Thursday, April 01, 2010

Margaret Atwood writes about Twitter

This lovely blog post at the NYRB is well worth a read.

P.s. I've only read a couple of Atwood's books, most recently Oryx and Crake. I thought her dystopia reflected the skills of someone sharp on culture and politics - life reduced to junk food, shopping malls and porn - but less so on the science. An engineered turbo-Ebola that wipes out humanity? Yawn. Not only a yawn, but an evolutionarily implausible yawn, because how virulent a bug is, and how easy it is spread, change and interact in complex ways. There are reasons that Ebola is rare and colds are common.

The parasite in David Cronenberg's Shivers, that makes it's carriers super-horny is probably closer to real life - think of all the crazy effects that parasites have on behaviour, like making an ant climb a blade of grass so it'll get eaten by a sheep. See Carl Zimmer's Parasite Rex.

Oryx and Crake also contains what must be the dullest computer game ever imagined, Extinctathon, which involves naming extinct species, if I remember correctly. The idea that teenage boys would get into this seemed highly implausible.

Anyway, all that was just to flesh out the link to the blog post. O&C is also well worth a read, as is Atwood's review of E. O. Wilson's Anthill, also in the NYRB.

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