It’s time for the SECOND reaction post for the Oryx & Crake read-along! If you haven’t read this book, there will be SPOILERS ahead, so use caution! I will definitely post a spoiler-free review of the book in the new year.
Have you signed up for the read-along yet? You can do so HERE.
Did you miss my first reaction post? You can read it HERE.
Part 4 – 6 Reaction
“But I talk to you,” he’d protest.
Another kiss. “Do you?”
As I read the second section for the read-along of Oryx & Crake, I can’t help but compare most of the things happening in the book to real life. First of all, there’s the idea of dicing and splicing everything to make it better, to improve the quality of … well, whatever we’re dicing and splicing. It’s like the world “before” was hell bent on making everything perfect, from people to animals. Gifts are things that can measure and enhance intelligence, to make us smarter. Or there’s the “rakunk” — a cross between a racoon and a skunk, which only has its parent animals’ good qualities and none of the bad.
Just recently, I saw on the news about farms using research to splice different fruits together to make hybrids that will survive the Canadian temperatures. One can only imagine what we’ll try to splice and dice next. We already tried cloning animals — can we be on the path to creating a “rakunk” as well?
There’s also the idea of OrganInc and how everything seems to be made for humans. Nothing is real — very little comes from farms, but is manufactured and made so that it matches the original source perfectly, but is enhanced in some way. This makes me think of a news article I saw recently about a test tube hamburger — a hamburger that cost a lot of money to make, but was pretty much made entirely in a test tube to resemble a real hamburger. The scientists hope that this could one day help the food crisis our world is facing.
“Hang onto the words.”
Finally, we meet Crake. Or, Glenn, as he used to be called. I can’t help but say that I was thrilled about the reference to Canadian pianist Glenn Gould — the person who Crake is originally named after. But really — who is Crake? Is he a genius? Does he know what’s to come?
More references to real life occur when Crake and Jimmy play computer games with one another in the same room. How often do we see people at dinner together, both on their cell phones? Or teenagers in the same room, texting to one another? Or, there are the TV shows or websites where Crake and Jimmy watch videos. These shows and videos show everything that’s going on and none of the good. We’re seeing videos of assisted suicides, animals being killed, thieves having their arms and fingers chopped off — has the world really come to this? But then I think back to another news article I saw on the TV recently about a website that showed video of what looked to be like real murders taking place. Is this what we’re going to see in the future? Is the world of reality TV really that desperate that eventually TV shows that are just pretend murder mysteries, actually turn into them?
We also meet MaddAddam in this section — or, we hear of him. Seeing as the trilogy of books is called “MadAddam,” it’s only necessary that the character show up at some point. Turns out he’s the inventor of the game Extinctathon. Instead of naming the live animals, he names the dead ones — or extinct ones. Could MaddAddam know more than we think?
There’s something to be said for hunger: at least it lets you know you’re still alive.
Not only do we get more of a glimpse into this Crake character, but we also meet Oryx in quite a lengthy section. I will admit that after reading about both Oryx and Crake, I had no idea what to really say about either of them. Especially Oryx. Her “past” character seems to be one that has gone through quite the hardship and yet Oryx is one of the most optimistic people ever. Paired with Jimmy, who is the most pessimistic person ever, they make quite the pair. Jimmy/Snowman could really learn from Oryx when she talks about the beauty of the world and how we’re so eager to point out the bad without realizing how much good and how much beauty surrounds us.
By the end of reading this section, I completely understand the warning I was given before reading of being careful. This book was published 10 years ago and it seems to resemble real life now more than I could ever think it could. And it’s scary. I still have no idea what to think about Oryx and Crake, though I have enjoyed looking into what the world of “before” was — even if it’s been completely terrifying to think about.
- Introduction post: July 29th. (start reading!)
- Part 1-3 reaction: August 5th.
- Part 4-6 reaction: August 12th.
- Part 7-9 reaction: August 19th. (next Monday!)
- Part 10-12 reaction: August 26th.
- Part 13-15 & final post: September 2nd.
Are you participating in this read-along? What are your thoughts on parts 4 – 6?