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Oryx and Crake etc by Atwood: suitable for ds (13)?

(26 Posts)
HmmAnOxfordComma Sun 01-Sep-13 00:18:46

I'm a big fan of hers - but not the biggest sci fi fan in the world - so I read Oryx and Crake when it first came out but cannot remember much of it and have not got around to Year of the Flood. Ds (13) picked up MaddAdam in the bookshop today and was intrigued by it so I explained that it was part of a (loose?) trilogy. Anyway, can anyone advise whether it would be ok for him to read them? He's a good reader, but quite wussy, and hasn't read much adult fiction yet, just humorous stuff like Hitchhiker, Captain Bluebear, a bit of Pratchett, etc. Any thoughts?

HmmAnOxfordComma Thu 05-Sep-13 20:09:22

Oh I won't (it has to have more merit than Danielle Steel which was one of my main reads at 12/13). I'd just love to stretch him sideways, too. But I realise this is not the point to put him off reading which would be a distinct possibility with the 'too much too soon' approach. (Not time for Cloud Atlas yet!) He's read the fourth HH tonight...

He wants to write/illustrate and I wouldn't do anything to discourage this interest. Thanks for all the input.

CoteDAzur Thu 05-Sep-13 19:53:04

Please don't discourage him from reading sci-fi. People with ASD tend to like this genre, with its focus on technological issues and futuristic problems and very little emotional nuancing.

HmmAnOxfordComma Thu 05-Sep-13 11:21:45

That's great, Cote, thanks. Iain M Banks another great idea. (I've read his non-SF stuff and enjoyed some of it, but none of the SF).

I love having a reader but it's tricky having one whose tastes differ so much from your own. I think at the back of my mind I've been wanting to encourage an interest in other genres and away from the sci-fi, but he's only just 13 and I know I was reading all sorts of stuff then that didn't define what kind of reader I became as an adult. I mean, there's plenty of time for him to branch out - and not really a problem if he doesn't either. He (and you lot) might get me reading all sorts of new stuff in the meantime. Oryx and Crake is on hold for now!

CoteDAzur Thu 05-Sep-13 08:39:19

Asimov's short stories (I, Robot etc) and Foundation series are very good and accessible at your DS's age. Arthur C Clarke is great and 2001: A Space Odyssey and Rendez-vous With Rama could be interesting for him to start with. 1984 and Brave New World are great and have no adult content iirc. I read both in my early teens.

I wouldn't recommend Iain M Banks for adults but his "Culture" series of sci-fi books would work well for a teenager. 1st book is Consider Phlebas.

HmmAnOxfordComma Wed 04-Sep-13 22:55:42

His box set of Hitchhiker arrived today (previously listened on audio, and read some of the books from the library)...he'd read three of the books before shower time!!!

He's only just going into year 8 so hasn't done anything heavy like 1984 at school yet. Tried Asimov but about 2-3 years ago, so probably a little early. Could be time for another go. And thanks for the John Wyndham reminder - even though they were the 'it' books with my year 8 boys at school last year, they'd completely slipped my mind.

And I re-read half of Handmaid's Tale last night.

Thanks again, all.

teabagpleb Wed 04-Sep-13 22:44:38

Brave New World is a classic, though it drags after a while. Useful to have read as newspapers etc refer to it. Should be ok for a 13yo - some sex is described in a clinical way.
Ursula le Guin - Dispossessed, short stories, Left Hand of Darkness is wonderful but may be lost on someone who hasn't had sex/relationships.
John Wyndham - Chrysalids, short stories, Midwich Cuckoos. Chocky and other ones are good sf.

1984 if he hasn't done it at school. Children of the Dust. Isaac Asimov's shorter books and stories (ie not Foundation, though the original trilogy is excellent) - I, Robot is better than the film.

Takver Wed 04-Sep-13 22:25:49

Hope he enjoys it smile

HmmAnOxfordComma Tue 03-Sep-13 23:04:17

Ooh, have just googled The Dispossessed (that looks weird typed - too many s's?) and I think he'll love it. Thanks a lot.

HmmAnOxfordComma Tue 03-Sep-13 23:01:13

Thanks, Takver, I've not read le Guin at all - so an idea of where to start is good.

I think your summary of Oryx and Crake is about what I remember of it. But I think Handmaid and Alias Grace are both due a reread!

Takver Mon 02-Sep-13 22:05:19

What about Ursula le Guin? DD just read The Eye of the Heron, sort of dystopian but more positive IYKWIM because the 'underclass' live by Gandhian (sp?) non-violent principles so it is exploring that. And also if politics is his thing, maybe The Dispossessed?

Personally I found Oryx and Crake simultaneously rather boring and quite disturbing (certainly not on a par with the Handmaid's Tale), and I read a lot of sci-fi / dystopian stuff.

HmmAnOxfordComma Sun 01-Sep-13 00:51:26

Thanks duchesse - he's only read the Jonny and the Bomb trilogy and some of the Discworld, but not Diggers etc (I'm scratching around in the dark here because whilst I've dabbled in sci fi, I'm an absolute fantasy virgin!)

HmmAnOxfordComma Sun 01-Sep-13 00:49:44

Thanks K8 - the 'more sex' in Handmaid gives me a bit of a clue (I love Handmaid and have read it over and over).

I think Philip K Dick will be good to explore, too. Other sci fi/dystopian classics? I'm happy to encourage sci fi. He's read some of the younger China Mieville stuff and can talk about the social parallels to a small extent...

duchesse Sun 01-Sep-13 00:46:44

Give him some good old Terry Pratchett- fantastic amounts to learn in there and it's funny! (Digger/trucker/wings trilogy I loved)/

K8Middleton Sun 01-Sep-13 00:44:13

X-posted with about half a dozen posts!

K8Middleton Sun 01-Sep-13 00:43:39

My dh doesn't like Atwood because he says it's too feminine for him hmm so that might be an issue for your Ds? But equally dh doesn't like sci-fi much.

However I love sci-fi and I love Atwood! I read my first Atwood when I was about 11 then I just devoured them. I did find Oryx and Crake heavy going but I loved, loved loved Maddadam which I have just finished. Definitely read that after the other two books and I'd say read in order because they are a triology despite them also being stand alone.

So, I'm not sure about OAC. It's not the best introduction to Atwood IMHO but then I doubt the early books would be suitable either because they are very feminist and introspective. Tricky. I think on balance I reckon let him have a bash but if he doesn't get on with it give him some Philip K Dick to read and of course the sci-fi classics: 1984, Animal Farm and Brave New World.

I think The Handmaids Tale is part of the GCSE syllabus for some boards so that might be worth a look although there's more sex than OAC.

duchesse Sun 01-Sep-13 00:42:59

Ah X post.

Also at that age I read about 20 Emile Zola novels (his Rougon-Maquart ones). Don't know what they're like in translation though (I;m bilingual so read them in French at the time). Excellent escapism and tons to learn.

HmmAnOxfordComma Sun 01-Sep-13 00:41:56


I love Huxley - I think he would enjoy him too before long. Thanks.

duchesse Sun 01-Sep-13 00:40:32

Try almost any Aldous Huxley on him. They're quite short.
Also Orwell. Animal farm?

HmmAnOxfordComma Sun 01-Sep-13 00:39:37

He's not read Mark Haddon - I think we might read it together soon.

He really enjoyed a film of Animal Farm and totally got all the politics (well I don't mean the specific references to Bolshevism but the general theories) on his own, so maybe I ought to get him to read that and others first.

duchesse Sun 01-Sep-13 00:36:14

It's the adult content. Also it's quite dystopian- would be able to handle that?

Has he read the Dog in the Nighttime Mark Haddon one?

HmmAnOxfordComma Sun 01-Sep-13 00:35:33

X-post with your second comment - thanks; if he doesn't mention it again, I'll not. I don't agree with censorship at all (I always hark back to the fact that there was no 'teen' fiction when we were thirteen so most proper 'readers' were reading adult stuff by then) but still: there's plenty of time and plenty of other stuff for him to read.

PurpleGirly Sun 01-Sep-13 00:35:07

He will either love it or hate it, personally I would go for a more masculine or modern read.

HmmAnOxfordComma Sun 01-Sep-13 00:33:33

He's not emotionally/socially mature at all, but he's quite 'intellectually' mature (ASD). Is it adult content that would concern you - or just think he'd find it too hard/boring? (I genuinely can't remember much about it).

duchesse Sun 01-Sep-13 00:31:33

Having said that I don't believe in censoring what children read if they pick it up and are interested!

Not sure I'd go out of my way to encourage a 13 yo to read it though.

duchesse Sun 01-Sep-13 00:30:16

Hmm, I'm not sure I'd give it to a 13 yo. Depends how mature he is. I think it;s the sort of book that if it were a film would be a 15 iyswim.

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