And if we eat pigs, why shouldn’t pigs eat us? If they find us lying around.

2011/06/03 § 3 Comments

Finished the Year of the Flood yesterday.
I love Margaret Atwood‘s work, I really do. The Handmaid’s Tale was wonderful! Check out the web page of the book! Is it normal for books to have web pages?! You can even listen to the hymns! What I like most about her books is that the futures she describes in her books can easily actually happen, they are grotesquely realistic. You read it, you think “nah, that’s mad” but then you realise that you can envision events that will lead to this dystopia, events that really aren’t that far-fetched. I guess that’s science fiction for you, though.

Any death is stupid from the viewpoint of whoever is undergoing it, Adam One used to say, because no matter how much you’ve been warned, Death always comes without knocking. Why now? is the cry. Why so soon? It’s the cry of a child being called home at dusk, it’s the universal protest against Time.

In this book, we follow sex-dancer Ren and Toby for about 25 years (if I am not mistaken (maybe not, I am writing without the book, okay), mainly focusing on their life with (and without) God’s Gardeners, a cult-like religious eco-group right before, during and after the Waterless Flood – a pandemic that is killing most of human life on Earth. The book consists of several dystopian elements; CorpSeCorps, who destroy opposition of the HelthWyzer Corporation (the “government”), organ harvesting, genetically engineered animals, lab-grown meats served at SecretBurgers (‘Because everyone loves a secret!’).

Beware of words. Be careful what you write. Leave no trails.
This is what the Gardeners taught us, when I was a child among them. They told us to depend on memory, because nothing written down could be relied on. The Spirit travels from mouth to mouth, not from thing to thing: books could be burnt, paper crumble away, computers could be destroyed. Only the Spirit lives forever, and the Spirit isn’t a thing.

God’s Garderners were, at times, creepy but, most of the time, making sense in a way that made me feel creepy. Yes, I am probably easy to brainwash. They are not perfect but I like that they have asked enough questions about how the world is to live a life that doesn’t in its entirety depend upon shopping and plastic surgery. However, their inefficiency and inability to act up against evil is at times annoying, and I get that they’re pacifists, but saying the names of the extinct/endangered species out loud because they will then “live on inside us” is just stupid (however, they did save the animal DNA/genes, which was clever).

What is it about our own Species that leaves us so vulnurable to the impulse to violence? Why are we so addicted to the shedding of blood? Whenever we are tempted to become puffed up, and to see ourselves as superior to all other Animals, we should reflect on our own brutal history.

This book is related (huh?) to Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, which I started on earlier this spring, but the library wanted it back before I was finished, boo. I hope I haven’t ruined that book now. I am currently reading Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson, which is quite huge with quite small fonts and quite hard to get into, so I suppose it’ll be some time before I can continue reading O&C.

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