In about a week and a half we are going to be publishing the first in a four part series of episodes about Margaret Atwood’s 2003 novel Oryx and Crake. The four episodes will play once a fortnight over the next couple of months.
Oryx and Crake focuses on a post-apocalyptic character with the name of Snowman, living near a group of primitive human-like creatures whom he calls Crakers. Flashbacks reveal that Snowman was once a boy named Jimmy who grew up in a world dominated by multinational corporations and privileged compounds for the families of their employees. Near starvation, Snowman decides to return to the ruins of a compound named RejoovenEsence to search for supplies even though it is overrun by dangerous genetically engineered hybrid animals. He concocts an explanation for the Crakers, who regard him as a teacher, and begins his foraging expedition.
The series was inspired by a protest sign I saw saying ‘Make Margaret Atwood fiction again’. I chose Oryx and Crake because it’s one of the less obvious novels to use when talking about how Atwood’s work might fit in the current political moment. I wanted to see what this book, written in a climate of fear around genetic engineering (Dolly the Sheep was also born in 2003) looks like in a time when genetic engineering isn’t really the main contender for ‘destroyer of earth and humankind as we know it’. Although the book uses genetic engineering as the catalyst to its apocalypse, Oryx and Crake also has chilling things to say about capitalism.
So, I thought I’d publish this short announcement to give you time, if you’d like, to read Oryx and Crake so we don’t spoil it. Or not. The podcasts work just as well if you haven’t read the book.
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Or you can listen to it here:
A Short Announcement: The ORYX AND CRAKE series