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2018 Book #37 - Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

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This is the third novel I've read by Atwood. I hoovered up all 367 pages in under 24 hours. My life basically stopped.

It's the first novel in the Maddaddam trilogy. (I accidentally read the second one first. Can't wait to get the last one.) It's a near-future dystopia. Corporations run the world, and environmental degradation, including climate change, is causing serious social disintegration. The corporate elite live in antiseptic walled communities, whereas the unfortunate masses suffer out in the violent & chaotic pleeblands. (Similar to Paul Theroux's O-Zone, which I think is a criminally under-rated book.) The corporations are increasingly dealing in genetic modification: headless chicken things and pigs that grow human organs; and beauty, health, and longevity enhancements. Prying open Pandora's box out of greed... what could possibly go wrong?

I'm not going to give a synopsis, because you can easily find that online, and the less you know about the plot in advance, the more you will enjoy the book.

Atwood's great strength is her ability to describe massive events through the lens of characters completely caught up in, and preoccupied with, their own lives. I was completely absorbed in these two parallel tracks; I identify with her characters' struggles, quandaries, & dilemmas and equally love her hybrid animals, corporate police, and engineered post-humans. It's all vivid and believable.

You don't have to be a science fiction fan to dig this stuff; you just have to love great storytelling. It's not really about the future. It's about the world we live in now.
Tags: 2018 book reviews
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