Not a review of Oryx and Crake So, O&C is another post-apocalyptic story. Good, I like those. Heck, I’ve written one, Left Luggage, and the plot of Exit, Pursued by a Bee travels along that route. I thoroughly enjoyed the word play aspects of O&C even though its dystopia was too gloomy. I felt the names for the new GM animals were too silly, Jimmy aka Snowman’s inability to think beyond alcohol-needs even before he worked for Crake, and his narrow juvenile thinking was hard to take. Oryx had too bizarre an upbringing to turn into a cutey pie teacher for the Crakers, and the sociopathic Crake was simultaneously interesting and annoying. I didn’t really get why Jimmy killed Crake when surely his own immunity to the haemorrhage virus would apply to Crake and Oryx. Retribution for being responsible for the humanity wipeout? I don’t see Crake’s superego letting him be suicidal especially when his creations were developing. The ending was too much a copout too. I enjoyed the read but it seemed unfinished, and not just at the end. Literary aspects. The non-linearity of the plot appeals to me greatly. Starting at the penultimate week and then to when Jimmy develops as an adult interspersed with more back story and back to the end in iterations would normally irritate me but not the way it is cleverly executed here. The word craft often pulled me up, and I like that. Examples: ‘You think I was thinking?’ ‘so many crucial events take place behind people’s backs when they aren’t in a position to watch: birth and death, for instance.’ ‘(Jimmy) was to cudgel his brains and spend ten-hour-days wandering the labyrinths of the thesaurus and cranking out the verbiage.‘ [describes my working day!] ‘a trio of crows perched on a rampart. They exchange a few caws, of which he is probably the subject.’ Great fridge magnets: Take your Time, leave mine alone. I think, therefore I spam ... later on this becomes I think, therefore Siliconsciousness Scenarios in an extinction simulation Crake and Jimmy ran: Microbes that ate the tar in asphalt turns highways to sand. This is between you and me, Maggie. On a long hilly bike ride I had an idea that made me screech to a halt and reach for my notepad. Infectious amnesia. Imagine the ramifications: if people forgot in retrograde fashion for example if they forgot the latest year’s worth each passing week. Suppose it was an airborne adenovirus in which there was no cure and affected everyone. How long before folk would forget where they lived, where they worked and how to operate machinery, computers... Power stations would stop, factories, farms, shops. People would forget how to write, read, talk. Within two years every one under 104 would die. Atwood could have used that virus instead of a haemorrhaging one, which has already been done. As far as I know infectious amnesia has not been used in any story or film. I’ve not seen every film nor read every book but I’ve searched the databases and asked a few experienced trustees like Neil Marr. Charles Stross and Jon Courtenay Grimwood think it is an original idea too. Now I’m scared Michael Crichton will hear of it and dash out a book with infectious amnesia! I spent a year researching and another writing Left Luggage. It starts with the discovery of a silvery case left in the struts of the International Space Station. It is brought to Edwards Air Base at White Sands and opened. In spite of precautions, the virus within gets out. As the amnesia diffuses across America and onto airplanes, a British media man with close friends at NASA guesses what happens and with a few friends occupy an isolated field centre in an isolated valley. So the story becomes what some scifi analysts refer to as a ‘cosy catastrophe’ where a small group witness the apocalypse from a position of safety. However, the group are constantly under threat of discovery and after the ISS crew land near them they all fly off to a Pacific Island where other non-infected live. That’s the synopsis of volume one. There are subplots as we follow particular families and friends of the main characters. There are lighter moments when an uninfected zookeeper passionately beds a woman who had forgotten they’d had a divorce. The same man then forgets how to give medication to the zoo animals in his charge. So, I have a US agent for Left Luggage. She likes it, but she’s had no luck in having takers. I know Double Dragon would publish it but small press and I do all the promo like I do for Exit, Pursued by a Bee and so only a trickle of sales. I might have to soon though before the premise leaks to someone with no scruples. Reading O&C I am wondering if I should rewrite LL with a kind of similar non-linear plotline. Ie start near the end with the breakdown of society in place and then work back to the beginning so readers don’t know for sure where the virus came from. I don’t know. At present readers of Volume one of Left Luggage, like the characters, don’t know why the aliens have planted the suitcase. Speculation is rife, of course. A kind of Trojan horse to wipe out humanity but leave the Earth intact for a reaping or colonisation? An act of kindness gone wrong? I think the characters are strong, argumentative, international. But of course I am not famous and only have a tiny following. I don’t expect you to have any answers. Unless you too have a brainwave about how to use infectious amnesia in a cunning way. I just wanted you to know how by suggesting O&C you have made my brain hurt again! Hah.