Saturday, April 22, 2017

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Publication Date: 1932
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Science Fiction
Synopsis: Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs, all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone harbouring 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...

Review:  For such a beautifully written book, Brave New World is rather horrifying in a subtle, disturbing way.  At first it is hard to pinpoint what it is that bothers you.  In a world where everyone is happy, what is it that could possibly be wrong?  Well, the thing is, what's wrong is that everyone is happy.

Can you imagine living in a state of constant happiness and peace?  There's no pain or sadness, just pure, simple bliss.  Wouldn't that bore you?  Would the fact that you failed to retain your sense of individuality and ingenuity disturb you?  As the story progresses, it becomes more and more apparent that, despite the seemingly content population, the very infrastructure of society is abnormal to the point of fear.  When reading Brave New World, you're scared, yet not precisely sure why.

But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.

The absence of love, family, art, and individuality is what sends chills down your spine It's a picture perfect world, and yet there is something intrinsically wrong, like waking up one day and walking outside to find that the grass is suddenly pink and flowers are the size of trees, a parody of some twisted Alice in Wonderland tale.  The society of Huxley's famous work rejects any unique thought or higher level of awareness that could disrupt the delicate balance in place.  What they fear most is originality and intelligence, those who dare to ask questions or invent things that could tempt the mind of the oblivious.

Bernard, our somewhat special protagonist, is not as compliant as the typical citizen. He defies typical social behavior and at first seems gratified when he meets a savage man on a plantation where modern society has not been enacted.  John "Savage" soon becomes the center of everyone's attention, including the reader's.  He's more "normal," but how would you fare in a world that rejects the very thought of the things you value most? This so called heaven is more of a hell to him. 

One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.

After all of that, the scariest part of Brave New World is not the cloning, rampant consumerism, or use of drugs to form compliant citizens.  What's alarming is the eerie similarities to our own society.  It's ironic, isn't it, that for once a classic becomes more and more relevant over time.


  1. I read this for school, so it was really interesting to hear your thoughts! I didn't like it nearly as much as you did, but that may be because I was cooped up in a windowless classroom for hours each week forced to analyze it over and over and over until my eyes bled. Your thoughts were quite interesting, though, and in my opinion, accurate. Lovely review!

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

    1. I think reading books for school rather than willingly definitely warps our perceptions of them, and I would totally recommend reading it again now. It's honestly so brilliant and horrifying, an absolute masterpiece. Thanks for commenting, Ellie!

  2. Ooh this book sounds so interesting!! I love books that create a contrast to our lives at this point in time. I must read it 😊

    1. It's honestly so awesome and I definitely think you should read it, too, Rebekah! Thanks for commenting!