''Oryx and Crake'' is a 2003 novel by Creator/MargaretAtwood.

"Snowman" is a storyteller and teacher of lore to a new species of sapient beings. He has reason to believe he is the last of the old human beings; humanity and its civilization has been wiped out in a plague.

This novel alternates between {{Flashback}}s and "present-day." In the flashbacks, he tells about growing up and living with his best friend. They are privileged, living in a walled compound run by drug companies. Genetic engineering is very common in society; they engineer super-pigs to better model human diseases, for instance. His best friend becomes very interested in biology and genetic engineering; he eventually takes on the nickname "Crake" when the pair start playing the game "Extinctathon." (Our protagonist is no good at it, as there are many extinct species and most of them are not big, cute, or prominent. Crake becomes an expert.)

In the present, something goes horribly wrong in a foraging mission, and Snowman has to go to one of the now-ruined and abandoned complexes for shelter - specifically, the one he used to live in. The two storylines do converge.

A sequel, ''The Year of the Flood'' (2009), has been published; rather than continuing the plot, it details what other characters are/were doing during the events of the first novel. The third and final book in the trilogy, ''[=MaddAddam=]'' (also the title of the trilogy itself) was released in 2013.

----
!!Tropes:
* [==]ActuallyPrettyFunny: Jimmy's reaction to Crake's creation, neon-colored herpes.
* AmazingTechnicolorWildlife: Neon green rabbits, Mo'Hair sheep in red, purple, silver, and so on.
* AntiHero
* ApocalypseHow: Type 3a, mostly.
* AfterTheEnd
* AndYouThoughtItWasAGame: [[spoiler:Extinctathon in ''Year of the Flood'']]
* AxCrazy: Blanco.
* BadDreams: So bad that Crake screams in the night from his dreams ''every night''. Made even creepier by the fact that he does not remember them on awakening.
* BeliefMakesYouStupid: According to Crake. When designing his new, improved humans, he spends more effort to make sure they won't believe in God than he does on anything else, and doesn't consider them a success until he finds a way to do so. Although note how eagerly they believe everything they hear from Snowman. . .
* BigBadFriend
* BookEnds: ''Zero hour.''
** Also, ''Snowman wakes before dawn.''
* CharacterFilibuster
* ClassicalAntiHero: Jimmy
* CloningBodyParts: "Pigoons" are chimeric pigs with human organs, several human organs in fact, based on one possible method of producing artificial organs.
* ClusterFBomb: Cluster S Bomb, really.
->Sometimes in the dusk he runs up and down on the sand, flinging stones at the ocean and screaming, ''Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit''! He feels better afterwards.
* TheChessmaster: Crake in the literal and {{troperiffic}} sense.
* CrapsackWorld: Atwood makes a fairly compelling case that human civilization ''deserves'' to be exterminated.
** More like ''has to'' be exterminated. [[spoiler:Crake]]'s reason for what he did was that if he ''didn't'' do it, humanity would utterly destroy itself, thus exterminating all intelligent life. [[spoiler:Crake got rid of humanity, but to save intelligent life he created the children of Crake]].
* DecadeDissonance: Between the Compounds and the pleeblands.
* DepopulationBomb: The intended effect of the virus; it's fairly successful.
* {{Dystopia}}: ''The Guardian'''s reviewer thought that ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour's'' future looked pleasant by comparison.
* EarlyBirdCameo: Jimmy's briefly-mentioned girlfriends from the first book, Brenda and Amanda, are the main characters of the second book.
* EveryoneWentToSchoolTogether: Present in the first book, taken to almost ridiculous levels in the second.
* EvolutionaryLevels (possibly subverted)
* EvilutionaryBiologist
* FreakOut
* GambitRoulette: It's implied that [[spoiler:Crake]] had been working on his life's work for a long time. His mother's death was caused by a virus that was [[spoiler:very similar to the one he later unleashed upon earth]]. See SelfMadeOrphan below.
* GardenOfEvil
* GeneticEngineeringIsTheNewNuke: And how.
* GoMadFromTheRevelation: It's later confirmed in ''The Year Of The Flood'' that [[spoiler:there are a lot more people left]] than Snowman thinks, and they aren't all as crazy as Snowman. This is probably because they do not know what caused the plague, because the person who caused it wasn't [[spoiler:their best friend]], and because they don't have to relive their memories over and over again to find out where it went wrong and where Snowman could have prevented it all.
* GoneHorriblyWrong: Subverted with the Crakers. Crake wanted them to be incapable of symbolic thought for fear that they would recreate the mistakes of humanity. He fails in this. They develop music, religion and by the end of ''[=MaddAddam=]'' art but still remain naive and pacifistic.
* HookerWithAHeartOfGold: Or a heart of evil. Or a heart of nothing. Or a heart of...gah, stupid Oryx.
** Ren in the sequel plays this trope straighter.
* HowWeGotHere: Snowman wakes up on a beach...
* KillerRabbit: The wolvogs. Look like friendly dogs, and when they are not ruthlessly killing other creatures, they ''act'' like friendly dogs.
** They're designed to act like that, until you get close.
* LegoGenetics: [=OrganInc=] has bred lots of exotic-sounding hybrids. Most have fairly self-explanatory names like "pigoon"[[note]]pig + baboon[[/note]], "rakunk"[[note]]raccoon + skunk[[/note]] and the unfortunate "snat"[[note]]snake + rat[[/note]].
* LiteralGenie
* MadScientist: Crake
* MayContainEvil: [=BlyssPluss=] pills are marketed as the ultimate sex aid: they act as contraceptives, prevent the transmission of [=STDs=] and enhance sensation. Unfortunately some of the pills also contain an artificially created hemorrhagic Ebola-like virus that wipes out almost the entire human race.
* MegaCorp: Several.
* MurderDotCom: It's the new internet porn.
* MyDeathIsJustTheBeginning
* NamedAfterSomeoneFamous: Crake's real name is Glenn, from "boy genius" classical pianist Glenn Gould.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: [=CorpSeCorps=].
* NewMediaAreEvil: Any and all advancements are painted in the most horrible light Atwood can manage. Apparently anything more technologically advanced than steam power is another step towards the end of the world.
* NietzscheWannabe: Crake, albeit somewhat silently. Apart from the ominous fridge magnets.
* OurElvesAreBetter: The Crakers, a race of beautiful people literally designed to live harmoniously with nature.
* RapeAsDrama: Blanco in ''The Year of the Flood'' always picks one of the girls who works for him at Secretburger as his unwilling sex object. Worse, they tend to die soon afterwards.
* RetCon: In ''Oryx and Crake,'' the God's Gardeners are depicted as a loony, ineffective, [[TheFundamentalist fundamentalist]] AnimalWrongsGroup. ''The Year of the Flood,'' however, depicts them far more sympathetically, and suggests that their previous characterization was just the public perception informed by [=CorpSeCorps=] propaganda and the actions of extremists.
** Bear in mind that Jimmy/Snowman, the POV character of ''Oryx and Crake'', is a preposterous schmuck who is hapless enough to make [[Creator/FranzKafka Josef K.]] look like [[ThePrisoner Number Six]], who gets suckered in by blatantly fraudulent ad campaigns ''[[WhatAnIdiot that he wrote himself]]'', who doesn't even clue in after Crake explains that [[spoiler:Jimmy's mother went on the run from [=CorpSeCorps=]]] after discovering that [[spoiler:her husband's employer]] had been [[spoiler:secretly infecting its own customers with genetically engineered plagues]] in order to [[spoiler:prop up its pharmaceuticals business]].
* SchmuckBait
* SelfMadeOrphan: Implied with Crake, [[spoiler:who was convinced his mother and uncle had turned his father over to [=CorpSeCorps=] to be "suicided"]].
** In the third book [[spoiler: Zeb flat out admits killing his father, for the abuses he heaped on him and Adam and their mothers, and he used the pathogens that inspired Crake.]]
* SiblingYinYang: [[spoiler:Addam and Zeb.]] [[spoiler:PlayingWithATrope played with in third volume]]
* SyntheticPlague: [=HelthWyzer=] put plagues in vitamin pills to create demand for their products, which inspired Crake to put the plague he used to wipe out humanity in sex enhancement pills.
* {{Tuckerization}}: The characters Amanda Payne and Rebecca Eckler were named after winners in charity auctions
* TwistEnding / TheUntwist: Although it's being foreshadowed very explicitly all along, when the revelation comes, it still hits you like a punch in the gut and a kick in the nuts.
* UnreliableNarrator: Oryx. Every time Jimmy presses her for her history, her story changes - in the end, Jimmy suspects that she invents her past to humor him. Also, Jimmy himself, both literally and in the lit.crit. senses.
* UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans: Even if the means are wiping out the entire human race and replacing them with a new one engineered to live harmoniously with nature.
* XtremeKoolLetterz: A number of companies in the story use these, along with [[WeWillUseWikiWordsInTheFuture Wiki Words]].
----