The novel, Utopia by Ahmed Khaled Towfik, translated by Chip Rossetti, is a science fiction story set in Egypt in 2023. It tells the story of two characters who live in the same world (The Others), but have different mindsets.
Alaa, the “Predator”, is the stereotypical “Other”, in which he doesn’t think he is going to die and acts demeaning towards women. He has sex out of sheer boredom and he religiously consumes drugs and alcohol. The Others are quite violent with each other. Alaa describes other characters with negative connotation, such as, “vulgar” and “stupid laugh”. He’s part of a rape culture who disregards intimacy with another person.
Then, we have Gaber, or the “Prey”, who is much more compassionate as compared to Alaa. He is empathetic, especially towards his sister, when he says, “I wouldn’t die and let her live without a life.” This shows just how much he thinks about others over himself along with the fact that he feels like he can die. You can tell he is different from Alaa straight off the bat when he says, “My beloved cornea — and a dream beyond sex… Alas!” Gaber possesses a separate mentality, in which he does not care to have sex all the time with different women as if they are animals. He’s a romantic.
However, Towfik blends the two characters. For example, both Alaa and Gaber enjoy reading as an escape from their cruel reality of The Others where they are surrounded by hardships and pain, unlike their counterparts in Utopia. Also, Gaber, like Alaa, still feels anger towards Utopians however, he is able to control his anger. Because Towfik compares the two, he shows that people who live in the same society can have different morals, but they also share similarities which bring them together. There are parallels between the two characters which make me infer that there will be an uprising in the novel.