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This book really isn't that ground-breaking.

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Initial post: Aug 9, 2010 5:45:46 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 10, 2010 6:31:57 PM PDT
Even as a big Atwood fan, I really don't get where all the praise for "Oryx and Crake" is coming from. I read it was was rather underwhelmed.

The characters are one-dimensional and so is the dialogue. I loved some of the set pieces and imagery, but the dystopian world Atwood creates is generic and hampered by cartoonishly-corrupt corporations and goofy, mutatated abominations that are an insult to the intelligence anyone who has taken even a highschool biology course. We get bizarrely-named gimicks like "CorpSeCorps", "SoYummie", "Rakunk", and "Pigoon" instead of anything believable. Listening to Atwood talk about the Internet, something she clearly knows very little about, is almost painful.

Nothing about this book is fresh to the science fiction genre. Oh, and about that. Atwood asserts that this is "speculative fiction" and not science fiction, insisting that science fiction is about "talking squids in space" and that everything in her super-special novel is within the complete realm of possibility. That is so much bull.

What makes "Oryx and Crake" so special? Why do we see this novel next to all the mainstream stuff in the Fiction/Literature Section and not back in the obligatory Science Fiction Section where it clearly belongs?

If I had to guess, it's because the average critic or reader's interpretation of SF is along the lines of "Beam me up, Scotty". When someone like Atwood, a revered and awarded novelist, writes some stale rehash of ideas that have been facilitated in SF novels for years, it's considered great literature and everyone pretends not to notice the glaring tropes within. Meanwhile, the originals rot away next to the Star Wars noveltizations and the latest John Ringo. Such is the fate of many a great book.

And that just ain't right.

Posted on Sep 18, 2010 3:33:19 PM PDT
Paul H says:
I agree with this completely, and with your actual review of the book. The characters are flat, unrealistic, cartoonish, and hard to sympathize with. The more I read, the less grounded in reality this thing seemed. Eventually it uprooted itself and flew off in the wind, like a badly secured camping tent. It was hard to take seriously. I kept on reading only to see where it would land.

Atwood's insistence that this isn't science fiction is obnoxious. She says it dismissively, but I can't help thinking it's meant as a shield: "Don't judge this as science fiction, because it can't compete."
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Discussion in:  Oryx and Crake forum
Participants:  2
Total posts:  2
Initial post:  Aug 9, 2010
Latest post:  Sep 18, 2010

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Oryx and Crake
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (Paperback - July 28, 2009)
4.0 out of 5 stars   (875)