An overdose on science.
Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake depicts not one, but two devastating futures. In the first, science and technology seem to have developed faster than ethics and human responsibility. This time period, with its relaxed laws and emphasis on scientific progress paves the way for Crake, a coldly logical genius, to wipe out the human race and replace it with his own supposedly less flawed creation, leading to the second awful future.
Atwood shows the terrible possibilities that can come from purely scientific thinking. Without morals, ethics, and human emotion in the way, one can simply look at any problem, devise a solution to it, and then follow that solution to its conclusion, no matter what it entails. Crake sees a race that seems to be slowly killing itself and the planet that it lives on. Resources are getting scarcer, the environment is becoming harsher, and wars and murder seem to be getting more prevalent. The society is attempting to find solutions to these issues with creations such as the ‘pigoons’, animals engineered to grow extra organs for people and lengthen human life.
Crake, however, seems to see no reason why the real problem of human nature itself should not be eliminated. After all, if human nature is what is causing all of the trouble in the first place then why not wipe it out and create a more perfect race? The tools are at his disposable and no one is stopping him. In fact, he probably thinks that people would thank him, were they alive to do so. Thus, the human race finds itself bleeding from its eyeballs (I do wonder if Crake absolutely needed to kill off the human race in the most disturbing way possible…) and Jimmy aka Snowman is left all alone to look after his race’s replacements. Perhaps the book may be slightly farfetched, but if the first future with its coldly scientific focus and utter lack of ethics were to develop, it is not so ridiculous to think that the final scientific solution may be our own extinction.