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Brave new world and Brave New World Revisited (Perennial Classics)

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In his 1932 classic dystopian novel, Brave New World, Aldous Huxley depicted a future society in thrall to science and regulated by sophisticated methods of social control. Nearly thirty years later in Brave New World Revisited, Huxley checked the progress of his prophecies against reality and argued that many of his fictional fantasies had grown uncomfortably close to the In his 1932 classic dystopian novel, Brave New World, Aldous Huxley depicted a future society in thrall to science and regulated by sophisticated methods of social control. Nearly thirty years later in Brave New World Revisited, Huxley checked the progress of his prophecies against reality and argued that many of his fictional fantasies had grown uncomfortably close to the truth. Brave New World Revisited includes Huxley's views on overpopulation, propaganda, advertising and government control, and is an urgent and powerful appeal for the defence of individualism still alarmingly relevant today.


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In his 1932 classic dystopian novel, Brave New World, Aldous Huxley depicted a future society in thrall to science and regulated by sophisticated methods of social control. Nearly thirty years later in Brave New World Revisited, Huxley checked the progress of his prophecies against reality and argued that many of his fictional fantasies had grown uncomfortably close to the In his 1932 classic dystopian novel, Brave New World, Aldous Huxley depicted a future society in thrall to science and regulated by sophisticated methods of social control. Nearly thirty years later in Brave New World Revisited, Huxley checked the progress of his prophecies against reality and argued that many of his fictional fantasies had grown uncomfortably close to the truth. Brave New World Revisited includes Huxley's views on overpopulation, propaganda, advertising and government control, and is an urgent and powerful appeal for the defence of individualism still alarmingly relevant today.

30 review for Brave new world and Brave New World Revisited (Perennial Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rakhi Dalal

    1984 by Orwell was the first work of dystopian fiction that I laid my hands on. It left me so numb that I couldn't gather my thoughts on the experience of reading it. Then I read Brave New World by Huxley and then We by Zamyatin followed by the little story (The New Utopia) by Jerome. BNW inspired me to read We. That makes for a reverse order in terms of their time of publication.I am not sure why I felt drawn to these books in succession. May be these readings came in wake of the increasing unc 1984 by Orwell was the first work of dystopian fiction that I laid my hands on. It left me so numb that I couldn't gather my thoughts on the experience of reading it. Then I read Brave New World by Huxley and then We by Zamyatin followed by the little story (The New Utopia) by Jerome. BNW inspired me to read We. That makes for a reverse order in terms of their time of publication.I am not sure why I felt drawn to these books in succession. May be these readings came in wake of the increasing uncertainty towards the kind of future we are standing on the brink of. I don't know if the nations have become more hostile towards each other than they were ever, whether we the people have become more intolerant towards each other or whether it is because of the faster and consistent accessibility to the happenings around the world that it appears to be the case. May be I felt that these readings might help me understand the extent to which we humans can advance in order to maintain the supremacy of a selected few/ one in power so that some form of uniformity may be imposed in the name of forced ideals. What these readings really did was to lay bare the fragility of societal structure which can crumble and surrender to the whims of its "selected few/one". But it also made clear the neccessity to exercise our faculties rationally, to be aware of the dangers such advances may hold for the future of human civilization itself. P.S : Only thing which really didn't go down well with me about this book was the portrayal of the character of John (the Savage). He is born in a savage society, there is no mention of him being ever educated but he has read the complete works of Shakespeare and his discourse later on shows a kind of deep understanding and adherence to an idea of morality which is difficult to imagine owing to his savage upbringing.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Larry

    I somehow managed to live to age 60 before reading a book most people read in high school. The title is so etched in our culture, I had little curiosity - and now I've discovered just how brilliant this 1932 novel is. While the specifics of Huxley's Brave New World may not yet be here, or not in the form he envisioned, the picture he paints is frightening. As he says in the introduction: "There is, of course, no reason why the new totalitarianisms should resemble the old...A really efficient tot I somehow managed to live to age 60 before reading a book most people read in high school. The title is so etched in our culture, I had little curiosity - and now I've discovered just how brilliant this 1932 novel is. While the specifics of Huxley's Brave New World may not yet be here, or not in the form he envisioned, the picture he paints is frightening. As he says in the introduction: "There is, of course, no reason why the new totalitarianisms should resemble the old...A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude." The first element of the brave new world is production-line bio-manufacturing of people - assembly line produced babies: "standard men and women in uniform batches", bio-engineered to fit a particular role in life. Henry Ford's production methods are so revered, the passage of time is measured by A.F. years, or years after the time of Ford. Then there is the embryonic, childhood and early adult conditioning, explained by a manager: "All conditioning aims at that: making people like their unescapable social destiny." My "favourite" conditioning scene had a nurse training infants to dislike books and nature, by terrifying them whenever they approached or even looked at a book or flower. "We condition to masses to hate the country [i.e., non-urban living]", says one manager. The other means of control was mass addiction to the drug soma, readily distributed to all, more powerful than alcohol or heroin, and producing complete bliss. In one scene, a sub-species group was getting out of control, so police arrive and, rather than wielding batons, spray soma mist in the air. "Suddenly, from out of the Synthetic Music Box a Voice began to speak....The sound track roll was unwinding itself in Synthetic Anti-Riot Speech Number Two (Medium Strength). ..."My friends...what is the meaning of this? Why aren't you all being happy and good together?...at peace, at peace...Oh I do want you to be happy." Two minutes later, the riot was over. Most of the book is chilling, but for a modern reader, one of the funniest scenes is how Huxley envisioned an on-the-scene live radio broadcast by a reporter in the future: "...rapidly, with a series of ritual gestures, he uncoiled two wires connected to the portable battery buckled round his waist; plugged them simultaneously into the sides of his aluminum hat; touched a spring on the crown - and antennae shot up into the air; touched another spring on the peak of the brim - and like a jack-in-the-box, out jumped a microphone and hung there, quivering, six inches in front of his nose...". Cool! One of the managers summarized the brave new world this way: "The world's stable now. People are happy; they get what they want; and they never want what they can't get. They're well-off; they're safe; they're never ill; they're not afraid of death; they're blissfully ignorant of passion and old age; they're plagued with no mothers or fathers; they've got no wives, or children, or lovers to feel strong about; they're so conditioned that they practically can't help behaving as they ought to behave. And if anything should go wrong, there's soma." It's a neo-fascist's wet dream. In his follow-up booklet/essay Brave New World Revisited, written in 1958, Huxley compared Orwell's nightmare vision of 1984 with his vision of Brave New World, and describes the differences this way: "In 1984 the lust for power is satisfied by inflicting pain; in Brave New World, by inflicting a hardly less humiliating pleasure." I don't think modern day totalitarians have set aside Orwell's approach, but I do fear the most serious danger in the future is closer to what Huxley envisioned.

  3. 5 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    Prophetic. Well, Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) tried to predict what would happen probably during our time now up to the 26th century or 632 A.F. (Anno Ford with Year 0 being 1908 when Model T was introduced). He wrote this novel, Brave New World in 1931 and first published in 1932. Fifteen years after, in 1949 George Orwell did a similar thing when he published his social science fiction, 1984. Both Huxley and Orwell were like Nostradamus but without the dreams or visions. Huxley came from the famo Prophetic. Well, Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) tried to predict what would happen probably during our time now up to the 26th century or 632 A.F. (Anno Ford with Year 0 being 1908 when Model T was introduced). He wrote this novel, Brave New World in 1931 and first published in 1932. Fifteen years after, in 1949 George Orwell did a similar thing when he published his social science fiction, 1984. Both Huxley and Orwell were like Nostradamus but without the dreams or visions. Huxley came from the famous Huxley family with outstanding scientific, medical, artistic and literary talent. Orwell, on the other hand, was said to possess a keen intelligence and wit, a profound awareness of social injustice, an intense, revolutionary opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in language and a belief in democratic socialism. IMO, let's see what happened so far after almost 80 years. At least with some semblance: Huxley's prophesy: Babies are mass-produced in laboratories. Take note that Watson and Crick only discovered the DNA helix structure in 1953. So, this was a good guess by Huxley. Reality: Dolly, the cloned sheep (1996-2003). Huxley's prophesy: Soma, readily available all-around upper that make you feel better Reality: Ecstasy etc - although they are not readily available and expensive Huxley's prophesy: Overpopulation Reality: Correct! (But that should be easy) Huxley's prophesy: Free sex Reality: Marry your wife, get sex free! :) Huxley's prophesy: No religion, no God, no concept of the family, no mama, no papa Reality: 'think that this has not changed so much Seriously, this is a well-written dystopian novel and is now top of my list of favorite sci-fi novels relegating 1984 to second place. Reason: this came before that Orwell's book and this is written in a funny way that I think even children can appreciate. John the Savage, for example, seems like Tarzan the first time he sees the World State (aka The Brave New World) and also his eloquence and mastery of Shakespeare's verses is just so funny. Why Shakespeare? Because Huxley and The Bard were both British? Well, I should have added that. In a way, Huxley also indirectly prophesized that children of the 21st century would still study Shakespeare in school. Huxley and Shakespeare are both genius anyway. So let their books live forever. Thanks to my reading buddies: Bea, Angus and Tintin for reading this book with me. Whoever thought of suggesting this book for us to read should have some potential to be a future genius too. Excellent choice for a book!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tristan

    “The nature of psychological compulsion is such that those who act under constraint remain under the impression that they are acting on their own initiative. The victim of mind-manipulation does not know that he is a victim. To him the walls of his prison are invisible, and he believes himself to be free. That he is not free is apparent only to other people. His servitude is strictly objective.” While its illustrious counterpart, Orwell’s 1984, has entered our cultural lexicon in more significant “The nature of psychological compulsion is such that those who act under constraint remain under the impression that they are acting on their own initiative. The victim of mind-manipulation does not know that he is a victim. To him the walls of his prison are invisible, and he believes himself to be free. That he is not free is apparent only to other people. His servitude is strictly objective.” While its illustrious counterpart, Orwell’s 1984, has entered our cultural lexicon in more significant ways – who doesn't know about Doublethink, Newspeak, Memory Hole, or The Ministry of Truth? - Huxley’s concocted fable of a scientifically authored future for mankind remains the most clinically, rationally approached - and thus more prescient - one. In a far off future, this vision, penned down in 1931, could very well prove to be correct, making the noble attempt of his former student Orwell seem almost crude and laughable in comparison. Indeed, in 2017 a Brave New World scenario is more near than we’d like to imagine. All the technical tools - even if still primitive - are available, all that need be added are the right circumstances and a powerful, unopposed group strong-willed enough to bring it into reality. Yet for all its prophetic potency, at the same time this is exactly where the issue lies with Brave New World: as a work of art, it doesn’t cleave to you. It’s a novel almost solely composed of ideas. And so, judged purely as a novel, it shows itself to be rather threadbare in its construction, offering up little more than a dry summation of what are admittedly intriguing concepts, but ultimately showing an acute deficiency in its ability to evoke any deep emotion. This, primarily, is the fault of its underdeveloped, two-dimensional characters, and a lacklustre, almost lazy plot that doesn’t necessarily invite further contemplation by the reader on the intricacies of what by all rights should be a richly textured world (or on its history for that matter). It's mind-bogglingly restricted, superficial, and (how ironic) sterile. One wouldn't be wrong in asserting this might have been Huxley’s exact intention, so as to make the future all the more devoid of humanity and thus frightening to us, but that shouldn't serve as an excuse for tedium. All good fiction does need to have these emotional anchors in place. Here, sadly, it falls short in that regard. A historically significant work to be sure, but aesthetically lacking. Brave New World Revisited (1958) however, Huxley’s later commentary on the viability of the future he envisioned, I found to be much more preferable. Dispensing with characterization or concern for plot, Huxley can engage at heart’s content in some intellectual freestyling: ruminating, extrapolating, pursuing various strands of thought, etc.. His comparision of the different techniques of mind manipulation (both of individuals and of crowds) employed by the authoritarian regimes of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were particularly insightful. I could have tolerated it being more lengthy than it is, actually. In essence, it is both a sobering account of how malleable, and indeed easily influenced, human beings in the main really are when put in the “right” conditions, and a manual on how to counteract the ambitions of those in possession of the vulgar will to power. A vigilant defense of freedom in all its forms, education and a deep awareness of our inherent corruptability and faults, Huxley argues, are still our best bulwarks against further encroachment by budding tyrants. In this case prophesy, for all intents and purposes, thankfully remains a mug’s game.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Carol Smith

    Brave New World A difficult book to rate. I thoroughly hated the journey. Random thoughts that popped into my head along the way included: - I’d like to go to Iceland. Right now. - I could really use a soma tablet. - Dystopia is so not my cup of tea The ideas communicated are both profound and profoundly disturbing, but the vehicle used to communicate them to the reader is simply excruciating. Lame, shallow characterizations along with a simplistic and simply boring plot = a lethal combination. I Brave New World A difficult book to rate. I thoroughly hated the journey. Random thoughts that popped into my head along the way included: - I’d like to go to Iceland. Right now. - I could really use a soma tablet. - Dystopia is so not my cup of tea The ideas communicated are both profound and profoundly disturbing, but the vehicle used to communicate them to the reader is simply excruciating. Lame, shallow characterizations along with a simplistic and simply boring plot = a lethal combination. In the excellent foreword (which I don’t recommend reading until the end), Christopher Hitchens suggests that the characters are two-dimensional for a reason – because the Society of BNW has snuffed out their emotional and intellectual depth. This may be so, but it makes for painful reading. Nabokov detested the “novel of ideas” for very good reason – they just aren’t much fun. And yet I thoroughly enjoyed the climactic conversation between the Savage and the World Controller. Here we get to hear Aldous – channeled via Mustapha Mond – brilliantly lay out his full dystopic vision. I just couldn’t bear the path taken to get me there. Brave New World Revisited The earlier chapters on population pressures, over-organization, and propaganda are quite prescient and interesting. I lost interest once he began delving into how the future state will brainwash and distract the individual, and I suspect he did as well. In the end notes, Huxley is quoted as saying, upon completing BNW Revisited, “I am sick and tired of this kind of writing." Finally, it must be said that Huxley was a futurist but was also inevitably a product of his time. His obsession with eugenics, his belief in the hereditary nature of intelligence, and his obvious anti-Semitism detract and distract from his core message. Still, I couldn’t have hated it all that much as I just added Island and Point Counter Point to my GoodReads queue…

  6. 5 out of 5

    John M

    What I like most about Brave New World is that it centers on the disease of human passivity as it's controlled by the higher-ups in society. With 1984 there is the possibility for consciousness of the inherent evil of the subversive intolerance of the government, and therefore the possibility for revolution. If only the people would realize their situation! If only the proles could unite against totalitarian tyranny! With Huxley's fable, however, this consciousness is completely undermined throu What I like most about Brave New World is that it centers on the disease of human passivity as it's controlled by the higher-ups in society. With 1984 there is the possibility for consciousness of the inherent evil of the subversive intolerance of the government, and therefore the possibility for revolution. If only the people would realize their situation! If only the proles could unite against totalitarian tyranny! With Huxley's fable, however, this consciousness is completely undermined through the fulfillment of the base drives of the majority. There is no reason to rebel, and society can change only through an impossible systematic negation of all the techniques espoused that clamor to fulfill these drives. Anyone who comes to realize the true state of affairs isn't filled with a Herculean wish to revamp it, but can only sigh to himself while secretly saying, "ah, that's just society getting what it wants," and make plans for voluntary exile. This is the cynicism of Huxley given literary flesh. He echoes the Dostoevskian lament through the Grand Inquisitor (alluded to in Brave New World Revisited) that human beings want to be taken care of and provided for, not free. Freedom is too hard, it takes work, and to be human is to take the easy way out. The grandeur of Huxley is that he wasn't just a novelist, as seems to be the case with creative writers for the last fifty years -- Walker Percy, Anthony Burgess, and a handful of others exempt. "Brave New World Revisited" attests to this fact, as well as other minor philosophical gems, like "The Perennial Philosophy", where he stretches to mysticism, and "The Doors of Perception", where he journals the psychedelic flavor of mescaline. His ruminations are perfectly commensurate with our state today -- where education is in decline, where neohedonism is the game, where it's all about money and fulfillment of drives over truth, etc. --, and the points that shine the most are on propaganda and, well, the distractability of human beings: "In regard to propaganda the early advocates of universal literacy and a free press envisaged only two possibilities: the propaganda might be true, or it might be false. They did not foresee what in fact has happened, above all in our Western capitalist democracies -- the development of a vast mass communications industry, concerned in the main neither with the true nor the false, but with the unreal, the more or less totally irrelevant. In a word, they failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions." This is the basis of society in Brave New World, and scientific and technological advances (eugenics, hypnopaedia, classical conditioning) are a means to this end. Huxley saw, like Chomsky after him, that you don't need to bludgeon the population in order to coerce it to your preferences. Rather, you manipulate minds. Things are less messy this way.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Love of Hopeless Causes

    Brave New World beat out 1984 as the tyranny of choice. Consider smartphone addiction, people love to be enslaved 2,ooo times a day and beg for the privilege. I don't believe most people make independent decisions anymore, they just act out their programming. The first step to overcoming brainwashing is to realize you've been brainwashed. Do you fail to one star your DNF's? To do so is to cheat the reading community of their time. Is it because you are lazy or because you want to be nice? If you Brave New World beat out 1984 as the tyranny of choice. Consider smartphone addiction, people love to be enslaved 2,ooo times a day and beg for the privilege. I don't believe most people make independent decisions anymore, they just act out their programming. The first step to overcoming brainwashing is to realize you've been brainwashed. Do you fail to one star your DNF's? To do so is to cheat the reading community of their time. Is it because you are lazy or because you want to be nice? If you are doing it in order to get more likes, are you certain that strategy is effective? Or is it because your handlers have taught you to never question authority? Is three question marks in a row bad style? If you can't embody this level of skepticism you may no longer have a choice in the matter. Why do people self-censor? Is it training or the path of least resistance? If you are still reading this I highly recommend Brave New World Revisited. It's a checklist of how we got to where we are now.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Seth

    I needed something to read on the plane from San Antonio so I picked this book up at an airport bookstore. It was a good choice because I have been interested in dystopian literature for some time. I found Brave New World both prescient and engaging. I thought Huxley did a good job not only describing his view of the future, but also supplying a decent plot and good character development. The interplay between the rebellious intellectual Bernard Marx, the beautiful and shallow, fully acclimated I needed something to read on the plane from San Antonio so I picked this book up at an airport bookstore. It was a good choice because I have been interested in dystopian literature for some time. I found Brave New World both prescient and engaging. I thought Huxley did a good job not only describing his view of the future, but also supplying a decent plot and good character development. The interplay between the rebellious intellectual Bernard Marx, the beautiful and shallow, fully acclimated Lenina Crowne, and the "Savage" John from New Mexico was interesting. I also appreciated the contrast between hyper-modern London and the Indian reservation in New Mexico, where old traditions persisted. Huxley described the setting in both places convincingly, although they represented opposite extremes of human behavior. I do see some signs that Huxley's depressing vision of the future has been realized. For example, the stratification of society according to cognitive skills is very evident today. One might even suggest that today's surveillance state and military-industrial complex leave little room for individuality. A powerful media is capable of transmitting government propaganda. Our popular culture is extremely low-brow and decadent. Perhaps it is difficult to have authentic, unmediated experiences and shape one's own destiny. Those who try to live off the grid in order to escape the confining norms and conventions of a post-industrial society may relate to Huxley's dystopian vision.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kirstin

    This one just didn't live up to the hype I had built up about it. I feel bad giving it 3 stars but I just didn't enjoy it that much. I'm sure I should have read it long ago. This one just didn't live up to the hype I had built up about it. I feel bad giving it 3 stars but I just didn't enjoy it that much. I'm sure I should have read it long ago.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    Yes, I read this a long time ago. No, I didn't remember anything. I came to the book thinking it was a mirror image of 1984, with the political violence and control. But Huxley is much more subtle, and ironic. The control evident in THIS Brave New World has been willingly given over...relationships, emotions, drive, ambition. Individualism...none of this matters, and no one cares. I had forgotten the tongue-in-cheek humor in the observations...until John Savage appears. Then the tone shifts and t Yes, I read this a long time ago. No, I didn't remember anything. I came to the book thinking it was a mirror image of 1984, with the political violence and control. But Huxley is much more subtle, and ironic. The control evident in THIS Brave New World has been willingly given over...relationships, emotions, drive, ambition. Individualism...none of this matters, and no one cares. I had forgotten the tongue-in-cheek humor in the observations...until John Savage appears. Then the tone shifts and the book moves to its conclusion. This book was published in 1932 -- 15 years before his student, Orwell, published his dystopia. Huxley's predictions of technology and the intent of technology are uncanny. The visit to the Indian Pueblo in New Mexico makes me wonder if he traveled...that area of the country is a favorite for us, and his portrayal of the village and the area were fascinating. John, and his unconscious references to Shakespeare, added that outsider view of the culture, and reminds us how alien it really is. "Oh, brave new world, that has such people in it." Indeed. Indeed. John's philosophical discussion with Mond (world?) lets us know Mond also can throw out Shakespearan lines at will...he understands the ridiculousness of the world he supports...and he supports it anyway. The essays Huxley wrote in 1958, revisiting his novel were so interesting. He seemed very defensive that his book never reached the heights that his student, Orwell reached. His letter to Orwell after the younger man sent him a copy of 1984 seems touchy... He revisted in his essays the issues he felt were important in his novel...overpopulation, over-organization, propaganda, the arts of selling, brainwashing, chemical persuasion, hypnopaedia (sleep learning), and education for freedom. He explains that his book is a blueprint for 'a new kind of nonviolent totalitarianism.' He believed, and I see evidence, that humans will participate willingly in the stripping of their rights and responsibilities. That's the tragedy of Brave New World...people have lost their responsibilities, their individuality, their ability and willingness to do right, to make decisions.

  11. 4 out of 5

    ✧ k a t i e ✧

    Yeah, I enjoyed this 10000000000x better than 1984. AND WHAT WAS THAT ENDING????

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kenia Sedler

    This is an important work, hence a well-deserved 4-stars. The novel was written in 1932, and the nonfiction "Revisited" in 1958. The novel is weird...but important. The nonfiction work is also important but, more than anything, chillingly prescient. I wonder what Huxley would have thought about the world today... Here's an excerpt from the chapter, "Propaganda Under a Dictatorship": "'All effective propaganda,' Hitler wrote, 'must be confined to a few bare necessities and then must be expressed in This is an important work, hence a well-deserved 4-stars. The novel was written in 1932, and the nonfiction "Revisited" in 1958. The novel is weird...but important. The nonfiction work is also important but, more than anything, chillingly prescient. I wonder what Huxley would have thought about the world today... Here's an excerpt from the chapter, "Propaganda Under a Dictatorship": "'All effective propaganda,' Hitler wrote, 'must be confined to a few bare necessities and then must be expressed in a few stereotyped formulas.' These stereotyped for­mulas must be constantly repeated, for 'only constant repetition will finally succeed in imprinting an idea upon the memory of a crowd.' Philosophy teaches us to feel uncertain about the things that seem to us self-evident. Propaganda, on the other hand, teaches us to accept as self-evident matters about which it would be reasonable to suspend our judgment or to feel doubt. The aim of the demagogue is to create social coherence under his own leadership. But, as Bertrand Russell has pointed out, 'systems of dogma without empirical foundations, such as scholasticism, Marxism and fas­cism, have the advantage of producing a great deal of social coherence among their disciples.' The dema­gogic propagandist must therefore be consistently dogmatic. All his statements are made without qualification. There are no grays in his picture of the world; everything is either diabolically black or celestially white. In Hitler's words, the propagandist should adopt 'a systematically one-sided attitude to­wards every problem that has to be dealt with.' He must never admit that he might be wrong or that people with a different point of view might be even partially right. Opponents should not be argued with; they should be attacked, shouted down, or, if they be­come too much of a nuisance, liquidated. The morally squeamish intellectual may be shocked by this kind of thing. But the masses are always convinced that 'right is on the side of the active aggressor.'"

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kane Bergstrom

    Tonight, I finished "Brave New World", a book published in 1932, by Aldous Huxley. Ironically I was wearing work boots and pants, and on the clock for a fortune five hundred company. A pawn, an epsilon if you may, in this world run on time, money, and class. His visions have come true in a sense, but just the fact that we can read such things proves different. But, it does give proof that maybe his new society had it right. If I had never read this book, or any book, or any free form of entertai Tonight, I finished "Brave New World", a book published in 1932, by Aldous Huxley. Ironically I was wearing work boots and pants, and on the clock for a fortune five hundred company. A pawn, an epsilon if you may, in this world run on time, money, and class. His visions have come true in a sense, but just the fact that we can read such things proves different. But, it does give proof that maybe his new society had it right. If I had never read this book, or any book, or any free form of entertainment, I wouldn't know any better than what's right in front of me. Oblivious happiness. So, maybe the secret is to care a bit less, and stop looking so deeply? Well, if you never know, and if you never dare to know, then what the fuck is the point? To just work your life away, have meaningless sex, watch oatmeal tasting movies, and not know any better? To just pop a pill and settle for the mundane. To not think differently ever. Huxley for me confirms beliefs in the way I was brought up and taught to think and believe. To never stop asking questions, to always search for more, and to not be afraid of failure, in fact, embrace it, and learn from it. Keep dreaming, and keep learning. I recommend this and "Island" for a bit of an escape of everyday life.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin B.

    What would happen if you were designed in a lab? If things like hair color, height, and IQ, were determined by a Greek letter? Brave New World is a book where people are born in test tubes. They are then decided to be in the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, or Epsilon class. Then they decide all of your characteristics, based on what class you are in. As you group up, you are taught morals through the hypnopaedic process (sleep-teaching). One of these morals is to not like being alone. But, there is What would happen if you were designed in a lab? If things like hair color, height, and IQ, were determined by a Greek letter? Brave New World is a book where people are born in test tubes. They are then decided to be in the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, or Epsilon class. Then they decide all of your characteristics, based on what class you are in. As you group up, you are taught morals through the hypnopaedic process (sleep-teaching). One of these morals is to not like being alone. But, there is a man named Bernard Marx who has different ideas. He prefers solitude to company. This makes him unique to the society, which threatens England’s moral structure. A theme from the book is “Having people have diverse thought processes is important.” Something that the author did great was portraying a possible future. Also, he did a great incorporation of complexity and simplicity. It was a very interesting style of writing to read. The book Brave New World is a classic for a few reasons. One reason is the quality of the writing. Another reason is the genius involved in the book. Finally, The book’s plot is very interesting and complex. Clearly, the book, Brave New World, is an amazing work of art.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    This was an OK book. First off I enjoyed the futuristic feel of the book even though it was written back in the Thirties. The idea of humans being mass produced is pretty wild. The thing that I didn't like about it was the dryness of the book. I did not see a plot buildup nor a very "high" climax in the plot. In some sections the book is really dense and I would have to use Sparknotes on it to try and decipher its meaning. In some other cases it was a good read that I could follow. I am the type This was an OK book. First off I enjoyed the futuristic feel of the book even though it was written back in the Thirties. The idea of humans being mass produced is pretty wild. The thing that I didn't like about it was the dryness of the book. I did not see a plot buildup nor a very "high" climax in the plot. In some sections the book is really dense and I would have to use Sparknotes on it to try and decipher its meaning. In some other cases it was a good read that I could follow. I am the type of person that if I feel like reading a book, I would want to just sit down and read it. I dont want to use my brain to try and get a small message out of it, but that's just me. The book has a lot of input on politics. I am not into politics so this book was sort of a bust for me. The characters in the book were probably more interesting than the actual book. You have a sex addict (Lenina), a socially awkward penquin (Bernard), a noob (John), and a hypocrite (The Dirsctor). I dont regret reading this book, but I wish that it was a little more entertaining and less prophetic.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ana-Maria Petre

    Won't be reading Brave New World Revisited, as I've heard it's a waste of time. Great book overall. Won't be reading Brave New World Revisited, as I've heard it's a waste of time. Great book overall.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Briar Rose

    There are so many layers to Brave New World. One aspect that is often overlooked is its exploration of what it means to be human, and how far humanity can be stretched and altered before basic humanness disappears. I think this is why the book still resonates today -- even though the methods have changed, we are still using technology to play with the idea of humanness, whether it be computers, genetic engineering or something else. The book raises questions about the interplay of science and te There are so many layers to Brave New World. One aspect that is often overlooked is its exploration of what it means to be human, and how far humanity can be stretched and altered before basic humanness disappears. I think this is why the book still resonates today -- even though the methods have changed, we are still using technology to play with the idea of humanness, whether it be computers, genetic engineering or something else. The book raises questions about the interplay of science and technology with power and social engineering. Huxley both reveres and fears science, he welcomes its advances and comfort it brings, and fears the unintended consequences of its application, and science that has no reference to a system of ethics. Then there are the questions of sex and love and happiness and suffering and how a person can function both as an individual and a member of a society, and whether the two are even possible. The novel itself is only half a novel -- it is really more a place to hang ideas on, and all the characters function as authorial ciphers. The plot is superficial, a mere way to explore the world Huxley has created and all its strange and terrifying consequences. But it's still compelling, funny and bizarre to read; I still wanted to keep turning the pages. Brave New World Revisited is less interesting, but still fascinating as a piece of paleofuturism -- a forecast from the 1950s about what the world would look like today. It is interesting how much Huxley got right, and how much he got wrong. Many of the issues he was concerned with no longer trouble us, but others are just as relevant today as they were when he wrote it. I was unimpressed with the introduction in this edition, written by Christopher Hitchens. His ideas were confused, he was clearly pushing his own agenda rather than introducing us to the work, and ultimately I feel he just didn't understand Huxley or his novel. Disappointing.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    This book struck home with me once John was introduced. I read this book in 3 days and when I wasn't reading it I was thinking about it and how it would end. I will re-read this book one day. This book struck home with me once John was introduced. I read this book in 3 days and when I wasn't reading it I was thinking about it and how it would end. I will re-read this book one day.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    The story refused to go where I would anticipate it to, making it pretty fascinating and engaging. However, there are still many unanswered questions, which I feel would have enhanced the story, but were left out in favor of continuously outcasted protagonists and an overall wider message.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jerry

    After the first several pages, I started to wonder what the hype was about this book. It didn’t help that Christopher Hitchens’s introduction talked it down, nor that Huxley’s own introduction focused more on the nuts and bolts—such as why he didn’t include nuclear power in a story taking place at least seven hundred years in the future—than on the grand vision. He makes it sound like the book is more about how evil “the advancement of science” is, than about the human failings of conformity and After the first several pages, I started to wonder what the hype was about this book. It didn’t help that Christopher Hitchens’s introduction talked it down, nor that Huxley’s own introduction focused more on the nuts and bolts—such as why he didn’t include nuclear power in a story taking place at least seven hundred years in the future—than on the grand vision. He makes it sound like the book is more about how evil “the advancement of science” is, than about the human failings of conformity and hedonism. Despite the in-depth tour of a human hatchery in the beginning of the book, science is very much in the background, and isn’t really necessary. The question it asks is, how much hell are we willing to put up with for paradise? How much are we willing to pay for peace? Possibly a very big question in 1932. Part of it may be that much of the science of Brave New World has been superseded. We no longer believe that classical conditioning is everything in man’s upbringing, or that genetics is the totality of personality. It’s very likely that the hatchery would not, in fact, produce hundreds and thousands of identical humans. But that’s not the point of this future, and as I continued past the hatchery tour the book became much more compelling until, last night, I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. My guess is that it’s been heavily influential, especially on filmmakers. From Running Man to Idiocracy to Gattaca, there is a lot of Huxley’s world in our big-screen futuristic dystopias. The youthfulness and sterility of Logan’s Run and so many seventies and eighties movies probably came straight from Brave New World. Even in books, the sloganeering of 1984, as different as it is, probably was inspired by Huxley’s hyponaedic memes. In many ways, our current futuristic dystopia resembles more of Brave New World than it does 1984. “An intensive propaganda against [the family], accompanied by a campaign against the Past; by the closing of museums, the blowing up of historical monuments; by the suppression of all books published before A.F. 150.” Like Stanislaw Lem’s The Futurological Congress, the Brave New World uses drugs to do what we use social media and virtual reality for, although in Huxley’s world there is only one drug, the multipurpose soma. Huxley fills this book with names we’ll be familiar with. The founder of the new civilization may well have been assembly-line popularizer Henry Ford. Ford’s name is much like the F-word today, used interchangeably with just about anything in conversation. But almost all of the names are recognizable. People are born from test tubes on assembly lines, and given names from a limited number of first and last names. The names appear to have been chosen in secret homage to the most influential forebears of this brave world, from Marx and Shaw (Bernard Marx) through Lenin (Lenina Crowne) and behavioral psychologist John B. Watson (Helmholtz Watson). Some of the names are obscure to us now, and may even have been in 1932, such as Romantic writer John Crowne and philosopher Hermann von Helmholtz. But many probably wouldn’t have been, such as Mustapha Mond, whose last name likely comes from New Liberal and financier Sir Alfred Mond. (Mond’s political philosophy appears to have been in flux right around the time Brave New World came out; whether that played into Huxley’s use of the name is hard to say.) Likewise, I expect few people know of Herbert Spencer/Mikhail Bakunin (Herbert Bakunin) nowadays. Interestingly, one of the names, mentioned only in passing, is a Pilkington; the same name appears in Orwell’s Animal Farm. (view spoiler)[All of the protagonists are heavily flawed, and most of them start out sympathetic until we learn more about them: Bernard Marx appears to be a worthwhile rebel at first, Lenina Crowne appears to be reasonably sympathetic to him, even John Savage seems to be on a path toward enlightenment at first, but it turns out in every case that their upbringing has destroyed them in some important way. (hide spoiler)] One of the most compelling characters is in fact one of the ten world controllers, Mustapha Mond. He is urbane and understands the irony of the way the world is run. The people are brainwashed into worshipping science precisely so that science stagnates. Mond recognizes that if you love science, if you worship science, you’re not doing science. You’re doing religion. And faith does not question theories. Importantly, unlike many literary totalitarians Mond is able to give a reasonable explanation for why his rule is necessary. In a sense, even Huxley believes him. Toward the end of the book, Mond tells John Savage that: You can’t have a lasting civilization without plenty of pleasant vices. And as this particular civilization is seven hundred years old, it would seem that it’s philosophies work. But history, in my view, says clearly otherwise, that no matter how carefully constructed, a civilization with plenty of pleasant vices and no unpleasant conflicts is on the edge of collapse. Further, no carefully-constructed totalitarian culture has ever achieved such a thing. The lack of initiative that Mond praises has always resulted in widespread famine, inflation, and violence. Much of that, though, may not have been as obvious in 1932 as it is today. And despite that strange incongruity, the book as a whole is a brilliant examination of what life looks like when we have everything we think we want, and nothing that we need. And, more importantly, the lengths we will go to, to preserve not having to take responsibility. When I bought this book, I bought the combined Brave New World/Brave New World Revisited because I thought Revisited was a sequel. It turns out to be a series of essays talking about the science of the book and how predictive it was. My rating here is for the novel only; the essays are the kind of thing Jack Vance probably meant when he wrote in Epoch that “The less a writer discusses his work—and himself—the better.” In Huxley’s view, Brave New World was pure science fiction. Unlike, say, Lem’s work, there was little to no allegory in it. Soma and hypnopaedia are real, and they are (in 1958, mind) only decades a way. Huxley identifies several harbingers of a totalitarian future and in doing so makes such futures seem inevitable—even necessary. The real danger that we will have a totalitarian future is exemplified by the crises Huxley fears: he believes the perpetual doomsayers, reborn every generation to push the same old fears of over-population and over-organization. The reason that these fictitious dooms are popular is that they can only really be solved by more centralized power. That’s why so many of our eternal crisifiers are so adamant that we must respond immediately or face global annihilation. If we wait for more evidence before ceding our freedoms, their predictions, as ever, won’t come true. Huxley has it almost right at the end: Permanent crisis justifies permanent control of everybody and everything by the agencies of the central government. What he doesn’t get is that this is an incentive to create unending crises, and that all crises whose solution means more central power must be met with extreme skepticism. Even when the crisis is real, the proffered solution is almost always dangerously wrong. We are right now living through an epidemic deadly to the elderly and hospitalized, and the solutions by the political class have been to “control everybody and everything”, abandoning those most vulnerable, the elderly and hospitalized, to die. He accepts the dictatorial premise that large organizations are more efficient and more effective than smaller ones, and then extrapolates a crisis out of this that requires a dictatorial response. Like the characters in his story, he unconsciously accepts the premises of the centralizers and so cannot see any possibility other than centralization. The closest we’ve come to a Brave New World, he writes, is the Nazi takeover of Germany, which he sees as a result of the Great Depression. Which may well have been true. But the Great Depression was a prolonged crisis precisely because the crisifiers, both Hoover and FDR, responded with policies designed to prolong the panic. The reason they could do this is because intellectuals accepted the premises of the crisifiers. Similarly, he has a flawed perception of advertising that buys into the premises of those who would like government to control people’s businesses. He assumes, for example, that advertisers would prefer, rather than convincing customers to buy their product, to convince their customers to burn down their competitors. And his theory of what makes for rational advertising misunderstands what advertising is for. He seems to think it is so that engineers can know what ingredients, such as lanolin, are in a product, and that advertising the end result is a disservice to customers. But the reason potential customers want to buy products with lanolin is the end result, not how it gets into the product. And he assumes that the reason television advertisers prefer evening hours is that they’re little Hitlers, sneakily hitting people when they’re most susceptible to mind-control. But of course, television advertisers don’t prefer to advertise during evening hours. They prefer to advertise when their customers are watching television. So that some advertisers preferred the afternoon, when their most likely customers (in 1958, housewives) were watching. And others did prefer the evening hours, because that’s when their potential customers were home from work and watching television. He buys completely into the view of scientific progress as something that only benefits the ruling class. There seems to be no good reason why a thoroughly scientific dictatorship should ever be overthrown. It never occurs to him that science is available to the ruled as well as the ruler. He constructs a Xeno’s paradox of infinite crises, and so his way out of a Brave New World is pretty much to create one. The brilliance of Brave New World is not its scientific predictions, but its depiction of human nature and the needs of dictators. From its predictions of cancel culture to the destruction of the family, from erasing history to plastic Hollywood to the trivialization of the scientific method, this book is far better than the author seems to have designed it as.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    O wonder! How many godly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people in't. —William Shakespeare, The Tempest This was a reread for me (why did everyone who saw me with this book say, "Haven't you read that before?") and I suppose since everyone has read it, everyone knows the basic premise of Brave New World: About 600 years from now, after a devastating Nine Years War full of terror and anthrax bombs, a world government is put into place. Through g O wonder! How many godly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people in't. —William Shakespeare, The Tempest This was a reread for me (why did everyone who saw me with this book say, "Haven't you read that before?") and I suppose since everyone has read it, everyone knows the basic premise of Brave New World: About 600 years from now, after a devastating Nine Years War full of terror and anthrax bombs, a world government is put into place. Through genetic manipulation, the population is engineered to fulfill the tasks of their preordained castes, and through hypnopaedia, the population is conditioned to accept the imposed values of their society. As adults, people are discouraged from solitary pursuits, and as a result of their conditioning, spend leisure time devoted to consumerism, group sport, free sex (including mandatory orgies), 4-D movies called "feelies", and the consumption of soma -- a drug that brightens mood, aids sleep, or enables a mental holiday, depending on dosage. When a "savage" from a New Mexico Indian Reservation is introduced to the totalitarian society, both he and the people that he meets are innately repulsed by the other. Now, I reread Brave New World at this time because in Liberal Fascism, author Jonah Goldberg warned that this is the future that we're blindly marching towards. And as Goldberg also stated each time he invoked Aldous Huxley, many people read this book and wonder, "What would be so wrong with that?" The world's stable now. People are happy; they get what they want; and they never want what they can't get. They're well-off; they're safe; they're never ill; they're not afraid of death; they're blissfully ignorant of passion and old age; they're plagued with no mothers or fathers; they've got no wives, or children, or lovers to feel strong about; they're so conditioned that they practically can't help behaving as they ought to behave. And if anything should go wrong, there's soma. That doesn't actually sound so bad, but even Huxley himself makes it clear that his vision of the future here is a dystopia, not a utopia, and in Brave New World Revisited -- which he wrote in 1958 and which was included in the edition that I read -- he despaired that his vision was coming true even quicker than he foresaw and hoped to warn society against sleepwalking towards a future of conformity, loss of freedom, and the mindless pursuit of the trivial and degenerate. Huxley's warnings about imminent overpopulation (and, in particular, his predictions about the overbreeding of the wrong sorts of people) -- which is the lynchpin of his argument -- now seems quaintly outdated in the same way that Marx wasn't right about the imminent revolt of the working class, so it's tempting to dismiss all of his fears out of hand. For contrasting views about what modern writers think of the vision of Brave New World, here's a dissenting viewpoint from The New York Times in 2013 (but it is interesting to read in the comments section that most readers think that this article is off the mark) and an article from The New York Post in 2012 that thinks Huxley was a visionary. To me, putting Brave New World into context like this is far more interesting than simply reading the novel on its own, and insofar as Huxley was considered a great thinker of his time, I think that was his intent (and forgives the less than perfectly literary constructions of his book). Even if Huxley didn't impeccably envision the near future (although Jonah Goldberg and Kyle Smith of The Post might make compelling parallels), Brave New World certainly extrapolates a logical progression from what Huxley identified as the problems of his time, and if they have any resonance with modern readers, we would do well to sit up and take notice.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Joseph R.

    Brave New World is a classic in dystopian fiction. It shows the world circa 700 AF (After Ford). The world is seemingly ruled by one central authority, which can be looked at in two ways. In one way, the central authority is the Alphas, individuals raised to be the intellectuals and social organizers who keep society running peacefully and efficiently. Part of the efficiency managing the production of all classes of people--Alphas, Betas, Gammas, etc. They are grown in special "Hatchery and Cond Brave New World is a classic in dystopian fiction. It shows the world circa 700 AF (After Ford). The world is seemingly ruled by one central authority, which can be looked at in two ways. In one way, the central authority is the Alphas, individuals raised to be the intellectuals and social organizers who keep society running peacefully and efficiently. Part of the efficiency managing the production of all classes of people--Alphas, Betas, Gammas, etc. They are grown in special "Hatchery and Conditioning Centres." Every person is conceived in a test tube. The lower classes's eggs are split as many times as possible (called "Bokanovsky's Process") typically resulting in 96 identical people. They all do the same grunt work, so why have them different? All these people are carefully conditioned as they grow to accept their state in life. The main condition is through "hypnopaedia," where a speaker is put under each child's pillow at night and a constant stream of jingoistic ideas are implanted in their minds. As adults, they are kept in line with "soma," a drug that puts the users in an ecstatic state, and with promiscuity, so people are constantly trying to sleep with each other and no one minds. Marriage has been abolished and part of the youthful conditioning is to take contraceptives regularly. The very idea of motherhood or fatherhood is offensive and embarrassing. In a second, subtler way, the central authority is science. Science rules the development of new people, what class they are put into, how they develop, and what they do as adults. The society is carefully managed so everyone is happy and contented in their state in life. The main risk is with the Alphas, who are smart enough to think other ways of life might be possible if they can escape the distractions. Enter Bernard, a physically scrawny Alpha who works for the propaganda machine but isn't too happy in life. He can't get the girls he wants and rumors float around that he was accidentally given some of the conditioning for a lower class during his youth. Since he's in the top tier of society, he can go on vacations. One destination is an Indian reservation in New Mexico, where people still live according to the old ways. People from the Brave New World go there like they are going on safari, to see wild life in its natural habitat. Bernard gets a girl to go with him. She is horrified by what she sees (it's all dirty and they practice religion and they have children the shocking old fashioned way!) but he is fascinated, especially when he discovers a woman who had been abandoned by one of his bosses. She's had a child by the boss, named the child John, and raised him on the reservation. John has some very different ideas about life and society because of his upbringing and the only book he's ever had--The Complete Works of Shakespeare (which is of course banned in the "civilized" world). Bernard brings John and his mother back to civilization to humiliate the boss and become a celebrity. Things don't work out too well for anyone. The story is very interesting if very bleak. The scientifically-run society is fascinating and horrifying at the same time. The natural family is completely destroyed and all substantive bonds between people are so weakened that it is easy for the powers that be to run things smoothly and efficiently. The substitutes provided (soma and sex) stifle everyone's imaginations and creativity. Science isn't about discovering new things but about maintaining the status quo as much as possible. Many ideas are explored and satirized in the novel. Brave New World Revisited was written by Huxley twenty-seven years later and is a philosophical and scientific exposition on the ideas in the novel. Huxley goes through the various predictions he has made and is quite discouraged to see that things are moving much more quickly towards a real Brave New World than he thought back in 1931. His analysis is thought-provoking but it's fairly clear that his pessimistic predictions haven't turned out true yet. The essay isn't as good as the novel but it is still worth reading. I'll probably reread the novel but not the essay. 4.5 stars for the novel, 3.5 for the essay.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Like many, I reread Brave New World as the NBC/Peacock series aired. After watching a few episodes, I reread the novel and found so many differences, it's worth a comparison. I'll forego a retelling of the plot, which can be found anywhere else. What struck me was the satiric tone, the scientific passages making artificial reproduction seem plausible, the authenticity of some Native American tribal customs among the "Savages," and, in a few parts, Huxley's occasional use of inter-relating multipl Like many, I reread Brave New World as the NBC/Peacock series aired. After watching a few episodes, I reread the novel and found so many differences, it's worth a comparison. I'll forego a retelling of the plot, which can be found anywhere else. What struck me was the satiric tone, the scientific passages making artificial reproduction seem plausible, the authenticity of some Native American tribal customs among the "Savages," and, in a few parts, Huxley's occasional use of inter-relating multiple scenes with a cascade of short sentences; quite cinematic, and a textual way of showing how the inter-connectivity of the dystopian society wove characters together. The story ends tragically (spoiler) with a reclusive John being literally hounded to death by voyeuristic alphas and betas. Sidebar: the 1980 series adaptation (three hours on YouTube), while stilted in its pacing and now-corny in production values, stays closer to the book's story. The 2020 adaptation, however, veers far from the novel. The beautiful cityscapes are a CGI marvel, but the tribal "Savages" are relegated to a white trash Burning Man amusement park with violent revolutionaries. None of the gun violence or SUVs are in the novel, nor is the action-packed escape. The NBC adaptation does provide interesting back stories about the origins of Indra and the 'society.' It also portrays the circuit-party orgy lifestyle of alphas and betas, and the dull slavery of the lower echelon Gammas and Epsilons. Expanding the romantic relationship between John and Lenina is to be expected, with Bernard as a fumbling foil. Where it fails is having removed John's knowledge of literature, Shakespeare in particular, as a counter to the city illiterates who've banned all art. The use of Indra eye contact implants is clever, as are the other technological visualizations. But where the new adaptation fails horribly is (spoiler) dredging up a WestWorld-styled violent revolution of the underclass. Like the 'Feelies' of both book and TV series, the last several episodes turn the story into exactly what the novel critiqued; mindless entertainment to satiate the drugged masses. By changing the story to give viewers a reassuring fantasy that revolution is even possible, it serves as a betraying cinematic soma.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jaclynn

    I had just finished Orwell's 1984 and was on a dystopian reading bender when I picked up Brave New World (Zamiatin's 'We' is next on the list). Maybe because I am comparing the two novels side-by-side, having read one then the other, Brave New World fell far short of expectations. Huxley's dystopia is a much less terrible place than Orwell's. In fact, it doesn't seem all that bad! Although it is the 'World State', there are tiny pockets of escape. There are the Reservations, where "primitives" l I had just finished Orwell's 1984 and was on a dystopian reading bender when I picked up Brave New World (Zamiatin's 'We' is next on the list). Maybe because I am comparing the two novels side-by-side, having read one then the other, Brave New World fell far short of expectations. Huxley's dystopia is a much less terrible place than Orwell's. In fact, it doesn't seem all that bad! Although it is the 'World State', there are tiny pockets of escape. There are the Reservations, where "primitives" live and practice a quite different lifestyle; there are also islands, to which awkward members of society can be sent if necessary. Mustapha Mond points out that Bernard Marx is in fact privileged to be sent to such a place. And although the effect of such a society is to dehumanise human beings, removing their need to strive, and keeping them emotionally immature all their lives, it is at least (apparently) done for a benign purpose. The difficulties of twentieth-century life have been smoothed over in order to keep the members of society happy—and by and large, they do seem to be happy, at least in a trivial sense. BNW had no endearing character, no one I cared about or who was central to the story. Bernard was a whiny douche. John Savage was bizarre. I liked Lenina and Mustapha Mond but they were peripheral characters. I know Aldous Huxly intended on depicting Brave New world as some kind of dystopia. However after reading that book, Brave New World seemed more like a paradise. There was no war, no diseases, no famine, and no unemployment. Not only is everybody employed in Brave New world, everyone has (the pre-programmed) the job of their dreams. To top it off, there was hardly any crime, everybody knew each other well, and there are wild parties everywhere. Who cares if that society stifled philosophic inquiry. With problems in the world such as war, unemployment, increasing food prices, increasing health care costs, Brave New World seems like a more promising place. If you want a real dystopia, real horror, read Orwell's 1984. Now that's a world I would not want to live in.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I ran across a website that had some free books hosted online (legally) when I was bored, and saw Brave New World, so I decided to give it a try. I read about half of it on my computer and then decided that it was absolutely worth going out and buying it. There were some times where I found myself mixing up some of the characters- but I think a lot of that comes from starting it at 3am. I didn't find that it detracted from the story though, because the plot was straightforward enough that you cou I ran across a website that had some free books hosted online (legally) when I was bored, and saw Brave New World, so I decided to give it a try. I read about half of it on my computer and then decided that it was absolutely worth going out and buying it. There were some times where I found myself mixing up some of the characters- but I think a lot of that comes from starting it at 3am. I didn't find that it detracted from the story though, because the plot was straightforward enough that you could kind of sort things out after the fact. But really, that's the only reason I didn't give it 5 stars. I'm willing to bet that it was probbly due to being sleepless- but still, looking back- it seems as though it was just too easy to confuse the characters while reading. (but again- easy enough to sort out after the fact) Some books just pop up at the right time. I mean, in a societal sense, it's a great time to revist the message of Brave New World, but even on a personal level- I found myself really challenged by some of the ideas examined by Huxley. Is an easy path- the path of least resistence, really worth the benefits of hard work that you're giving up along the way? I've been presented with some decisions that are based solely on that exact thought- so hitting these ideas in the book, granted at an exaggerated level, but still- it's been a really good reminder. I watched Gattaca in my 9th grade Biology class, and I've been somewhat interested in these strange utopian societies ever since...and I've got to say- Huxley's Brave New World only amped up that interest! It's disturbingly creepy, tragic, and absolutely fascinating all at once! Passion is worth the struggle and the pain. Pain and passion go hand in hand.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chance Lee

    This is another difficult book to review, because it's more of a historical document than a novel. Plus, it's hard not to compare it to 1984, which I just read. I'll say this: I like this book more than 1984. 1984 is as subtle as a sledgehammer to the face. While Brave New World does its share of preaching, its vision of the world is much less horrific. On the surface, it seems like a great place to live. Sure, there are horrible caste systems, but it's not like they *know* there are horrible cas This is another difficult book to review, because it's more of a historical document than a novel. Plus, it's hard not to compare it to 1984, which I just read. I'll say this: I like this book more than 1984. 1984 is as subtle as a sledgehammer to the face. While Brave New World does its share of preaching, its vision of the world is much less horrific. On the surface, it seems like a great place to live. Sure, there are horrible caste systems, but it's not like they *know* there are horrible caste systems, right? Everyone's a promiscuous drug user and no one is all that unhappy. It sounds like the 1960s minus Vietnam. The ending with the whip led me to compare this book to the Lars Von Trier film Manderlay. In Manderlay, Bryce Dallas Howard ends up on a plantation in Georgia (I think) in the 20s. No one told them that slavery had been abolished. Yet, it's that uncanny utopia/dytopia that leads you to believe that /this works/. Von Trier does the unthinkable: he makes you think that abolishing slavery was a bad idea. Huxley does the same thing in Brave New World: he makes you think that this society is a good idea. That achievement makes this novel complex and thought-provoking, unlike 1984 which just beats you over the head with BIG BROTHER IS BAD over and over and over again.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Etonomore

    I struggled with whether I wanted to give this book 4 stars or 5 stars for a solid couple of hours. I think if I were to rate Brave New World on its own, I would probably go with 4 stars. The story is incredibly ambitious and has a lot going for it, but I really think the early chapters drag. I find Bernard to be an almost intolerable character to spend time with, and its not until John is introduced that I really become invested in the world and the story. John is, quite clearly, a twisted sort I struggled with whether I wanted to give this book 4 stars or 5 stars for a solid couple of hours. I think if I were to rate Brave New World on its own, I would probably go with 4 stars. The story is incredibly ambitious and has a lot going for it, but I really think the early chapters drag. I find Bernard to be an almost intolerable character to spend time with, and its not until John is introduced that I really become invested in the world and the story. John is, quite clearly, a twisted sort of stand-in for the reader, and it is through his perspective that I think the themes Huxley is exploring really pop off the page. What really pushed me to give 5 stars here is the second half of this book, Brave New World Revisited. I can not stress enough how interesting and delightful it was to explore the mind of Huxley and his musings on the current state of the world in the '50s in regards to the totalitarian "utopia" he dreamed up back when Brave New World was originally published. If you have ever read Brave New World or if you ever plan on reading it I cannot stress enough how important I think it is to give Revisited a read through also, as it both enriches the experience of Brave New World as well as providing an incredibly engaging exploration of society and the problems we face.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Samantha wickedshizuku Tolleson

    A very disturbing read! I was very upset by this book on many levels, but was intrigued by the structure Huxley used. Every different line was a different plot following many chracters. A very disturbing read! I was very upset by this book on many levels, but was intrigued by the structure Huxley used. Every different line was a different plot following many chracters.

  29. 5 out of 5

    oliver

    Nice world building, very inventive for the time that this was written in. I do wish we would have seen more of a protagonist, and what happened to Bernard and Lenina at the end, but what was there was pretty satisfactory. (As for the Brave New World Revisited part, I must admit that I glossed over most of it because 1) it’s rather philosophical/theoretical, and 2) I’m tired.)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Aug Mdc

    A chilling look at a supposed utopia. Chillingly relatable to today!

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