M. Atwoods MaddAddam – kath.ch

Our situation is uncomfortable. Global warming, war, pandemics – anyone worried about the future is neither a traditionalist nor an end-time prophet. Margaret Atwood describes what would happen if we didn’t change anything now in her apocalyptic ecological world MaddAddamTriple.

Natalie Fritz

late twenty-first century. After the pandemic, the world is not what it used to be. Caused by a virus found in sex pills called OrgassPluss (please), humanity will be wiped out within months. Under the scorching sun, GM pigs are now searching for their prey in rotting cities; No soul far and wide. or is he?



The wilderness after a flood without water?!

Snow and the new creation

Snowman, a former advertising director, is apparently the only person to have survived the known apocalypse. Sick and hungry, he explains their origins to Crakers – a new and improved kind of human being. Biscuit eats purely vegetable food, has no potential for aggression and does not become greedy. They are peace loving, pain relieving, and will mate when the lower part of their body turns blue.

For them, Schneemann is a kind of prophet with a direct line to Crick, their beloved Creator. Snowman explains everything crunchers don’t yet understand with their childlike wit. However, in a nicer form. Only Schneemann knows that it was his childhood friend, the brilliant geneticist Crick, who created the death virus. So he wanted to rid the planet of humanity so that he would fill it with his “own” crackers. But Schneemann keeps that fact to himself and creates the myth of a smooth creation of the unsuspecting cracker.


Sparkling Light Falling on Eden at the Creation of Man and the Beast, GE Ranger, 1750 (Detail)

Sparkling Light Falling on Eden at the Creation of Man and the Beast, GE Ranger, 1750 (Detail)

People need legends

This is exactly what the great Canadian writer Margaret Atwood said (The Handmaid’s TaleIn her vision trilogy, she explained: People need myths to understand what it means to be human. We have to learn rules and values ​​so that we can fit in with each other and understand the (environmental) world. The MaddAddamThe trilogy, on the other hand, is full of religious motifs and stories. Where, if not in myth, is the worldview of culture and its rules comprehensively explained?


Margaret Atwood at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2019

Margaret Atwood at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2019

Like humans, crackers must learn what is good and bad, right and wrong. Crake has Craker on file heaven– I set up a laboratory and thus trained them to keep away from everything that seemed to it harmful and useless. It is also assumed that religiosity, which Crick categorized as a prerequisite for hunger for power and injustice. But geneticist Crick did not calculate that the perfect new Earthlings would still need direction and meaning. Despite Crake’s best efforts to improve, they want guidelines for their existence. Schneemann’s built legend explains the world of crackers and at the same time reflects the omission of the people that ultimately led to the disaster.

Atwood’s Prophetic Trilogy

Rivers and lakes dried up, a possible nuclear meltdown in Zaporizhia, Covid, the threat of energy shortages – we live in a very uncomfortable world now. If you consider that the first part of MaddAddam-triple Oryx and Crick Released in 2003, Atwood is a prophetess of probable death. The apocalypse you describe seems frighteningly present.


Withered landscape

Withered landscape

Accordingly, the author defends herself against classifying the trilogy as science fiction. In an interview she explains it though MaddAddam It is a work of fiction, and the techniques and research methods described already exist and are by no means merely theoretical structures. Atwood describes the trilogy as “a speculative fiction”. just in MaddAddam It shows that science fiction or even speculative fiction always has a concrete connection to the reality of our lives and only magnifies the consequences of our current actions and thinks about the future.

After the end of the world…

In the trilogy, Atwood not only describes the frightening, as it is entirely possible, the dystopian reality. Instead, hope shines again and again in the three books. Hope because not all of humanity has been wiped out. Hope, because the survivors have not lost their black sense of humor at times and are ready to change something. This is also due to the fact that the majority of survivors are ethical geneticists or the so-called “God’s gardener”.


The Garden of Eden, Isaac Van Osten, 1655-1661

The Garden of Eden, Isaac Van Osten, 1655-1661

Before the pandemic, the “non-water tide” as they call it, divine gardeners lived in a spiritual ecological community on a rooftop garden called “Rock of Eden.” Members honor and protect nature, don’t eat meat, and meditate and worship “saints” like gorilla researcher Dian Fossey. They celebrate holidays such as Mole Day, dedicated to all subterranean life, and follow their charismatic leader, Adam Wen. He predicted a non-watered flood and urged the divine gardeners to gather supplies for the time afterwards in their hiding places. Adam calls these hiding places one Ararat – Like the name of the stranded mountain Noah after the flood!


Noah and his family emerging from the ark, Julius Schnorr von Karolsfeld 1851-1860

Noah and his family emerging from the ark, Julius Schnorr von Karolsfeld 1851-1860

…before hope

The parallels with the Biblical Flood and Noah have an entirely hopeful approach. In Atwood, piety does not save survivors, but rather a return to treating creation with respect and bound values. Survivors pass on this knowledge to crackers and their descendants, orally and in writing, in the form of legend – and polyphonic one of the time.

Like the three books MaddAddamTrilogy, the new legend is told from different points of view. Snowman as the storyteller in the second volume was replaced by gardeners Toby Wren, in the third by Toby and the boy Blackbeard. Stories complement each other, deepen aspects, delete some points or introduce new ones.

With each additional narrative, individual perspectives grow together, transforming into a unity. In this way, individual narrative voices survive as part of a larger narrative. One can imagine that the Bible as we know it was similarly formulated. This is another hopeful aspect of this miserable trilogy. If the different versions of the story ultimately create a myth, it is up to the individual to interpret it.

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