Oryx & Crake by Margaret Atwood

Oryx & Crake by Margaret AtwoodA future all too near, all too real and all too frightening. Margaret Atwood sets her tale of post global warming – post globalization in middle America. Citizens of this future state live in gated compounds, where they are protected by their corporate employers from pollution, poverty and criminal activity. The less fortunate reside in the surrounding Pleeblands where they must fend for themselves. Once upon a time Jimmy was a nice kid, raised in the Organ Inc. compound where his parents worked on organ transplant sources from biologically altered “pigoons”. He and his brilliant friend Crake surfed the internet and played computer chess in their luxurious suburban bedrooms. Now Jimmy ekes out an existence on a lonely beach, foraging for weapons and scraps of food in the ruins. A strange race of altered people ‘the Crakers’ live nearby, eating leaves and grass and peacefully raising their children. The human race is dead. What has become of them?

What the Armchair Critics Thought:
We found this book brilliant, insightful and thought-provoking. All the historical events, inventions, products and social trends could be extrapolated back to the present day. The HealthWizer Compound was disconcertingly similar to a Mexican tourist resort. The computer games and web sites were a logical progression of today’s reality TV shows. The characters and their motivations were fascinating. When did Crake conceive his plan and start using Jimmy as his patsy? Were Crake’s actions in the airlock deliberately planned to put Jimmy in shock until it was too late for the world? We also loved the flashes of humour in the product names and corporations. We found everything familiar, and yet slightly altered. Summer vacation on Hudson’s Bay, real time executions. Is this our future? How can we prevent it from occuring?

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