Margaret Atwood   Oryx and Crake  
Margaret Atwood  
Read an Excerpt from Oryx and Crake

Read an Interview with Margaret Atwood


As Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake opens, the narrator who calls himself Snowman, is sleeping in a tree, wearing a dirty old bed sheet, mourning the loss of his beautiful and beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake, and slowly starving to death. In a world in which science-based corporations have recently taken mankind on an uncontrolled genetic-engineering ride, he now searches for supplies in a wasteland. As he tries to piece together what has taken place, the narrative shifts to decades earlier. How did everything fall apart so quickly? Why is Snowman left with nothing but his bizarre memories? He explores the answers to these questions in the double journey—into his own past, and back to Crake's high-tech bubble dome, where the Paradice Project unfolded and the world came to grief.

This is Atwood's dystopic future: genetically altered animals (pigoons and wolvogs); the elimination of the middle class; ecological disaster; a video game named Extinctathon (SIMs gone wildly amuck); the commodification of just about everything; and, humanity's extinction. Why does her vision resonate and disturb so deeply? Because it's entirely possible. As you'll see in the interview, Margaret pulled these developments directly from the headlines of our newspapers, magazines and websites.

Not only can Oryx and Crake be added to the shortlist of classic dystopic novels like Brave New World and 1984, it is doubtless the most inventive and unnerving novel written in some time. In this edition of Bold Type, read an excerpt of Oryx and Crake and an interview with Margaret.

—Coates Bateman

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  Photo credit: Jess Atwood Gibson

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