Monday, September 16, 2013

An Outdated Vision of the Future

I guess you would call Oryx & Crake a Post Apocalyptic novel (a genre I really enjoy) but having just read it, it is my least favourite  in this genre.  

The message of this novel are the questions “how much is too much?” and “how far is too far?” with regards to genetic engineering gone mad.  But, just Google ‘genetic engineering gone mad’ and you will read something far more alarming than any science fiction novelist can dream up – glow in the dark cats, transgender goats, even goats crossed with spiders (and that is just what we are being told about!).  Not to mention the disturbing facts on genetically modified soy and corn.  Time to invest in green houses folks and grow your own fruit and veggies!

The story of Oryx & Crake is told in flash back by post-plague survivor Jimmy AKA Snowman.  Crake was Jimmy’s best friend and Oryx, a mysterious Asian girl with a disturbing past, was the love of Jimmy’s life.  Crake is your standard issue megalomaniac and Oryx is his unwitting tool in his master plan.  Jimmy finds himself the lone survivor of a plague engineered by Crake, and guardian of the ‘Crakers’, Crake’s many coloured Adam and Eve’s genetically engineered to replace humans.

So, what did I not like about this novel?  Well, I guess I felt that it had all been done before, and a lot better.  The warnings and alarm bells have been ringing since before this novel was written, and I didn’t like its outdated vision of the future.  It read like a 1960’s image of the future – all lurid colours, bubble furniture and satirical product names.  In a word – gimmicky.

There were some interesting ideas, but it doesn't compare with say The Road or I Am Legend.


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