It's hard to believe this book was written in 1931, Huxley is awfully accurate on some of his futuristic visions of how society could end up.
This book basically describes a society that appears to be Utopian at first glance. Humans are made at certain genetic intelligence and caste; they are conditioned to be grateful for their place in life. Of course humans being humans there are occasionally those who divert from the norm. The story focuses mainly on Bernard Marx, an Alpha who is born too short, and as such ostracized and isolated in a society based on community and on Lenina a woman who is a fairly average society girl who agrees to travel with Bernard to Reservation. At the reservation they meet a Savage named John who travels back with them to "proper" society. What ensues is basically disaster.
The kind of creepy thing is that Huxley is pretty spot on about some of the things in his Utopian society. There is a lot genetic engineering going on, subliminal messaging, regulated drug use to promote serenity, etc. The beginning of the book is the most shocking because they explain how they modify the chemical make up of the fetuses to make them smart or stupid, strong or weak. This is followed by a discussion of how they condition the infants to like or not like certain things based on what function they will have in society. It is a society where everyone is equal but no one gets to make any decisions.
The people in the society are encouraged to be somewhat infantile in their decisions; time not working is spend playing games or engaging in sexual activity. Despite the society being depicted as somewhat British the members are encouraged to give into their baser natures whenever they want...emotion makes for unhappy people so it is best to not think about it too much.
What happens when John, a Savage raised by a (gasp) mother, a man who loves and hurts is brought into this society is fascinating but predictable. He has a hard time making sense of a society where "mother" is an indecent word and love is a foreign concept.
The book is very readable and well-written. The story is engaging. I am sure at the time this book was written it was ground-breaking. Unfortunately most of the factors of society that are discussed in this book I have read discussed in more current books. For me what set this book apart from other dystopians was the fact that it was written so long ago, also the fact that Huxley didn't pull any punches on the human conditioning...they are pretty ruthless, and lastly how reasonable he makes the set-up of such a society sound. There is a portion towards the end of the book where the Controller explains to John how their society evolved to what it is today; the Controller explains what they tried and what actually worked. The Controller's argument sounds disturbingly reasonable and almost makes you understand how a society set-up like the one in this book might work out well for a large amount of people.
Overall I enjoyed the book and I am glad I read it. None of the ideas really blew me away and the story was engaging, but not absolutely incredible. It is a book that makes you think; especially when think of the time frame in which it was written. The topics discussed are something which will make you take pause but some of the ideas presented aren't that far away from where we are today (genetic engineering, etc.). Definitely something to read and something easy to relate to.
A readable, fantastic story of a futuristic world where one is born, purposely, into a certain class of people; therefore, occupations are chosen far in advance - Class D taking out the garbage (if I remember correctly).
A stranger wanders into this world and things begin to change and people begin to question. If you're like me, "taking a soma holiday" will become part of your permanent vocabulary. Recommended for lovers of classics and lovers of philosophical sci-fi.
A fantasy of the future that sheds a blazing critical light on the present--considered to be Aldous Huxley's most enduring masterpiece.
In everything Huxley wrote, from the most frivolous to the most profound, there runs the common thread of his search to explain the meaning and possibilities of human life and perception.
Brave New World gives a pessimistic view of human nature. Written in 1932, it is an antiutopia, with its eerie combination of totalitarian government and ubiquitous feel-good drugs and sex. The book disturbed many readers of his day; but it has proven to be Huxley's most enduring and influential work.
The first of the dystopias, Brave New World is a predecessor to books like Fahrenheit 451 and 1984. Join a removed scientist in a sad world where socialism is bent and foaming into even the biology of our civilization, and rationality is found in the savage. Also find a sweet picture of Huxley himself on the back.
This is a fantasy of the future, and a classic tale and as impressive as the day it was published. Huxley speaks in a prophetic voice, that is still contemporary, both in the particulars of his vision and his very real sense of impending doom and alarm.
Loved reading this classic. I was a bit frightened at first of some of the language being so old-school, but once I got into the story I could not stop. This book is as relevant, if not more, than it was when Huxley first wrote it. It is a striking premonition of the future state of the world, where the words 'mother' and 'father' are some of the dirtiest words one could speak, and monogamy is not even considered. A great read!
Definatly a disturbing story that will stay with the reader. In a time in the future their may be sex and drugs,etc. but very little in the way of human intimancy. Into this picture comes the savage. A person born;not grown ,in a pueblo community-like. He comes to this place and the culture shock is enourmous.
Less about "The Future" and more of a meditation on the nature of happiness. First published in 1932 and set in a "Utopia" 600 years later, all the societal structures and rules we live by now have been reversed or replaced entirely: human eggs are fertilized in labs, and developed like lab specimens into babies with predestined castes and occupations; there are no traditional families and the word "mother" is akin to a bad swear word or the punchline of a scatalogical joke; promiscuity is the only acceptable form of interaction because "everyone belongs to everyone"; and mass-produced consumption is the prevailing order. The overriding goal: removing what makes us unhappy in favor of anesthetized social stability.
When a human born of an actual mother is introduced to this "Civilization" and meets the World Controller who rules Utopia, the "Savage" learns that philosophy, religion, literature, and passion are banned because they make the natives uncomfortable and therefore restless, which results in social instability. "But I don't want comfort," he protests. "I want God. I want poetry. I want real danger. I want freedom. I want goodness. I want sin." "In fact then," the Controller responds, "you're claiming the right to be unhappy."
I think this book is excellent. I was wary at first because there are so many books focusing on similar concepts, but Huxley tackles the dystopia with style. Brave New World is just as thought provoking as Orwell's 1984, and equally disturbing - in a good way, of course. At the same time, it brings up very different issues than does 1984. Both books focus on the human condition, on conditioning, on what happens to society when the human condition is created. Yet Brave New World has a very human "Big Brother" figure, adding an interesting dimension of awareness to the story. We see the story from his eyes as well; he tells us what is to be gained and lost by creating the perfect society.
Huxley has indeed created the perfect society. His concern lies with the individual: what happens to him or her when society reaches perfection?
Considered a classic in apocalyptic literature, Brave New World was received to negative reviews when it was published in 1932. This book examines a 2540 utopian society who accepts promiscuous sex and drug use. The forward thinking author creates a carefree, technologically advanced society, produced by genetically bred humans who obey the ruling order passively. Drug soma designed to keep one perpetually calm and happy. In other words, ignorance is bliss. The frightening premise suggests that the individuality and human ambition will be sacrificed for harmony in society.
Incidentally, the use of For the love of Ford injected some humor into the dialogue.
Of the great dystopian novels, Brave New World is the one that you really don't have to read. One should not underestimate it. Huxley captured well the horrifying potential for soft dictatorships to silence the oppressed by substituting thoughtless laughter/staring for screams. He also clearly portrays the danger of emotions/ aesthetics being manipulated. Yet his strength is his weakness. He wallows in the tyranny, sinks in emotionality, drowns in totalizing his vision. Government control of genetics is ridiculous. The real pitfall, however is that Bradbury scooped him. Fahrenheit 451 captures Brave New World and 1984 in a crisper, more efficient way. But Huxley will always be king of the Feelies. Now one can take that from him.
Still one of the essential dystopian novels. Now that it has been around for several decades, it's interesting to note how some pieces and details seem a bit prophetic, too. Creative use of the industrial revolution and mass production as the turning point, as epitomized by Ford, the Model T, and other clever imagery. (I further recommend not bothering with the sequel, "Brave New World Revisited," also by Huxley. I found it weak and disappointing: personal opinion only; haven't checked to see what the experts think.)
Very original, and intereting take on a future society. My only complaint is that I wish there would have been more storyline with the character Bernard. I really liked his character and thought the book would be mainly aobut him. Good book though.
This book is awesome. I read it for a book discussion group and talking about it with others made it so much fun. I had read this book four times, and I am ready to let someone else experience this great book!!!!!
"Community, Identity, Stability" is the motto of Aldous Huxley's utopian World State. Here everyone consumes daily grams of soma, to fight depression, babies are born in laboratories, and the most popular form of entertainment is a "Feelie," a movie that stimulates the senses of sight, hearing, and touch. Though there is no violence and everyone is provided for, Bernard Marx feels something is missing and senses his relationship with a young women has the potential to be much more than the confines of their existence allow. Huxley foreshadowed many of the practices and gadgets we take for granted today--let's hope the sterility and absence of individuality he predicted aren't yet to come. --
Brave New World is a interesting take on the world in the future and how we interact with each other and do or react to things.
I read this and, 1984 by George Orwell, a couple of months ago. In my mind they have jumbled together and I am not sure what scenes come from which book. I believe after reading other reviews that I do remember the main characters. One character a man who questions the way people live and the fact they can not question why. The other character is a woman who the man is attracted to (sorry I don't remember their names). The woman is attracted to him as well but just in the way that is normal for society, meaning people are very promiscuous.
I have to say that this is another classic that I just wasn't a big fan of. I liked it a little better than The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, which if you read my review for does not take much to be better than.
If you are a fan of 1984, or Fahrenheit 451, you will probably enjoy as for me I am still in search of a classic that sticks with me and doesn't make me bored.
This book is a classic. Although it was written around WWII era, themes are still alive today. Predictions of future attitudes in sexuality shown in story actually are happening today. Thank heavens the fashion and food have not come true.
This is still a great book, very relevent. ANd, this printing includes the book Brave New World Revisited, written by the author years after the book, which is even more phrophetic on were our worl has gone, and why.
Intriguing premise about a possible dystopian future of people kept under control through pleasure and drugs. Not as compelling or vivid as George Orwell's "1984," Aldous Huxley nontheless has some interesting ideas which work as counterpoints to Orwell.
My biggest problem with "Brave New World" is the quality of Huxley's writing. His prose lacks any subtlety and feels amateurish. The writing "tells" much more than it "shows," which distracted me from what might have been a great read. I expected better from something considered such a classic.
Brave New World had a lot of things going for it, the premise was so interesting and I really enjoyed how brilliantly Huxley framed the background of this dystopia at the beginning of the novel. However, not all scenes were well framed; some were so explicit and transparent that they came off as preachy. Other parts were unbelievably ridiculous and badly written. Also, the characters were mostly flat (although I was partial towards Bernard). This book's value lies not in its characters, but in the world that it presents and the attitudes of the society as a whole.
What made me really appreciate this book was that Huxley gives some credit to the World State. Yes, he spent a lot of time exploring its shortcomings and its "immorality" but he also defended it. I liked that he left it open ended, and put the onus on the reader to form their own opinions about the World State. This book is very provocative and creative, and I definitely think that it is worth reading.
Michael York does a good job reading this classic. It had been decades since I read Brave New World and I enjoyed the rediscovery very much. The back of the audio's packaging says, "This outstanding work of literature is more crucial and relevant today than ever before. Cloning, feel-good drugs, anti-aging programs, and total social control through politics, programming and media -- has Aldous Huxley accurately predicted our future?" Predicted our Present is more like it! A great book.
Son and grandson of pathetic godless men, Aldous turned out no different. This book is not a MUST READ, but one that you can easily miss and be better off for it. Please save yourself time, and brain space and skip this one.
I know this book is considered a "classic" but after having read it in high school and trying again as an adult, I still didn't like it. Luckily, this time, I could quit halfway through because I didn't need to take a test afterward. I still find the book to be full of paranoia and preaching. It's like the author tries to say that the more technologically advanced we become, the more "depraved" (according to certain religious teachings) we will be. It fails to point out that humankind, before technology, was full of bigots who liked to burn non-Christians at the stake. This book tries to make everything just seem like the future will be full of bad people because these people rely on science instead of religion. Having said that, I don't agree with the ethics these people have developed in the story, but I just don't see it to be a "masterpiece" when it's full of such paranoid speculation.
I did not like this book at all. Put it back on PBS as soon as I was done. It was negative, depressing, and irritating to think that the world could come to that. It could, but I'd rather think about good things. :)