The story itself is exceptional science fiction, capturing both the plausible arc of technology and its resulting apocalypse. In addition, it is a remarkable coming of age story in the technocracy of a not so distant future. This was my first Attwood and I will definitely read more. In addition, the narration is superior. Campbell Scott strikes exactly the right tone for this story, which in my mind makes listening preferable to reading. A slam dunk for audio books!
Although I am a fan of Margaret Atwood's, I hesitated to listen to this book because the premise seemed sooooo far fetched. However, from page 1 she makes it believable, tells an interesting and at times heartbreaking story, and presents to us (in true Atwood fashion) the hard questions, for which there may be no answer.
I recommend listening to this book from a high quality down load. The narrator is so good that the story comes to life through his interpretation. I see this book as both informing and entertaining. Atwood has obviously engaged herself in the technologies of today and where these technologies may take us. To her credit, she is able to present her views, maybe her fears, in an entertaining manner. This book introduces the reader to characters within a world that is somehow quite imaginable. Jimmy represents words and the arts, and Crake is the 'well meaning' scientist who thinks that technology will save us. Oryx is the masses, the population that does not think too deeply about these issues. Atwood is able to tap into salient aspects of science and technological progress.
The title of this review pretty much says it all. I listen to a lot of science fiction audio books. I have heard a range of readers and I need to say that the person reading this book is flat and boring. He doesn't seem to know how to make the story alive or real.
I'd recommend buying the book and reading it instead.
This book is a truly disturbing view of the near future where biotechnology gets way out of hand. It resulted in several weeks of near panic attacks and worry about what the future holds. While it was very interesting to read, it was unsettling and then it just ENDS. I enjoy books like this that provide flashbacks and finally bring you to where the book started. Atwood paints a vivid picture but I have to admit that it truly freaked me out. The most chilling part of the picture is that it is entirely probable based on our current path.
This book takes a raw look at the future, and it's not pretty. The story is a long narrative as told from the viewpoint of Snowman, a man trapped in a bleak fight for survival. I found the beginning of the book to be quite slow. The second half picked up nicely and put the pieces together well enough, though. The story and the author's view of future life on planet earth are disturbing because as with any good fictional work they are woven with so many threads of truth. Despite this, I did not find this to be a particularly good book. Now, I do not have to have my stories wrapped up and tied with a pretty bow, however the ending to this book takes that premise way too far. I found the book's conclusion very unsatisfying. Campbell Scott does a very good job of narrating and setting the tone for the story, but he can't raise this novel up from the mediocre.
Overall this was a good story, and it really made me think about possible futures for our society, which I suspect was the author's intent. The narrator was also good. What I didn't like about it was how much of the story relied on flashbacks. There was very little action that was occuring in the present. The ending was also a little disappointing, because it was a complete cliffhanger, so i'm not sure if she was leaving it open for a sequel or what. Overall, a pretty good book I suggest you listen to.
I got through a little over 4.5 hours of the 10 hour book and just had to set it aside, which is unusual for me. Sure, the book is bleak and dark, set in a world where we've genetically modified everything, and the first 20 minutes or so I found completely awesome, but over the next 3 hours, I found myself caring less and less about the main character and came to the conclusion that I've read stories like this before, and seen them done better. EARTH ABIDES comes to mind. Hell, FEED, a post-apocolyptic zombie novel where bloggers are the real news reporters is set in a more believable and well thought-out world than ORYX AND CRAKE, which somehow managed to be both simplistic and over the top while leaving me emotionally cold.
I guess this is the book I should have expected by an author who was offended when two of her books (O&K and HT) were labeled sci-fi. "Science fiction has monsters and spaceships; speculative fiction could really happen... ORYX AND CRAKE is a speculative fiction, not a science fiction proper. It contains no intergalactic space travel, no teleportation, no Martians... Science fiction (as opposed to what she wrote) is talking squids in outer space." A smidgen more understanding of how good sci-fi works would have made this story much more enjoyable.
Let me start with the narration: it comes off a little monotonous and flat. The narrator does a decent job of giving each character a unique voice, but a little more life in the dialog would have been an improvement.
As for the story itself, I found it excellent. The story unfolds intriguingly, the characters are well developed, and the dialog is very well done. It shows a very realistic view of the more base aspects of life. The main character really captures the feelings of being caught in the grind of life, underachieving, the twisted aspects of romantic relationships, and the general drudgery of life.
A minor flaw, in my opinion, is the fact that some of the social commentary is a little obvious. The author takes swipes at corporate greed and consumerism that seem a little forced.
Overall, I found this to be an excellent book, with good narration. I would highly recommend it.
Campbell Scott's voice makes this tremendous story all the more unforgettable. His voice is haunting as Snowman, while the sing-songy tones of the children still reverberate in my mind months later. Atwood does not disappoint; her craftsmanship is just as fine here as in previous books. As in most of her writings, she forces us to think about our actions and how those actions can affect the future -- not only our future, but the future of mankind.