Day 3: Reading Oryx and Crake, Pages 200 – 256.

SoYummie — Jimmy and Crake Graduate from HelthWyzer compound school.

Climate change has been going on for a long time. Watson-Crick institute is the most reputed institute. Much like Harvard of old, which has drowned.

Crake was one of the students who were bid for by Watson-Crick. Jimmy got into a humanities/liberal arts school, The Martha Graham Academy.

Crake’s mother is getting older and therefore is a potential customer of Nooskins BeauToxique Treatment, Fountain of Yooth Total Plunge – which peels of the entire skin.

Jimmy’s dad got married to Ramona.

(206) “From now on he was going to be fancy-free, doing whatever he liked, picking globes of ripe life off the life trees, taking a bite or two, sucking out the juice, throwing away the rinds.” – Jimmy on leaving the care of his parental units.

Crake’s mother died a month before his graduation. Infected by a hot bioform. A transgenetic staph mixed with some gene from the slime mould family. She dissolved.

Crake wasn’t able to hear her last words to him because a mic had failed. It didn’t bother him or he pretended not to be bothered by it, he was trying to keep up his dignity.

(209) Happicuppa

Vacation after graduation. Spent at a gated vacation community belonging to HelthWyzer. During this time, the “gen-mod coffee wars” were going on. Happicuppa coffee bean, all beans ripened simultaneously – seriously undercut traditional growers. Protests worldwide, escalated, almost wars. Shootings, kidnappings, riots. Peasants massacred by armies. Crake not pleased as the companies were nuking cloud forests to plant happicuppa. “This was history in the making.” Boston Coffee Party etc.

On a televised report of one of these riots, Jimmy spots his mother in the crowd among the rioters.

Point of convergence between Jimmy and Crake – Crake’s father had been a top researcher – a conscientious guy – who is said to have committed suicide by jumping off a bridge on to traffic. Jimmy’s mom and Crake’s dad were very similar in their beliefs. “…he was head in the clouds. He believed in contributing to the improvement of the human lot.”

About Snowman: “He had grown up in walled spaces, and then he had become one. He had shut things out.”

(217) Applied Rhetoric

Both leave for their academies. Life at Martha Graham institute. Far from satisfactory. Obsolete, underfunded, tumble-down. Did not take themselves seriously. Tolerated plagiarism etc. From pure arts, the focus of the academy had changed to practical disciplines.

Probably what is soon going to happen to all liberal arts schools.

Webgame Dynamics, Pictorial and Plastic Arts (PicPlArts), Image Presentation etc.

Jimmy majored in Problematics – aka – Spin and Grin. “Decorating the clold, hard, numerical world in flossy 2-D verbiage.”

Relationships – Jimmy had a number of them, the template being that he would come across as flawed and the women would try to mend him – to no effect – after which he himself would orchestrate their decampment along the line of him being unfixable and hence a millstone around their necks and so forth.

Jimmy put on an air of melancholy. He used his mother as a sob story.

Only Oryx had not been impressed by this. “She refused to feel what he wanted her to feel. Was that the hook – that he could never get from her what the others had given him so freely? Was that her secret?” (225)

(226) Asperger’s U

Crake and Jimmy had kept in touch through email. Crake’s view of love – a clinically scientific perspective – “ Falling in love, although it resulted in altered body chemistry and was therefore real, was a hormonally induced delusional state, according to him. In addition it was humiliating, because it put you at a disadvantage, it gave the love object too much power.”

Neurotypicals – people with normal/typical intelligence. The others had the genius gene. Watson-Crick full of these geniuses.

But at the same time, they displayed social ineptitude, high tolerance for mildly deviant public behaviour. Brilliant weirdos – demi-autistic.

This conforms to certain typical representations of scientists as social misfits.

In the pleeblands there was “no life of the mind.”

Crake was a student of Transgenics

Wolvogs (234) – Jimmy’s visit to Crake’s university

Mascot of Watson-Crick Institute – Spoat/Gider – goat spider splice – high tensile spider silk filaments in goat milk – used for bullet proof vests.

Institute full of engineered organisms – bioforms. Artificial rocks that soak up water during the rains and release it during drought. Used as lawn regulators – Rockulators. Wallpaper that changes colour according to the owner’s mood, bathtowels that do the same. All the glitches had not been resolved yet.

NeoAgriculturals – AgriCouture – ChickieNobs – headless chickens which expeditiously grew wings or legs or breasts – could be harvested. Had no heads, just a mouth at the centre of the body, no brain functions. Like a chicken hookworm.

BioDefences – Wolvogs – wolf and dogs – very vicious – can deceive people into liking them but are brutal. Bred for the CorpseCorps.

Nature is to zoos and God is to Churches.

A zoo is designed to contain nature. A Church is built to contain god and thereby protect humans from His/Her/Its influence.

Jimmy musing on these bioforms – “He wasn’t paying close attention, he was worrying about the ChickieNobs and the Wolvogs. Why is it he feels some line has been crossed, some boundary transgressed? How much is too much, how far is too far?” (242)

Crake doesn’t believe in God. Neither does he believe in Nature with a capital N. Nature is not sacred to him.

Hypothetical (243)

Crake runs a hypothesis by Jimmy. Companies like HelthWyzer profit from healing. Once they have healed every disease out there, they will need either more sick people or new diseases. These diseases were being engineered by they themselves. They’d put the bioforms into vitamin pills and other products.

“Ideally the patient should either get well or die just before all of his or her money runs out. It’s a fine calculation.” (248)

“This would be really evil,” said Jimmy (248)

Crake’s father knew and was about the blow the whistle. He told his wife and his friend Pete and was subsequently eliminated to safeguard the interests of HelthWyzer.

Extinctathon (251)

On their last day – of Jimmy’s visit to Watson-Crick, Crake invites him to play extinctathon, their old game. Crake is now a grandmaster in the game. But the game is actually a portal to an online forum/group who state ecological terrorist strikes – ecotage. They are trying to take down the whole system by turning the technologies of gene splicing against companies like HelthWyzer.

MaddAddam is a group/groups.

What upsets Jimmy most is that Crake has used the picture of Oryx that he had seen as a child as his key to this forum. He must click on Oryx’s left eye to gain access to this forum.

“A tiny parasitic wasp had invaded several ChickieNobs installations, carrying a modified

form of chickenpox, specific to the ChickieNob and fatal to it. The installations had to be incinerated before the epidemic could be brought under control.

A new form of the common house mouse addicted to the insulation on electric wiring had overrun Cleveland, causing an unprecedented number of house fires. Control measures were still being tested.

Happicuppa coffee bean crops were menaced by a new bean weevil found to be resistant to all known pesticides.

A miniature rodent containing elements of both porcupine and beaver had appeared in the Northwest, creeping under the hoods of parked vehicles and devastating their fan belts and transmission systems.

A microbe that ate the tar in asphalt had turned several interstate highways to sand. All interstates were on alert, and a quarantine belt was now in place.”

Every night, Crake would cry out in his sleep. He was having nightmares. But he would never remember them.

“So Crake never remembered his dreams. It’s Snowman that remembers them instead. Worse than remembers: he’s immersed in them, he’d been wading through them, he’d stuck in them. Every moment he’s liven in the past few months was dreamed first by Crake. No wonder Crake screamed so much.”

(256)

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