Saturday, September 17, 2011

Richard Grapples with An Orison of Sonmi-451

[Read after Section 5]

This section is presented in an interview format, as an Archivist collects the testimony ("orison") of an Ascendant clone called Sonmi-451. Whaaaaat? Yeah, we're in the future, and I'm not always great at parsing science fiction so feel free to correct any errors.

Mitchell's futuristic vision is a bit like Wallace's ultra-consumerist future in Infinite Jest. In Jest, time itself has been sponsored by corporations ("The Year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar."). In Cloud Atlas, ads are projected on the face of the moon ("Hae-Joo said an AdVless moon would freak him out") and objects are referred to solely by the corporate names (automobiles are "fords" and all movies are "disneys," no capital letters). "Dewdrugs" keep people looking young and the service economy is staffed entirely by different kinds of enslaved clones ("fabricants"). There's an Abolitionist movement afoot to free the clones and apparently some clones, like our protagonist Sonmi-451, are beginning to develop a stable consciousness and transcend their environments (to become "Ascendent."). War's a-brewing, most likely.


It's certainly easy enough to link these ideas of freedom and slavery and civilization back to Adam Ewing's adventures among the savages in Section 1.

The connection between this section and the previous Timothy Cavendish section feels clever, certainly, but maybe a little forced, unlike the previous connections. However, it sort of resonates thematically in more interesting ways, since Somni-451 and Cavendish are both sharing their tales while imprisoned.

For the perverts:

This section has a tentacle porn reference ("The octopoid rapine on 3D distracted him.").

Favorite line:

Sonmi-451 sees an illustrated book of fairy tales for the first time and describes Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in this fashion: "Seven stunted fabricants carrying bizarre cutlery behind a shining girl."

1 comment:

  1. So do we think Mitchell's a vegetarian? Evidence: "Dollars circulated as little sheets of paper and the only fabricants were sickly livestock."