Oryx and Crake by the renowned Margaret Atwood is a speculative fiction novel. In the first chapter, we meet snowman, the protagonist of the book. He wakes up in a tree to the sound of the ocean crashing ashore. He wraps himself in a bedsheet, in a toga-like fashion, puts on his red sox hat and starts his day. This quotation is the first insight we have into the books setting, saying it might not be our modern world. We learn that official time is absent, but our world or something similar once did exist.
Out of habit, he looks at his watch – stainless-steel case, burnished aluminium band, still shiny although it no longer works. He wears it now as his only talisman. A blank face is what it shows him: zero hour. It causes a jolt of terror to run through him, this absence of official time. Nobody nowhere knows what time it is. (pg.4)
The quotation gives readers insight into the world we are reading about since it is within the first few pages. The text shows that there once was a presence of the modern construct of time. Snowman wears a watch just like somebody today would, but in his case it’s worn as a talisman, a reminder of what is no longer. We know that something is different, something has happened, but we don’t yet understand.