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The io9 Book Club is in session! Let's talk about Oryx and Crake

Illustration for article titled The io9 Book Club is in session! Lets talk about emOryx and Crake/em

Welcome to the monthly meeting of the io9 Book Club. In September, we read Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake. Jump into comments to get started talking about it!

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For those unfamiliar with the io9 book club, here's how it works: You read the book. We create a special book club post on io9 when the meeting is in session. That would be the post you're reading. Then everybody talks about the book in comments for a few days, starting right now.

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Illustration by Jason Courtney

We're hoping that Atwood will stop by in the next week to talk about the book. So, what did you think of Oryx and Crake?

Want to get started on our next book?

In November, we'll be reading Charles Stross' Neptune's Brood. It's a semi-sequel to Saturn's Children, but you don't need to have read the first book to appreciate this one (though if you're ambitious, we recommend reading both). We'll meet on Dec. 3 to talk about it.

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DISCUSSION

As an ecologist, this book freaked me the fuck out. She hit some things perfectly on the nose, like the non-target effects of released biological control agents (the kudzu moths). Some things I was more hesitant about (the regular occurrence of tornadoes? ehh...), but the desertification of the Midwest is on par with what we expect.

The excessive genetic modification of chickens and Jimmy's initial disturbance and then acceptance really tapped into the general apathy of the consumer base. That point was what really fundamental to the book for me. Most people care only to the point that their general comfort will not be disturbed. As long as they derive some base level of satisfaction, the will to care about how it is derived just doesn't come. Same goes for the giant butterflies, the glow-in-the-dark rabbits, and all the other examples of life modified for our pleasure or "need". The piggoons were an interesting example of "need". I can completely imagine a future where we don't care where our organs come from, as long as they are there when ours fail and they don't come from another living human. Animals, whatever; they are just another tool for humans to use. (Edit: Heh, rereading this, I come off as very anti-animal testing, etc.; I'm not, I just think there are some ethical boundaries we shouldn't cross for human purposes, including organ-growing inside an animal with the intelligent of a 5-year-old human. But, hey, that's why we are having a discussion about it!)


I have also read Year of the Flood, but not the third book, so no spoilers please!