Brave New World
Huxley's bleak future prophesized in Brave New World was a capitalist civilization which had been reconstituted through scientific and psychological engineering, a world in which people are genetically designed to be passive and useful to the ruling class. Satirical and disturbing, Brave New World is set some 600 years ahead, in "this year of stability, A.F. 632"--the A.F. standing for After Ford, meaning the godlike Henry Ford. "Community, Identity, Stability," is the motto. Reproduction is controlled through genetic engineering, and people are bred into a rigid class system. As they mature, they are conditioned to be happy with the roles that society has created for them. The rest of their lives are devoted to the pursuit of pleasure through sex, recreational sports, the getting and having of material possessions, and taking a drug called Soma. Concepts such as family, freedom, love, and culture are considered grotesque.
Against this backdrop, a young man known as John the Savage is brought to London from the remote desert of New Mexico. What he sees in the new civilization a "brave new world" (quoting Shakespeare's The Tempest). However, ultimately, John challenges the basic premise of this society in an act that threatens and fascinates its citizens.
Huxley uses his entire prowess to throw the idea of utopia into reverse, presenting us what is known as the "dystopian" novel. When Brave New World was written (1931), neither Hitler nor Stalin had risen to power. Huxley saw the enduring threat to society from the dark side of scientific and social progress, and mankind's increasing appetite for simple amusement. Brave New World is a work that indicts the idea of progress for progress sake and is backed up with force and reason.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - MikeFutcher - LibraryThing
"He began to talk a lot of incomprehensible and dangerous nonsense." (pg. 83) Brave New World is a prescient but uneven depiction of a dystopia, one that is unnervingly similar to the world we live in ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - TysonAdams - LibraryThing
Giving up on this classic. Several chapters in and no main characters, no real plot, just a heap of exposition. At least 1984 had a clear protagonist and plot to follow. If I'm going to be bashed over the head with world building and social criticism I want it to be engaging. Read full review