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Oryx and Crake is the first novel in the MaddAddam trilogy. It is written by Margaret Atwood and was first published in 2003 by McClelland and Stuart.


The novel focuses on a post-apocalyptic character called 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 RejoovenEsense 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.

In Snowman's recollection of past events, Jimmy's family moves to the HelthWyzer compound, where his father works as a genetic engineer. Jimmy meets and befriends a brilliant science student named Glenn. Jimmy begins to refer to him as Crake when he uses that name in an online trivia game called Extinctathon. Jimmy and Crake spend much of their leisure time playing online games, smoking "skunkweed", and watching underground videos such as live executions, graphic surgery, Noodie News, frog squashing, and child pornography. During one of their child pornography viewings, Jimmy is very much lovestruck by the gazing eyes of a young girl seen in the porn.

After graduating from high school, Crake attends the highly respected Watson-Crick Institute, where he studies advanced bioengineering, but Jimmy ends up at the loathed Martha Graham Academy, where students study humanities, only valued for their propaganda applications. Jimmy gets a job writing ad copy, while Crake becomes a bioengineer at RejoovenEsense. Crake uses his prominent position to create the Crakers, peaceful, gentle, herbivorous humanoids who have sexual intercourse only during limited polyandrous breeding seasons. His stated purpose for the Crakers, actually a deliberate deception, is to create "floor models" of all the possible options a family could choose in the genetic manipulation of their future children. Crake's bio-engineering team consists of the most expert players gathered from the online Extinctathon community.

Crake tells Jimmy about another very important project, a super-pill called BlyssPluss, which also promises health and happiness, but secretly causes sterilization in order to address overpopulation. Crake officially hires Jimmy to help market it. At the Rejoov compound, Jimmy eventually sees a human in the Craker habitat and recognizes her as the girl from the pornographic video. Unaware of Jimmy's obsession with her, Crake explains that her name is Oryx and that he has hired her as a teacher for the Crakers. Oryx notices Jimmy's feelings for her and makes herself sexually available to him, despite also being Crake's romantic partner. As their relationship progresses, Jimmy becomes increasingly fearful that Crake has found out about it. He also makes a promise to both Oryx and Crake that he will look after the Crakers if anything happens to them.

After Crake's wonder drug BlyssPluss is widely distributed, a global pandemic, deliberately caused by it, breaks out and begins wiping out the human race and causing mass chaos outside of the protected Rejoov compound. Realizing that this was planned by Crake all along, and sensing that something dangerous is happening regarding Crake and Oryx, Jimmy grabs a gun to confront Crake, who is returning with Oryx from outside the compound and needs Jimmy to let them in. Crake presents himself to Jimmy with his arm around an unconscious Oryx, saying that he and Jimmy are immune to the virus. Jimmy lets them in, whereupon Crake slits Oryx's throat with a knife. Jimmy then immediately shoots Crake dead.

After most of the population dies, Jimmy is left alone with the genetically engineered Crakers. When it is safe to emerge, he leads them outside and starts a mythology centering on Oryx and Crake as creation figures and christens himself Snowman.

During Snowman's journey to scavenge supplies, he cuts his foot on a sliver of glass and becomes infected. He returns to the Crakers' camp and learns that three other humans are camping nearby. Snowman follows the smoke to their fire. Snowman is unsure of whether and how to confront them.

TV AdaptationEdit

Darren Aronofsky's company Protozoa Pictures were developing a television adaptation of the entire trilogy, under the working title MaddAddam. Aronofsky was to serve as executive producer and possibly director, with the script written by playwright Eliza Clark.

The project was formerly being developed for HBO; in 2016 Aronofsky said that the network was no longer attached, but confirmed that the scripts were written and the project was still underway.

In January 2018, Paramount Television and Anonymous Content announced they won the bidding war for rights to Atwood's MaddAddam book trilogy and plan to bring the series to cable or a video on demand. A network has not yet agreed to carry the series.