Wednesday, June 27, 2007

BOOK: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

In the year 632 AF (after Ford) we are shown around the Central London Hatching and Conditioning Centre. This Utopian society values technology, and has used science to perfectly create its population, Alpha, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons. We are introduced to a few characters - Bernard, Hemholtz, Lenina, Henry Foster and Mustapha, and we see how sex is very casual and not used for procreation at all, how soma is the drug of everyone, used to deal with anything unpleasant, and how the children are conditioned to be perfect members of the society. Bernard and Lenina go to a Reservation and bring back a Savage, who has not been exposed to this "brave new world" but to our type of life, with marriage and love and passions and Shakespeare. The Savage becomes a novelty and has trouble fitting in.


I really enjoyed this book, although it started to drag for me near the end. I have been surprised at how some aspects of these dystopian novels have predicted the way societies have evolved. This novel focused on the consumerism, DNA manipulation, and drug use that are certainly issues today, and this was originally published in 1932. As a society, we are looking for a soma, a cure-all to prevent any bad feelings or pain. Commercials teach our children that any pain ( Extra Strength) or discomfort (Tum, Ta tum tum) needs to be eliminated and we have just the thing for you!
I liked how Shakespeare is used to represent all the emotions and feelings that have been eliminated in the Fordian world, and the explanation of how all diseases, including old age and death, have been eliminated by science. This novel will give you plenty to think about.

5 comments:

Trish said...

This one has been on my TBR list for a while now. Nice review...I'll have to figure out a place to fit it in. :)

jean pierre said...

i've been meaning to read this for some time - thanks for the cool review and bringing it to my attention again.

its so scary how its predicts those elements of our society...! just the fact that these things have been predicted makes you look at them, realise things weren't always like this and question them.

kookiejar said...

I don't know if I'm more freaked out by the fact that Huxley and Orwell so accurately predicted some of the future's societal ills, or that our ills so accurately reflect Huxley and Orwell's frightening view of the future.

Debi said...

I've really been wanting to re-read this book for a while now. I loved it when I read it in high school (many, many years ago), and I think I would probably appreciate it even more now. Your review just made me bump it up a bit in the old TBR pile.

Bookfool said...

I've been telling myself I've got to get to this one for months. Okay, Kookie has me freaked. Now, I really need to read it, after reading your review and Kookie's comment. Great review.