Location: Academic Organisations » MIT World » MIT World Series - Abramowitz Memorial Lecture Series

Oryx and Crake Revealed

author: Margaret Atwood
published: Sept. 3, 2013,   recorded: April 2004,   views: 2566

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Here are two facts Margaret Atwood wants you to know: She is the daughter of an entomologist -- the kind of scientist, Atwood says, who is “noteworthy for producing weird writer offspring”; and she hates books where “everybody’s happy all the time.”

After 30 years of fiction writing, Atwood is expert at engineering an extreme spin on ordinary life, and pushing the everyday world to its limits. Her talk includes two readings from her latest novel, Oryx and Crake, which she describes as “a joke-filled, fun-packed rollicking adventure story about the downfall of the human race.” Science fiction? Well, only if environmental catastrophe and unforeseen genetic mutations seem farfetched, Atwood suggests. Science isn’t the villain here, though. Atwood embraces the notion of “improvements” on the human race: built-in sunblock, or digestive systems modified to process leaves and grass. As well as shedding light on her latest novel, Atwood reveals juicy tidbits from her early years: she once fancied a career in botany, and had she pursued it, she informs us, she “would be growing glow in the dark potatoes now.”

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