking for, it can be entertaining.

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