Title: Brave New World
Author: Aldous Huxley
Publisher: HarperCollins 1932
Rating: 5 / 5 stars
Reading Challenges: Science Fiction; 2011 – Back in the Day: A to Z Author X
“Community, Identity, Stability” is the motto of Aldous Huxley’s utopian World State. Here everyone consumes daily grams of soma, to fight depression, babies are born in laboratories, and the most popular form of entertainment is a “Feelie,” a movie that stimulates the senses of sight, hearing, and touch. Though there is no violence and everyone is provided for, Bernard Marx feels something is missing and senses his relationship with a young women has the potential to be much more than the confines of their existence allow. Huxley foreshadowed many of the practices and gadgets we take for granted today–let’s hope the sterility and absence of individuality he predicted aren’t yet to come.
This is one of those books that I try to read every couple of years. I first encountered Huxley’s dystopian tale in high school. It spoke to me. I found danger in the words. A danger that we can avoid if we pay attention. I think this book cemented my love of the social sciences. I wanted to learn more about psychology and sociology and government and philosophy and art and history.
While reading, I still find myself stopping and contemplating passages. I read paragraphs. I digest the thoughts and insights into the human experience. Huxley’s book speaks to as a philosophy tract albeit more engaging. I love the story of revelation and loss. I love the characters for their stereotypes and flaws. My favorite has to be Mustapha Mond who sacrificed his curiosity and education for safety within the civilized world. I cry over John the Savage’s discovery of and then loss of the world. I rail against Bernard’s waffling. All in all, Huxley has produced the best characters to illustrate his vision of a possible future.