Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Brave New World

Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs, all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone harbouring an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations, where the old, imperfect life still continues,...

Title:Brave New World
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0060929871
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:268 pages

Brave New World Reviews

  • Clare

    As a teenager I went through a period of reading a vast number of distopian novels - probably all the teenage angst. This is the one that has continued to haunt me however, long after the my youthful cynicism has died it's death. It's basically a book about the utopian ideal - everyone's happy, everyone has what they want and EVERYTHING is based on logical principles. However, there is something very rotten at the heart. It's about how what we want isn't always what we should get. It looks at ho

    As a teenager I went through a period of reading a vast number of distopian novels - probably all the teenage angst. This is the one that has continued to haunt me however, long after the my youthful cynicism has died it's death. It's basically a book about the utopian ideal - everyone's happy, everyone has what they want and EVERYTHING is based on logical principles. However, there is something very rotten at the heart. It's about how what we want isn't always what we should get. It looks at how state sponsered "happiness" can entirely miss the point. Perhaps, most importantly, it makes the case for individual freedom rather than authoritarian diktat. It should be read hand in hand with Mill's Utilitarianism to get a good idea of the philosophy that inspired it.

    Incidentally, I gave this book to my boyfriend as a present for his 18th birthday ( a rather depressing gift I know). At the time he wasn't particularly freaked out by it and said that it didn't hold the same level of dread as say, 1984 or "The Handmaid's Tale". As he's got older however, he's found the idea more and more frightening. Six years later it has more of a sting in the tail for him. I don't know why this should be but I'll hazard a guess that as you get older you're idea of "happiness" becomes perhaps more complex, making the ideal of "Brave New World" even more disturbing.

  • Erin

    remember that last semester of english class, senior year, where every class seemed painfully long and excrutiatingly pointless? when everybody sat around secretly thinking of cute and witty things to put in other people's yearbooks? when the teachers realized we were already braindead from filling out three dozen student loan applications and college housing forms? that's when honors english started getting a little lazy.

    not that i minded. everybody got a book list. then everybody got split up

    remember that last semester of english class, senior year, where every class seemed painfully long and excrutiatingly pointless? when everybody sat around secretly thinking of cute and witty things to put in other people's yearbooks? when the teachers realized we were already braindead from filling out three dozen student loan applications and college housing forms? that's when honors english started getting a little lazy.

    not that i minded. everybody got a book list. then everybody got split up into groups. you were responsible for reading all the books on your own, but one in particular was chosen for your group to present at the end of the semester. you know--- as a refresher for the rest of the class. because of course EVERYONE was gonna read EVERY book.

    i can't remember what i did instead of reading "brave new world", but it was probably fun and involved copious amounts of sweet tea and a gigantic paper mache cow. fortunately it didn't matter because the only group to take their presentation seriously was the "brave new world" group, and the way they presented stuck with me long enough to compel me to read the book later.

    maybe it was the weird music they had playing during their presentation, maybe it was the fact that super hot chris mayns had to sit in my group (the alphas) but i was seriously attracted to the world this group created in our classroom. we drew cards randomly to determine our class, then sat accordingly and wore cute little colored wristbands. everybody got pez (soma!) and *gasp* a birth control belt. throughout the presentation people were moved next to someone and lost a packet on their belt (listen, this is scandalous for a bible belt high school, ok? by the way, i did NOT get to sit next to chris, which is probably good because i would have been mortified and choked on a pez)

    anyway, the presentation was fun, but i didn't get around to reading my (now ex) boyfriends copy until a year ago. and i started getting a small, evil thought exactly the same as i had in class so many years ago... maybe some people would actually like this system. maybe some people would actually BENEFIT from this system. people don't have to think? they aren't expected to do much, go to college, become something bigger than what they actually are? they're rewarded with good feeling drugs? they are proud to have accomplished what they have? and they... DON'T HAVE TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES!?

    I know i'm going to get slammed for saying this later, especially because i never do actual reviews or completely delve into what i'm thinking (so shoot me) but haven't you ever been roaming the world wide inter-web and found a little troller you thought "well, this person is a poor use of a human brain?" yes, you have. admit it.

    just think, a little test tube tweaking and that person wouldn't mind manning the cash register at piggly wiggly for the rest of his life, saving the rest of humanity from noxious online rants about the hotness of avril lavinge and the brilliance of starcraft (apparently its a video game thats KOOLER THAN U!!!!1#)

    you're tempted, i can tell...

  • Stephen

    I need to

    of this book into the

    (or great), the

    and the very

    because I thought aspects of it were

    and parts of it were

    , boring and living near the border of

    . In the end, the wowness and importance of the novel's ideas as well as the segments that I thoroughly enjoyed carried the book to a strong 3.5 star rating.

    - I loved the first third of the book in which the basic outline of the "Brave New World" and its d

    I need to

    of this book into the

    (or great), the

    and the very

    because I thought aspects of it were

    and parts of it were

    , boring and living near the border of

    . In the end, the wowness and importance of the novel's ideas as well as the segments that I thoroughly enjoyed carried the book to a strong 3.5 star rating.

    - I loved the first third of the book in which the basic outline of the "Brave New World" and its devalued, conveyer belt morality is set forth. The narrative device employed by Huxley of having the Director of

    provide a walking tour to students around the facility as a way to knowledge up the reader on the societal basics was perfect. We learn of the cloning/birthing process, the caste system and the fundamental tenets upon which the society is organized.

    This was as good a use of infodumping exposition as I had come across in some time and I was impressed both with the content and delivery method. The reader gets a crash course in world and its history in a way that fit nicely into the flow of the narrative without ever feeling forced. This was easily the best part of the novel for me, and Huxley's mass production-based society of enforced hedonism and anti-emotion was very compelling. Sort of like...

    Now, long jumping to the end of the novel...

    I also thought the final "debate" near the story's climax between John (the "savage") and Mustapha Mond, the World Controller, was exceptional. This last chapter/ending of the book, while abrupt, was masterful and struck the proper chord with the overall theme of the book.

    Thus, a superior 4.5 to 5.0 stars for this portion of the book.

    - I thought the middle of the book including both the trip to the "reservation" and John's initial return to London was a sleeping pill and felt disconnected from the rest of the narrative. Throughout this entire portion of the book, all I kept thinking was...

    The only purpose of this long, long.....LONG section seems to be to allow the reader to see Bernard Marx do a complete 180 in his views on the society once he finds himself in the role of celebrity by virtue of his relationship with John the savage. Sorry, this just did not strike me as a big enough payoff for this dry, plodding section. It was a test of endurance to get through this portion of the book, so I'm being generous when I give it a weak 2.0 to 2.5 stars. I could just have easily summed it up by just saying...

    Bottom-line, I think this is a book that should be read. It's important book and there is much brilliance here. Plus, it is short enough that the stale boring segments aren't too tortuous to get through. However, as far as the triumvirate of classic dystopian science fiction goes...1984 is still the undisputed champ.

    3.0 Stars. Recommended.

  • Kemper

    I have to apologize for this review. The concept of this book was so outlandish that I think it made my mind wander, and you may find some odd random thoughts scattered in it.

    Anyhow, this book was so silly and unrealistic. Like any of this could happen. In the far future the babies are genetically engineered and designed for certain stations in life with a large workforce bred to be happy with menial jobs that don’t stress them physically or mentally.

    In addition to all the genetic modifications, the children are raised by the state, and words like ’father’ and ’mother’ are considered obscenities. Subliminal messaging through infancy and childhood also condition people to repeat idiotic platitudes as if they are genuine wisdom.

    And since the world economy depends on constant consumption by the highest classes, they’re encouraged to be wasteful

    and to engage in activities that demand spending and resource use.

    The population even gets to zip around in their own private helicopters rather than cars.

    Casual sex is actively encouraged.

    The population is also programmed to be constantly partaking of some form of entertainment and to never just sit quietly and think

    or to be alone

    One of the sillier ideas is that the foundation of this society is Henry Ford’s assembly lines and that Ford has become the most revered figure in history. Like a businessman could ever become that popular.

    While everyone seeks to be constantly entertained, all of the entertainment panders to the lowest common denominator.

    and the emphasis is on presenting it with gimmicks to engage the audience like ’the feelies’, movies that the audience can also smell and feel the sensation from.

    At one point, a character complains about the feelies, “But they’re told by an idiot….works of art out of practically nothing but pure sensation.”

    Perhaps the most far fetched idea in this is that the population has been trained to sedate themselves with a drug called soma that relives any potential anxieties and keeps people from thinking about anything upsetting.

    .

    I guess this Huxley guy might have gotten lucky and predicted a few things, but he was way off base about where society was going.

  • Emily May

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