First of all I would like to say that this is one of my favorite books books of all time- and it is of course running against some tough contenders.
This is not my first time reading this book, and now of course I am picking up on things I had missed before. Does anyone else think that Crake is responsible for uncle pete’s demise? I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure.
The thing I really want to talk about here is obsession- not Jimmy’s obsession with Oryx, but rather Crake’s fixation on jimmy.
Why does the extremely successful Crake keep coming back to (or for) Jimmy? Without Crake’s effort to keep in touch, the two would have lost contact long ago. It is partially Jimmy’s own feelings of inferiority- which colors the narration – that mind-bends the reader into thinking of Jimmy as lesser than Crake. Crake obviously does not think this way. Or rather, despite Jimmy’s numerous failings, he has what appears to be a genuine respect for Jimmy. Does Crake see Jimmy’s very well hidden but doubtless vast potential? Does he recognize Jimmy’s sarcastic genius? Or is Jimmy just one of the few people (maybe even the only person) that Crake considers his friend?
Characters aside, there are are some very interesting aspects of the future world that they live in that I find very interesting/strange.
First of all is the social hierarchy that is so different from our own. Scientists unfortunately don’t get the glory in our society. They certainly get the respect, but not to the extent that they do here. The students of Watson-Crick are considered the premier thinkers of a new world- but they are lacking in any kind of social skill whatsoever. Crake is not really an exception to this. Why have values shifted away from what they are now (entertainment, culture) to a super focus on technology?
In our world, experience and entertainment is one of the main parts of our lives- but here, such entertainment is outsourced to far away places (that are nonexistant in the eyes of the young viewers in the compound). Is the reason Jimmy and Crake watch such appalling internet programs because entertainment culture has vanished?
On another note, are Jimmy and Crake “normal” in their entertainment choices? In our world, this kind of graphic media certainly exists, but is consumed by a very small subset of people. So, even in this weird biotech-obsessed world, I don’t think that Crake and Jimmy’s choice of media is normal. It certainly is either a cause or result of many of their apathetic tendencies (I’m going to say result, but this is really an open debate).
Lastly, I want to talk about SoYummie Ice cream. Why, in this world of vast compounds and genetic engineering, is real food so rare? It would seem, from the context, that it simply became unimportant (as did the mysteriously absent entertainment industry), but in Watson-Crick it is described as a luxury. Why can’t they just grow more chickens on trees? Or better yet, why don’t they revert to the farming practices of old? they certainly don’t have moral objections.
(Even though most of this post is made up of questions, I am still adding another one to the list.)
Oryx and Crake’s future world obviously does not match up with the trajectory of our society right now. So, for what purpose is the world skewed in this way? What is the message or satire here, or otherwise, why was it necessary in the story?