Page 331. " No. My ministry would xpel me if I were ever Eyed in an untermensch slum. "

The Eyes in An Orison are powerfully reminiscent of the constant system of surveillance operated by the state in Nineteen Eighty-Four, in which citizens are monitored not only for seditious action but for the slightest hint of seditious thinking. Mitchell's Huamdonggil is the equivalent of the proletariat neighbourhood depicted in Orwell's novel: both 'underworlds' are visited surreptitiously by members of the upper echelons hoping to escape surveillance and indulge in sinful pleasure. Further, both Sonmi~451 and Winston travel deep into the countryside to evade detection. Note how the Eyes and Big Brother are personifying terms, thus giving the sinister impression to its citizens that the surveillance technology is a bodily incarnation of the state.


Page 332. " migrants yearn to believe it, and only discover the truth when they have become untermensch. "

The term untermensch, which translates from the German as subhuman, was deployed by the Nazis as part of their vicious rhetoric of hatred against those they regarded as inferior, particularly the 'masses from the East' - including Poles, Gypsies, Jews, Russians and Serbs. The term was first used in a racial context by American author Lothrop Stoddard in his 1922 pamphlet The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace of the Under-man, a diatribe in which the Bolsheviks are described as degenerate imbeciles. Stoddard perhaps consciously posits the term in antithetical relation to Nietzsche's Übermensch, or superhuman, a complex concept not easily summarized, so I'll let someone else do it here! In 1942 the Nazi's distributed a pamphlet entitled 'The Sub-Human' in which they lay out their ideas in somewhat maniacal terms:

The sub-human, that biologically seemingly complete similar creation of nature with hands, feet and a kind of brain, with eyes and a mouth, is nevertheless a completely different, dreadful creature. He is only a rough copy of a human being, with human-like facial traits but nonetheless morally and mentally lower than any animal. Within this creature there is a fearful chaos of wild, uninhibited passions, nameless destructiveness, the most primitive desires, the nakedest vulgarity. Sub-human, otherwise nothing. For all that bear a human face are not equal. Woe to him who forgets it.

At bookmark p361 I briefly discuss Nietzsche's concept of will to power.

Page 336. " Kindly inform the estimable Madame Ovid,' he said, 'that Lady Heem-Young sends cordial regards.' "
Apollo and Daphne by Antonio Pollaiuolo, one of the many tales of transformation from Metamorphoses. Here the god of light and sun lusts after Daphne. She manages to escapes by turning him into a bay laurel.
Public DomainApollo and Daphne by Antonio Pollaiuolo, one of the many tales of transformation from Metamorphoses. Here the god of light and sun lusts after Daphne. She manages to escapes by turning him into a bay laurel. - Credit: Piero Pollaiuolo

Named after the Roman poet Ovid  (20 March 43 BC – AD 17 or 18) whose fifteen volume narrative poem Metamorphoses depicts all manner of physical transformation as it relates to the history and creation of the world.  


Page 340. " he peered into the wombtank and told me those nascents were destined for uranium tunnels under the Yellow Sea; "

The Yellow Sea
GNU Free Documentation LicenseThe Yellow Sea - Credit: Norman Einstein
One of four seas named after colours (red, yellow, black and white) and located between China and Korea. It is so called because sand storms blow sand across the sea which, seen at sunset, turns a golden yellow.

Page 342. " What damage could even six million ascended fabricants inflict on the most stable state Pyramid in the history of civilization? "
Social Hierarchy - Nineteen Eighty-Four
Public Domain Distribution of power in Oceania - Nineteen Eighty-Four - Credit: modified by Geoff Mills
new and improved

Public Domain Corpocratic Hierarchy - Credit: Geoff Mills

Compare the pyramidal structure of Nea So Copros to that of Oceania in Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.



Page 344. " a malachite statue of Prophet Malthus surveyed a dustbowl. "
Thomas Malthus - was greatly influenced by Charles Darwin
Public DomainThomas Malthus - was greatly influenced by Charles Darwin
After The Reverend Dr. Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834), the demographist who proposed that population growth would outstrip our ability to sustain it and would consequently be checked by natural means: 'epidemics, pestilence and plague advance in terrific array, and sweep off their thousands and ten thousands. Should success be still incomplete, gigantic famine stalks in the rear, and with one mighty blow, levels the population with the food of the world'. Despite his scientific credentials he believed that these natural checks would be imposed by a God seeking to rectify our sinful ways.   
Page 348. " Siddhartha had other names, all lost now. "
An 8 metre tall statue of Buddha at Tawang Monastery
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeAn 8 metre tall statue of Buddha at Tawang Monastery - Credit: Vinod Panicke

Also known as Buddha, he was an Indian spiritual teacher who founded Buddhism. His biography is subject to much speculation and even his birth and death dates are uncertain, though he probably lived somewhere between 563 BCE and 483 BCE.  Buddha means 'enlightened one' and among his teachings are the assertions that all things are impermanent, that the perception of self is an illusion and that suffering is an inevitable part of existence.