Part 1: The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing (first half)
Part 2: Letters from Zedelghem (first half)
Part 3: Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery (first half)
Part 4: The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish (first half)
Part 5: An Orison of Sonmi~451 (first half)
The Story So Far . . .
Of all the stories in Cloud Atlas, this one is my favourite. So much is going on in terms of history, context, politics, and society, and it’s set against a highly believable futuristic backdrop and told in a modified form of evolved English. (For example, with the politcal prevalence of corporations in this “corpocracy,” many everyday objects are referred to by their once-trademarked names: people drive fords, download information on their sonys, wear nikes on their feet, watch disneys, and so forth.)
This section occurs as a dialogue, the recorded final interview of an imprisoned clone, or “fabricant,” conducted by a government archivist. It takes place in a futuristic Korea now known as Nea So Copros,which is governed by a political party/doctrine known as Unanimity. Though much of the world is “deadlanded,” technology in this world far exceeds our own. The main character, Sonmi~451, is fabricant who is being asked for her version of the truth in this final interview, before she is sent “to the litehouse.” She begins by talking about her life as a server at a fast-food franchise called Papa Song’s. Sonmi would awaken with her cloned sisters, recite the Six Catechisms at Matins, work 19-hour days serving and cleaning up after “pureblood” consumers, end the day with Vespers, consume something called Soap, which contains nutrients as well as amnesiads that deaden curiosity, and go back to sleep. Fabricants have limited IQ and vocabulary, but know that after twelve years of service, they are sent to a place called Xultation, their “debt” fulfilled to the corporation that owns them. At this point, they become consumers just like purebloods: the ultimate afterlife for a server.