Reading Oryx and Crake. Day 4. Pages 259 to 305

Reading Oryx and Crake. Day Four:

Hike (259) Snowman embarks on his expedition to the Compounds. Retrieve weapons and food.

Descriptions of the ruined city – the abandoned cars and bikes. Testament to the chaos of the end days.

The buildings are bing taken over by vegetation. Snowman muses that if he’d not made the trip now, it would have been impossible to find his way in just a few more months. All traces of civilzation are slowly being erased.

Once civilization has crumbled, if at all anybody survived, they and their descendants would be hard put to explain how the great buildings and other remnants had ever been built. They would say that this was the work of the gods or demons.

Crake says that once society is destroyed it could not be rebuilt. (261).

“Once it is flattened, it could never be rebuilt.”

“Because all the available surface metals have already been mined,” said Crake. “Without which, no iron age, no bronze age, no age of steel, and all the rest of it. There’s metals farther down, but the advanced technology we need for extracting those would have been obliterated.”

“It could be put back together,” said Jimmy…. “They’d still have the instructions.”

“Actually not,” said Crake. “It’s not like the wheel, it’s too complex now. Suppose the instructions survived, suppose there were any people left with the knowledge to read them. Those people would be few and far between, and they wouldn’t have the tools. Remember, no electricity. The once those people died, that would be it. They’d have no apprentices, they’d have no successors…”

“All it takes,” said Crake, “is the elimination of one generation. One generation of anything. Beetles, trees, microbes, scientists, speakers of French, whatever. Break the link in time between one generation and the next, and it’s game over forever.”

Snowman muses on his death. He will not be mourned by the Crakers. They’d think that he’d gone to be with Crake. He’d end up as one of the minor figures in their pantheon. – “a backup demiurge”.

Snowman feels worthless.

“Maybe he’s not the Abominable Snowman after all. Maybe he’s the other kind of snowman, the grinning dope set up as a joke and pushed down as an entertainment, his pebble smile and carrot nose an invitation to mockery and abuse. Maybe that’s the real him, the last Homo sapiens – a white illusion of a man, here today, gone tomorrow, so easily shoved over, left to melt in the sun, getting thinner and thinner until he liquefies and trickles away altogether As Snowman is doing now.” (263)

Snowman has reached the compounds. CryoJeenyus – a compound specializing in the preservation of the heads of genius millionaires in the hope that they can be resuscitated by some future technology. Well, they didn’t count on the world ending.

RejoovenEsence (266)

Snowman has reached his erstwhile compound. He sees Crake’s “charmed dome” in the distance – Paradice – ((very reminiscent of Kubla Khan, the stately pleasure dome!))

“The whole world is now one vast uncontrolled experiment – the way it always was, Crake would’ve said – and the doctrine of unintended consequences is in full spate.”

He raids a residence.

Dead bodies – one in the bathroom. “Strange, thinks Snowman, how in an emergency a lot of people would head for the bathroom.”

This house belonged to a copywriter – or something of the sort – like himself. A word man. The disease – we still don’t know details of it – caught them unawares – they seem to have died hardly any sooner than they realized that they’d been infected.

Twister (275)

Snowman comes across a group of pigoons and tries to escape from them however the pigoons are intelligent enough to try to ambush him. Snowman reasons that this may be due to the fact that some pigoons at least may have human neocortex tissue in their brains.

An approaching twister – freak weather. Snowman seeks shelter in the security enclosure.

Vulturizing (283)

Back to the past. Jimmy after graduation. Living in with an artists Amanda Payne – she creates living sculptures – lays out meat in the shape of words – it attracts vultures and when the words are entirely formed by vultures, she photographs the whole scene from a helicopter – Vulture Sculptures – vulturizing – it brought words to life and then killed them.

The pleeblanders Jimmy lives with have no high opinion of him. They have no high opinion of anything that is associated with the compounds, especially science. They say that Agriculture was teh beginning of human extinction – a gigantism followed by extinction.

Humans exchange short time gain for logntime pain. Soon, the earth would have nothing on it and all humans would be reduced to crawling through subterranean tunnels with artificial air and light, being fed other humans (chosen at random and ground up by machines) through appendages in the tubes. A self sustaining system.

Jimmy lands a job at AnooYoo – produces self-help products. Regarded as cesspool denizens who existed for no other reason than to prey on the phobias and void the bank accounsts of the anxious and the gullible.

AnooYoo (291)

Sometimes he’d invent words like tensicity, fibraciounous, pheromonimal etc which would be appreciated for their scientific ring.

His father would sometimes send him cards – he and Ramona are trying to conceive, artificially if nothing works out naturally. Artificial means designer babies. They’d try out a few babies and find one that fits their specifications. Others would be recycled.

Meanwhile the pleeblands had become ultra hazardous.

Garage (296)

Crake landed a job at RejoovenEsence – one of the biggest biotech companies. They gave him carte blanche for his research.

Uncle Pete died – of a virus. Jimmy may suspect Crake had a part in this.

Jimmy is increasingly lonely. He switches back to watching pornos – trying to find something or the other of interest.

He pays attention to sex scandals, one of which involves little girls who’d be locked up in garages and exploited as sex slaves. He sees Oryx – a girl liberated from San Francisco. She refused to say anything bad about her Mister – she says she wants to study child psychology.

Gripless (301)

The CorpSeCorps continued to interrogate Jimmy at intervals. Did not give up even after he got his own job. They showed up after a while and showed him images – trying to provoke a response. Could not lie – hooked up to lie detectors. In his 5th year at AnooYoo, they showed him a video of an execution – of his mother.

Last words “Goodbye. Remember Killer. I love you. Don’t let me down.”

Jimmy became depressed after this. Alcoholism etc.

The Great Indifference of the Universe weighed him down. He thought that the entire universe was like a great white shark with row after row of razor-sharp teeth.


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