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
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:268 pages

Brave New World Reviews

  • Clare
    Jul 04, 2007

    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
    Feb 29, 2008

    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...

  • Madeline
    Feb 07, 2010

    Aldous Huxley wrote

    in 1932. That's almost eighty years ago, but the book reads like it could have been written yesterday. (especially interesting to me was how Huxley was able to predict the future of both genetic engineering

    the action blockbuster.

    .)

    I think I liked this one better than

    , the book traditionally considered to be this one's counterpart. Not really sure why this is, but it's probably because this one has a clearer outsider character (the Savage) who ca

    Aldous Huxley wrote

    in 1932. That's almost eighty years ago, but the book reads like it could have been written yesterday. (especially interesting to me was how Huxley was able to predict the future of both genetic engineering

    the action blockbuster.

    .)

    I think I liked this one better than

    , the book traditionally considered to be this one's counterpart. Not really sure why this is, but it's probably because this one has a clearer outsider character (the Savage) who can view the world Huxley created through his separate perspective.

    In this light, I will give the last word to Neil Postman, who discussed the differences between Orwell and Huxley's views of the future:

    "What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.

    Orwell feared those who would deprive us information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.

    As Huxley remarked in 'Brave New World revisited,' the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny 'failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions.'

    In 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' people are controlled by inflicting pain. In 'Brave New World' people are controlled by inflicting pleasure.

    In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us."

  • Stephen
    Nov 17, 2010

    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
    Aug 02, 2011

    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.

  • Huda Yahya
    Mar 01, 2012

    ‏------------------‏

    على الهامش

    ‏#1‏

    ‏=يستمد المؤلف عنوانه من أبيات شكسبير في العاصفة

    How many goodly creatures are there here

    How beauteous mankind is!

    O brave new world

    That has such people in 't!

    ‏#2‏

    في عام 1958

    كتب هكسلي كتابه

    Brave New World Revisited ‎

    مبديا فيه في عدة مقالات أراؤه التي أودعها الرواية السابقة

    إن أحب أحدكم المزيد من الإطلاع

    ‏#3‏‎

    ‏ المرة الأولى التي قرأتُ فيها الرواية كنت في نحو السادسة عشر

    كان كتيب مختصر ضمن سلسلة مكتبة الأسرة للناشئين

    تحت عنوان عالم رائع جديد

    وهي مترجمة أيضا بعنوان العالم الطريف –دار المدى

    كاملة دون اختصار ‏

    ولكني لم أقرؤها ولا أعرف هل ترجمتها طيبة ام لا

  • B0nnie
    May 05, 2012

    is a vision of the future where science will (at last) be put full time into the service of our needs. Some of the ideas might seem a little controversial (because of our preconceived ideas) but we must be open minded...!

    Biology teaches that sex is meant to be had. To put restrictions on sex is as silly as putting restrictions on which chair to sit. And like chairs, women are meant to be pneumatic. "Oh, she’s a splendid girl. Wonderfully pneumatic. I’m surprised you have

    is a vision of the future where science will (at last) be put full time into the service of our needs. Some of the ideas might seem a little controversial (because of our preconceived ideas) but we must be open minded...!

    Biology teaches that sex is meant to be had. To put restrictions on sex is as silly as putting restrictions on which chair to sit. And like chairs, women are meant to be pneumatic. "Oh, she’s a splendid girl. Wonderfully pneumatic. I’m surprised you haven’t had her."

    Why should modern man have to put up with it? Any informed person will affirm it is gross: all meat and blood and pain. Science will solve this problem with advances in reproductive technology: thinking outside the box. "Which brings us at last," continued Mr. Foster, "out of the realm of mere slavish imitation of nature into the much more interesting world of human invention."

    If you've been to a supermarket you will have seen plenty of bad parenting. How often have you wanted to step in and rectify the situation? Let's take the important job of citizen building out of the hands of amateurs. There's a good reason some of the foulest language we use involve the word *Mother*. "Psychically, [home] was a rabbit hole, a midden, hot with the frictions of tightly packed life, reeking with emotion. What suffocating intimacies, what dangerous, insane, obscene relationships between the members of the family group! Maniacally, the mother brooded over her children (

    children) … brooded over them like a cat over its kittens; but a cat that could talk, a cat that could say, "My baby, my baby," over and over again."

    This is something we all want. Yet we must contend with traffic jams, lost cellphones, and raised voices. The frustration you feel is the result of a chemical reaction in your brain. Thus it is only natural that Science should offer a chemical solution. "A gramme in time saves nine"

    The problem here is not death per se. It is our poor attitude toward it. Rigorous psychology will help us achieve complete indifference and thus free up a lot of wasted time. "...what fatal mischief he might do to these poor innocents? Undoing all their wholesome death-conditioning with this disgusting outcry—as though death were something terrible, as though any one mattered as much as all that!"

    These are only needed for reference and factual information. Reading in itself is profoundly antisocial. And, although there is little danger of anyone actually reading Shakespeare, his works are especially egregious in provoking time wasting thoughts."Do they read Shakespeare?" asked the Savage as they walked, on their way to the Bio-chemical Laboratories, past the School Library. "Certainly not," said the Head Mistress, blushing. "Our library," said Dr. Gaffney, "contains only books of reference. If our young people need distraction, they can get it at the feelies. We don’t encourage them to indulge in any solitary amusements."

    The absurdity of religion is self-evident, as every nonconforming individual knows. If there must be faith, let it be bright. Let it be in science. "As if one believed anything by instinct! One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them. Finding bad reasons for what one believes for other bad reasons—that’s philosophy. People believe in God because they’ve been conditioned to believe in God."

    Love is the unifying idea in each of the above themes - certainly the most destructive concept ever to exist. Shakespeare of course has been largely responsible for its glorification.

    is a world without pain, without hunger, with total comfort. It is a world without love.

  • Emily May
    Jun 06, 2012

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