Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction and Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel and post Colonial Asian Fiction are some of my Literary Interests

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1933, 97 pages)

This is my second reading of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (born 1894 in Godalming, England, died 1963 in Los Angeles).  In 1967 when I first read it Ferdinand Marcos was President of the Philippines, Lyndon Johnson of the United States, there was no internet, no cell phones, no E books.  I don't recall what lead me to first read Brave New World.  I admit I decided to read it now partially because the Kindle edition was on sale for $0.99, plus I wanted to see if this dystopian classic was still timely.  I was curious what I would recall as I reread.

All I remembered clearly about the plot was the biological engineering of humans into different categories from "moronic epsilons" doing totally mindless work to Alphas who ran things.  Huxley did a brilliant job describing the processes that produce different sorts of humans.  I also remembered the abundant guilt free sex that was the norm (this was the 60s).  The society was engineered to produce maximum harmony while keeping every one happy.  Soma, a feel good drug, is dispersed as a reward and a way to keep people docile.

Huxley makes us of a character called, "The Savage" to present an alternate view of society. One of my favorite parts of the novel was in the conversations of The Savage and the controller of Western Europe.  He is exempt from conditioning and Huxley uses him to explain how the society evolved.

Brave New World is a tremendously influential book.  Parts of it do drag a bit but at only 100 pages or so I rank it as a near must read.  There is a lot to think about in Huxley's masterwork.

Mel u


Mudpuddle said...

BNW and 1984 were, as i recall, read by everyone i knew in the early sixties; quite influential on the "hippy" movement, i believe...

Fred said...

It's interesting to read _BNW_ and _1984_ in tandem, and follow them up by reading Huxley's _Brave New World Revisited_. _BNW Revisited_ was published in 1958 and is a book length (140+ pages) analysis of his work, 1984, and other dystopias and the match they made to the situation at that time.

I should reread the three to see what kind of match there is to today, some 50 years later.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Mel, I read this book many years ago alongside Alvin Toffler's FUTURE SHOCK, and I need to revisit it sometime.