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Oryx and Crake

Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood As this book is considered literary sci-fi I was attracted to it but also a little concerned that in the effort to achieve literary status the author might have discarded the essence of sci-fi.

My first impressions were that the style of both the writing and the story-telling were a little old fashioned. It was lighter on the science philosophy and also less chauvanistic than such classics as Heinlein and Dick. In fact the slow, steady pace reminded me of John Windham while the constant word play and some of the futuristic concepts brought to mind a more sophisticated ‘Brave New World’.

As literary fiction I had expected the prose to be beautiful or at least elegant but although the sentences were well constructed and there was a good use of vocabulary there was nothing breathtaking.

That is not to say I didn’t enjoy the book. The steady pace was consistent: no heart-stopping action but no dragging plot sags either. The concepts were interesting and thoughtfully explained if not entirely novel. And I was curious to discover what had happened.

One quibble is that I didn’t feel that Crake’s motivation was clear enough. I didn’t need it explained to the last detail but I did feel that his actions were too contradictory to allow the reader to fill in the gaps.

My biggest quibble was with the last few paragraphs. Although the story seemed too have come to a more or less satisfactory ending the author suddenly tacks on a meaningless subplot that is left unresolved and without any obvious reason for it being included at all.

Although this book was not a favourite the story was interesting and it is a book worth reading.