Simon's Bookcase

Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe

Brave New World


Brave New World: Aldous Huxley, February 11-20, 2017
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊

bravenewworldHuxley’s dystopian classic comments on the intricacies of human nature by exploding the debate.

In 2540 AD, or 632 AF (After Ford), the world has been revolutionised and humanity is the result of a production line. Social class is predetermined, and a long process of conditioning (“hypnopaedia”) brainwashes people into thinking whichever class they’ve ended up in, it’s the best one to be. Love is non-existent, death is no longer perceived as a negative experience, and any time there’s anything to feel bad about, government-issued drugs (“soma“) are on hand for a legal high (“holiday”).

In essence, the stability of the society is guaranteed because every individual is entirely stable and predictable and content with their lot. Except the obligatory one man, who had a bit of extra booze pumped into his conditioning pod, had his growth stunted and is a bit of an oddball.

The writing isn’t anything spectacular, but the story has had a lot of thought put into it. Though it drags a bit at the start, once it gets going it keeps a steady pace and Huxley isn’t scared to examine his world. Huxley picks his world up like a prism through John, who hasn’t been conditioned at all, and interrogates it to a fault. It’s not presented as a horrible future version of the world without merit, and that makes it worse. There’s an element of genuine logic that makes it all the more disturbing.

Brave New World is a defence of our way of life, of our values and of the need for virtues. But it’s also a warning: is a lack of strife worth sacrificing our heroes for? A lack of love worth sacrificing our heartbreak for? And should we have the right to be unhappy? It’s not doom and gloom; it’s thought-provoking and even a little affirming. Huxley presents a very carefully crafted universe, and a message that will stick with you.

For the political analysis, visit the special Reaction Room 101.

Simon’s Bookcase is participating in Cornerfold‘s 2017 Dystopia Reading Challenge. To join in before November 1, 2017, visit here.


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This entry was posted on February 20, 2017 by in 2017 Dystopia Reading Challenge, 4 star and tagged .

Author Cloud

@Queen_UK Adolf Hitler agatha christie Alan Clements Alastair Campbell Aldous Huxley Aleksandr Orlov Alex Shaffer Andrew Neiderman Anthony Burgess Arthur Miller Bateman Ben Brooks Ben Elton Bram Stoker Bret Easton Ellis C.J. Cherryh Carolyn Jess-Cooke Charles Dickens Chuck Palahniuk Dan Brown Dante Alighieri dashiell hammett david baldacci David Brin David Glattauer David Kirkpatrick David Line David Tennant David Wolstencroft Dylan Jones E.L. James Edgar Allen Poe Emilia Fox Eoin Colfer Erica Spindler Frank Peretti Gabrielle Lord Gareth Roberts Geoff Ryman George Orwell George R. R. Martin George W. Bush Gillian Flynn Gillian Slovo Graham Greene Guy Piran Harper Lee Harriet Lane Herman Koch Ian Rankin J.K. Rowling Jack Thorne Jacqueline Rayner James Herbert James Patterson Jasper Fforde Jeff Green Jeff Kinney Jeffrey Archer Jem Lester Jenny Robson Jeremy Clarkson Jerry B. Jenkins Jim Thompson John Crowther John Green John Grisham John Tiffany John Verdon Jonas Jonasson Judith Kerr Juliana Foster Justin Richards Kaci Hill Karen Levine Keeley Bolger Louis Walsh malorie blackman Marissa Meyer Mark Haddon Mark Z. Danielewski Martin Sixsmith Mary Higgins Clark Mary McNamara Matt Haig Matthew Ravden Michael Berry Michael Connelly Michael Morpurgo Michael Quirke Miguel de Cervantes Mike Lancaster Morris Gleitzman Morton Rhue Neil Sinclair Nick Hornby Nick Page Patricia Cornwell Patricia Stotley Patrick Ness Paula Hawkins Paul Johnston Peter James Phil Allcock R.J. Palacio Rachelle Dekker Raymond Chandler Richard Bachman Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Ludlum Robin Cook Robin Kirkpatrick sandra brown Sebastian Beaumont Sharon Osbourne Stella Rimmington Stephen Cole Stephen King Steve Lookner Steve Lyons Stuart MacBride Sue Townsend Suzanne Collins ted dekker Terry Pratchett Tim LaHaye Tim Randall Todd Strasser Tom Avery Tom Bower Tom Cain Tom Hoyle tony blair William Golding William P. Young William Shakespeare