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 BioShock - Plot Analysis

 
   
 
 
BioShock - Plot Analysis

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  |      BioShock       |
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  |    Plot Analysis    |
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By: UnSub [evilasahobby {at} graffiti {dot} net]
Version: 0.70
Date: 16 September 2007

+---------------------------------------------------------------------------+

1.0 Introduction
 .1 Email Policy
 .2 Reproduction of this Guide
 .3 Difficulty Level
 .4 The Author's Excuse

2.0 General Narrative Overview
 .1 What Happens in BioShock?
 .2 What's the Twist?
 .3 The Morality of Choice

3.0 General Themes in BioShock
 .1 What is Objectivism?
 .2 Who is Ayn Rand?
 .3 What are the Essentials of Objectivism?
 .4 The Author's View on Objectivism
 .5 Does BioShock Show a Distopian Objectivist Society?
 .6 Religion in BioShock
 .7 A Gender Reading of BioShock
 .8 A Race Reading of BioShock
 .9 The Masks
 .10 Suggested World Timeline for Rapture

4.0 The Cast of BioShock
 .1 The Narrator
 .2 Andrew Ryan
 .3 Frank Fontaine
 .4 Atlas
 .5 Diane McClintock
 .6 Bridgette Tenenbaum
 .7 Dr JS Steinman
 .8 Sander Cohen
 .9
 .10 Sullivan
 .11 Marista Luska
 .12 Bill McDonagh
 .13 Dr Yi Suchong
 .14 Peach Wilkins
 .15
 .16
 .17

5.0 Significance of Locations in BioShock
 .1 The Lighthouse / Welcome to Rapture
 .2 The Medical Pavillion
 .3 Neptune's Bounty
 .4 Smuggler's Hideout
 .5 Arcadia
 .6 Farmer's Market
 .7 Fort Frolic
 .8 Hephaestus
 .9 Olympus Heights
 .10 Point Prometheus
 .11 The Proving Grounds
 .12 The Endings

6.0 Significance of Genetic Manipulation
 .1 "Smarter than Einstein and Stronger than Hercules!"
 .2 ADAM and EVE
 .3 Plasmids and Tonics
 .4

7.0 Significance of Enemy Types
 .1 Splicers
 .2 Automated Security Systems
 .3 Big Daddies And Little Sisters

9.0 Final Notes
 .1 Thanks and Contributors
 .2 Version History


+---------------------------------------------------------------------------+


1.0 INTRODUCTION
________________
So, finally, BioShock is out. Having read a lot about this game and been
blown away by the demo videos, this is a game I've anticipated the most in a
long time.

I wasn't disappointed. BioShock does have its flaws, but it has strengths that
trump those flaws ten fold. One key strength is the in-game narrative (aka
plot, but I prefer the term 'narrative') which sees BioShock offer a much
deeper experience than many other FPSs (and, let's face it, RPGs as well).
Although there is still the issue of 'go here, get the item, return'-type
quests, the diary tapes you find while doing so give a lot more insight
into life at Rapture and the people who shaped it, often making them more
than just 'Quest Giver 412'.

So, here we go - my stab at examining the narrative of BioShock and the
significance of its various characters / locations / features.


1.1 EMAIL POLICY
----------------
If I've made a mistake in this guide or you need some help, you can email me.
HOWEVER... please include "BioShock" in the email subject line
and or you run the risk of me mistaking if for spam. I can't always promise
that I will be able to help you, since once I finish a guide for a game I
usually put it away and forget about it. Asking me the exact steps to
finishing a level I last played 5 months ago isn't going to be successful.

Also, please don't email me about something that is already stated in the
guide (I HATE THAT!) unless I've been unclear or am incorrect. Finally,
if you need help, please be clear about what you help you need in the
email - the more detail I have, the better the chance I can do something
for you.


1.2 REPRODUCTION OF THIS GUIDE
------------------------------
You have my permission to reproduce this guide so long as 1) it is unaltered
and 2) the reproduction will be free to those who want it. So no slapping
your name on this and then charging people to read it, okay?

If you want to alter this guide for reproduction, please email me.


1.3 DIFFICULTY LEVEL
--------------------
This guide was mainly written from playing on Medium AND when I rescued all
the Little Sisters I found. I may add comments in after I replay BioShock
through after harvesting the Little Sisters.


1.4 THE AUTHOR'S EXCUSE
-----------------------
I'd like to point out here I am no expert on Objectivism or anything else I'm
going to include in this guide. I've read both "Atlas Shrugged" and "The
Fountainhead", along with several articles on Ayn Rand and Objectivism, but
I'm no expert or philosophy guru. This is purely a layman's interpretation of
what I've seen in the game.

That's my excuse if I get something wrong. :-)

Also (and I'll capitalise this for emphasis): THIS GUIDE IS CHOCK FULL OF
SPOILERS FOR BIOSHOCK. THERE IS MORE SPOILED CONTENT IN THIS GUIDE THAN IN
A BUTCHER'S SHOP WITHOUT REFRIDGERATION AFTER A WEEK-LONG HEATWAVE.


+---------------------------------------------------------------------------+


2.0 GENERAL NARRATIVE OVERVIEW
______________________________
This section covers the overall narrative of BioShock without going into too
much depth. If you want to know what happens in the game without having to
churn through stuff about Objectivism, here's your section.


2.1 WHAT HAPPENS IN BIOSHOCK?
-----------------------------
You (the Narrator) survive a plane crash that puts you in the water, with
a lighthouse being the only nearby place to swim to. Entering the lighthouse
you find a grand statue of Andrew Ryan along with the banner, "No Gods or
Kings. Only Man." and a bathysphere that takes you down to Rapture. Rapture
is an underwater city that Ryan has had built to house inventors and thinkers
free of the morality of the rest of the world.

Ryan had Rapture built in 1946, while the Narrator enters this city in 1960
and witnesses the many ways in which this society has broken down. Key to
this breakdown is the conflict between Frank Fontaine, head of an organised
crime ring, and Ryan. Fontaine, thanks to his sponsorship of Bridgette
Tenenbaum's research into ADAM, has control of a substance that greatly
enhances the human body's ability to use the Ryan Industries' created
Plasmids - controlled genetic enhancement that can, say, give someone
telekinesis, or make them faster and stronger - which is powered by a
substance called EVE.

Fontaine and Ryan have battled for control of Rapture while its inhabitants
have become addicted to ADAM and EVE. Rapture's inhabitants - now called
Splicers, since they've modified themselves up so much - are open to being
controlled by Ryan's manipulation of pheremones in the air supply;
Fontaine's people - the smugglers, the fishery workers - have been running
a pretty good guerilla campaign, assisted by people's general
dissatisfaction with Ryan (who treats Rapture as his own personal world)
and by providing cheaper black market goods. Another figure in this
'resistance' against Ryan is Atlas, who is the first person the Narrator
has any real interaction with in Rapture - Atlas contacts you via
a radio.

ADAM is generated by Little Sisters - little girls impregnated with a
sea slug and genetically modified / programmed to convert EVE into ADAM.
They are protected by Big Daddies - figures in large diving suits who
are among the toughest enemies in the game. The Narrator is given the
option of either harvesting the Little Sisters (which kills them but
delivers a larger immediate benefit) or saving them (which means it will
take longer for you to upgrade the Narrator). One big problem with ADAM is
that it requires greater and greater use to keep the physical and mental
deformaties it causes at bay - this isn't a problem for the Narrator, but
it certainly is a big factor behind the collapse of Rapture.

After experiencing the result of various 'geniuses' who have 'taken
advantage' of Rapture's relaxed views on morality (Dr Steinman, Sander
Cohen et al), you encounter Ryan, who reveals (*deep breath*) that you are
his illegitimate son (or at least his genetic material) who Atlas programmed
as an assassin before sending to the surface at the age of two and it
was you who caused the plane to crash near an entrance to Rapture and
Atlas has been using you as a meat puppet ever since and Ryan gives you his
golf club and asks "would you kindly" kill him. Which you do.

Following Ryan's death, you find out that Altas is really Fontaine and he is
able to use your programming against you. Once free of this, you end up
going after Fontaine, who injects himself with a massive amount of ADAM
and undergoes massive transformation when you face him. He comes at you in
three forms - a fire form, an ice form and an electrical form. It's up to
you to defeat him.

BioShock has two endings available - if you've saved the Little Sisters,
the Narrator returns to the surface and grows old surrounded by the
girls he's saved; if you've harvested the Little Sisters, the Narrator
takes control of Rapture and uses Splicers to potentially start a
war with the surface by taking control of a submarine armed with long-
range ballistic missiles.


2.2 WHAT'S THE TWIST?
---------------------
Two key twists are:

1) That the Narrator is Ryan's illegitimate son (or at least the genetic
material from Ryan's son) who Atlas psychologically programmed to crash a
plane near the entrance to Rapture and return to kill Ryan. You are
psychologically programmed to obey the phrase "would you kindly".

2) Atlas is really Fontaine, who is using the Narrator to get rid of Ryan.


2.3 THE MORALITY OF CHOICE
--------------------------
Despite the irony of the Narrator apparently being everyone's murderous
errand boy and having no choice over that, BioShock does have choice at
the heart of a key system: do you save the Little Sisters, which gains you
less of an important resource (ADAM) but has longer term benefits, or do
you harvest them, which kills the Little Sister but gives you a bigger
immediate benefit?

This is a choice that is purely in the hands of the player. It does impact
on the ending you see, but it also has implications for how the game
plays and how some characters react to you.


+---------------------------------------------------------------------------+


3.0 GENERAL THEMES IN BIOSHOCK
______________________________
BioShock contains a number of overall themes that appear within the narrative.
This section goes into some of the background surrounding these themes,
including the most important one - Objectivism. However, it is hard to talk
about Objectivism without going into some background about this ideology, so
I'm going to cover it first. If you don't want to read it / already know it,
commentary about BioShock will pick up in section 3.5 (Does BioShock Show a
Distopian Objectivism Society?).


3.1 WHAT IS OBJECTIVISM?
------------------------
I'm going to take this straight from Wikipedia, since it's going to do a
better job than I could.

"Objectivism is a philosophy developed by Ayn Rand that encompasses
positions on metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and aesthetics.

Objectivism holds that there is a mind-independent reality; that individuals
are in contact with this reality through sensory perception; that humans
gain objective knowledge from perception by measurement and form valid
concepts by measurement omission; that the proper moral purpose of one's
life is the pursuit of one's own happiness or "rational self-interest;"
that the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect
for individual human rights, embodied in pure, consensual laissez-faire
capitalism; and that the role of art in human life is to transform abstract
knowledge, by selective reproduction of reality, into a physical form - a
work of art - that one can comprehend and respond to with the whole of
one's consciousness."

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objectivism_%28Ayn_Rand%29, accessed
29 August 2007.

That's the long winded version. In general however, when people think
about Objectivism, they are thinking of two key things: 1) it's focus
on 'rational self-interest', and 2) it's basis in 'laissez-faire
capitalism'.


3.2 WHO IS AYN RAND?
--------------------
In short, Ayn Rand was the creator of the Objectivist philosophy and
her name is relatively closely referenced in BioShock's chief antagonist,
Andrew Ryan.

A short summary of her life and works:

"Ayn Rand, (February 2 1905 – March 6, 1982), born Alisa Zinov'yevna
Rosenbaum was a Russian-born American novelist and philosopher, best
known for creating a philosophy she named "Objectivism" and for
writing the novels "We the Living", "The Fountainhead", "Atlas
Shrugged" and the novella "Anthem". Her ideas have attracted both
enthusiastic admiration and scathing denunciation."

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayn_Rand, accessed 29 August 2007.

If you want to read more, there are whole reams of information about
Ayn Rand out there. Google is your friend.


3.3 WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIALS OF OBJECTIVISM?
-------------------------------------------
Yeah, a bit more on Objectivism. However, I really think this next
bit is going to provide more than enough information to cover the
discussion of the role of this ideology in BioShock. This is the last
block of material about Objectivism for a while, I swear, but I think
this is an easier read than the Wiki stuff:

"Ayn Rand named her philosophy "Objectivism" and described it as a
philosophy for living on earth. Objectivism is an integrated system of
thought that defines the abstract principles by which a man must
think and act if he is to live the life proper to man. Ayn Rand
first portrayed her philosophy in the form of the heroes of her
best-selling novels, The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged
(1957). She later expressed her philosophy in nonfiction form.

Ayn Rand was once asked if she could present the essence of
Objectivism while standing on one foot. Her answer was:

Metaphysics: Objective Reality
Epistemology: Reason
Ethics: Self-interest
Politics: Capitalism

She then translated those terms into familiar language:

"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed."
"You can't eat your cake and have it, too."
"Man is an end in himself."
"Give me liberty or give me death."

The basic principles of Objectivism can be summarized as follows:

Metaphysics
"Reality, the external world, exists independent of man's
consciousness, independent of any observer's knowledge, beliefs,
feelings, desires or fears. This means that A is A, that facts are
facts, that things are what they are—and that the task of man's
consciousness is to perceive reality, not to create or invent it."
Thus Objectivism rejects any belief in the supernatural—and any
claim that individuals or groups create their own reality.

Epistemology
"Man's reason is fully competent to know the facts of reality. Reason,
the conceptual faculty, is the faculty that identifies and integrates the
material provided by man's senses. Reason is man's only means of acquiring
knowledge." Thus Objectivism rejects mysticism (any acceptance of faith or
feeling as a means of knowledge), and it rejects skepticism (the claim that
certainty or knowledge is impossible).

Human Nature
Man is a rational being. Reason, as man's only means of knowledge, is his
basic means of survival. But the exercise of reason depends on each
individual's choice. "Man is a being of volitional consciousness." "That
which you call your soul or spirit is your consciousness, and that which you
call 'free will' is your mind's freedom to think or not, the only will you
have, your only freedom. This is the choice that controls all the choices
you make and determines your life and character."Thus Objectivism rejects
any form of determinism, the belief that man is a victim of forces beyond
his control (such as God, fate, upbringing, genes, or economic conditions).

Ethics
"Reason is man's only proper judge of values and his only proper guide to
action. The proper standard of ethics is: man's survival qua man—i.e., that
which is required by man's nature for his survival as a rational being (not
his momentary physical survival as a mindless brute). Rationality is man's
basic virtue, and his three fundamental values are: reason, purpose,
self-esteem. Man—every man—is an end in himself, not a means to the ends of
others; he must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others
nor sacrificing others to himself; he must work for his rational self-
interest, with the achievement of his own happiness as the highest moral
purpose of his life." Thus Objectivism rejects any form of altruism—the
claim that morality consists in living for others or for society.

Politics
"The basic social principle of the Objectivist ethics is that no man has
the right to seek values from others by means of physical force—i.e., no
man or group has the right to initiate the use of physical force against
others. Men have the right to use force only in self-defense and only
against those who initiate its use. Men must deal with one another as
traders, giving value for value, by free, mutual consent to mutual benefit.
The only social system that bars physical force from human relationships is
laissez-faire capitalism. Capitalism is a system based on the recognition of
individual rights, including property rights, in which the only function of
the government is to protect individual rights, i.e., to protect men from
those who initiate the use of physical force." Thus Objectivism rejects any
form of collectivism, such as fascism or socialism. It also rejects the
current "mixed economy" notion that the government should regulate the
economy and redistribute wealth.

Esthetics
"Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist's
metaphysical value-judgments." The purpose of art is to concretize the
artist's fundamental view of existence. Ayn Rand described her own approach
to art as "Romantic Realism": "I am a Romantic in the sense that I present
men as they ought to be. I am Realistic in the sense that I place them here
and now and on this earth." The goal of Ayn Rand's novels is not didactic
but artistic: the projection of an ideal man: "My purpose, first cause and
prime mover is the portrayal of Howard Roark or John Galt or Hank Rearden
or Francisco d'Anconia as an end in himself—not as a means to any further
end.""

From: http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=objectivism_essentials,
accessed 27 August 2007.


3.4 THE AUTHOR'S VIEW ON OBJECTIVISM
------------------------------------
Following the above sections, there is a chance some elementss of the
readership (those not thinking "So what?" anyway) might think this is
some sort of pro-Objectivist piece, designed from the start to sucker
people into joining the Ayn Rand Institute.

So, here's my view on Objectivism: it's not a practical ideology. Being
focused on rational self-interest is a nice idea, but it ignores the fact
that not everyone can only care about themselves and expect things to get
done. Yes, there is the idea of trading for mutual benefit and the like,
but this doesn't allow for services such as the police, fire brigade or
healthcare, where arguably it is infeasible for people to pay for the
rights to have access to these services. Privatised fire brigades have
been done before and no one is happy when a fire truck drives right by a
burning house that hasn't payed for its protection.

My other big complaint with Objectivism is that it has no long-term view -
it cares only for what can be created today. There is some assumption that
whatever is created today by brilliant inventors who work only for
themselves will somehow benefit everyone and that we shouldn't care about
what happens in twelve months time. This kind of thinking leads to the
development of products / materials that may have long-term negative
consequences for use on personal health or environmental resources.

In short, I can see the superficial attraction of Objectivism, but can see
the large downsides of a world full of individualists doing what they think
is best as they see fit. In short, Objectivism falls over because it does
not play nice with others - what happens when my rational self-interest
impedes on your rational self-interest? In works such as "Atlas Shrugged",
great men and women recognise the work of other great men and women as
though it is automatically obvious to see. They see these people as
kindred spirits. This doesn't translate to the real world. Many great
thinkers and inventors have banged heads and attempted to destroy each
other, both professionally and personally (Edison against Tesla springs
to mind here).

There needs to be a balance between Collective and Individual rights in
my opinion - Objectivism is too focused on the rights of the individual
to be an applicable philosophy through which to view the world.

Also, before we get into the Christian bits - I'm an athiest.

Got all that? Great - let's talk about BioShock.


3.5 DOES BIOSHOCK SHOW A DISTOPIAN OBJECTIVIST SOCIETY?
-------------------------------------------------------
Simple answer: yes. The developers say it does... or at least shows a
distopia that arises from a collapsing society built on Objectivist ideals.

Long answer: No, I don't think so. BioShock shows a collapsing society, but
it is arguably collapsing because it wasn't Objectivist enough.

Before you write your angry emails - I'm not saying that Rapture wouldn't
be in the state it's in if Objectivism had been strictly adhered to.
It very well could have collapsed (and, in my belief, probably would have).
However, there is plenty of evidence within BioShock that this society hasn't
adhered to Objectivism as it has been described, so placing all the blame at
Objectivism's feet for what goes on across the course of the game is misguided.

Andrew Ryan starts off as the Randian hero in many ways - visionary,
resourceful, inventive, indifferent to what others think of his actions and
completely inflexible in what he does. However, he is very quick to see force
used (in the forms of torture and capital punishment) for those he sees as
"criminals" and "parasites", which is in violation of Objectivism's rejection
of such force. Were he more Objectivist, he should have simply expelled these
people from Rapture and returned them to the surface. He doesn't do so because
he's paranoid about the CIA / KGB discovering his little world and is
obviously afraid that someone is going to come down and ruin his God complex.

Additionally, Ryan certainly removes the people of Rapture's ability to act
in rational, self-interested ways by controlling them through the use of
pheremones in the air supply.

As such, Ryan is arguably a control freak in Objectivist clothing - he may
believe and be able to talk about his Objectivist ideals (e.g. the power
of the market, the propganda posters located around Rapture, The Great Chain),
but when it comes to actually putting them into practice and dealing with some
competition, be clamps down via force. Rapture is his world and he doesn't
share. Perhaps the banner in the Lighthouse would better read, "No Gods. No
Kings. Only Me." as it pertains to Ryan's attitude towards Rapture.

Rapture also contains a number of non-Objectivist systems - there is a police
force, poor house and orphanage. A purely Objectivist society shouldn't need a
police force - it wouldn't be necessary if the people living in Rapture were
living up to the ideals stated in Section 3.3. Facilities such as a poor house
and orphanage are also arguably too altrustic for an Objectivist society -
surely such things at least border on being parasitic on the greater society?
It turns out that these things (run by Fontaine, a criminal) are actually
fronts for other things (i.e. the creation of Big Daddies and Little Sisters)
but arguably they should not exist at all within an Objectivist society. At
best, Rapture appears to have been a mixed system anyway (i.e. only partly
Objectivist), which is something Rand would have rejected as being workable
(or worthwhile).

Another big sign that Rapture isn't a house where Objectivism lives is the
fact that ghosts can be seen at certain points by the Narrator. Objectivism,
with its "A is A", things-can-be-measured rejection of the supernatural, has
no place for ghosts, so that they appear in Rapture at all tends to suggest
that Objectivism is absent. Sure, there is mention of the ghosts being
part of 'genetic memory', but even the source of that information is a bit
incredulous that such a thing could happen.

*UPDATE: Stephen Deininger indicated that the genetic memory issue stands up
due to the audio diary information, which is (from ShadowsDieAway's excellent
Audio Diary Guide):

42  McDonagh - Seeing Ghosts

	Seems like some poor blighters have started seeing ghosts. Ghosts! Ryan
	tells me it's a side effect of this plasmid business. One poor sod's
	memories getting passed on to another through genetic sampling. Leaks.
	Lunatics. Rebellion. And now bleeding ghosts. Ain't life in Rapture
	grand?

I still don't see it being quite as simple as that, because the ghosts you
see are mostly directly linked to the narrative. Why doesn't the Narrator
experience the people of Rapture doing day-to-day things, like dancing or
talking or in better times? The ghosts provide information that is directly
useful to the in-game narrative. I can't accept ghosts as being purely genetic
memory because the ghosts you see are too specific. Case in point: Ryan's
murder of Jasmine Jolene. Having looked at Ryan, he doesn't look spliced up.
In fact, it appears that Ryan knows that ghosts are a potential consequence
of splicing, so why would he splice himself and allow his memories to be
potentially accessed by the populace? Especially the brutal murder of his
mistress? I recognise that the ghost serve as a narrative conceit, allowing
us to witness scenes that the Narrator wasn't there for, but I can't
accept "genetic memory" because it strikes me as too lazy an answer.

My final comment about the lack of Objectivist thinking in Rapture is the
appearance of two different religions. Christian icons and symbols appear in
some locations of Rapture, while the idle rich citizens of this city appear
to have taken up in a more debaucherous, probably blood-thirsty cult and
become Houdini Splicers as a result (see Section 3.6 for a greater
discussion of this). An Objectivist society wouldn't have God (or gods)
as part of its social fabric.

Does BioShock have Objectivist elements? Absolutely. But I think it is hard
to argue in any detail that Objectivism is what went wrong (or was the cause
of what went wrong) in Rapture. The slow collapse of Rapture is due to a
mixture of human pride, fear and greed - the same combination of emotions that
have been the downfall of many societies. That these factors have combined
in a world that lives under the facade of being Objectivist does not mean
that it is the philosophy that is directly to blame for the collapse.


3.6 RELIGION IN BIOSHOCK
------------------------
*UPDATE - I've renamed this section from "Christian Symbols in BioShock" to
its current title since I'm going to also cover a bit more of the pre-
Christian references that can be seen in BioShock here.

Sitting along side all that Objectivism is quite a bit of Christian
iconography and symbolism. Although he probably named it with a sense of
irony, the mere fact that Ryan called his underwater city "Rapture" - a
Christian event where the righteous are summoned up to Heaven, leaving the
sinners behind for judgement - shows a link back to Christianity. However,
like Objectivism, Christianity hardly gets a positive showing in BioShock.

The first time the Narrator sees a Christian influence in BioShock is at the
entrance to Neptune's Bounty - a corpse remains of someone who has been
hanged, arms tied out reminiscent of being crucified, the word "Smuggler"
painted above their head and a Bible in the briefcase at their feet. An
Objectivist society would reject religion, but they wouldn't go stringing
people up like this.

(*UPDATE: AlphaHumana commented that the bodies in Dr Steinman's operating
room are also shown as being crucified, which you see before you reach
Neptune's Bounty. I can see this point, but I found the placement of a
Bible at the feet of a figure who has been crucified to be have a much
stronger Christian symbolism than they do when the crucified bodies
around Dr Steinman.)

As the Narrator progresses, they will come across other Christian icons -
stacks of Bibles can be found, along with crucifixes, in many areas of
Neptune's Bounty. Certain splicers will sing "Jesus Loves Me" in halting
tones. Given that Neptune's Bounty is the fishery area of Rapture - arguably
one of the most working class locales the player will experience - is also
the most religious is interesting. The character that ties this together is
Fontaine - he runs the docks AND the smuggling. I don't think it is a long
bow to draw to say that Fontaine is using the religious supplies somehow
within his smuggling operation - likely to hide more illicit contraband.
Fontaine is an Irish gangster from the 1940's (I'm assuming he came down
shortly after Ryan opened Rapture), so it is likely he would be an Irish
Catholic gangster at that. He'd know from previous experience that relgion
isn't a bad shield to hide behind since it tends to set people at ease (or,
perhaps in Rapture, dismissive without examining things more closely).

*UPDATE: Michael Buchheim asked the question (my wording) "if Rapture is
so Objectivist, wouldn't Ryan ban Bibles / crucifixes and thus mean that
Fontaine is actually smuggling such things in instead of using them as cover?"

Possibly. However, I don't think that Ryan would (at least initially) outright
ban Bibles or crucifixes. He wants people to think for themselves, so
having a Bible that could be used for academic purposes probably wouldn't
be illegal. Worshipping using such implements would probably be illegal though.
Besides, what value is there in a Bible compared to (say) illegal drugs or
other contraband? Fontaine would be going after the big score - masking
such actions under the appearance of altruism is par for the course with him.
It's been suggested that perhaps he was using Christianity as a way of
undermining Ryan's Objectivist society, but given that Fontaine never mentions
the role of Christianity (whereas he does mention the role of the poorhouses
and the orphanage) I can't see that being a particularly important part of
his platform to gain control of Rapture.*

BioShock uses Christian symbols quite dismissively in other areas as well.
The use of the terms "ADAM" and "EVE" is one such example, as are the
Biblical references used as names for vending machines and merchant venues.
That the Narrator encounters EVE before ADAM is a bit of a change to the
legend, but BioShock certainly adheres to the mythos that ADAM and EVE are
nearly inseparable. The fact that scientists are using ADAM and EVE to
rewrite the human genetic code in (an underwater) paradise is heavy with
symbolism - arguably the collapse of Rapture is partly a result of people
being tempted once too often. (More on ADAM and EVE in Section 3.7 below.)

Vendor names such as Gatherer's Garden (an Eden reference) and Eve's
Garden XXX also indicate that Rapture society mocks Christian values
and symbols.

Another issue showing the lack of Christianity within Rapture is the
appearance of the Saturnine, who appear to be an alcohol-fueled nature cult
who may also engage in blood sacrifice - their makeshift altars would suggest
this
is the case. This kind of bacchanalian group brings to mind a druidistic,
pagan group who would follow a pre-Christian belief system; the kind of
group that was seen in "The Wicker Man" (with Edward Woodward, not Nic Cage)
certainly sprang to my mind on seeing the woven figures who spotaneously
burst into flame when you get near them.

*UPDATE: vonpoon was kind enough to send the following bit of information in -

"Saturn was a very mainstream god in ancient Rome, and was considered
to be the god of agriculture and the harvest.  In that sense, a group
calling themselves the Saturnine would obviously be drawn to the
closest thing Rapture has to farms.  I found the choice of name kind
of odd, though, since the description of their rituals seem closer to
depictions of the worship of Bacchus than Saturn, and even then I
don't think blood sacrifice was common to the worship of any Roman
gods.

However, one interesting thing to note about worship of Saturn in
ancient Rome is that the principal festival, the Saturnalia, was
celebrated in December.  It was customary to give and receive small
gifts amongst family and friends during Saturnalia, i.e. it was pretty
much Roman Christmas.  There is a (frequently disputed) theory that
early Christians positioned Christmas to compete with the Romans'
Saturnalia (or later, similar feasts such as Sol Invictus), or
possibly vice versa.  So in a way, even the pagan group in Rapture may
be a backhanded Christian reference."

This is interesting in reference to BioShock, because it potentially sets
a key festival that may have been important to the Saturnine at the end of
December, which coincides with the collapse of Rapture's society. (I'm
not saying that the Saturnines were any more responsible for what happened
on New Year's Eve 1958 than the rest of the Splicers, but they certainly
appear to be a powerful group, if small in number, and would certainly have
helped foster disorder if they attacked other Rapture inhabitants).

There is also plenty of pre-Christian references within BioShock which
may suggest why the Saturnine may have had a foothold in this society. Names
like Olympus Heights, Hephaestus and Arcadia are all powerful names that
link Rapture to some sort of idealised world that is ruled by gods. Given
that within Rapture throwing lightning bolts and being "stronger than
Hercules" were all very real capabilities, I can certainly see how adopting
a bastardised form of pre-Christian belief could become very attractive to
certain groups of people.

In short, Christian symbols appear throughout BioShock, but they've been
co-opted - by Fontaine, who is likely using it to hide his smuggling
operation, by merchants who are using the names irreverrantly, by
scientists who are (and I hate this term) playing god with genetics. If
you were of the right persuasion, you could probably argue that what
happens in Rapture is a result in any society that lacks an organised
morality structure such as Christianity... but I'm not that kind of person.

On the plus side, Irrational Games appears to have steered away from putting
into BioShock the most hoary of all religious cliches - the evil or
fallen priest (at least, I didn't see one). Cheers to Irrational Games for
that!

*UPDATE - gKaiser wrote in to say that Suchong's use of the term "Lot" for
naming his plasmid batches can potentially be tied in with the biblical
story of Lot, who offered his daughters to a mob in order to protect two
angels who were staying at his home in Sodom / Gommorah. I certainly can
see an argument that sees Rapture as a city that has moved away from god and
has daughters (the Little Sisters) involved in protecting "angels" (ADAM).

*UPDATE - Several people have wrote in to say that I didn't mention the
Lazarus Vector as part of the above discussion (DrIchthus and
Diehanddieverletzt got there first). This is true - my oversight. Lazarus
(the more famous version, anyway) was a man Jesus Christ resurrected from
the dead after he had been buried. Within Rapture, the Lazarus Vector is
a compound that would bring trees back to life in order to help produce
more oxygen.



3.7 A GENDER READING OF BIOSHOCK
--------------------------------
To be completely honest, I hate gender readings, because they so often seem
to boil down to who is the most unfairly treated. Face it: no-one in Rapture
comes across really well, regardless of gender.

A potential gender reading of BioShock could take issue that ADAM (the male)
is much more uncommon and valuable than EVE (the female) and the Narrator
goes through EVE in a disposable manner. Also, rather than female coming from
the male (i.e. Eve from Adam's rib), BioShock reverses the gender role in
having the male (ADAM) emerge from the female (Little Sisters), which is fatal
to the female if you want the greatest immediate male benefit.

However, there is another factor at play here - ADAM physically deforms you
and eventually causes psychosis if you can't get enough of it. EVE appears to
be harmless (I don't think there is any mention of EVE overdoes or it causing
the same problems that ADAM does).

In terms of enemies you face, Splicers are pretty gender neutral. You'll fight
a mix of obviously male and female Splicers of all kinds. The only male-only
Splicer I can remember seeing are Nitro Splicers... but they aren't
particularly common in Rapture anyway.

*UPDATE: Shay Willard wrote in to indicate that female Nitro Splicers exist,
even if just in a rare circumstance in Olympus Heights. Chris Bolts indicated
that they may also exist elsewhere in the game, but are rare.

Within the game, all the sub-bosses are male. All the powerful figures are
male. It is fairly obvious that Rapture is a masculine-orientated society
patterned after gender relations circa 1946 (listen to some of the overhead
announcements / advertisements, with a female voice listing "free men" as an
advantage of being in Rapture, or a strong, self-assured male telling an
unsure female that she should ease her worries by going shopping and then go
to the football game). However, before anyone gets their feminist blood up -
all of these males are powermad and / or insane. Ryan is a paranoid control
freak. Dr Steinman is a surgery addicted butcher under the guise of creating
physical art. Sander Cohen is an insane artist who sends you around to take
pictures of the people you kill for him. And so on. Let's just say: the
men of BioShock aren't the kind you'd want to emulate.

Although there are fewer female characters in BioShock, they are definitely
more sympathetic. Two key female characters within BioShock that the narrator
interacts with are Tenenbaum and botonist Julie Langford. As a German
scientific "wunderkind", Tenenbaum discovered ADAM and helped create the
Little Sisters, but this (eventually) awoke a frightening maternal instinct
in her and she realised what she did was wrong. She is the one who asks you
to save the Little Sisters and who will reward you if you do. Tenenbaum
is also key to saving the Narrator after the death of Ryan.

Julie Langford, who the Narrator only sees for a short time before being
killed by Ryan, is a botonist who developed defoliation weapons during
World War II who is being paid by Ryan to create a forest that will create an
oxygen supply for Rapture. She is not insane or power-crazed - she has
simply locked herself in her laboratory to keep people / Splicers away from
her research. On seeing that Ryan has attempted to poison her trees, she
provides help to the Narrator (which immediately causes her death at the
hands - well, gas vents - of Ryan). She provides the Lazarus Vector - a
secret formula that the Narrator must collect ingredients for - that allows
the reversal of Ryan's attempt to poison the forest.

Other female characters who appear (via voice recording) include Marista
and Diane McClintock. Marista is a mother who's daughter has been turned
into a Little Sister, which is incredibly distressing for her (especially
since her daughter no longer recognises her). It appears that this familial
loss, together with the collapse of Rapture society has driven her and her
husband to commit suicide together. You can find them embracing on a bed in
Room 7 of the Fighting McDonaghs inn (in a scene I found sadly touching).
Diane McClintock is the jilted girlfriend of Andrew Ryan who was injured in
a Resistance-caused explosion and who went under Dr Steinman's knife. You
can also see Diane's ghost a few times - she certainly led an unhappy
existence, bouncing from one overly controlling man (Ryan) to an overly
deceitful one (Atlas / Fontaine).

In summary, a gender reading would see Rapture filled with insane masculine
meglomaniacs and with female figures often held captive (literally or
figuratively) by such a society. Male characters tend to stride rapidly
forward, no matter the cost, while female characters tend to be more
reflective (and even apologetic) about what happened in Rapture.


3.8 A RACE READING OF BIOSHOCK
------------------------------
I hate doing race readings too, for similar reasons to why I hate gender
readings of narratives. This one'll be quick:

Apart from Dr Suchong (who I believe is a Chinese scientist) all the
characters in BioShock are caucasian. Different varieties of caucasian -
Irish, German, American, Eastern European, etc - but caucasian none-the-less.
Make of that what you will.

*UPDATE: To slightly modify the above statement, there is a Hector
Rodriguez who appears as a mini-boss in Fort Frolic. A name like that would
likely see him having a Latino heritage. However, I don't believe his
physical appearance is any different to other Caucasian Nitro Splicer
characters.


3.9 THE MASKS
-------------
demoniam has kicked off this section when he sent in the following message:

"Butterflies often represent change, as in the change of the citizens,
from their normal state, to their disfigured, ADAM crazed selves.
Also in many cultures the butterfly is a symbol of death.

Rabbit masks could possibly be an allusion to Lewis Carroll's
Adventurers of Alice In Wonderland (1864).  A wonderful story in
which a little girl follows a rabbit into a world where things are
not at all what they seem.  This world is both wonderful and
horiffic.  Rapture mirrors this as a wonderful (plasmid "super
powers", built in an impossible location, a technological/architectural
wonder for 1940's time) and horrible (crazed splicers, death, destruction)."

From an in-game perspective, the masks within Rapture are so prevalent on
Splicers due to Rapture's organised society collapsing on New Year's Eve
1958, at which point a lot of the more well-off citizens of Rapture were
attending a masquerade ball at the Kashmir restaurant. Although there are
some fairly generic masks, there are some quite distinctive rabbit / bunny
masks, cat masks and butterfly masks. It seems that Sander Cohen was likely
the source of the masks' theme, given the large rabbit mask he has hanging
in Fort Frolic.

(For a visual reference of the butterfly mask, here's a link:

http://au.media.xbox360.ign.com/media/793/793105/img_4609617.html

You can also see the large rabbit mask (as well as cat masks and spider
slicers wearing rabbit masks) in this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk8G8a1IIL8)

The reason that, at least 12 months later, the citizens of Rapture are still
wearing masks is stated by Atlas: "I wonder why they wear the masks? Maybe
it's because they have a shred of humanity left, and they're ashamed of
what they've become." (Taken from http://bioshock.wikia.com/wiki/Enemies on
16 September 2007) The masks help hide the deformities of the previously
rich and attractive. (On a side note: workers, football players and police
officers who are splicers don't get to wear any masks, meaning you could
set up a class discussion regarding personal identity within Rapture, but
I feel I've already wandered all over those kinds of things above, so I'll
skip that one.) So we know the "why" for the wearing of the masks.

But what is the significance of the types of masks? What do rabbits, cats
and butterflies have in common? I can see two main threads to follow:

1) Cats, rabbits and butterflies are all symbols of life and fertility. In
Egypt, the cat goddess Bast was linked to (among other things) fertility and
protection. Rabbits / hares have long been associated with fertility, being
seen in ancient Greece as attributes of Aphrodite, goddess of love and
sexuality. Butterflies (along with being representative of change) are
symbols of rebirth - the repeating cycle of the caterpillar becoming the
chrysalis becoming the butterfly - as part of life. The fact that these
life-affirming symbols are being fixed to the faces of those belonging to
a dead / dying society such as Rapture is certainly an interesting contrast
in what is actually happening to their world and how the inhabitants may
be potentially deluding themselves about what is going on. (Commentary on
symbols above used _The Complete Dictionary of Symbols in Myth, Art and
Literature_ editted by Jack Tresidder as a reference)

2) A more general link between these three types of animal is that they
are all creatures associated with the freedom of the open air. Cats live a
very independent lifestyle and can come and go as they please, rabbits are
creatures of the open field and butterflies go where the wind carries them.
These creatures aren't bound by strong responsibilities or held in place
by social structures. This must be very appealing to a group of people
trapped in a claustrophobic metal world for more than a decade and who
are defined by what they do as a job.

I find it very telling that none of the masks are of sea creatures - it may
be that Rapture's inhabitants have gotten over the charm of living under the
sea and would much rather be able to experience the freedom under a natural
sun again.


3.10 A SUGGESTED TIMELINE FOR BIOSHOCK
--------------------------------------

1945 - World War II ends; May 8 was V-E day (Victory Europe), August 15 was
V-J day (Victory Japan)

1946 - Ryan opens Rapture November 5 (which suggests he had started construction
during World War II; Rapture would have been very attractive to those who
believed that WWII would see the rest of the world destroyed)

1958 - It is most likely that some point in 1958 that Fontaine sends Jack
(the Narrator) up to the surface to execute his mission

     - A newspaper dated 12 September indicates that "Ryan Smashes Smuggling
Ring" and that Fontaine and the smugglers had been killed in a firefight

     - At the New Year's Eve Party (31 December) the society of Rapture
reaches the tipping point and boils over into widespread civil disorder as
Fontaine lets loose his army (thanks to nathaniel turner for pointing out I
had 1959 down as the date)

1959 - Fontaine uses the persona of Atlas and uses his Poor House as a source
of his resistance army

1960 - The plane carrying the Narrator crashes near an entrance to Rapture
(I can't recall there being a date for this crash, but I can't see Rapture
being more than a month or so on from New Year's Eve, especially if
it has only just started to leak)

*In the real world, Objectivism saw a rapid growth of popularity in the US
in the 1960s, which only started to decline in the 1970s.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objectivist_movement, accessed on 31
August 2007


+---------------------------------------------------------------------------+

4.0 THE CAST OF BIOSHOCK
________________________
This section covers the characters who are given voice within BioShock.
Some have a lot to say, others offer only small pieces of the puzzle - I'll
do my best to cover them all.

I'm going to quote audio diary entries from ShadowsDieAway's excellent
Audio Diary Guide for the relevant people. I'll include the diary number
next to the quote so that you can cross reference these guides if required.
ShadowsDieAway's Audio Diary guide can be found on Gamefaqs.com BioShock
page. In using these diaries, I've attempted to put some sort of
chronological order on them in order to provide a context for them, but
in many cases I'm just guessing.


4.1 THE NARRATOR
----------------
The point-of-view the player controls, who also provides a few statements
here and there. His name is Jack, which can be seen on a package he's
holding on the plane before it crashes. (Moral of the story: if your name
is Jack, please stay away from air travel.)

On Jack's wrists are a tattoo of a chain - this is believed to possibly
represent 1) the Narrator's role as a link in Ryan's 'Great Chain' belief
of society, and / or 2) that the Narrator is actually a slave to Rapture /
Ryan / Fontaine. I'd also like to suggest that the pattern on the Narrator's
white jumper - which is visible during certain animations - also resembles a
series of chain links. As a bit of trivia - such patterned jumpers were
developed by Scottish fishing communities to help identify the bodies of
sailors lost at sea. Washing up a month after falling overboard might not
leave much that would be easy to identify in terms of the flesh, but the
uniquely patterned jumper (or even a part of it) allowed for proper
identification and burial.

The chain tattoo is most likely from Fontaine and serves a practical purpose -
to identify the returning person when they re-enter Rapture, since purely
visual recognition could be flawed - and as a metaphoric joke - Fontaine
is laughing at Ryan's Great Chain by making his genetic son a slave to his
will.

If you want to know what the Narrator looks like, it is probably pretty
similar to the unnamed photo in the middle of Ryan's "would you kindly"
montage. Given that everyone else in that montage is named and important
to the "would you kindly" scheme, I think it is pretty safe to say that
the picture at the centre of it is that of Jack.

Thinking about it, Jack is a man of two sets of parents - Jolene and Ryan
are his biological parents, while Fontaine and Tenenbaum are his
'birth' parents, and those who shape his destiny, telling him he will
be responsible for great things. Interestingly, both of the mothers are
fairly absent of maternal love - Jolene sold what would be Jack off
for money, while Tenenbaum never expresses any interest in you - while
both Ryan and Fontaine are actively interested in you since you are the
closest thing to a son that either of them ever had. Although both have
a weird, twisted paternal love for Jack, both of them allow Jack closer
to them than they have any other in Rapture.

As for the name Jack - it is a good hero's name that is, at the same
time, very generic. Given what we find out about Jack's upbringing,
his name was probably a vague afterthought of his creators.

On a final note - while the bad ending shows Jack appearing to take
control of nuclear missiles in order to perhaps start a war with the
surface, the good ending shows that following his experiences in
Rapture, what Jack wants most of all is exposure to real, honest-to-god
love given to him by a family. Given what happens to him in Rapture,
this is probably not too surprising.


4.2 ANDREW RYAN
---------------
Andrew Ryan looms throughout BioShock from pretty much the moment you start -
his looming statue stands over you the moment you enter the Lighthouse.

According to the "Making of BioShock" interviews, Andrew Ryan was actually
born in Russia and emmigrated to the United States (which is why he refers to
himself as Andrei in one tape you come across). This makes his already stong
links to Ayn Rand (who was also born in Russia and came to the US) even
stronger.

Also in Randian fashion, Ryan is very anti-religion, calling the Bible "the
book of lies" at one point. Another Rand link is that the logo for Ryan
Industries
is reminiscent of Atlas holding up the world - a reference to Rand's novel
"Atlas
Shrugged".

In a similar vein to "Atlas Shrugged", Ryan is acting as the Destroyer,
taking the best and brightest minds away from the rest of the world and
giving them their own areas to play in. Unfortunately for Ryan, the results of
his actions don't mirror those of John Galt - where in "Atlas Shrugged" it is
the rest of the world that falls apart when the geniuses go missing, in
Rapture it is the society of geniuses who end up collapsing into civil
disorder.

Ryan's personal narrative within Rapture is that of a personal dream that
spirals out of control and into chaos. It is during this sprial that Ryan
abandons all of his Objectivist principals and goes after control of Rapture
by any means necessary. He is very much an Objectivist inventor in the Randian
mold, with grand vision and ability, but complete inflexibility in dealing
with other people regarding his views. Instead of dealing with those who
may disagree with him, he constructs a giant undersea world that will be his
sanctuary, away from those he sees as "parasites" on his great ideas and
inventions.

Ryan gets a number of audio diaries. A number of them are arguably just
Objectivist propaganda / the statement of his ideology, such as:

6   Andrew Ryan - Parasite Expectations

	On the surface, the Parasite expects the doctor to heal them for free,
	the farmer to feed them out of charity. How little they differ from the
	pervert who prowls the streets, looking for a victim he can ravish for
	his grotesque amusement.

or

66  Andrew Ryan - The Great Chain

	I believe in no God, no invisible man in the sky. But there is something
	more powerful than each of us, a combination of our efforts, a Great
	Chain of industry that unites us. But it is only when we struggle in our
	own interest that the chain pulls society in the right direction. The
	chain is too powerful and too mysterious for ant government to guide.
	Any man who tells you different either has his hand in your pocket, or a
	pistol to your neck.

(There are a few of these - I'll leave only those two as examples. They sound
very close to the key Howard Roarke speech in "The Fountainhead" - take a look
at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zc7oZ9yWqO4 for the film version of this speech)

The more interesting Ryan audio diaries are those that involve Fontaine and
show his slide from Objectivist creator of Rapture to its despotic ruler.

Early on, Ryan fails to see the potential threat that Fontaine, ADAM and
plasmids
have to him and Rapture. He still firmly believes in the Great Chain and that
the
market will solve any and all problems.

34  Andrew Ryan - Working Late Again

	Diane, my dear I'm sorry but I'll be late again tonight... Rosenberg is
	demanding to speak about this Fontaine business. I'm trying to build a
	proper financial market and this idiot keeps going on about Adam this
	and genetic modification that. I'll go spend an hour pretending to pay
	attention to the poor fellow and be home as soon as I can. -Andrei

48  Andrew Ryan - Offer a Better Product

	Gregory, don't come whining to me about market forces. And don't expect
	me to punish citizens for showing a little initiative. If you don't like
	what Fontaine is doing, well, I suggest you find a way to offer a better
	product.

46  Andrew Ryan - The Market is Patient

	There has been tremendous pressure to regulate this plasmid business.
	There have been side effects: blindness, insanity, death. But what use
	is our ideology if it is not tested? The market does not respond like an
	infant, shrieking at the first sign of displeasure. The market is
	patient, and we must be too.

After a period of time though, Ryan must see that trouble is brewing. Despite
publically proclaiming that he isn't going to do anything, privately he is
worried about Fontaine and what Fontaine Futuristics are doing. In truth, they
have passed him by - while he was building infrastructure, Fontaine was creating
a whole new industry and one that everyone in Rapture wants part of. Knowing of
Fontaine's smuggler connections, it is likely that at this point he chooses to
start implementing a "big government" approach to Rapture and starts ordering
smugglers be executed. He refuses to doubt himself or reflect on his actions,
which only sees him move further away from his original Objectivist ideals and
more toward that of a dictator.

95  Andrew Ryan - Great Chain Moves Slowly

	Is there blood in the streets? Of course. Have some chosen to destroy
	themselves with careless splicing? Undeniable. But I will make no
	proclamations, I will dictate no laws. The Great Chain moves slowly, but
	with wisdom. It is our impatience that invites in the Parasite of big
	government. And once you've invited it in, it will never stop feeding on
	the body of the city.

26  Andrew Ryan - Watch Fontaine

	This Fontaine fellow is somebody to watch. Once, he was just a menace,
	to be convicted and hung. But he always manages to be where the evidence
	isn't. He's the most dangerous type of hoodlum... the kind with vision.

22  Andrew Ryan - Fontaine Must Go

	Something must be done about Fontaine. While I was buying buildings and
	fish futures, he was cornering the market on genotypes and nucleotide
	sequences. Rapture is transforming before my eyes. The Great Chain is
	pulling away from me. Perhaps it's time to give it a tug.

118 Andrew Ryan - Mistakes

	Could I have made mistakes? One does not build cities if one is guided
	by doubt. But can one govern in absolute certainty? I know that my
	beliefs have elevated me, just as I know that the things I have rejected
	would have destroyed me. But the city... it is collapsing before my...
	have I become so convinced by my own beliefs that I have stopped seeing
	the truth? Perhaps. But Atlas is out there, and he aims to destroy me,
	and destroy my city. To question is to surrender. I will not question.

31  Andrew Ryan - Death Penalty in Rapture

	The death penalty in Rapture! Council's in an uproar. Riots in the
	streets they say! But this is the time for leadership. Action must be
	taken against the smugglers. Any contact with the surface exposes
	Rapture to the very Parasites we fled from. A few stretched necks are a
	small price to pay for our ideals.

By this point, Fontaine Futuristics has been nationalised (an exceptionally
un-Objectivist thing to do and an act that brings to mind the nationalisation of
the San Sebastian rail line in "Atlas Shrugged" - an act that was meant to
provide
the Mexican Government with wealth since someone else paid for the construction,
only for it to be discovered the mine that the line had been built to service
was worthless) so Suchong works for Ryan Industries. By this time, Fontaine is
"dead", but has been replaced by Atlas - this makes the date likely to be early
in
1959.

The fact that Ryan has nationalised another business shows exactly how far he
has fallen, given that earlier he boasted in a radio message that he'd
previously burned a forest he'd owned to the ground when a government body had
tried to force him to let the public use it (which was a very Howard Roarke
thing to do, given that he burned a house to that had incorrectly used his
architectual plans in "The Fountainhead").

By this point, Ryan has thrown out any Objectivist social leanings, instead
prefering to control Rapture society directly. However, he is still the
businessman, and has worked on the Gatherer's Garden concept to better
distribute plasmids.

62  Andrew Ryan - Desperate Times

	Doctor Suchong, frankly, I'm shocked by your proposal. If we were to
	modify the structure of out commercial plasmid line as you propose, to
	have them make the user vulnerable to mental suggestion through
	pheromones, would we not be able to effectively control the actions of
	the citizens of Rapture? Free will is the cornerstone of this city. The
	thought of sacrificing it is abhorrent. However... we are indeed in a
	time of war. If Atlas and his bandits have their way, will they not turn
	us into slaves? And what will become of free will then? Desperate times
	call for desperate measures.

115 Andrew Ryan - Marketing Gold

	I'll admit Fontaine showed some foresight when he built up the plasmid
	business, but the man really never understood sales. Hiding those little
	girls beneath a bushel. I've just seen the preliminary design work on
	the new plasmid machines, and they're exactly what I wanted. Mark my
	words- presented property, those little sisters are marketing gold.

Of course, by this point it is too late. Rapture has spun out of control and
is no longer a working society. Machines are breaking down, sea water is
starting
to get in and the populace is either insane or dead. Ryan is left a ruler who
can trust no-one and lives locked away in Rapture Central Control. His former
friends and councillors are now dead, speared to the wall in his "trophy room"
after a failed attempt to kill him in order to stop the civil war.

It is into this scenario that the Narrator arrives. Ryan initially thinks that
the Narrator must be a CIA or KGB spy, but due to the Narrator's lack of
immediate exit from Rapture and his association with Atlas, Ryan starts to
question the Narrator's purpose in Rapture. Starting to put two and two
together, Ryan works out that the Narrator is actually his genetic
offspring, thus setting up his "greatest disappointment" and the result of a
long-term scheme of Fontaine's. Ryan doesn't want to fight his son (I believe
that Ryan's strength of feeling towards his offspring is shown by his murdering
of Jasmine Jolene after he finds out she sold a fertilised egg to Fontaine -
it's
not a good kind of feeling, but Ryan has to feel immensely betrayed that his
mistress sold his son to his worst enemy) so lets the Narrator come face-to-face
with him.

I don't think that Ryan is fully aware of Fontaine's plot to use the Narrator
against him until long after the Narrator arrives in Rapture. It is very likely
that Ryan had discovered bits and pieces of the scheme, but it wasn't until he
realised the "would you kindly" control phrase along with who you were that
he understood what was coming in his direction.

The death of Andrew Ryan is a widely debated narrative point within BioShock.
Did Ryan want to die? Was it a form of suicide? In my opinion, no. Ryan didn't
want to die. But he couldn't accept that his son - his genetic offspring -
was a slave. In handing his golf club to the Narrator, Ryan starts his mantra
of "A man chooses. A slave obeys.". Ryan wants the Narrator to break his
cognitive programming and make a decision on his own; unfortunately for Ryan,
the programming can't be broken so easily and he is beaten to death.

However, given that the Vita-Chambers in Rapture are keyed to Ryan's genetic
sequence and someone as smart as Ryan had to have a least one back-up escape
plan, I don't see Ryan's death as being permanent. Especially since BioShock
has sold well enough for their to be more sequels published.


4.3 FRANK FONTAINE
------------------
Frank Fontaine is the lynchpin around which everyone thing in BioShock
revolves. However, he is also the most secretive and unreliable character,
so looking for details about him in-game can be difficult.

It has been noted that Fontaine is pretty close to "Fountainhead" (another of
Rand's books is "The Fountainhead"), with Fontaine translating to "fountain"
in old French. Another link to Fontaine is the french poet Jean de la
Fontaine (1621 - 1695), who is most famous for translating and popularising
Aesop's fables - fables that often showed people / animals / characters
being humbled (or worse) due to their inability to use common sense or
see beyond their personal needs.

Fontaine's role in Rapture is as Ryan's direct competitor for control of
Rapture and also as possibly another flawed Randian hero. Fontaine
certainly appears to follow the ideal of rational self-interest and belief
in the market, while also marketing the greatest discovery within Rapture -
ADAM. However, he is also more than willing to use murderous force when
it suits his goals and also uses altruism as a front in order to exploit
the poor and vulnerable in his poorhouses and orphanages. Although
Ken Levine, creative director of BioShock, has said that Fontaine believes
in "nothing" (interview:
http://www.shacknews.com/featuredarticle.x?id=539&page=1)
I strongly disagree with that assessment. Fontaine believes in his
individual self-interest just as much as Ryan does. Fontaine is not a
nihilist - if he truly believed in nothing, he'd be happy to see Rapture
collapse - so much as he is completely selfish; Fontaine's opinion is that
his self-interest is worth more than anyone else's in Rapture.

In terms of timing, Fontaine has been in Rapture for 12 (?) years, making
his arrival there some time in 1948. It appears that his first business
was Fontaine Fisheries in the Neptune's Bounty area and was a legitimate
source of income; however, it probably coincided with his development of
the smuggling network. Fontaine is a conman going back a long way, with
his greatest joy being the running of a "long con" on a group of smart
people. In Rapture, he finds the possibility of running the longest
con of all against some very clever individuals for a very big prize at
the end; his joy in pulling it off is evident when he continually
gushes to the Narrator about how clever he after the death of Ryan.

But to pull back from that part a moment ... Fontaine has been clever
in managing both his legitimate and illegitimate businesses and keeping
himself clean in both. However, it is likely that he is one of many
such businessmen - there is certainly enough evidence of other fishmongers
(Lotz and Sons) and other businesses in Rapture. It is also very likely
that the authorities are starting to note him as a person of interest for
his involvement in smuggling. However, fortune smiles on Fontaine when
Tenenbaum, unable to get development funding from legitimate research
sources, turns to the smugglers to help her develop ADAM. Fontaine sees
the huge potential of ADAM in the market and a partnership is born.

40  Frank Fontaine - Kraut Scientist

	Spent the morning jawing with that Kraut scientist. She's damaged goods,
	all right. Just like all those chumps they scraped out of them prison
	camps. But she's no crackpot... she's gonna make me the kinda scratch
	that'll have Ryan look like he's runnin' a paper route. She just needs
	some supplies to get the ball rolling... and a friend to watch her back.

Fontaine sets up Fontaine Futuristics as demand for ADAM increases and
recruits Suchong, who works on the plasmid side of the business. The money
and power follows as Fontaine moves from fish merchant to high technology
tycoon. He still keeps his fingers in his illegal pies, but by this point
he matches Ryan for importance and power within Rapture society.

However, this isn't enough for Fontaine. He wants it all. He wants to
take ADAM out of the closed market of Rapture and into the outside world.
And the only way to do this is to get rid of Ryan and take over Rapture.

Setting a timeline for this point is hard. It's difficult to work out at
what point Tenenbaum started work on ADAM, joined up with Fontaine and
for how long Fontaine Futuristics was started before Fontaine's 'death',
so I won't try to guess based on the information I have. Having set up
Fontaine Futuristics, Fontaine also sets up his poorhouses and Little
Sister orphanages - the poorhouses serve as a recruiting ground for
both experimentation for plasmids and for building a fighting force,
the orphanages are used to create Little Sisters and keep the ADAM
flowing. Rapture would have been closed off to the rest of the world for
a while now, and it is obvious that certain proportion of its citizens
are unable to find work if there is enough demand for a poorhouse.
In exchange for food, Fontaine gets the loyalty of the poor - exactly
what he wants.

107 Frank Fontaine - Sad Saps

	These sad saps. They come to Rapture, thinking they're gonna be captains
	of industry. But they all forget that somebody's gotta scrub the
	toilets. What an angle they gave me- I hand these mugs a cot and a bowl
	of soup, and they give me their lives. Who needs an army when I got
	Fontaine's Home for the Poor?

(He also shows off his faux-altruistic side through the Fontaine
Futuristics-developed Power to the People weapon upgrade consoles.)

The other thing that Fontaine has found time to do is obtain a human
egg fertilised by Ryan from his mistress, Jasmine Jolene. Again, the
timing on this is hard to pin down exactly, but I suspect that he
obtained this a year or two before Rapture collapses, if only to
provide time for Tenenbaum to extract the egg (before falling out with
Fontaine over the Little Sisters), for Suchong to do the required work
and for Fontaine to put his plan into action. It's an assumption, but
I believe it's fair to say that Fontaine didn't start out with the
plan of sending Jack out of Rapture, but had a plan to use this "ace
in the hole" at some point to get past Ryan's genetically-orientated
protections. At some point before Ryan and the Council came crashing
down on Fontaine, Fontaine came up with the plan to disguise Jack as a
'topworlder' and throw all those who knew about his plan off the scent
(except Tenenbaum, who helped put the two-year old Jack into the
bathyscape). At some point after this (and Jack may even had been the
straw that broke the camel's back) Tenenbaum has a falling out with
Fontaine and stops working for Fontaine Futuristics.

106 Paparazzi - Fontaine's Breakup

	Looks like things have gone busto between Fontaine and his little German
	beanpole. Why a guy like Fontaine would waste his time with that spooky
	Kraut when he could be gettin' the gravy from any dish he chooses is
	beyond the understanding of this paparazzi. Even reset the door code to
	5744, maybe to be double-sure that beanpole don't sprout up in his yard
	again...

What is certain is that by 1958, Ryan sees Fontaine as a real threat.
Being unable to catch him legitimately - none of Fontaine's people will
talk, even under torture, while Fontaine is smart enough not to be
caught in anything compromising - Ryan and the Council of Rapture
stage a full scale assault of Fontaine's smuggling operation.
During this assault, Fontaine is 'killed' (more than likely this
was set-up by Fontaine as part of his con - although he could
have just got lucky and decided to lie about how clever he
was) and the smuggling ring is 'smashed'.

112 Frank Fontaine - The Longest Con

	Frank Fontaine: Never play a man for the short con when you can play 'em
		for the long one. Atlas is the longest con of all. Ryan wanted
		Frank Fontaine Dead, I just gave him what he wanted. As Atlas,
		I got a new face, a clean record, and a fresh start. Now it's
		time to take back Rapture and-
	Diane McClintock: ...Ryan did. I can't wait to tell Atlas. He'll be so
		pleased...
	Frank Fontaine: Uhh, Miss McClintock... what are you doing here? Let me
		just turn this off...

Which leaves Fontaine free and in the clear to become Atlas, champion
of the people and leader of a resistance against an increasingly
unpopular Ryan. Atlas probably started before Fontaine's 'death',
but he really steps into the limelight after this point. Ryan's
increasingly heavy-handed tactics make Atlas more popular, which
in turn sees Rapture society head further and further into a civil
war.  Which all plays into Fontaine's hands, because he's pulling
the strings. After all, what he really wants is control of the
ADAM, and if the easiest way is for the population of Rapture to
kill themselves off so that the Little Sisters can harvest the
corpses, so be it.

Plus he knows that, some point soon, Jack will be returning to
Rapture. (As a personal note, I see it has a huge plot hole that
Fontaine, smart guy that he is, decides the best way to get Jack
into Rapture is via a plane crash into the ocean. Is Fontaine
completely unaware of how dangerous that action is or how there
are many safer options for getting Jack to Rapture... for example,
a boat that mysteriously sinks near the Lighthouse? The plane
crash is a great entry for the player to BioShock, but a lousy
plan for Fontaine.)

Jack returns to Rapture and is played like a violin by Fontaine
all the way through. The whole point to the "save my family"
bit is designed to 1) make Ryan look very bad in Jack's eyes and
2) to provide the player with a foil for "why am I meant to kill
this Ryan guy who's done nothing to me?". The death of Fontaine's
'family' (I didn't see them, but apparently the exploding
bathyscape does leave bodies behind) is probably due more to
Fontaine than Ryan - Ryan simply sends some Spicer Splicers
Atlas' way, but Fontaine has plenty of time and the opportunity
to plant some explosives to guarantee a dramatic scene.

Following that part, the Narrator heads on up to the point of
meeting (and beating) Ryan. Having made sure that the Narrator
has reset Rapture's auto-destruct system (another thing that
having Ryan's genetic son was useful for - looks like Fontaine
understood exactly where your strengths lay, Ryan), Fontaine
is compelled to drop the Atlas act and tell the Narrator how
clever he is. Fontaine has played the long con and has won.
At this point, he assumes that the Narrator will be easy to
bump off via some simple commands via the "would you kindly"
system that has worked so well thus far. And if that doesn't
work, there is always the "Code: Yellow" command that will
slowly yet surely kill Jack.

However, following Tenenbaum's interference and his subsequent
loss of control over Jack, Fontaine gets very nervous. He
threatens to blow Rapture up himself and, when the Narrator
gets too close, injects himself with enough ADAM that he
ends up looking like one of the large humanoid art deco
statues that can be seen elsewhere in Rapture.

Of course, this isn't enough - the Narrator uses a Little
Sister needle to extract the ADAM from Fontaine. The final
blow comes from the Little Sisters, who stab Fontaine with
so many ADAM extraction needles that his death is assured.

As a recap - Fontaine is a thug and a manipulator, but he
is also the only one to take golden opportunities missed by
other, more supposedly intelligent people. In comparing him
and Ryan, I see two sides of a very similar coin - whereas
Fontaine was willing to be ruthless from the very beginning
when it suited him, Ryan became brutal relatively quickly
following in the increasingly pressured role of running
Rapture. Fontaine would at least use guile and persuasion
to get what he wanted - Ryan decided that if people wouldn't
listen to him immediately, he'd have them hanged. Both are
responsible for the state of Rapture, a paradise lost, on
the arrival of the Narrator into this world.


4.4 ATLAS
---------
Atlas (if you aren't aware of "Atlas Shrugged" at this point in the guide,
I'm sorry, but I can't help you) is a pseudonym cooked up by Fontaine to
build a resistance against Andrew Ryan. Atlas is covered in detail in section
"4.3 Frank Fontaine" above, but I thought is fair to separate out the two
names in case someone looked at my guide index and felt it spoiled the
game for them by accident.

The persona of Atlas is that of a charismatic populist leader, who, on the
surface of it, only wants the people of Rapture to be able to look after
themselves. Obviously the truth of it is much darker.

I won't include any radio quotes from Atlas, since he is pretty straight-
forward in what he wants you to do... "would you kindly" as the irresistable
control phrase and all that.


4.5 DIANE MCCLINTOCK
--------------------
If there is any character that deserves sympathy in BioShock, it is Diane
McClintock. Her experiences reflect those of Rapture - originally
romanced by Ryan, her subsequent disfigurement on New Year's Eve 1958 sees
her abandoned by an increasingly distant lover and left to fend for herself.
This isolation sees Diane walk straight into the influence of Atlas, which,
in turn, sees her death at his hands.

Stood up on New Year's Eve 1958 (when Ryan is possibly off seeing his mistress
Jasmine Jolene) Diane is caught in a blast set off in or near the Kashmir
Restaurant. The blast leaves her alive, but disfigured.

1   Diane McClintock - New Year's Eve Alone

	Another New Year's, another night alone. I'm out, and you're stuck in
	Hephaestus, working. Imagine my surprise. I guess I'll have another
	drink... here's a toast to Diane McClintock, silliest girl in Rapture.
	Silly enough to fall in love with Andrew Ryan, silly enough to- *sound
	of a raid and people screaming* What... what happened... I'm bleeding...
	oh, god... what's happening...

Her injuries worked on by Steinman (before he's gone off on his own surgery
addiction tangent), Diane recovers, only to find that Ryan is no longer
there for her. Ryan is now obsessed with protecting Rapture, no matter what
the cost is.

3   Diane McClintock - Released Today

	Dr. Steinman said he'd release me today. Ryan didn't come to see me
	since the New Year's attack. Not once. But Dr. Steinman was very
	attentive. He told me that once the scar tissue was gone, he was going
	to fix me right up. Make me prettier than any girl I've ever seen. He's
	sweet all right... and so interested in my case!

49  Diane McClintock - Heroes and Criminals

	I couldn't believe how much things had changed since I left Dr.
	Steinman's office. It's like I don't even recognize Rapture no more. I
	hear they've been rounding up people in 'pollo Square... I asked Ryan
	how could he do such things to innocents. He said, 'Innocents? If they
	haven't chosen to defend Rapture, they've chosen to side with Atlas and
	his bandits. So there are no innocents. There are heroes, and there are
	criminals.'

Left alone and with plenty of time on her hands, Diane decides to visit Apollo
Square and reconcile her feelings of anger for what happened to her with those
accused / involved with those who were responsible for the explosion that
disfigured her. To her horror, she finds ordinary people being persecuted under
Ryan's draconian regime. Her view of Ryan / Rapture shaken, she is
completely vulnerable to the safe, reassuring words of Atlas, so ends up
joining his resistance. In truth, Atlas is probably taking advantage of her
to learn more about Ryan, rather than any concern for her well-being.

67  Diane McClintock - Stood Up Again

	Stood up! Again... Second time this week. Ever since my face was...
	Steinman worked on me, but it was never the same since the blast...
	Being alone so much gives a girl time to think. Who could hate me so
	much they'd ruin me like this? What did I do to them? I keep thinking of
	all them bandits and terrorists Ryan's got locked up in 'pollo Square
	and I get so mad... sometimes I can hardly breathe... if I could only
	confront them, tell them what they did to me, how they're ruining
	everything for me, for Rapture... maybe I'd... well, maybe I'd feel
	better.

108 Diane McClintock - What's Happening Here?

	I was so angry when I came down here, but... my god... I had no idea...
	there's armed men all over the place... I saw a woman climb over the
	fence trying to escape... one of Ryan's guards pointed at her, and she
	lit on fire... just like that. What's happening here?

109 Diane McClintock - Atlas Lives

	I bribed one of the gorillas at the gate to let me in. It's awful in
	here... to my right, I can see a dead woman lying in the street...
	everybody's just walking by her, like she isn't there. But I noticed
	something, spray-painted everywhere... 'Atlas lives.' I don't know what
	it means, but something tells me it's important to these people...

111 Diane McClintock - Meeting Atlas

	The people here have grown to trust me... Ryan's mistress, and still
	they take me in! They finally brought me to Atlas. Without him, the
	people of 'pollo Square would give up. I asked him if he was going to
	lead the people in some kind of uprising against Ryan. He sighed and
	said, 'I am not a liberator. Liberators do not exist. These people will
	liberate themselves.' I thought Andrew Ryan was a great man. I was a
	fool.

Unfortunately for Diane, she stumbles in on Fontaine recording a diary entry
cooing over how clever he is. He can't take the chance that she heard the
wrong thing - Atlas brutally murders Diane in Fontaine's Home for the Poor.
The fact that the desk that is Diane's final resting place is broken under
her could indicate that Fontaine has been splicing himself with strength
tonics.

113 Diane McClintock - Today's Raid

	We went on a raid outside the wire today. We snagged 31 rounds of
	buckshot, 4 frag grenades, a shotgun, and 34 Adam. We lost McGee,
	Epstein and Vallette. We got one of those goddamn Big Daddies in the
	bargain, though. It was something awful what they had to do to that
	little girl to get the Adam, but we didn't start this thing. Ryan did. I
	can't wait to tell Atlas. He'll be so pleased...

112 Frank Fontaine - The Longest Con

	Frank Fontaine: Never play a man for the short con when you can play 'em
		for the long one. Atlas is the longest con of all. Ryan wanted
		Frank Fontaine Dead, I just gave him what he wanted. As Atlas,
		I got a new face, a clean record, and a fresh start. Now it's
		time to take back Rapture and-
	Diane McClintock: ...Ryan did. I can't wait to tell Atlas. He'll be so
		pleased...
	Frank Fontaine: Uhh, Miss McClintock... what are you doing here? Let me
		just turn this off...

So ends the sad life of Diane McClintock. Used up and disposed of by two men she
believed in, her tale is probably the most straight-forward yet revealing about
how Rapture society changed after New Year's Eve 1958.


4.6 BRIDGETTE TENENBAUM
-----------------------
(A thank you to Adam Taylor who pointed out that Tenenbaum's first name can
be found in her apartment and is Bridgette)

Bridgette Tenenbaum is the discoverer of ADAM, which makes her a key player
in the narrative of Rapture. Her origin indicates that she started her
scientific career as a 16 year-old prisoner at a German prison camp as
one of the prisoners. Why she is there is unclear - 'Tenenbaum' may have
Jewish links, but she doesn't mention her parents or what happened to them,
so it is just as likely she has been rounded up as part of general population
clearing if she was living in a orphanage or was an itinerant. Regardless, her
natural ability of scientific interpretation is of such quality that she is
recognised as a wonder child and drafted into the Nazi scientific war effort.
(It is to this extent that Tenenbaum's links to a Jewish inheritance is
questionable, since at the time Jews in all scientific endeavours were being
replaced by Germans on grounds of 'racial hygiene'; as such, it is likely that
Tenenbaum was a destitute German citizen who has been rounded up, or someone
who played down her Jewish heritage, in order to get her new position in the
prison.)

Regardless of heritage, Tenenbaum is a natural scientific genius with regards
to genetics.

7   Tenenbaum - Love for Science

	I was at German prison camp only of sixteen years old when I realize I
	have love for science. German doctor, he make experiment. Sometime, he
	make scientific error. I tell him of this error, and this make him
	angry. But then he asks, 'how can a child know such a thing?' I tell
	him, 'Sometimes, I just know.' He screams at me, 'Then why tell me?'
	'Well,' I said, 'if you're going to do such things, at least you should
	do them properly.'

13  Tenenbaum - Useless Experiments

	At the German prison camp they put me to work on genetic experiments on
	other prisoners. They call me 'Das Wunderkind', the wonder child.
	Germans, all they can talk about is blue eyes, and shape of forehead.
	All I care about is why is this one born strong, and that one weak?
	This one smart, that one stupid? All that killing, you think the Germans
	could have been interested in something useful?

Assuming that Tenenbaum was in the camp during the early part of World War II,
she would have been in her early 20s by the time the war ended. With interest
in particular types of German scientists high from those who wished to recruit
them and those who wished them to stand trial for the horrific experiments
that they had performed (please see _Hitler's Scientists: Science, War and the
Devil's Pact_ by John Cornwall which goes into the breakdown of scientific
ethics in Nazi Germany as well as describing some of the experimentd conducted
on human guinea pigs), I'm sure that Rapture looked like a good middle ground
to her.

However, it seems that Rapture didn't initially have much need for a
geneticist, given that she wasn't able to find work in labs and appears to have
spent her days wandering the docks of Neptune's Bounty and getting to know
the smugglers. This let her discover a sea slug that would unlock Rapture's
ability to manipulate every aspect of their genes.

23  Tenenbaum - Finding the Sea Slug

	I saw one of the smugglers having a game of catching on the docks today.
	And this surprised me, because his hands were crippled during the war.
	He was unloading the barge the other day when he was bitten from this
	sea slug. He woke up the next morning and he found he could move his
	fingers for the first time in years. I asked him if he still had that
	sea slug. As luck would have it, he did...

28  Tenenbaum - Adam Discovery

	This little sea slug has come along and glued together all the crazy
	ideas I've had since the war... if doesn't just heal damaged cells,
	it... resurrects them... I can bend the double helix... Black can be
	reborn white, tall short. Weak, strong... But the slugs alone are not
	enough... I'll need money... and one other thing...

However, no serious scientific lab will touch Tenenbaum's discovery. Perhaps
it is because she has no formal training, perhaps it is because they won't
with former Nazi scientist, perhaps it was just that Tenenbaum didn't
present the potential of her discovery well enough - whatever the reason,
Tenenbaum is only able to obtain the money and resources she needs from
the smugglers (led by Fontaine). However, that is all she needs to get to
work and fully unlock the potential of ADAM.

30  Tenenbaum - Fontaine's Smugglers

	As the respectable labs have all turned me away, I have turned to
	Fontaine's smugglers in Port Neptune for supplies. Fontaine's men are
	pigs. They spit, they stink. But they deliver and they don't ask
	questions. They're all terrified of Fontaine... he reminds me a bit of
	the Germans- so efficient. It wouldn't surprise me if he were soon
	running things down here.

Tenenbaum's research into ADAM is successful and she has discovered a
substance that can re-write the human genetic code. It is not a discovery
without drawbacks - ADAM is unstable, causing mental and physical deformity if
not regularly used in greater doses. (It is probably this angle that Fontaine
sees the value in - the addictive drug nature of ADAM - rather than its genetic
effects.)

However, in order to produce enough ADAM, Tenenbaum needs that "something else"
-
she needs hosts to produce more ADAM through a symbiotic implantation (or
impregnation, if you want to look at it that way). Unfortunately, only children
are capable of being successful impregnated with the sea slugs and Fontaine has
set up his Little Sister's Orphanages to provide a steady stream of hosts. That
ADAM is harvested from the vomit of young girls who have been forced into a life
of slavery is probably the most morally unsettling thing you will come across in
the BioShock narrative.

As for "why girls?", I think that Fontaine has picked the weakest, most
vulnerable
citizens of Rapture for the role. Young boys may have been a bit harder to
handle (in Fontaine's eyes, anyway) whereas he would probably see young girls
as more easy to manipulate.

64  Tenenbaum - Adam Explained

	Adam acts like a benign cancer, destroying native cells and replacing
	them with unstable stem versions. While this very instability is what
	gives it its amazing properties, it is also what causes the cosmetic and
	mental damage. You need more and more Adam just to keep back the tide.
	From a medical standpoint, this is catastrophic. From a business
	standpoint, well... Fontaine sees the possibilities.

45  Tenenbaum - Mass Producting Adam

	The augmentation procedure is a success. The slugs alone could not
	provide enough Adam for serious work. But combined with the host... now
	we have something. The slug is embedded in the lining of the host's
	stomach and after the host feeds we induce regurgitation, and then we
	have twenty, thirty times the yield of usable Adam. The problem now is
	the shortage of hosts. Fontaine says, 'Patience, Tenenbaum. Soon the
	first home for Little Sisters will be open, and that problem will be
	solved...

114 Tenenbaum - Why Just Girls?

	I know why it has to be children, but why just girls? This I cannot
	determine why, but I know it is so. Fontaine says 'ah, one less bathroom
	to build in the orphanage'. It is amazing to watch the effect of Adam on
	their small bodies. Their own cells, replaced by the new stems the
	instant they are damaged. These children are practically invulnerable.
	It is a shame you could not do the same thing to an adult. There would
	be quite a market for a man you could not kill.

While Tenenbaum works at perfecting ADAM, Fontaine hired Dr Yi Suchong, a more
classically trained geneticist, to work on developing the plasmids. Suchong
holds
a mixed view of Tenenbaum, but certainly doesn't doubt her genius.

19  Suchong - Plasmids are the Paint

	Tenenbaum... sometimes I pity the little freak. Such a tiny
	imagination... Content to sit there with her tanks of Adam, tweaking
	and optimizing. I need to create... Adam is a canvas of genetic
	modification... but plasmids are the paint.

102 Suchong - Mozart of Genetics

	That's quite a little monster Fontaine's dug up. When she does speak,
	which is almost never, her accent is thick and grating. Her hair is
	filthy and she seems to wear the same mustard-stained jumper day after
	day. But I've got to hand it to Frank: Tenenbaum is the all-time
	diamond in the rough. No formal training, no experience... but put her
	in front of a gene sequence, and she's Mozart at the harpsichord.

Incidently, it is the above passage that makes me think that Tenenbaum may have
been an orphan or itinerant most of her life. She is indifferent to her
appearance
and is apparently quite a silent person, used to possibly being invisible. It's
not solid proof, but I believe that Tenenbaum wasn't unfamiliar with being
dispossessed and alone in the world.

Over time, Tenenbaum's work with ADAM starts to eat away at Tenenbaum's ability
to continue at Fontaine Futuristics. She had been able to look the other way
when it came to Nazi experimentation, but in Rapture she was looking her
subjects
right in the eye. Her actions are starting to haunt her, possibly because she
has come to empathise with the Little Sisters. She has started to hate herself.

65  Tenenbaum - Functional Children

	The children must remain functional to be effective producers of Adam. I
	had hoped we place them into vegetative state, so they would be more
	pliable. I find being around them very uncomfortable. Even with those
	things implanted in their bellies, they are still children. They play,
	and sing. Sometimes they look at me, and they don't stop. Sometimes
	they smile.

57  Tenenbaum - Maternal Instinct

	What makes something like me? I look at genes all day long, and never do
	I see the blueprint of sin. I could blame the Germans, but in truth, I
	did not find tormentors in the Prison Camp, but kindred spirits. These
	children I brutalized have awoken something inside that for most is
	beautiful and natural, but in me, is an abomination... my maternal
	instinct.

61  Tenenbaum - Hatred

	One of the children came and sat in my lap. I push her off, I shout,
	'Get away from me!' I can see the Adam oozing out of the corner of her
	mouth, thick and green. Her filthy hair hanging in her face, dirty
	clothes, and that dead glow in her eye... I feel... hatred, like I never
	felt before, in my chest. Bitter, burning, fury. I can barely breathe.
	And suddenly, I know, it is not this child I hate.

At some point prior to her exit from Fontaine Futuristics, Tenenbaum is
involved in extracting the egg (fertilised by Ryan) from Jolene. She has some
small hand in Fontaine's plan at this point, but in a much more limited role
than Suchong. According to Fontaine, Tenenbaum is there when the Narrator is
sent to the surface; how reliable this information is depends on how much you
can trust the source.

Regardless, at some point (likely 1958, since the Paparazzi note that Fontaine
has changed his keycode for his appartment since Tenenbaum left, meaning it
occurred before he 'died') Tenenbaum leaves Fontaine's employ. Instead, she
sets up a hidden orphanage and develops a plasmid that can undo a Little
Sister conversion. Tenenbaum is working to atone for her sins.

When the Narrator arrives in Rapture, your first meeting with Tenenbaum sees
her provide you with a plasmid that can rescue the Little Sisters and turn
them back to young girls. Her next major impact is to help you recover from
Fontaine's mind control plasmids and to guide you in going up against
Fontaine. She also serves as the narrator for the ending scenes. She is
the only character I can think of that you encounter who doesn't end up
dead by the end of the game.

Tenenbaum is very much the great discoverer who comes to question the cost
of her discovery on its smallest victims. Perhaps she does this too late
(it is certainly too late to stop Fontaine's plans against Ryan) but that
she does take the step away from coldly following scientific experimentation
rationales to asking the ethical question of whether she should be doing
something just because she can shows her as perhaps the only character in
BioShock who evolves a greater societal / moral perspective as the in-game
narrative progresses. Given that she survives the events of BioShock without
dying would suggest to me that perhaps this late grasp at redemption was
enough to avoid karmic retribution for her actions.


4.7 DR JS STEINMAN
------------------
Steinman is the first mini-boss that the player will come across and is
arguably competing with Sander Cohen for the Mr Most Mentally Disturbed
award for 1960. He is a gifted surgeon who's use of ADAM has seen him walk a
dark path into surgery addiction and possibly body dimorphic disorder (also
called body dysmorphism disorder) (BDD).

The possibility of ADAM excites Dr Steinman in many ways. Being able to
alter humans on the genetic level excites him because it will make the work
of a doctor easier and more effective. However, it is important to note that
the first audio diary we get from Steinman indicates that he believes that
it is up to the individual to decide what they want change, not the doctor.

4   Steinman - Adam's Changes

	Ryan and Adam, Adam and Ryan... all those years of study, and was I ever
	truly a surgeon	before I met them? How we plinked away with our
	scalpels and toy morality. Yes, we could lop a boil here, and shave down
	a beak there, but... but could we really change anything? No. But Adam
	gives us the means to do it. And Ryan frees us from the phony ethics
	that held us back. Change your look, change your sex, change your race.
	It's yours to change, nobody else's.

However, that respect for individual choice doesn't last long, especially as
Steinman starts to see himself less as a doctor and more of an artist. It is
strongly likely that Steinman has been using ADAM himself (indicated by his
increased health bar / ability to resist damage when you fight him) over a
long period of time, which has seen Steinman bloom into a full scale
psychopath. It is most likely the collapse of order in Rapture has helped to
accelerate this psychosis, which sees Steinman hole up in the Medical
Pavillion.

He abandons the Hypocratic Oath (there is a harsh irony in the
statement "Above all, do no harm" being written in a patient's blood on the
floor - a 'blood oath' he has broken) and replaces with the idea of
aesthetic ideals ("Aesthetics are a morale imperative"). Steinman has taken
a very literal view Objectivist aesthetic ideals - art that depicts humankind
as it should be but placed in the world as it is - while abandoning any kind
of morality or duty to his patients.

However, by this point, Steinman believes the only duty he has is to beauty
(as he envisions it, anyway) and that Aphrodite herself has appeared to him.
I interpret his audio diaries as though he believes that Aphrodite has quite
literally appeared to him - I don't believe he is being metaphoric at all
about the encounters he describes. Long before this point Steinman has started
to cut and shape his patients without their permission - surgery addiction at
work - and after talking with Aphrodite he has decided to abandon the principle
human basics of symmetry in order to achieve (unreachable) perfection.

The fact that Steinman mentions he has used a scalpel and ADAM to reshape
himself together with his abandonment of the rules of human symmetry suggests
to me that he is suffering from a form of body dysmorphism disorder - a mental
condition that, in it's most extreme cases, leaves sufferers "believ[ing]
that some part or area of their body is misshapen, asymmetrical, wrongly sized,
or ugly." (from: http://www.homestead.com/westsuffolkpsych/BDD.html
on 25 September 2007). Lesser forms of this condition leave sufferers wanting
parts of their body changed to 'improve' their appearance, sometimes in ways
that violate symmetrical human design. It is hard to pin down exactly, since
sufferers of BDD aren't always easy to pick, but it is likely those those
suffering BDD are more likely to commit suicide, seek plastic surgery (perhaps
even multiple surgeries, or repeated surgeries on the same body part) or
self-mutilate (from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_dysmorphic_disorder on 25 September 2007).
Steinman may not have a typical case of BDD - he sees the imperfections in
others
rather than himself - but he certainly appears to be showing some of the same
symptoms of BDD. Together with his surgery addiction, this has left Steinman
as a very dangerous individual in a collapsed society.

5   Steinman - Higher Standards

	Adam presents new problems for the professional. As your tools improve,
	so do your standards. There was a time, I was happy enough to take off
	a wart or two, or turn a real circus freak into something you can
	show in the daylight. But that was then, when we took what we got, but
	with Adam... the flesh becomes clay. What excuse do we have not to
	sculpt, and sculpt, and sculpt, until the job is done?

17  Steinman - Not What She Wanted

	Steinman: Four-oh silk and ...done.
	Nurse: The nose looks terrific, Doctor Steinman ...Doctor?
	Steinman: You know, looking at it now... I didn't realize how much her
		face sags... Scalpel...
	Nurse: Excuse me?
	Steinman: Scalpel!
	Nurse: Uh, doctor, she's not booked for a face lift...
	Steinman: Let's just come in here and... *starts whistling*
	Nurse: Doctor... Stop cutting... Doctor, stop cutting... Get me the
		chief of surgery! Get me the chief of surgery NOW!!!

8   Steinman - Limits of Imagination

	I am beautiful, yes. Look at me, what could I do to make my features
	finer? With Adam and my scalpel, I have been transformed. But is there
	not something better? What if now it is not my skill that fails me...
	but my imagination?

10  Steinman - Surgery's Picasso

	When Picasso became bored of painting people, he started representing
	them as cubes and other abstract forms. The world called him a genius!
	I've spent my entire surgical career creating the same tired shapes,
	over and over again: the upturned nose, the cleft chin, the ample
	bosom. Wouldn't it be wonderful if I could do with a knife what that old
	Spaniard did with a brush?

15  Steinman - Symmetry

	Today I had lunch with the Goddess, 'Steinman,' she said... 'I'm here to
	free you from the tyranny of the commonplace. I'm here to show you a new
	kind of beauty.' I asked her, 'What do you mean, goddess?' 'Symmetry,
	dear Steinman. It's time we did something about symmetry...'

16  Steinman - Aphrodite Waking

	Aphrodite is walking the halls - shimmering, like a scalpel...
	'Steinman,' she calls, 'Steinman! I have what you're looking for! Just
	open your eyes!' And when I see her, she cuts into me a thousand
	beautiful pieces.

When you encounter Steinman, he is failing in yet another experiment in
'perfection' on another poor victim. He sees you as hideously ugly (due to your
normal appearance) and attacks with a machine gun. Fortunately for you (and
probably the rest of Rapture) the Narrator kills him and ends his insane quest
for an unreachable aesthetic ideal.


4.8 SANDER COHEN
----------------
Sander Cohen is Ryan's pseudo-official artist-in-residence in Rapture -
although there are other artists in Rapture, it is Cohen who has Ryan's ear.
Cohen has taken control of Fort Frolic by the time the Narrator arrives in
Rapture and has turned it into area of grotesque performance art murders.




*MORE TO COME, WITH ANYTHING IN THIS GUIDE SUBJECT TO REVISION ONCE I'VE HAD
LONGER TO DIGEST AND REVIEW THE GAME NARRATIVE*


+---------------------------------------------------------------------------+


5.0 SIGNIFICANCE OF LOCATIONS IN BIOSHOCK
_________________________________________
This section is going to discuss the locations of Rapture and the symbolism
/ features they contain.


5.1 THE LIGHTHOUSE / WELCOME TO RAPTURE
---------------------------------------



+---------------------------------------------------------------------------+


6.0 SIGNIFICANCE OF GENETIC MANIPULATION
________________________________________

6.3 PLASMIDS AND TONICS
-----------------------
I'm going to flesh this section out further at a later date, but I came
across something I thought was very interesting, so I'm putting it here lest
I forget.

INCINERATE - this Plasmid allows you to send a ball of flame towards a target
which can see them burst into flame. It can also be used to ignite pools of
oil or to melt ice.

In "Atlas Shrugged", cigarettes are used as a symbol and metaphor for the
light of knowledge in the following passage:

"I like to think of fire held in man's hand. Fire, a dangerous force,
tamed at his fingertips. I often wonder about the hours when a man sits
alone, watching the smoke of a cigarette, thinking. I wonder what great
things have come from such hours. When a man thinks, there is a spot of
fire alive in his mind - and it is proper that he should have the burning
point of a cigarette as his one expression."

From: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Synopsis_of_Atlas_Shrugged%2C_
Chapters_1-5#CHAPTER_THREE:_THE_TOP_AND_THE_BOTTOM, accessed 29 August 2007.

I find it interesting that BioShock has both cigarettes as being relatively
commonplace and available for the Narrator to smoke (for a small EVE boost
i.e. mental benefit) while also allowing a Plasmid that literally gives
fire "tamed at [the player's] fingertips". The fact that the only thing
the Narrator does before the plame crash is smoke a cigarette, perhaps
symbolic of the lighting of Ryan's mental fire in him.

Or maybe what happens following that is a reason why people aren't allowed to
smoke on planes anymore.




+---------------------------------------------------------------------------+


7.0 FINAL NOTES
_______________
BioShock is an excellent game and a good send-off for Irrational Games. It's
not a perfect game - there are some flaws and I think it starts to drift
towards being a more typical FPS after a great start, but the narrative more
than makes up for this.

I'm hopeful that there will be a BioShock 2, but I wonder what ideology it
could attach itself to. Post-modernism? A distopian Buddhist society set on
the sun? ;-)

Regardless, BioShock was a great experience.


7.1 THANKS AND CONTRIBUTORS
---------------------------

THANKS TO -

My wife, who is currently letting me play BioShock with little complaint,
but warns me that this situation will be ending "soon"

CONTRIBUTORS -

v0.70: AlphaHumana, DrIchthus, Diehanddieverletzt

v0.60: Shay Willard, gKaiser, Chris Bolts, vonpoon, Stephen Deininger, Adam
Taylor, Michael Buchheim, nathaniel turner, demoniam

7.2 Version History
-------------------
0.50 - Guide released to beat the rush; released 2 September.

0.60 - Included more content; released 16 September.

+--------------------------------------+------------------------------------+
VERSION 1.00 COMPLETED ???
+--------------------------------------+------------------------------------+
 

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