The excerpt from “Oryx and Crake”ť is intended as futuristic, but may already hold certain truths in current times. Oryx and Crake is a science fiction novel with dystopian elements and satirical, the Canadian author Margaret Atwood, first published in 2003.
Oryx and Crake has a critical review of advances in medicine and genetic engineering technology, specifically the creation of transgenic animals (such as “CERDON”ť appearing in the novel, they are pigs pig and human hybrids, bred for obtain human organs for transplant). Described society tolerates and promotes the commercialization of all aspects of life, and maintains an abysmal division between rich and poor, living in enclosed protected areas.
The protagonist of the novel, Man of the snow, seems to be the last man alive on Earth, but he is surrounded by strange hybrid animals (the man-pigs, the wolf-dogs, rats, snakes, etc). A group of beings with human side, appointed crackers, live nearby and often bring him food and ask questions about issues they do not understand. As the novel advances is discovering the crackers and beasts have been the result of genetic engineering.
In flashbacks we discover the story of Snowman, a boy named Jimmy who grew up in a society dominated by large multinational companies, which kept families of employees protected and guarded complex privileged well separated from the proletariat. Jimmy befriended Crake (whose real name was Glenn), a bright and promising science student. The novel satirizes today’s society, showing the activities of the two teenagers who spend time with games and videos of all sorts of violent activities, fierce, ghoulish, etc. A third character is a mysterious woman. Her nickname is Oryx, the name of an African antelope. She is the teacher of the crackers and also lover Jimmy and Crake.
Jimmy, the protagonist of the novel, Oryx and Crake (which alludes in his title to two endangered species of animals: Oryx beisa, an African antelope with long horns, and crake, an Australian Rothalsralle), is a qualified advertising professional of the late 21st Century. He worked before the great world catastrophe for a biogenetic-pharmaceutical company, who ran in “Paradice”ť a segregated environment elite laboratory, under privileged conditions secret excellence. Jimmy is as far as he knows in his region – maybe even the world – the only survivor of about one quarter before the act, the presence of broken global plague that of his former school friend Crake, the brilliant biogeneticists in “Paradice”ť lab, specifically in the world set and in the guise of a lifestyle drug called “BlyssPluss”ť (such as “mega-bliss”ť) in the run-down cities from all continents had been distributed systematically. Crake did this because he has a view of the approaching global ecological catastrophe from climate change, overpopulation, resource, and lack of food and there is the only chance for the remaining flora and fauna saw the planet Earth, when Homo sapiens would be repaid by him.
Therefore Crake had secretly in his laboratory is not only the – created cause of disease, but also a transgenic human race, whose specimens have been known during his lifetime by his closest “Craker”ť. The Craker, not only of the disease and the circumstances of climate change – for example by no ozone layer more filtered UV-rich sunlight – to resist, they were of Crake and all the programmed biogenetically, and his view of the species Homo sapiens, peacefully and ecologically adapted to coexistence with each other and with the other earthly life forms made it impossible, now destructive become the human self, but also the fear of death along with religion, this desire for knowledge, the pursuit of wealth and the demand for animal protein in the form of meat or fish. The new breed peace-loving, gentle and (at least initially) simple-minded vegetarians would – it was hoped Crake appeared – long the survival of the world ecosystem, after it had managed to Homo sapiens in the last two hundred forty thousand years of the existence, the biodiversity drastically, and reduce worsen the living conditions of all life forms on the planet gradually, a process which will lead immediately in the total collapse of the global eco-system.
The vegetating in the post-catastrophic act present Jimmy who has more leisure to reflect on the history of his present existence at that time, “as brackish near the coast, the ground water was, and the northern permafrost thawing, as the vast tundra of methane gas bubbling and the drought in the central continental lowlands of North America did not end more than the Asian steppe turned into deserts and meat was more difficult to raise.”ť Jimmy reflects the history in the form of flashbacks and back twists that are woven into the description of processes of action and present use with Jimmy’s earliest memories, when he was five or six years old and with his parents – both biogeneticists in one of the Genpharma companies – looking at a stake on the infected cattle that were burned. Jimmy’s memories from here essentially follow his fictional biography and treat his school – where he became friends with Crake – his student days and his first years of occupation, which leads him eventually as an advertising professional in Crake laboratory.
In the post-catastrophic act Jimmy presence has set itself the task of continuing the life work of Oryx and Crake in terms of Craker. From them he is “snow man named”ť and as a prophet revered because he – like the Craker before its “reintroduction”ť once learned – a confidant of Crake and Oryx and was able to explain many of the phenomena that the Craker themselves with their child’s intellect could not be explained. Jimmy- a “snow man”ť recognizes that his lack of existence will lead, sooner or later to death by starvation, and considers, therefore – and because he already has no future see for yourself – even once to commit suicide, but in a fit of his will to survive, he leaves the Craker temporarily alone and an expedition is taking to the ruins of several days “walk away”ť Paradice research laboratories, where the equipment, medicines, foods, and hopes to bring especially weapons, which he wants to keep – transgenic animal breeds that were created before the disease disaster like many other organisms of bio-genetics corporations and commercial use. Both races have gathered under the post-catastrophic conditions, and it was dangerous, because quite developed intelligent predators on account of which Jimmy has to spend every night on a tree, but where they can feel safe against these new enemies. Jimmy takes place in the laboratory ruin what he is looking for, but on the way back to the cracker’s three there are other human survivors of the disease disaster on the track. The novel ends, and it is open at the place where Jimmy wrestles with whether he contacts them or eliminates them as enemies and a threat to Craker. It is possible to draw certain parallels, and to compare issues in this excerpt and things I observe in current culture. For example, the described society as well promotes the commercialization of all aspects of life, as it is today. The consumption society dictates its trends and keeps the division between rich and poor, living in enclosed protected areas.
Margaret Atwood. 2003. “Oryx and Crake”ť. Sounds Ideas (Krasny and Sokolik p. 862-874).
Margaret Atwood: Oryx and Crake. McClelland & Stewart, Toronto 2003.