Although the year is never specified, Oryx and Crake appears to be set in the late 21st century as it mentions various events that might conceivably occur in this time period, including the melting of polar icecaps and flooding of coastal cities.
Against this background of environmental change, scientific developments – especially in the field of biotechnology – are greatly advanced. New GM organisms supply foods and organs for transplant, but at what cost to society?
The Internet is only a little further on from its current state, offering a host of pornographic and sadistic entertainments, along with multi-player games such as Extinctathon.
The world is divided: elite scientists live in luxurious, heavily policed Compounds while "normal" people live in the Pleeblands where drugs, sex and violence are out of control.
The world which Snowman and the Crakers inhabit after the viral outbreak is very different from the world of Jimmy's childhood. Once essential technology has become useless. Without humans to run the machinery and provide order, the civilised world has shut down.
Snowman is forced to scavenge amongst the ruins to survive, living in fear of escaped GM creatures gone feral.
According to Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake is set on the east Coast of the USA, near Boston.