Credit: ILLUSTRATION BY JOHN RIORDAN from nature.com
The protagonists in Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood live with the God’s Gardeners cult. The God’s Gardeners are based in the pleebs away from the CorpSeCorpse and live a vegetarian, minimalist style. They live for the earth, by the earth, and most importantly stay away from the CorpSeCorpse. The CorpSeCorpse is a large corporation that much of Atwood's world follows blindly. HelthWyzer and CorpSeCorps work together to preserve their HelthWyzer compound and remain in power with high influence. Once in these corporations it is difficult to escape, which is why they are so dangerous. Anybody that goes against the corporations then suffers “corpsicide” where it looks like a suicide, but it is really of the corporations doing. This is just one example of why people would not trust CorpSeCorps.
CorpSeCorpse controls HelthWyzer, which is a health corporation that produces medicines, vitamins, and supplements. The mother of Toby, one of the two protagonists, had fallen ill when she was young and Pilar, one of the God’s Gardeners, starts probing about why her mother may have been ill especially if she was “so careful about her health.” On pages 104 - 105 in The Year of the Flood we discover Toby’s mother took supplements and vitamins provided by HelthWyzer. It is then inferred through Toby's and Pilar’s dialogue that her mother had fallen ill from the supplements she was taking to keep her healthy. Pilar then says to Toby “Now, promise me that you will never take any pill made by a corporation. Never buy such a pill and never accept any pill offered, no matter what they say.” (Atwood p. 105) When I read this quote it made me realize there are many people today who think all corporations are bad and trying to chip us and brainwash us. They will never get vaccines, they think the pandemic is a hoax, and to moderate people they appear crazy. In The Year of the Flood this ideology really helped Toby survive as Pilar had foreshadowed the use of the BlissPlus pill as a poisonous, pandemic starting vehicle. However, in real life, especially during the COVID - 19 pandemic we trust our doctors and scientists, and to think for a second we wouldn’t take a medicine they approved is insane. This ideology is problematic because I want to trust the scientists and doctors and believe they have my best interest in mind, however when would we know that we are no longer the priority? I would love to read the first book in this series to see how the CorpSeCorpse came to power, and see how close our world is to that of Atwood's novel.