I am a great fan of Atwood, but not her speculative fiction. This book, like "The Handmaid's Tale", screams "Author's Message" in every sentence. It is overwrought, obvious. The characters are at best two-dimensional, and seem to be symbols standing in for traits, rather than real people possessing those traits. I found Oryx to be particularly irritating, a Western stereotype of an Asian female. This is especially annoying coming from a writer who is supposedly one of the greats in feminist fiction.
Crake is similarly a stick-figure genius, and for such a smart guy his choices are pretty dumb. His naive, new-agey Crakers would last about a day in a wilderness filled with rampaging pigoons, wolvogs, and bobkittens. Atwood's attempts to shroud him in mystery seem an inelegant attempt to deflect closer examination of his motives, which don't hold together. Jimmy / Snowman is only slightly more compelling. A great deal is made out of how he is not a genius like Crake, but at times he seems closer to mentally retarded. I can't believe anybody would be so clueless about survival, even if they had been brought up in a cocoon.
Despite these flaws, at times I found the audiobook hard to put down. I wanted to find out what had happened. But by the end of the book I felt cheated and manipulated by the same kinds of tricks that writers of cheap suspense novels use. The backstory was not that interesting, and has been done better before. Comparisons to other popular works are obvious.
The ending is hollow and unsatisfying. It has neither the happy ending of a cheap suspense novel, nor the bleak ending it seemed headed for. I think that this is because the story had no logical place to land - Atwood's point was in the build-up, so why waste time crafting a reasonable ending?
I give it three stars because the world is well-visualized, and because Campbell Scott's reading is superb. Atwood should stick with complex character situations, as in "Cat's Eye."
First, I listened because I had paid and then I finished to be able to give credible warning. This book is not recommended.
The characters are as empty and scorched as the twisted, sickened wilderness they inhabit. Morality and hope are both drowned in Atwood's a new world of overpopulated, super-sexual, genetically modified madness. The keys to wealth and power are in genetic engineering and materialism has taken over society. However, this reality and the inscrutable, wooden characters that inhabit it exist only in the memory of a sad, stupid man who has survived the viral apocalypse brought on by his friend Crake to end the horror that humanity has made of itself. He is charged with shepherding Crake?s children who are derived from humans, engineered to live without suffering, malice or need for predation.
To call this science fiction is a misnomer. It?s a grim, amoral fantasyland made vaguely credible by the unfathomable potential that laymen see in today?s biology and in the ills of our own society. Similarly, the characters are never fully made real, being nearly as incredulous as the premise. They are only hollow expressions of what Atwood seems to think is the logical extension of today?s culture and values?just as poorly justified as the scientific future that makes the society possible.
The worst horrors of materialism and sexuality are put on display for us in this sort of false-color picture of our future. The great Crake manages to snuff it all out, perhaps permanently, and to create a nobler innocent form of humanity in the process. Genesis rewound. Would such a genius be ignorant of evolution-?the survival of the fittest--that this mechanism would destroy his creation? It?s doubtful. Did he ever show any disposition to hate the society that made him in the first place? Barely. These sorts of questions will plague the thoughtful reader thru ought the story, leaving it a limp, maddeningly inept fantasy.
This book contains a lot of very interesting ideas, but they are not woven together into a compelling story line. The end in particular left me feeling annoyed at having spent hours waiting for the book to develop on its early promise. With a good editor, this book could have been exceptional.
This book captured my attention from beginning to end. The author provided just enough description and life to each main character and scene without overdoing it. I must say this book somewhat frightened me due to the (strong) possibility that the world could actually evolve into the type of place the author so thoroughly described.
This will not disappoint - great book, and a great job by Campbell Scott in dramatizing it. I liked the way they flagged the ending, so the listener could "feel" the last page between their fingertips, which I find very rewarding. I can only imagine this, but I think the experience of listening perhaps would even equal the experience of actually reading it
I almost didn't listen to this book, since I'd been disappointed by other Atwood novels mislabeled (in my opinion) as science fiction, such as The Handmaid's Tale and The Blind Assassin. Oryx and Crake is real science fiction -- fascinating and chilling -- with the added benefit of being written by a skilled novelist, giving far better characterization than usually seen in science fiction. Atwood is much less heavy-handed with her feminism than in her other novels, making this more effective and thought-provoking. The reading is excellent, conveying the sardonic humor and despair of the main character as well as the varied personalities of supporting characters.
This a fantastic journey into the future from Margaret Atwood. The leap from present day into 20 or 30 years down the road is both logical and frightening. The 3 main characters are well developed throughout the book and when the get to the final chapters, you probably won't be able to stop listening. If you like science-fiction with a large dose of reality, you will like this book.
Well, I truly did enjoy this book. It was weird, spooky, and rather fascinating. Good narration, great characters (though I don't mean great morals!), and good plot. Might be a little hard core--I found some of the stuff a little difficult to listen to because of how graphic it was, but overall very good. Didn't much like the ending--though I know you are supposed to use your imagination.