Monday, 25 January 2010

Oryx and Crake, and The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. Books 1 & 2, 2010

Titles: Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
Genre: Dystopia, sci-fi, climate change
Rating: 7.5/10
Comments: Both novels are set in a future time when climate change is already destroying the earth, genetic manipulation of plants and animals is commonplace, and the haves living in gilded compounds for their own protection while the have-nots struggle for survival. A fast-moving devastating plague breaks out killing nearly all humans and leaving only a handful of survivors whose future is far from assured.

Oryx and Crake looks at this period through the eyes of one of the 'haves', Jimmy who becomes friends with a brilliant but disconnected scientist and is left to chronicle the last days of humanity. The Year of the Flood looks at this time through the eyes of a couple of the 'have-nots', members of a scientific/religious sub-group known as the God's Gardeners who are working to survive both the current period and the time after a 'waterless flood' destroys much of civilisation.

The books augment each other very well and I found myself understanding and appreciating each better after reading the other. Margaret Atwood is an excellent writer and paints a uncomfortably believable dystopic future.

These books, however, will probably be too odd, depressing and sci-fi for many of her fans. The Handmaid's Tale is a far more accessible example of her brilliant rendition of a bleak future for humanity.

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