Oryx and Crake

by Margaret Atwood, 2003

This was the first book selection of the Old Town Library Book Club for 2021-2022. I never would have read this book otherwise, and I almost stopped reading it when she describes the childhood of Oryx, a young girl sold into child pornography (“HottTotts”). Mandy selected this book and she did a fantastic job of leading the discussion. Most of the members felt as I did – it was terrifying and difficult to read, but a good warning for us – how much has come true since 2003! Genetically-modified foods, pandemic, dark web, etc.

Oryx is the young girl with whom both Jimmy/Snowman and Crake fall in love. Crake is Jimmy’s best/only friend who is an evil genius who becomes an evil genius scientist that creates the BlyssPluss pill that causes the pandemic that destroys the human race, except for Jimmy, who is immune to it. Jimmy is left alone with the Crakers at the end of the world. The Crakers are the innocent, beautiful race of people that Crake created.

Jimmy becomes Snowman and reluctantly takes care of the Crakers. He moves them to the seaside. He lives in a tree and they live nearby. They have natural defenses for all the problems in the world created by all the genetic modifications man has made (Pigoons, etc.).

It is very well-written – Margaret Atwood is a genius! But it’s very dark and hopeless. There are two more books in the series – The MaddAddams Trilogy – and Mandy says it ends with the encouragement and love of community, or something like that. But, her world shows that when Man plays God, we really screw things up. We just can’t handle all the details. Only God can and when we take God out of the picture, it’s just ugly.

The book is called “Speculative Fiction,” not Science Fiction. It’s amazing how, since 2003, much of what she wrote about is coming true: Corporations are starting to take over, a kidney from a pig was transplanted into a human last week, genetic modifications of everything, the rich living in gated communities separated from the masses (the addicts, crazies, muggers, and paupers) living in urban blight, and who knows what darkness exists now in video games and in pornography.

God save us from ourselves! Crake tried to genetically modify the Crakers so there was no longer any lust or greed, but they were just boring to Snowman and drove him crazy. Only with God’s love and guidance can humans be what they were created to be. Thank you, God, for saving us with your love through Jesus! I worship You, O God, my Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend!