On The Cover: Far in the future, the World Controllers have finally created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs, all its members are happy consumers.
Harbouring an unnatural desire for solitude, feeling only distaste for the endless pleasures of compulsory promiscuity, Bernard Marx has an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations, where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress…
Why I Chose It: I was very curious about this book from the description, and really wanted to read a science fiction dystopia that was published in the 1930s!
I want to begin by talking about the world that Huxley created because I found it incredibly interesting. In the future the world is highly regulated with science and technology ruling over chaos. Every human is grown in a test tube and are exposed to different chemical concoctions, allowing simple-minded humans to be bred for menial tasks. Similarly, well-bred people are given taller bodies and more attractive features, and are groomed from test tube to take important and more complex positions. Outside of work hours, people indulge in different pleasurable activities, such as sports, scent- and sound-machines, lots of sex, and taking many many doses of “soma,” their happy-drug.
With everything so heavily regulated and with people so easily distracted by things that make them “happy,” it’s a wonder that it was even possible for anyone to feel out of place. And yet that’s exactly what happens, is that Bernard Marx is unhappy with his position in the world. This is where the book starts to go downhill for me. I do not like Bernard. He is miserable, but passive, and doesn’t stir any particular emotion in me as a reader. I was bored with him rather fast and was looking for him to actually do something remarkable. Unfortunately, I was unable to connect with any of the characters in the book. While I pitied them for the situations they were in, none of them could conquer the naivety that plagued their lives, and none of them were bettered by the end of the novel.
I believe a large part of this book was above me. I think there is a deep discussion taking place about the foundations of society, and I’m sure that philosophical people would dig into this book with pleasure, but to read Brave New World on my own I constantly felt as though I was missing the big picture. I felt a large disconnection with the book as a whole.
This is an interesting book because it is a very early dystopian. When viewed through that lens, it’s easy to see how this book may have inspired many of the dystopians that we know today. The world created in this book was by far my favourite part, as it covered many of the large spheres including science and technology, social structures, and religion. I think this book has a lot to offer the imagination. If you like classical dystopians featuring a religious discussion, or philosophical reads, then this one might be worth a try for you. :)
Rating: 2 / 5
“They took their seats in the plane and set off. Ten minutes later they were crossing the frontier that separated civilization from savagery. Uphill and down, across the deserts of salt or sand, through forests, into the violet depth of canyons, over crag and peak and table-topped mesa, the fence marched on and on, irresistibly the straight line, the geometrical symbol of triumphant human purpose.” p 94
“It is better that one should suffer than that many should be corrupted. Consider the matter dispassionately, Mr Foster, and you will see that no offense is so heinous as unorthodoxy of behaviour. Murder kills only the individual – and, after all, what is an individual?” p 133
“There isn’t any need for a civilized man to bear anything that’s seriously unpleasant. And as for doing things – Ford forbid that he should get the idea into his head. It would upset the whole social order if men started doing things on their own.” p 216