Thoughts from the front lines

Life After the Numbers People


In her novel “The Year of the Flood”, Margaret Atwood describes the lives of Toby and Ren before and after the waterless flood. As I’m reading it, I can’t stop thinking about what will happen to them once they run out of food and also what will happen to the buildings they live in. They’re both stuck in two separate buildings that are for now providing food and shelter. Ren can’t get out as it is locked from the inside. Toby can get out if she needs to, but she prefers not to as the outside world is really dangerous. The buildings they now live in were once taken care of by janitors, caretakers, electricians, etc. there are now no one to take care of it and to prevent it from decaying. So what will happen to those buildings? Well I didn’t have to think for long as someone else already had asked this question.


Life After People” is a documentary in which many scientists speculate about what will happen when humans leave the earth. They think that in as little as a year, buildings will start to crumble due to the growth of weeds and the lack of maintenance.


That is what I feared, especially for Ren who can’t escape; she is stuck in a building that will soon crush her.  Along with the growing wildlife they don’t have a lot of options. They will soon have to go back to the way humans lived thousands years ago, it is funny to think about how evolved the world had become and now they are forced to go back to the old ways. I am intrigued about what will happen next and if Atwood will approach this subject. And you, dear readers, what do you think will happen next? Do you think Atwood will discuss about the subject of their scientific world decaying?


2 thoughts on “Life After the Numbers People

  1. Interesting line of thought, but I am not sure that we as readers will have the opportunity to find out. Ren is stuck in the Sticky Zone, it’s true, and it is also true that Toby can leave the spa but generally chooses not to, but in the case of Toby, I believe that eventually she will be forced to leave in order to scavange, like Jimmy did when he returned to Paradice. Desperation will force her out of hiding, and she probably will not have the opportunity to have the building collapse in on her. Ren is another story. Ren is very much trapped in the Sticky Zone. And this fact also provides probable means for her escape. Unless Atwood sends someone to get Ren out, it is most likely that she will starve to death in the Sticky Zone before her building becomes structurally unsound. Despite her food source, it is unlikely she could survive more than a year there without vital resources shutting down and she would die there long before the building caved in around her. It would make for a very interesting story though… what would it be like to live in a building collapsing around you, while you are unable to escape? Interesting thought experiment.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very interesting thought. I have finished the book, so I know that Amanda will come to rescue Ren, and Toby is forced to go out twice—first time was because of the lack of food, she finally brought something from a died pigoon’s body; the second time was in order to rescue Amanda who was kidnapped by the guy from the Paintball. Ren is lucky, because of she has Amanda as her best and reliable friend.
    Come back to the topic, if the author just lets Ren starve to death, I would be very disappointed. Maybe a few years later, someone or some Craker would pass through the streets overgrown with the weeds, eventually came to the crumbled building and finally find Ren’s body, but that doesn’t have any sense, Ren already died. I hope Ren can survive because of she represents the simplicity of humanity, she suffers a lot, she still believes in love etc.
    The building without the maintenance would become the paradise of the wildlife, waiting for someone to discover its story.


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