Saturday, May 26, 2007

margaret atwood

I’ve never been drawn to sci-fi or even fantastic literature, but “Oryx and Crake” is a novel that left me wondering about the capacity some writers have to project their anxieties and ‘fantasies’ based on society into the future, sometimes with scaring, prophetic results. In Atwood's dystopic future we see genetically altered animals (pigoons and wolvogs); class disorders, ecological disaster and humanity's extinction. Some may feel daunted by this prospect, especially when it seems so close to reality and not at all something created out of scratch. In fact, Atwood made a sort of ensemble directly from the headlines of newspapers, magazines and websites.

The novel begins with the character Snowman. Here, a couple of paragraphs:

“Snowman wakes before dawn. He lies unmoving, listening to the tide coming in, wave after wave sloshing over the various barri-cades, wish-wash, wish-wash, the rhythm of heartbeat. He would so like to believe he is still asleep.
Out of habit he looks at his watch — stainless-steel case, burnished aluminum band, still shiny although it no longer works. He wears it now as his only talisman. A blank face is what it shows him: zero hour. It causes a jolt of terror to run through him, this absence of official time. Nobody nowhere knows what time it is.”

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