COVID-19 Pandemic and Apocalyptic Literature: An Analysis of Margret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake at the time of Coronavirus

Author: Tawhida Akhter

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, cyberpunk, biopunk, biotechnology, science fiction, apocalyptic

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awej/covid.18

Literature has been an imitator of life for generations on this earth, this literature has voiced the voiceless. Recent contemporary and postmodern literary theories have catered to burgeoning notions of logic that go beyond human survival on the planet. Science fiction is a genre of fiction that encompasses imaginative concepts like futuristic scientific-technological settings, faster than light, past and future spatial time travel, the existence of parallel universes and extraterrestrial life etc. An outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by a novel acute respiratory syndrome of coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) occurred in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The outbreak was declared as a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization on 30 January 2020. During this crisis, literature also plays an important role and apocalyptic literature has shown the disastrous consequences if humans didn’t stop their behaviour and attitude towards the world.  This research project aims to take literature out of the realm of imagination and present the harsh realities of culture. This study revealed how literature represents the truth of the world that science is learning every day, and how certain inventions can have harmful effects if they are not halted in time. This research analysed the novel Oryx and Crake in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic and pointed a convincing glimpse of the future. Snowman (protagonist), known as Jimmy before humanity was overrun by science, is trying to live in a world where he might be the last human Snowman tells the tale of how Crake’s scientific ambitions contributed to the abolition of human civilization. The researcher emphasizes how the reel depicts reality and how people are to blame for the degradation of their world.