Each month Abington Library will feature a favorite book from a faculty, staff member, or student. They will give a brief synopsis of their chosen book.
Joseph Scott is a biology instructor at ASU-Beebe.
I am a life long fan of science fiction. Usually when I want a new read, I search through the previous Nebula or Hugo award winners, but somehow when I found Oryx and Crake I must have looked through the Orange Prize for fiction award list. Good thing I did because after finding Oryx and Crake, I had found not only one book, but three.
The MaddAddam Trilogy occurs in the not too far off future where humans have progressed in the study of biology and genetics to the point of splicing new animal species into existence. The future world has paid a price, however. Massive flooding from global warming, extinctions of multiple species, along with less than positive changes in humanity are issues that characters in the entire MaddAddam trilogy must deal with in their normal everyday lives.
Oryx and Crake is set in this dystopian, post-apocalyptic world and narrated by Jimmy “the Snowman.” He tells stories of how humanity ruined the world, and how Oryx and Crake saved it for a genetically spliced new race of humans to which he speaks. This new race known as “Crakers” listen intensely to Snowman’s commentary which flashbacks many times to how the entire apocalyptic situation unfolded to wipe out the population of the world except for himself and the Crakers.
The end of Oryx and Crake sets up The Year of the Flood well. However, much of the book is a flashback prequel to the years before the apocalyptic world. This takes the reader through much of the dystopian world’s low points and failures including mass extinctions and splicing species of animals together using genetics for profit. A couple of reoccurring examples in the books are MoHairs, sheep that grow human hair for harvest, and intelligent pigs with human cortex brain implants. Eventually at the end of the second trilogy novel, Jimmy meets up with some survivors of the “flood.”
The final book, MaddAddam, ties up loose ends using flashbacks along with developing a new current storyline for the book to finish the trilogy in the current time period. As with most dystopian novels, this one does not go as expected with many twists and turns. Emotions and deep thoughts are not uncommon when reading MaddAddam. The last novel does a marvelous job of ending story lines that started in the previous two novels.
In summary, the MaddAddam Trilogy is not for everyone. Much profanity and many adult themes are present in the dystopian world of the Crakers. Life is given and taken in each novel creating emotional rollercoasters to ride in each journey. The most impressive part of the trilogy is how it can continuously use flash backs as a mode to enhance many of the present storylines in each novel. The genetics and scientific speculation stimulate deep thinking for anyone with little to advanced knowledge of genetics. In my opinion, the most gripping parts of the books involve emotional connections to certain characters in each novel that can change as one advances through the trilogy.