08 April 2009

Dyslit: Oryx and Crake

So don't blame me for the huge gap between announcing cool new segment and it actually being posted. Alcott was all 'I'll start with Never Let Me Go' and then just didn't so I held off posting so as not to step on anyone's toes. And then I gave up waiting because I was rawther excited about this new segment. As Alcott mentioned, I love dyslit, and what better way to start the segment off than with the book that turned me into a dyslit girl- Oryx and Crake. Ahhhh.....Where can I begin?

How about this sentence, lifted from the back cover, which perfectly summarises the opening scene: 'A man, once called Jimmy, now calls himself Snowman and lives in a tree, wrapped in old bed sheets, eating mangoes'. Awesome. Jimmy lives in some kind of post-apocalyptic world, although the exact nature of the apocalypse is revealed tantalisingly slowly throughout the story. Really, in Oryx and Crake you get a double dyslit: you get Jimmy now as Snowman, in the wastelands of earth, and you get Jimmy as Jimmy, growing up in a strange, strange society. Genetic modification not only takes place, but it essentially rules society. Get a job working for OrganInc or HelthWyzer and you are set for life. (OrganInc - the guys that brought you the pigoon - kind of like a pig, but fatter to allow space for the 4 or 5 human kidneys they've got growing inside them). Hungry? Try a bucket of chickie-nubs - kind of like chicken nuggets, except the thing they came from looks nothing like a chicken as we know it.

The great thing about this dyslit is that none of the technology is really out-there fantastic. Instead, what has changed (and messed up society a lot) is genetic modification. This is the first book I ever read and thought 'That was a ten out of ten.' While opinions about Margaret Atwood can be polarising, I think everyone who want a fascinating book to start (or just develop) a dyslit obsession needs to read this one. And just to tantalize you a little bit more - I think Oryx and Crake has THE best ending of a book I have ever read.


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