Book Fight!

Tough love for literature


Episode 42: Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake

Tom picked this week’s book, because he’s thinking about writing some post-apocalyptic fiction and Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake came highly recommended. So, did it meet our expectations? Did it thrill us with its bleak vision of a world where humans have rendered themselves (mostly) extinct?


We also talk about fiction that proceeds from character versus fiction that proceeds from premise, and whether science fiction can ever be capital-L Literature. That discussion was prompted, in part, by this Sven Birkerts review of the novel, which first appeared in the New York Times and which you can read here.

As always, you can stream the episode for free right here on our site, or download the mp3 file. Or visit us in the iTunes store, where you can subscribe and never miss another episode. While you’re there, please consider leaving us a rating and a comment. If you want to further support the show, you can donate a few bucks by clicking on the little piggy bank over there on the right, or buy some books at Powell’s–if you get to their site using one of the links on our site, we’ll get a little portion of every dollar you spend. You’ll also be supporting a great independent bookstore, so win-win!

Finally, if you’re in or near Philadelphia, please consider coming out to the Conversations and Connections Writing Conference on Sept. 28. For only $65, you’ll get a full day of panels and craft sessions, a keynote by J. Robert Lennon, a free boxed-wine happy hour, a subscription to a literary journal of your choice, and a book from one of our participating authors. What more could you ask for? (That is a rhetorical question.)

Thanks for listening to the show. Tell your book-loving friends!

Download Episode 42