One of the most striking aspects of Margaret Atwood's ORYX AND CRAKE (4) is its scary realism, complete with genetic engineering gone awry. A man living in a tree has named himself the Snowman. His existence is that of a wanderer, protecting the Crakers, a superior genetically engineered people. Snowman was once named Jimmy and had grown up on a scientific research facility. When his parents moved to another facility, he met Crake. Employed at the RejoovenEsense facility, Crake developed the Crakers, a set of people living in a controlled environment totally devoid of individuality. Instructing them is Oryx, a former prostitute. When a love triangle ensues between Oryx, Crake and Jimmy, the world goes completely off-balance. This no-holds-barred view of the potential abuse of genetic research initially may appear farfetched but becomes more eerily possible with each turn of the brilliantly worded prose. (Jun., 376 pp., $26.00)

Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick