Year of the Voice: First, Second, Third

Margaret Atwood’s “Year of the Flood” is a typical economic dystopian novel about a not too distance future in which the world has been divided into two distinct socioeconomic classes, and the few remaining inhabitants are recovering from a deadly manufactured bio-pandemic referenced as “The Waterless Flood.” The Waterless Flood consumed the world “not as a vast hurricane, not as a barrage of comets, not as a cloud of poisonous gasses. No: it is a plague-a plague that infects no Species but our own” (Atwood p. 424). This plague was released against the public through bioengineering (many speculate that the HIV/AIDS virus was developed with the same intent) and its delivery method was just as sinister: they “put it in the supersex pill” (Atwood p. 395), this clearly denotes the lower-income class and socially undesirables were the targets as it was first released in the Sex District. Corporate Juggernauts like “HelthWyzer” and “CorpSeCorps” have consolidated their power and influence together, while depleting the world’s natural resources. As the world careens into further despair and the people on the bottom of the economic scale begin to fight against the corporate rule, the Corporations ban together and adopt the ideology “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” That is to say, though in financial competition with one another, the rouge legions of militant groups like “God’s Gardeners,” (a theological group’s perspective threaded throughout the novel; much like Octavia Butler’s “Earthseed” from “Parable of the Sower”) are more of a burden to the corporations: enter “CorpSeCorps” and their “CorpSeMen.” CorpSeCorps is a totalitarian governmental force that “started as a private security firm for the Corporations, but then they’d taken over when local police forces collapsed for lack of funding” (Atwood p. 25), and their tactics are reminiscent of Hitler. The plot to “Year of the Flood” is richly developed yet simple and familiar in the genre of sci-fi/cli-fi writing, but what sets Atwood’s novel apart from the rest is its intricate structural design of what can be described as a pyramid triple narrative.

Most readers will only see “Year of the Flood” as a double narrative told from the perspectives of the two main protagonists, Toby/Tobiatha (her story is told from the third-person narrative) and Ren (her story is told from the first-person narrative); however, AdamOne’s voice in his sermons does not read neither first nor third person, but actually second-person narration. For instance, when AdamOne says “Dear Friends, dear Faithful Companions our Edencliff Rooftop Garden blooms now only in our memories. We are driven from one refuge to another, we are hounded and pursued” (Atwood p. 311). AdamOne’s subjective and possessive form use of personal-pronouns “we” and “our” interpretively can be read as the second-person. In second-person narrative the narrator is telling “you” (the reader) what “you” are doing, thinking, or feeling; arguably, AdamOne is doing the same by using the inclusive form of the personal-pronouns. AdamOne’s contextual use of the words are not the same as Ren’s first-person meaning, there is a difference. When readers see Ren use these words it is inclusive of herself and the other characters she is telling the readers about; on the other hand, when AdamOne uses these words it is as if he is bringing readers into the story; the reader becomes his “Dear Friend” his “dear Faithful Companion,” a brilliant literary technique implored by Atwood to bridge a deeper connection between the writing and the reader. More than bridging an emotional connection between readers and the novel, the triple narrative is the framework for the pyramid structure.

Unlike a triangle where two opposite points meet at a conjoining vector of interest, a pyramid has the same basic design, but its structure is a complex layer of building blocks leading to the point of interest, like Atwood’s “Year of the Flood.” On one end of the spectrum is Toby on the other Ren, though walking different paths Toby’s and Ren’s lives will intersect at the peak position of AdamOne and “God’s Gardeners.” The new theological belief system called “God’s Gardeners” fosters around what can accurately be described as a type of vegetarian extremism; the motto of this new religion is “God’s Gardeners for God’s Garden! Don’t Eat Death! Animals R Us…Spare your fellow Creatures! Do not eat anything with a face! Do not kill your own Soul!” (Atwood p. 39-40). This theological concept and its minister AdamOne are the meeting point of interest for Toby and Ren atop the pyramid. At the core, this structure delineates the fall of man: “the Fall of Man was multidimensional. The ancestral primates fell out of the trees; then they fell from vegetarianism into meat-eating. Then they fell from instinct into reason, and thus into technology” (Atwood p. 188). Atwood continues to build the structural integrity of the pyramid as “‘The fear of you’—that is, Man—‘and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air…into your hand are they delivered.’ Genesis 9:2. This is not God telling Man that he has a right to destroy all the Animals, as some claim. Instead it is a warning to God’s beloved Creatures: Beware of Man, and his evil heart” (Atwood p. 90-91). The preceding symbolizes Man’s hubris for advancement as the reason for the world’s destruction. As the blocks reach their peak, many species in Atwood’s world have become extinct because the environment has eroded. In their place, the Corporations have bioengineered new species culminating to the climatic discovery that the Corporations were seeking to bio-manufacture the perfect homosapiens, “Project Paradice.” Paradice Project was about “changing [human] cells so they’d never die; people would pay a lot for immortality. ‘What would you pay for the design of a perfect human being?’ The Paradice Project was designing one” (Atwood p. 305). It is the manufacturing of humans that leads to the completion of the pyramid, and the justification of “God’s Gardeners” linking Toby’s and Ren’s narrative as a whole. Ironically, the bioengineering of plants and animals (including humans) is the novel’s cognitive link to climate-change: sustainability of the world’s food supply through technological bio-advancements.

Succinctly, environmental sustainability involves protecting the natural world, with particular focus on preserving the Earth’s capability to support human life in the future. The correlational link this novel has to climate change is Sustainability: “sustenance is what sustains a person’s body. It’s food. Food! Where does food come from? All food comes from the Earth” (Atwood p. 149). With this in mind, food is the most key resource with direct sensitivities to climate-change; a timespan of too little or too much rain accumulation/precipitation, a fluctuation between hot and cold seasonal weather (when winter turns into spring, and summer turns into fall), or inclement weather patterns like severe flooding and/or hurricane storm systems, can have a significant effect on local crop yields and livestock production. According to an article published in The Guardian “the impact of recent droughts in the USA, China and Russia on global cereal production highlight a glaring potential future vulnerability” (Ranger p.1). The aforementioned quote highlights the adverse effects increasingly warm temperatures will have on the world’s food supply, which is most noteworthy given that Atwood’s novel clearly places her characters in a climate setting assuredly effected by global warming and extreme temperatures of heat. Characters are described as having to wear body coverings “in the sunlight, which is hotter by the minute” (Atwood p. 384), to protect their skin from sun damage and the harmful ultraviolet rays: “pink top-to-toes, for when the sun gets too high” (Atwood p. 365), like when “the sun’s at ten. They put on their top-to-toes and Toby smears their faces with more SolarNix, then sprays them again with SuperD” (Atwood p. 367). The heat of Atwood’s world is miserable with no escape: “it is shadier under the tress, but not cooler. It’s dank, and there’s no breeze, and the air is thick, as if it has more air stuffed into it than other air does” (Atwood p. 375). Attempting to condense the overall effects climate-change will have on the world’s food supply is complex because there are several variables that must be taken into consideration.

Some factors to consider are nutrient levels, soil moisture, water availability, changes in the weather frequency concerning rainfall and droughts are some of the challenges for farmers and ranchers. Global warming temperatures and carbon dioxide (CO2) increases are beneficial for some crops in some places, and deadly for others. Moreover, warmer water temperatures are likely to cause the habitat ranges of many fish and shellfish species to shift, which could disrupt ecosystems. Universally, climate change could make it more difficult to grow crops, raise animals, and catch fish in the same ways and same places as done in the past and present. The effects of climate change also need to be considered along with other evolving factors that affect agricultural production, such as changes in farming practices and technology. The three major food industries that will be affected are Crop production, Livestock reproduction, and Fisheries.

Crop Production:
Warmer temperatures will yield a positive effect on a great number of crops by promoting faster growth periods; conversely, these same warmer climates will reduce yields on other vegetation. It is important to note that faster growth times are not necessarily a total positive; for instance, in the case of grains “faster growth reduces the amount of time that seeds have to grow and mature. This can reduce yields (the amount of crop produced from a given amount of land)” (EPA p. 1). Most important to understand in agriculture, pertaining to any crop, is that the effect of warmer climates will depend on the crop’s “optimal temperature” for growth and seed reproduction, and if climate temperatures warm beyond a crops optimal temperature yields will decline.

Livestock:
Warmer temperatures will induce heat stress making animals more prone to “disease, reduce fertility, and reduce milk production” (EPA p. 2). Drought will effect pastures used for grazing and feed supplies, and “may increase the prevalence of parasites and diseases that affect livestock” (EPA p. 2). Increases in atmospheric CO2 may expedite the growth rate of planets that livestock use for consumption providing more food, sounds good, now comes the question of quantity or quality. According to the EPA “studies indicate that the quality of some of the forage found in pasturelands decreases with higher CO2. As a result, cattle would need to eat more to get the same nutritional benefits” (p. 2). Eventually, all consumable animal protein will become diseased and extinct.

Fisheries:
Several species of marine life have temperature specific ranges for which they can thrive. Take the cod of North Atlantic, they “require water temperatures below 54°F. Even sea-bottom temperatures above 47°F can reduce their ability to reproduce and for young cod to survive. In this century, temperatures in the region will likely exceed both thresholds” (EPA p.3). Migration of schools is not as easy an option as some may realize; moving into new regions will create competition between the species over food and other resources. Some diseases that affect marine life have the potential to become more dominant in warmer tempered water. In addition to oceanic climate changes, increases in temperature have caused the acidic levels to rise due to surges in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). According to the EPA “acidification may also threaten the structures of sensitive ecosystems upon which some fish and shellfish rely” (EPA p. 3). Again, all consumable marine protein will become diseased and extinct.

Given these facts Atwood presents a scenario that present day scientists and biologists are working on to counter this potential food shortage, creating genetically modified plant and animal species that will be able to better endure, survive, and sustain the changing climate. From Atwood’s novel these include the “rakunk,” a cross between a raccoon and a skunk; the “mo’hair,” a sheep with human hair in colors such as silver, blue, and purple; and the “pigoon,” a pig with human brain tissue. The most alarming animal, the liobam, was created by a religious extremist group: a cross between a lion and a lamb, gentle-looking but deadly. Atwood’s fictional claim is not too farfetched as a paper published in the Journal of “Ethics, Policy and Environment” suggests successions of biomedical alterations that could be used in the physiological development of human beings to help them consume less making them more suitable to sustain in the changing food climate. Some of the biological modifications are “pharmacological meat intolerance” (Liao, Sandberg, & Roache p.5) and “making humans smaller” (Liao, et. al. p. 7). The paper suggest that individuals that have an affinity to meat flavors, and want to give it up for ecological reasons, but may lack the necessary willpower to resist on their own could take a pill that would induce mild to severe nausea upon ingestion of meat, which could lead to a lasting aversion to all meat products. Moreover, “meat intolerance is normally uncommon, in principle, it could be induced by stimulating the immune system against common bovine proteins” (Liao, et. al. p. 6); basically, someone can be programmed to distaste meat flavors. Another Frankenstein type of treatment suggested by the authors is genetically modifying humans to be smaller is stature with the logic that smaller humans consume less. There are two ways to accomplish making humans smaller: (1) using “preimplantation genetic diagnosis. It simply involve[s] rethinking the criteria for selecting which embryos to implant” (Liao, et. al. p. 8); (2) using “hormone treatment either to affect somatotropin levels or to trigger the closing of the epiphyseal plate earlier than normal (this sometimes occurs accidentally through vitamin A overdoses” (Liao, et. al. p 8). However, instead of trying to change the physiology of plants and animals, would it not make more sense just to stop overusing the Earth’s resources: “God’s commandment to ‘replenish the Earth’ did not mean we should fill it to overflowing with ourselves, thus wiping out everything else” (Atwood p. 53). The big extraction companies just need to stop, what has been pulled from the Earth is more than enough to compensate for current and future use there is no need to go down the mad science track.

Margaret Atwood’s “Year of the Flood” is a tremendously, highly, recommended controversial book that puts Earth’s over consumption problems at the feet of the major perpetrators, the 1% big business companies, while calling to action individuals to fight now and stop asking “what can I do, am only one person?” This novel evokes individuals to stand: “We must be a beacon of hope, because if you tell people there’s nothing they can do, they will do worse than nothing” (Atwood p. 248). What’s worse than nothing? Sitting idly by and watching the world decay.

 

Works Cited

Atwood, Margaret. The Year of the Flood. New York: Randon House, Inc, 2009. 1-431. Print.

EPA .Agriculture and Food Supply. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2015. <http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/impacts-adaptation/agriculture.html>.

Liao, Matthew S., Anders Sandberg, and Rebecca Roache. “Human Engineering and Climate Change.” Ethics, Policy and the Environment (2012): 1-29. Print.

Ranger, Nicola. The Guardian. N.p., 19 Sept. 2012. Web. 11 Mar. 2015. <http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/sep/19/climate-change-affect-food-production>.

The Year of the Flood- Joining Cults Is Fun Except for the Brainwashing

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Is it possible to be a benevolent and powerful leader? Does acting against something evil automatically make the actions themselves good? When we rebuild from rubble to sky while we use the same designs. These are my mild Atwood induced philosophical questions. The Year of the Flood, from its title to one of its most memorable characters, floats in allegory. /

The question that keeps gnawing at my brain is how much freedom is there in religion and how much freedom can we give it? If the routine and life of a garden and a charismatic leader allow you to fend off the pain of everything else and provide you with both security and perceived safety do the sources’  intention matter? And most importantly, does a man’s allegiance fall to his kin or to his god. It’s the idea of separation and individualism that strikes me about both religion and by extension Atwood’s The Year of the Flood.

 

It is my belief that the Atwood doesn’t think that the God’s Gardeners are to be ridiculed. They are people facing an unbelievable challenge by trying to structure their world in some way. Adam One is a man who believes that he is providing this structure by means of divinity. However, there is no question of who is in charge and whose views are to be agreed with, so the structured area becomes more sanitarium than sanctuary. The religious answers become doctrine, and sentiments of caring become lessons and warnings.

Now the themes of religion, influence, and maturing may seem better suited to a low-budget indie film, but they are the backbone of the climate debate. More accurately they are the reason that we are having a debate about a fact as if will power can change physics. The immediate des ri

Adam One is obviously a descendant of the incredibly conservative Kebler Elves
Adam One is obviously a descendant of the incredibly conservative Kebler Elves

community, and acceptance creates a vacuum of doubt and defensiveness. In a way our cult is one of denial, many of us worry about our immediate goals and them. We build our arks to transport only our ideals. However, we build arks with mud because we despise the effort of fashioning wood and why we can’t argue our boats afloat.

The Year of the Flood

I have to say, leading up to this week, I had never read anything by Margaret Atwood. At first, I found her writing style to be somewhat confusing as the jumpy nature of her narration was slightly difficult to grasp in the beginning, but after about 50 pages I was able to jump right into the story. Much like some of the other books we have read this semester, the author jumps around from character to character. However, unlike all the other books we have read she leans heavily on the use of flashbacks as to allow the reader to get a fuller understanding of the characters. I found her writing style to be interesting, as I personally have never encountered an author who is able to jump from perspective to perspective while shifting time periods, and then effectively weave the stories together. From a literary standpoint, it is quite impressive. While this book did not stand out to me more than The Windup Girl, it is still nearly impossible for the reader to forget the characters and the world that Atwood creates, and in many ways this is the sign of a talented author.

 

The story mainly follows two women Toby and Ren in a dystopian world where corporate greed has destroyed the environment (thanks Gordon Gecko). Greed is good? Well apparently it is not in Margaret Atwood’s world. I think one of the most powerful aspects of this book is Atwood’s take on corporations. The companies in this book that do disgusting and unspeakable things comically parallel many corporations that we have today. Much like other effective works of science fiction, Atwood is critiquing and describing the world that we live in by simply giving things different names and making it clear to the reader that the story takes place in the future. Much like The Windup Girl, the effectiveness of the book comes from giving the reader just enough detail so that they can create the world in their own mind. Our main characters are members of an environmental cult/movement that correctly predicted an incoming waterless flood. Their preparedness for this plague allows them to be among the few who survive. I found that the book dragged at certain points, but, again, similar to The Windup Girl the part that made even the boring parts interesting was just how established and believable Atwood’s world was.

 

I really did not expect to like this book, but there is something indescribable about it that seems to stay with you. She supplies the reader with a powerful message, and I think she successfully conveys the selfish manner in which humans live on this planet. I am sure that many would say that she is simply another hippie liberal that loves trees, animals, and the environment, but she does make many eye opening points that in my mind cannot be argued. I definitely connected with the book, and I would certainly recommend it to people.

Post-Apocalyptic Feminist Vegetarian Heroines

I must start by saying that I have a lot of issues with Margaret Atwood’s world. I find her constant barrage of satirical portmanteau names for consumer products and bio-engineered animals quickly tiring. I likewise find Atwood’s emphasis on her novel as a work of “speculative fiction,” (as distinct from sci-fi), to be problematic, because while the technologies and much of the society present in The Year of the Flood are plausible enough, her actual narrative struggles to maintain her apparent commitment to realism. Why, for example, do all of these characters, who happen to know each other, also happen to survive the same devastating global pandemic that wipes out approximately 99.9% of everyone else? How does Bee-stings Blanco keep surviving Painball, when we see him disposed of by less rugged competition multiple times? Even if these events technically could happen, the insistence on “speculative fiction” seems dubious given how many coincidences are necessary to support Atwood’s plot.

But all of these issues aside, Atwood’s primary protagonists, Ren and Toby, are not only believable, they are also sympathetic and thoroughly admirable. After reading through the frustrating perspective of Jimmy in YotF’s predecessor, Oryx and Crake, it is refreshing to see the other side of the story. Likewise, Ren and Toby’s vegetarian moralism, while perhaps absurd to average (American) omnivore, is truly fascinating to think about for a real world vegetarian, (i.e. myself). It is tempting to imagine that in any post-apocalyptic world, all of its survivors will adhere to a strict pragmatism, (John Hay has some great thoughts about this in his essay, Shakespeare off the Grid,) but it is not unreasonable to think that people’s spiritual and moral beliefs will instantly dissipate as soon as their first pangs of hunger strike. (Toby and Ren may not take long to resort to carnivorism, but they certainly never feel good about it.) The Year of the Flood is at its best when it makes us consider the necessary compromises of its heroines and the determination of their convictions in the face of such a brutally indifferent and inhospitable world.

Atwood, I’m Impressed

I was deeply impressed with how engaging and interesting “The Year of the Flood” was from the very first chapter. And it’s not just because the characters of Toby and Ren are round and well developed (not going to lie, I was much more invested in Ren’s storyline than Toby’s), but also because Atwood writes such insightful and intriguing lines so fluidly. One thing in particular that struck me was the idea of writing being a dangerous action. According to the Gardeners, writings can be easily used by enemies to bring harm to yourself, an idea so different from what I’ve been taught all my life: Writings preserve knowledge and foster the development of communities and cultures, creating better futures. Writing has always been taught as a positive thing, but here it’s described as permanent in a negative way because it allows everybody to share knowledge that should only be possessed by few. This is just one excerpt that made me stop reading and think (I’m not much of a reader, so I don’t ponder over books very often).

Another part that impressed me was the depiction of Ren as a young child, it’s so accurate of children everywhere. She’s immersed in an environment which she had no real option to be in and there are many restrictions and rules which must be followed. Children don’t like rules, this is a common fact, which makes her encounter with Amanda so intriguing. She meets this flashy, knowledgeable Pleebrat, a member of the real world, full of danger and excitement. Her deep desire to impress this new character is completely understandable, and I’m not surprised that she even denies being part of the Gardeners when she’s questioned about it. People in general, but children especially, wish to gain acceptance and approval from their peers because they believe it will bring about connections and relationships with others, which is exactly what happened between Amanda and Ren. It’s also a very middle school situation that Amanda and Ren spread this rumor about Burt which gets wildly out of control and escalates very quickly. Atwood does such a wonderful job of depicting childhood habits and showing that despite the occurrences of this time period, these characters are still just kids.

God’s Gardeners Oral Hymnbook

When The Year of the Flood was released in 2009, it was accompanied by an album composed by the musician Orville Stoeber, who set the “Hymns” of God’s Gardeners to music. Here’s a video in which Stoeber sings and plays “The Garden” (the first hymn in the novel) while Atwood looks on:

 

There’s a lot more here.

The Year of Religious Immersion

The Year of the Flood is certainly the most immersive book we’ve read so far. I found no issue diving directly into the book and really getting a feel for the deeper ideas and plots immersed within. This book has two really huge themes that I think are worth discussing. The first is religion, and its ability to effect people, and then obviously vegetarianism, and how that will help us to ensure a sustainable future. This will lead into the bigger discussion of how this book relates to the class as a whole, because it very clearly does.

I think that the overarching ship of religion that this story sailed on was fascinating. I thoroughly enjoyed the idea of religion being used to convey the major themes and ideas of the book. The religious group in this story is referred to as the “Gardeners”, they are a sect of people who live a very modest life. They are vegetarian because of their belief system, and they also grow almost everything they consume. Their entire policy is about reducing their environmental impact and only using what they need at all times. They get almost all for eh materials they use in their day to day lives from the world around them, and teach this kind of conservationist lifestyle to their children. This lifestyle may seem great and wonderful, but it can certainly have its shortfalls. The main one that I can find is that this society has completely eliminated meat. This is a major issue nutritionally for any society that wishes to not only survive but also to prosper. A vegetarian diet can be incredibly nutritious, but there are certain vitamins and minerals that one simply cannot get from fruits and vegetables alone. There are visible signs of the malnutrition of the Gardeners in their descriptions. The only one who is ever described as anything other than thin is Zeb, and that is because he eats meat on the side. I would imagine that him introducing meat into his diet is what has allowed him to be so strong in the first place. I only know so much about the negative impacts of not eating meat at all because of some research I did after considering a vegetarian society.

The gardeners also believe in the complete reuse of everything. This is an interesting concept to me because it seems incredibly practical, especially in a post apocalyptic wasteland, like the one described after the “waterless flood”. There is definitely some utility in the ability to utilize products for different purposes, and there is certainly no harm in repurposing something to make it into something else. The Gardeners take it to a new extreme when they are simply reusing everything. They sleep on husks from dead plants, now that is a little extreme. Their entire society fascinates me simply because it is so different from the one that I am accustomed to living in. There are just so many fundamental differences between the world today and the cult that the Gardener’s live in. Which, I do believe them to be a cult. I had not thought of them that way until Lucerne started to tell people she had been abducted, and while that story was not truthful, there are many aspects of the Gardener way of life that are very cultish. I’m sure that in a time of incredible environmental change doomsday cults would pop up everywhere, and I’m sure there would be plenty of able bodied men and women waiting to join.

The final aspect of this book that needs to be discussed is how it relates to the class as a whole. This book is definitely about a changing environment. Which does relate to the climate element of our class, thankfully so because these books tend not to. There is also an interesting “end of the world scenario” element to this book, which allows us to test what we believe about our own faith and morals. Would you be able to carry a belief system with you even past the proverbial ‘end of days’. I think this book asks in a lot of ways what faith is, what belief is, and makes fun of those people who are overly prepared for climate change, the few who are doing all the work, and those who are woefully unprepared, the many who have not even changed their lightbulbs yet.

 

Works Cited

“Why You Should Think Twice About Vegetarian and Vegan Diets.” Chris Kresser. N.p., 20 Feb. 2014. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.

The Year of the Flood – Apocalypse Now

Margaret Atwood’s “Year of the Flood” focuses on the story of an environmentalist cult, many of whose members will ultimately survive the plague wreaking havoc, for a variety of reasons.  These people have anticipated this event for so long they’re more prepared than anyone else, or at least the ones that survived the initial epidemic are. This group of people has created their own ideology which melds science and nature woven into the nature of religion, which was really quite intriguing. The reader follows Ren and Toby, both members of the “green cult” called the Gardeners. These two women are from very different background, and have many years separating them. Atwood smartly uses alternating points of view to tell their stories, which was a welcome development as to not let us get confused between the women. Ren’s chapters are told in first person whereas Toby’s are told in third.

The reader can sense Atwood’s contempt for the companies featured (ie CorpSeCorps) utter disregard of the environment and health, just to prove their profit and loss statements. Gerry Canavan suggests in his article, “Apocalypse reminds us that the logic of consumer capitalism is not, in fact, timeless and eternal; there was a time before it, and there will be a time after it.” The constant reminders are throughout “The Year of the Flood” concerning this, creatively in fact, with the names for the companies in addition to the unprovoked opinions from the characters.  He goes on to say, “So-called ‘deep ecology,’ both in and outside science fiction, has long wrestled with precisely this fraught relationship with catastrophe and extinction in its push for a human race with so light an ecological footprint so as to (at the extreme end of its logic) be erased from the planet altogether.”

The world that Atwood created is ruled by corporations, a world that deals death and exhaustion regularly. She showcases how disconnected we are from the planet nourishes us. Atwood shows the reader what could happen if we continue on this course, living in inequality and greed. Canavan also cites Lawrence Buell, “who noted, ‘Apocalypse is the single most powerful master metaphor that the contemporary environmental imagination has at its disposal.’” This powerfully ties into climate change fiction, and whether or not it can have a change on the discourse the subject, and invoke passionate conversation from a wider audience. Due to the immense popularity of Atwood’s novels, I think this trilogy has a chance to bring these issues to the forefront of discussion.

Reference: Gerry Canavan, “Hope, But Not for Us: Ecological Science Fiction and the End of the World in Margaret Atwood’sOryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood