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Brave New World

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Brave New World is a dystopian novel by English author Aldous Huxley, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State, inhabited by genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning that are combined to make a dystopian society which is challenged by only a single individual: the story's protagonist.

268 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1932

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About the author

Aldous Huxley

939 books11.8k followers
Brave New World (1932), best-known work of British writer Aldous Leonard Huxley, paints a grim picture of a scientifically organized utopia.

This most prominent member of the famous Huxley family of England spent the part of his life from 1937 in Los Angeles in the United States until his death. Best known for his novels and wide-ranging output of essays, he also published short stories, poetry, travel writing, and film stories and scripts. Through novels and essays, Huxley functioned as an examiner and sometimes critic of social mores, norms and ideals. Spiritual subjects, such as parapsychology and philosophical mysticism, interested Huxley, a humanist, towards the end of his life. People widely acknowledged him as one of the pre-eminent intellectuals of his time before the end of his life.

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5 stars
651,068 (36%)
4 stars
638,532 (35%)
3 stars
352,987 (19%)
2 stars
97,281 (5%)
1 star
41,636 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 44,513 reviews
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11.2k followers
March 11, 2012
BabyClone v2

I need to parse my rating of this book into the good (or great), the bad and the very fugly because I thought aspects of it were inspired genius and parts of it were dreggy, boring and living near the border of awful. In the end, the wowness and importance of the novel's ideas as well as the segments that I thoroughly enjoyed carried the book to a strong 3.5 star rating.

THE REALLY GOOD/EXCELLENT - I loved the first third of the book in which the basic outline of the "Brave New World" and its devalued, conveyer belt morality is set forth. The narrative device employed by Huxley of having the Director of Hatchery and Conditioning provide a walking tour to students around the facility as a way to knowledge up the reader on the societal basics was perfect. We learn of the cloning/birthing process, the caste system and the fundamental tenets upon which the society is organized.

This was as good a use of infodumping exposition as I had come across in some time and I was impressed both with the content and delivery method. The reader gets a crash course in world and its history in a way that fit nicely into the flow of the narrative without ever feeling forced. This was easily the best part of the novel for me, and Huxley's mass production-based society of enforced hedonism and anti-emotion was very compelling. Sort of like...
Mr_Spock-1 v2

Now, long jumping to the end of the novel...

I also thought the final "debate" near the story's climax between John (the "savage") and Mustapha Mond, the World Controller, was exceptional. This last chapter/ending of the book, while abrupt, was masterful and struck the proper chord with the overall theme of the book.

Thus, a superior 4.5 to 5.0 stars for this portion of the book.

THE BAD/AWFUL - I thought the middle of the book including both the trip to the "reservation" and John's initial return to London was a sleeping pill and felt disconnected from the rest of the narrative. Throughout this entire portion of the book, all I kept thinking was...
The only purpose of this long, long.....LONG section seems to be to allow the reader to see Bernard Marx do a complete 180 in his views on the society once he finds himself in the role of celebrity by virtue of his relationship with John the savage. Sorry, this just did not strike me as a big enough payoff for this dry, plodding section. It was a test of endurance to get through this portion of the book, so I'm being generous when I give it a weak 2.0 to 2.5 stars. I could just have easily summed it up by just saying...

Bottom-line, I think this is a book that should be read. It's important book and there is much brilliance here. Plus, it is short enough that the stale boring segments aren't too tortuous to get through. However, as far as the triumvirate of classic dystopian science fiction goes...1984 is still the undisputed champ.

3.0 Stars. Recommended.
Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,963 followers
February 18, 2016
Warning! The following review contains humor. If you read it and actually think that I'm being critical of Huxley, try reading it again. (Here's a hint. Look for the irony of the italicized parts when compared to the previous statements.) If you post a comment that asserts that I'm wrong/ stupid/ crazy for this and/or try to lecture me on all the points you think I missed then I'm going to assume that you read it literally, missed the joke, didn't read the other comments where I've already answered this about a dozen times, and I will delete your post.

I have to apologize for this review. The concept of this book was so outlandish that I think it made my mind wander, and you may find some odd random thoughts scattered in it.

Anyhow, this book was so silly and unrealistic. Like any of this could happen. In the far future the babies are genetically engineered and designed for certain stations in life with a large workforce bred to be happy with menial jobs that don’t stress them physically or mentally. I really should look into getting that data entry position I saw in the job postings. It’d be a lot less stressful than what I‘m doing now.

In addition to all the genetic modifications, the children are raised by the state, and words like ’father’ and ’mother’ are considered obscenities. Subliminal messaging through infancy and childhood also condition people to repeat idiotic platitudes as if they are genuine wisdom. I’ve been in a bad mood today. I need to turn that frown upside down. And since the world economy depends on constant consumption by the highest classes, they’re encouraged to be wasteful The collars on a couple of my shirts are a little frayed. I should go buy some new ones and throw the old ones out. and to engage in activities that demand spending and resource use. Should I get a new set of golf clubs? I lost my old ones when we moved, but I hadn’t played in a long time. But would I play more if I got new clubs? There‘s that really nice looking course right down the street. I don‘t know how they keep the grass that green in this heat. The population even gets to zip around in their own private helicopters rather than cars. Man, when are they going to come out with jet packs for everyone. It’s 2011 and I’m still driving around in a car like a chump. I want my jet pack!

Casual sex is actively encouraged. Wow. These condom commercials on TV have gotten really racy. The population is also programmed to be constantly partaking of some form of entertainment and to never just sit quietly and think I’m bored. Writing is boring. or to be alone Let’s check Facebook and see what all my friends are doing.

One of the sillier ideas is that the foundation of this society is Henry Ford’s assembly lines and that Ford has become the most revered figure in history. Like a businessman could ever become that popular. Is Steve Jobs making any announcements this week? I get itchy when there‘s no new Apple products.

While everyone seeks to be constantly entertained, all of the entertainment panders to the lowest common denominator. Hey, Jersey Shore is on! and the emphasis is on presenting it with gimmicks to engage the audience like ’the feelies’, movies that the audience can also smell and feel the sensation from. I wonder if they’ll re-release Avatar at the movies so I can see it in 3D again like James Cameron intended? At one point, a character complains about the feelies, “But they’re told by an idiot….works of art out of practically nothing but pure sensation.” I should go see that new Michael Bay Transformers movie.

Perhaps the most far fetched idea in this is that the population has been trained to sedate themselves with a drug called soma that relives any potential anxieties and keeps people from thinking about anything upsetting. I want a beer.

I guess this Huxley guy might have gotten lucky and predicted a few things, but he was way off base about where society was going.
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,118 reviews44.8k followers
September 9, 2023
“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.”

These are words uttered in the face of tyranny and complete oppression, though they are very rare words to be spoken or even thought of in this world because every human passion and sense of creativity is repressed and eradicated through a long and complex process of conditioning.

And that’s what makes this novel so powerful; it’s not unbelievable. Like Orwell’s 1984 and Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, there’s just enough truth within Brave New World for it to be real. It’s a cruel mirroring of our own existence, should we follow a certain path too strongly. And that's the wonder of speculative fiction, though unlike the other two books, there’s no violence involved in Huxley’s world. It’s just as controlling and scary, but it’s done in a more indirect way.

Sex is on tap, everybody should be happy.

People don’t go missing in the night nor are they stoned to death by a group of their peers, but they have just as little freedom (even if they don’t realise it.) In this dystopia they are trained from birth to think and feel in a certain way, and, for whatever reason, should they ever deviate from their ordained path, they are fed drugs that induce happiness and serenity; thus, the populace is kept within their desired space, and persist with the tasks they were born to do. Very few of them even consider that this is wrong; this is all they have known. And to make things even more maniacally clever, all physical and sexual needs are fulfilled completely as everybody belongs to everybody else in every sense with the ultimate goal of people never developing desire. All desire should be fulfilled, nobody wants for anything else.

People are machines and houses are factories. They are mass produced and designed to be one thing and one thing only. All values are inverted. The idea of showing any emotion is horrific and repulsive. Love is unknown and alien. Death is associated with sweetness and relief. Children are fed candy when they are thought about death, so they associate the two together, so when as adults they see death they think of treats rather than the loss of someone they have known and worked beside for years.

In Brave New World people are husks, empty and detached, without ever realising it.

-John, the savage, as he enters the new world

I can only admire and praise Huxley’s genius through the writing. Like all effective dystopian societies, reading and information plays an exceedingly important role. As with Ray Bradbury'sFahrenheit 451, all books have been destroyed and made inaccessible. John, one of the few characters who was born away from the new world, stumbles across a volume of Shakespeare and it changes his life. He can only think and feel in Shakespearean language and begins to view the world through a semi-romantic lens and only finds depravity when he walks into the new world.

It’s everything he hates. He has been termed the savage, though he knows and understands the real meaning of the term even if those who call him such do not. Naturally, he becomes depressed and isolated in this new space, a space that he cannot be a part of or accepted in (not that he would want to be.) And I found him by far the most interesting and compelling character within the story because he is the only one to really look beyond the boundaries of his own experience and to find it wanting.

So this is a terribly important novel and I can’t believe I have only just read it. If you haven’t read it already, you know what you have to do. This isn’t something to be missed. It’s a novel that made me think and imagine in a way a book hasn’t done in quite some time.


You can connect with me on social media via My Linktree.
Profile Image for Madeline.
781 reviews47.2k followers
February 8, 2010
Aldous Huxley wrote Brave New World in 1932. That's almost eighty years ago, but the book reads like it could have been written yesterday. (especially interesting to me was how Huxley was able to predict the future of both genetic engineering and the action blockbuster. Damn.)

I think I liked this one better than 1984, the book traditionally considered to be this one's counterpart. Not really sure why this is, but it's probably because this one has a clearer outsider character (the Savage) who can view the world Huxley created through his separate perspective.

In this light, I will give the last word to Neil Postman, who discussed the differences between Orwell and Huxley's views of the future:

"What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.
Orwell feared those who would deprive us information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.
As Huxley remarked in 'Brave New World revisited,' the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny 'failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions.'
In 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' people are controlled by inflicting pain. In 'Brave New World' people are controlled by inflicting pleasure.
In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us."
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,989 reviews298k followers
May 9, 2018
Wow, the anger over this rating! My first post for this book was a quote and a gif of Dean from Supernatural rolling his eyes and passing out. And people were pissed. How dare I?

Lol. I'm honestly just so tired of all the dumb comments demanding that I (all caps) "ELABORATE". It's been going on for SIX YEARS now. So I will: This is still one of the most boring emotionless books I have ever read. It seemed like a natural choice after I loved Orwell and Atwood but, my god, Huxley is a dry, dull writer.

Another reviewer called this book a "sleeping pill" and that is a fantastic description. After all the hullabaloo with my original post, I borrowed Brave New World from my local library with the intention of reading it again to give a more detailed review for those freaking out in the comments. And I returned it after suffering through only a few pages. A few years later I got the ebook, thinking I would eventually make it through somehow. But I haven't. It's so mind-numbingly dull. I don't want to do it to myself. The Globalization of World Politics was more enjoyable than this book.
Profile Image for Erin.
56 reviews184 followers
February 29, 2008
remember that last semester of english class, senior year, where every class seemed painfully long and excrutiatingly pointless? when everybody sat around secretly thinking of cute and witty things to put in other people's yearbooks? when the teachers realized we were already braindead from filling out three dozen student loan applications and college housing forms? that's when honors english started getting a little lazy.

not that i minded. everybody got a book list. then everybody got split up into groups. you were responsible for reading all the books on your own, but one in particular was chosen for your group to present at the end of the semester. you know--- as a refresher for the rest of the class. because of course EVERYONE was gonna read EVERY book.

i can't remember what i did instead of reading "brave new world", but it was probably fun and involved copious amounts of sweet tea and a gigantic paper mache cow. fortunately it didn't matter because the only group to take their presentation seriously was the "brave new world" group, and the way they presented stuck with me long enough to compel me to read the book later.

maybe it was the weird music they had playing during their presentation, maybe it was the fact that super hot chris mayns had to sit in my group (the alphas) but i was seriously attracted to the world this group created in our classroom. we drew cards randomly to determine our class, then sat accordingly and wore cute little colored wristbands. everybody got pez (soma!) and *gasp* a birth control belt. throughout the presentation people were moved next to someone and lost a packet on their belt (listen, this is scandalous for a bible belt high school, ok? by the way, i did NOT get to sit next to chris, which is probably good because i would have been mortified and choked on a pez)

anyway, the presentation was fun, but i didn't get around to reading my (now ex) boyfriends copy until a year ago. and i started getting a small, evil thought exactly the same as i had in class so many years ago... maybe some people would actually like this system. maybe some people would actually BENEFIT from this system. people don't have to think? they aren't expected to do much, go to college, become something bigger than what they actually are? they're rewarded with good feeling drugs? they are proud to have accomplished what they have? and they... DON'T HAVE TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES!?

I know i'm going to get slammed for saying this later, especially because i never do actual reviews or completely delve into what i'm thinking (so shoot me) but haven't you ever been roaming the world wide inter-web and found a little troller you thought "well, this person is a poor use of a human brain?" yes, you have. admit it.

just think, a little test tube tweaking and that person wouldn't mind manning the cash register at piggly wiggly for the rest of his life, saving the rest of humanity from noxious online rants about the hotness of avril lavinge and the brilliance of starcraft (apparently its a video game thats KOOLER THAN U!!!!1#)

you're tempted, i can tell...

Profile Image for Johannes.
13 reviews23 followers
May 25, 2008
This book presents a futuristic dystopia of an unusual kind. Unlike in Orwell's 1984, Huxley's dystopia is one in which everyone is happy. However, they are happy in only the most trivial sense: they lead lives of simple pleasures, but lives without science, art, philosophy or religion. In short, lives without deeper meaning. Although people are expected to work hard and efficiently during working hours, during off hours people live in an infantile way, never engaging their minds, and satisfying themselves with sex and drugs.

The premise of the book I find quite interesting. However, the execution is lacking. The characters are not particularly endearing, and indeed they are quite flat. Worse, Huxley fails to explain why this future of controlled contentment is wrong. The reader will intuit that the this indeed a dystopia posing as a utopia, but Huxley's reliance on this feeling is a philosophical failure. It is the burden of the author to present us not with an account of something we know is bad, but to explain the source of the knowledge.

Huxley attempts something akin to an explanation in the second-to-last chapter, a discussion between "the Savage" who grew up outside civilization and Mustalpha Mond, a World Controller. However, the attempt falls short, as Mond has concise answers to all of the Savage's questions, and the Savage lacks the education and/or intellectual power to find reason behind his feelings.

During the conversation, Mond refers to philosopher Francis Bradley and credits him with the idea that philosophy is "the finding of bad reason for what one believes by instinct." Perhaps this inclusion is intended to convey that Huxley agrees and will make no attempt to manufacture a "bad reason" why the world he created is evil. However, I find this deeply unsatisfying. Why write a book to tell people what they already know? Moreover, a single reference to Bradley is not sufficient to convince me that this definition of philosophy is correct. If Huxley's novel relies heavily on this idea, he should have supported it with more than a solitary statement of Mond. Indeed, Mond promptly refutes the statement by denying instinct as separate from conditioning, and as the civilized population of the world seems to be controlled largely by conditioning, it would seem that in Huxley's world, Mond is correct!

In summary, Huxley crafts an interesting future world where people are blithely content without knowing passion or pain. Unfortunately, he fails both to craft an interesting story to set in this world and to write a strong philosophical argument why such a world would be harmful for mankind. He relies on the obvious faults of the world and the intuitive reaction of the reader, and thus provides no deeper insights.

As a social message, as a novel, and as a statement on the way in which mankind should behave, I find Brave New World inferior in almost every way to 1984. The one word of praise I will give to Huxley's novel is that his dystopia is more unusual and more intriguing than Orwell's. If only he had dome something more with it.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews41 followers
July 29, 2021
(Book 649 From 1001 Books) - Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

Brave New World is a dystopian novel by English author Aldous Huxley. Published in 1932.

The novel opens in the World State city of London in AF (After Ford) 632 (AD 2540 in the Gregorian calendar), where citizens are engineered through artificial wombs and childhood indoctrination programmes into predetermined classes (or castes) based on intelligence and labor.

Lenina Crowne, a hatchery worker, is popular and sexually desirable, but Bernard Marx, a psychologist, is not.

He is shorter in stature than the average member of his high caste, which gives him an inferiority complex.

His work with sleep-learning allows him to understand, and disapprove of, his society's methods of keeping its citizens peaceful, which includes their constant consumption of a soothing, happiness-producing drug called Soma.

Courting disaster, Bernard is vocal and arrogant about his criticisms, and his boss contemplates exiling him to Iceland because of his nonconformity. His only friend is Helmholtz Watson, a gifted writer who finds it difficult to use his talents creatively in their pain-free society. ...

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «دنیای قشنگ نو»؛ «دنیای شگفت انگیز نو»؛ نویسنده: آلدوس هاکسلی؛ (پیام ، نیلوفر) ادبیات؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز سوم ماه آوریل سال 2000میلادی

عنوان: دنیای قشنگ نو؛ نویسنده: آلدوس هاکسلی؛ مترجم: سعید حمیدیان؛ تهران، پیام، 1352؛ در 268ص؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، نشر واژه، 1368، در 267ص؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، نیلوفر، 1378، در 295ص؛ شابک: 9644480686؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی - سده ی 20م

عنوان: دنیای شگفت انگیز نو؛ نویسنده: آلدوس هاکسلی؛ مترجم: حشمت الله صباغی؛ حسن کاویار؛ تهران، کارگاه هنر، 1366؛ در 281ص؛

عنوان: دنیای شگفت انگیز نو؛ نویسنده: آلدوس هاکسلی؛ مترجم: رضا فاطمی؛ تهران، سمیر، 1390؛ در 312ص؛

رمانی علمی تخیلیِ است، که در سال 1932میلادی، به قلم «آلدوس هاکسلی»، نویسنده «انگلیسی» منتشر شده‌؛ داستانی خیالی، درباره ی اینکه در سال 2540میلادی، انسانها را کارخانه ها تولید، و اوضاع دنیا ثابت است، و مردمان خوشبخت هستند، از پیری خبری نیست، ...، و در بخشهای پایانی، «هاکسلی» با دیالوگهایی که از نمایشنامه های «شکسپیر»، بازنگاری کرده (عنوان رمان را نیز از نمایشنامه «طوفان» اثر «ویلیام شکسپیر» برگرفته)، و ...؛ انگار هنوز داستان ادامه دارد.؛

نویسنده با شیوه‌ ای سرشار از طنز، و آفرینشهای ادبی، سیر تمدن، و فرهنگ مغرب زمین را، به باد نقد می‌گیرند، و جهات منفی و زیانمند آن را برای جامعه بشری، و کرامت انسانی با واژه های خویش می‌آرایند؛ «هاکسلی» داستان را در ظرف زمانی چند صد سال پس از امروز در خیال خویش می‌پرورد، تا جنبه ی پیش‌گویی، در باب سرشت، و سرنوشت انسان آینده را، به خود گیرد؛ چنانکه مبدا تاریخ را نیز از راه طنز «ب.ف = بعد از فورد» برمیگزینند، زیرا، در جامعه ی مورد اشاره ی ایشان، همه چیز بر مدار کژراهه ی علم‌زدگی، و سلطه ی ماشین قرار دارد، و بی‌تردید در چنان جامعه‌ ای، نقش پیشگامان راه سعادت و رستگاری بشر، در رتبه ی کسانی همچون «هنری فورد» آرفینشگر اتوموبیل، فرو کاسته شده، و انسان‌ها نیز با همه ی بزرگواری‌های خویش، به آدمک‌هایی بدل می‌گردند، و در چند گروه «آلفا»، «بتا»، «گاما» و «اپسیلون» بر حسب ویژگی‌های سازمانی و نوع استفاده‌ ای که از هر گروه انتظار می‌رود، هستند؛ در نظامی از این دست، به‌ رغم اینکه همگی آدمک‌ها، در حقارت اشتراک دارند، گروه های گوناگون، بر اساس قوانین سخت‌گیرانه، و تغییرناپذیر، از هم جدا گشته، و با نگرش طبقاتی شدید، به صورت «کاست» و «آپارتاید» اداره می‌شوند؛ تغذیه ی آنان از راه گوش، و به یاری دستگاه‌هایی صوتی است، که از همان ابتدای تولید، و در شیرخوارگاه، بر روی بالش تعبیه شده، تا در زمان خواب، تلقینات بزرگان را، در گوششان فرو خواند، و چنان ملکه ی ذهن آنان شود، که آن آموزه‌ها را، همچون دستگاه پخش صوت، بی‌اراده بازگو کنند؛ در یک چنین جامعه‌ ای، انسان طبیعی، و برخوردار از مکارم بشری، و انگیزه‌های طبیعی، محکوم به فناست؛ منتقدان برآنند، که «هاکسلی» با طنز تلخ، و بدبینانه ی خویش، هم نظام‌های سرمایه‌ داری، و هم حکومت‌های «کمونیستی»، و به طور کلی نظام‌های توتالیتر را، یکجا آماج انتقاد خویش قرار داده اند؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 24/05/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 06/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Yun.
521 reviews21.7k followers
March 16, 2022
I first read Brave New World many years (decades) ago in high school, and I remember thinking it was really interesting at the time. Well, I must have been a doofus back then because this reread just didn't live up to expectations. To be honest, my impression now is that it's all a bit of a mess.

First, who exactly are the main characters here? We start following a few people, but end up focusing on someone else entirely. None of the characters are particularly sympathetic, not even the supposedly enlightened "savage" man from outside this world. And this savage man, even though he had a bit of homeschooling in the middle of nowhere, can converse on a superior level with the Controller of Western Europe upon meeting him. (Cue eye-rolling.)

The story relies heavily on Shakespeare quotes to make its point, often devolving into random ramblings for pages at a time. In a whole chapter devoted to discussions on religion, it clearly implies that turning one's back on religion causes a society to melt down into dystopia. (More eye-rolling.)

And on top of that, the part that annoys me the most is its treatment of the female main character. The "savage" calls her a whore every time he feels attracted to her and goes so far as to physically attack her, since it's obviously her fault for tempting him. I know this was written in the 1930s, so maybe this sort of rape-culture thinking was the norm back then, but it doesn't make reading it now any less offensive.

I'll be generous and give it 3 stars for being a classic with some interesting ideas about dystopian society. But if I were to rank it against books out there today, it's not worth more than 2 stars. Womp womp.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
January 30, 2020
This set the stage about what a dystopian story should be or not be.

“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.”

First published in 1932, this is timeless and is as relevant today as when it was first written. Sixteen years before Orwell's 1984 but eleven years after We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, this is a high water mark for the genre, many of its themes could be told today. Truth be said, this could be published today and would be just as good, it rises to the challenge and then towers above it.

“If one's different, one's bound to be lonely.”

Everyday life makes me think of this book all the time. Huxley does more than describe a bleak and cynical post-apocalyptic or dystopian world, he looks a dystopian resident in the eye and puts before him a mirror to flesh out what is real and unreal. Further, Huxley has turned that same mirror on the reader and we see in his far future fantasy a reality that could be today. Huxley reveals that the seeds of Mustafa Mond and his ilk have fertile ground in our culture and in our souls.

“No social stability without individual stability.”

Finally, Huxely provides a glimpse behind the curtain, we see the false wizard in his machinations. The world that has been crafted for the denizens of Huxley's nightmare landscape is explained fully and matter-of-factly by Mond. Huxley's sermon is delivered as stoically and deterministically as Jonathon Edwards "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God".

"You all remember, I suppose, that beautiful and inspired saying of Our Ford's: History is bunk."

A must read.

*** 2020 Re-read:

Reading this brilliant work after a few years only just reminded me of not only what an exceptional book it is, but of also how important it is in literature.

“In 1999, the Modern Library ranked Brave New World as #5 on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. In 2003, Robert McCrum, writing for The Observer, included Brave New World chronologically at #53 in "the top 100 greatest novels of all time", and the novel was listed at #87 on The Big Read survey by the BBC.”
- Wikipedia

Huxley was greatly affected and influenced by economic events in the England of the 1920s and of the need for stability, but at what cost? A trip to America and an exploration of Henry Ford’s autobiography My Life and Work further led him towards the centralized and industrialized world that he created in BNW.

Huxley, perhaps more so than Orwell, has crafted a domain wherein the individual has succumbed to the will of the state. But Huxley’s vision is more subtle and therefore more insidious – the citizens of Huxley’s dystopia are brainwashed and seem genuinely happy. The dehumanizing automation of births and families as well as the somnambulist / hypnotic effects of Soma further create a scenario where out traditional attitudes of right and wring have been displaced.

Most of all in this reading is the characterization of John and of his juxtaposition with him as a product of the savage reservation and of his alienation in the London of the brave new world. In John, Huxley has created a shadow of Miranda from The Tempest, and the civilization he finds is one that he ultimately rejects in favor of the most extreme form of individual choice.

Timeless and important.

Profile Image for Fergus, Quondam Happy Face.
1,028 reviews17.7k followers
September 15, 2023
Brave New World says as much about Aldous Huxley as it does about our modern world.

Maybe more.

When he wrote it, Huxley was in the process of losing his inner child. Darling of the Jet Set, he was the literary version of their current idol, Cole Porter.

And in the end, the sophisticated public’s jaundiced taste for quick, fun and outré reads made him disposable - to us all.

And worst of all, to his own deep, dreaming subconscious!

Shy, lanky, shortsighted polymath Huxley was born to a family of Eminent Victorians, and was given ample leisure time to read any book he could get his hands on - which was them all.

They would call him a nerd nowadays.

But his reading and shyness disassociated him from the rough-and-tumble world. He had no fixed anchor.

Like so many of us, he had lost his centre of gravity, or had never had one.

But entre-deux-guerres Europe loved him, and adopted him as one of its own. The darling of the Smart Young Things - as the Catholic Waugh tartly put it - he was witty, caustic and irreverent.

He could do no wrong - except in the eyes of social activists, on one side, and believers on the other.

So it was at the midpoint of his career that he took up his pen against the future in Brave New World. If he couldn’t be serious, he could nevertheless shock.

Problem is, he half-loved his own Utopia. And in later life he moved to the U.S.A. and became an early advocate of the Southern California Lifestyle with its casual gurus and myriad conveniences.

When his beloved wife Maria died of cancer, disconsolate and without moorings, he turned to her much younger caregiver for love - a quality conspicuous by the rarity of its occurrence in his hyper-intellectual heart.

They were married at a no-frills marriage boutique in Nevada. They explored Eastern religions through Vedanta, then a current fad. They attended séances and summoned the ghost of his late wife. But all was not well.

His doctor told him some disturbing news: he was going blind. Losing his sight would be losing his most precious pleasure: reading. So his doctor advised him to frequently rest his eyes, by closing them and then applying light pressure from his palms, gently circling them in a clockwise motion.

He was very much a faddish man without roots, and much akin in his casual though refined nature to the citizens of the Brave New World. He Needed to read and write. He was a sensual man who needed his pleasures.

But with the approach of the sixties, he received another grim diagnosis. Cancer of the mouth. He started to compare notes with his friend Stravinsky about their planned abstinence from cigarettes:

The weeds that killed him in the end.

Carl Jung used to say that our Shadow will visit us in our dreams if we ignore it in our daily lives...

Huxley bought into the mainstream Freudian POV that the asceticism of the great mystics was mere dumb sexual repression (witness his Late anti-Christian rant entitled The Devils of Loudon - now made newly available on Kindle).

And late in life, close to the time of his own death, Huxley dreamt he was floating in a vast orb containing a marvellous city.

But outside the bubble, brutish crowds were howling with derisive laughter at him - yes, him - the untouchable visionary who penned the great Brave New World!

It’s like that late photo of him at his misunderstood California friend Stravinsky’s recording sessions for his own new severely serial and segmented short compositions.

Huxley marvelled at the capacious mind of the composer of the Sacre, but his small-souled trivial brain had no clue of the older man’s unimpeachable moral integrity.

A wannabe mystic, he was a no-show at the starting gate of Heaven because he could never focus his thoughts long enough to shore up enough justifications for a undying Faith.

He awoke from that dream in a panic.

Poor, dear lost soul that he was, there were times when even Soma wouldn't help...

And in his quest for new utopias, he had left the rough and tumble Faith of ordinary poor workaday, believing sods out of his equation.

For his advanced calculations noisily and brusquely precluded the one and only possible healing panacea for his soul - the Simplicity of the Holy Spirit.

For that’s ALL he had ever needed, had he understood Stravinsky and the common folk well.
Profile Image for Adina .
889 reviews3,520 followers
October 19, 2017
I finally managed to finish the dystopian classics triangle - 1984, Fahrenheit 451 and Brave new World. For me the winner is Brave New World. Although I find the world imagined is less realistic than the other two it is equally tragic.

I finally got that somewhat lost feeling of total happiness when reading a book, that tingle in the pleasure receptors when you find a great book. Even though I recently read many books that I loved I seem to have lost that feeling of satisfaction when being face to face with an IT book. I thought the reason was that I started to read more, a lot more. Before Goodreads I used to read 10-15 book/year max so I had more time to enjoy a book, to get lost in it. Although I was happy that I read more and that I managed to finish books that I wanted to read for a long time the intensity of the feelings that reading stir in me had diminished. I am so elated that I can still get immersed in a book with all my being. I am so happy that I realized the problem is not how many books I read but what I read and the relationship I build with that book/author. I’ll keep reading when/what/how much I want to knowing that from time to time (probably once-twice/year) I will find that book that will make me remember why I read.

When I started BNW I thought that it was going to be another one of those books that you know they are a work of art an appreciate them but in the same time are not very pleasant to read. Something like the Hunger by Hamsun or The Stranger by Camus. The beginning was really uncomfortable, especially the descriptions of the embryos and the erotic child games. Brrr. My hair stood up reading that. However, I quickly got absorbed and loved every second spent reading.
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews3,846 followers
February 6, 2022
Now that´s how good fordshipping alphas, betas, and the unimportant, stupid, but still necessary other lower castes, like to roll.

It don´t always have to be annoying secret police death squads kicking ones´ door at 3 am to usher one into torture prisons and detention, reeducation, and extermination camps, it can be much more subtle and less bloody too. Like in real, nowadays Western democracies for instance.

Soma could be seen as a metaphor for everything, all the free and prescription drugs everyone from kid to grandpa is boosted with, or as all the coincidental side effects of all the chemicals and poisons food and environment provide for the modern human.

What´s better than getting horny high as hell
so the government wants their citizens as fu**ed up as possible to let them better deal with life in general and absolutely not care about who is ruling over them. Best combined with flaming monogamy to stigmatize possible, alternative ways of finding happiness like love or a great, deep relationship with friends and family.

All propaganda and forced into line, controlled by conglomerates and the military industrial complex with their sockpuppet politicians driveling manufacturing consent. But I began thinking about the fact that streaming and the incredible world of 4K and 8K old school media and VR is just the beginning and one can imagine how this might look in 100 or multi k years. People who are still free to choose will prefer the perfect, forever, simulated utopia to reality and many won´t even have the chance to realize that they´re manipulated or living in a kind of simulation, because the perfection of how the system is run leaves no room for bugs and glitches that could make them suspicious. That was a bit off topic, back to the show.

Good upbringing
To make sure that nobody avoids the first 3, special prenatal, baby, and child treatment methods are implemented to get what´s needed for the right purpose of breeding cheerful idiots. Not more or less of something that´s essential for the perfect functioning of the world government that once was a single state. Nice innuendo so socioeconomic status defining the worth of everyone and the lovely side effects of eugenics implemented, without biotech, but much medtech.

Drugs, sex, media, and good upbringing together make good sheeps
All together leads to the happy slave tragedy, that people are completely satisfied with their life and not even noticing what´s really going on. The perfect, forever dictatorship, one could also call it the end of history with, totally realistic, endless, exponential, economic growth in liberal democracies.

Similar stuff
I´ll add this to my somewhen, procrastination caused postponed, review of 1984 too. If you´re a time traveler, you might have already seen it.
Besides Brave new world, Karel Capeks´
dark, disturbing masterpiece is possibly one of the best dystopian terror pieces. It´s focusing on the role of big money and industry, of innocence turned into the same evil it suffers, was written in 1936 and satirizes Germans, Japanese, Russians, societies, ideologies, and economy in general and is a timeless memorial against political and economic terrorism and extremism of any kind.
Aldous Huxley, duh, was Orwells´ college professor and they definitively inspired and mentally inseminated another to form these brave new worlds.
Zamyatin Yevgenys´ We is another, historical extremely interesting piece, although just not as famous and fancy as the others, kind of the same problem as with the underappreciated Capek.
An extremely difficult to read one is Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner
which comes very close to Huxleys´ ideas, but is much darker.
Some more dark and/ or satiric tones:
A similar idea by the master of philosophical, satirical sci-fi, the great, unique Lem:

There have been so many deep, detailed thoughts about how to install the best dictatorship ever, and give aspiring god emperors some tips on the way to total world domination, that don´t get appreciated enough because Huxley and Orwell are ruling the dystopic genre. How ironic.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for Leonard Gaya.
Author 1 book933 followers
February 1, 2021
Brave New World is a young man's novel, written in the interwar years. Huxley was then living in a collapsing world: a world where the optimist 19th-century dreams of progress, of improved humanity, of a new and superior man, had been shattered in the trench warfare of World War I and were about to be burned amidst the horrors of the concentration camps.

Huxley seems to be sensing that grave danger is looming on the horizon, and he imagines a utopia where a single superstate is ruling the whole planet. The dream of a “superior humanity” has eventually come true, thanks to the extensive use of eugenics and mass cloning (babies in bottles). Not all people get the best genetic formula, however: some of these manufactured humans are reduced to imbecility, perform the lowest functions, and are nonetheless content with their lot. Children, of course, are all brainwashed and conditioned with hypnotic techniques (sleep teaching). There are no families anymore, and sexual promiscuity is pervasive. Adults get a further supply of silly entertainment (Feelies) and drugs (Soma) that renders them docile, keeps them young, and make them love their voluntary servitude. People have lost interest in art and science, and religion has been replaced by Henry Ford’s cult (i.e. assembly line applied to human beings) and occasional orgiastic ceremonies (orgy-porgies). In short, humanity has achieved happiness and reached the End of History.

To some extent, Huxley’s prophecies have become a reality, less than a century later: rational, hierarchical, hyper-efficient and optimised capitalism and cheery consumerism have conquered most of the world. The sexual revolution has indeed taken place — although full sexual libertarianism is still a pipe dream. Pharmacopoeia, narcotics, antidepressants, tranquillisers and rejuvenating treatments are broadly available; as well as irrelevant and mind-numbing 3D entertainment, peppered with commercial slogans. Genetic engineering and biotechnology are everywhere (although not used to select humans as yet).

Brave New World is a novel structured around a set of (rather crude) characters and plots; there is, however, no clear protagonist. Huxley has a witty tongue-in-cheek sense of humour throughout. Some passages even have a purely poetic or musical quality: particularly through the use of Shakespeare’s lines for the character of John Savage, or the cross-cutting technique employed in chapter 3. But by and large, the book feels like a philosophical essay or social satire, in the style of Voltaire’s Candide or Swift’s Gulliver's Travels. Obviously, Huxley had Plato’s Republic in mind, when designing his Alpha / Bêta / Gamma / Delta / Epsilon caste system (he was probably also referring to the school grades: A+ to F, already in use when he was a pupil at Eton College, or even to the caste system in India). Certainly, he remembered Nietzsche’s “Letzte Mensch” from Zarathustra’s prologue: a human type that has indeed invented happiness, comfort and social stability, but ultimately a petty and lethargic sort of humankind. A type of humanity that might well be appealing to us right now, who knows…

Brave New World is obviously a fascinating political statement that spoke to the European crisis of the 1930s. But its visionary impact and influence on speculative fiction cannot be overstated, from Orwell’s 1984 to Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, to Atwood's Oryx and Crake, and to Houellebecq’s La Possibilité d'une île.

See also my review of Brave New World Revisited.

Edit: Watched Universal’s 2020 TV series adaptation. It is by and large faithful to the novel’s plot and characters, but ends up taking more and more liberties as the episodes go by. It’s also focusing way more on the entertainment potential of the book (especially the erotica aspects of the orgy-porgies) than on the political debate around the problem of happiness vs freedom. All references to Shakespeare have been removed as well, although the romance is a central part of the show (not so much in the book). Ultimately, Huxley’s philosophical novel serves as the rib cage of the series, but its heart is more like Black Mirror, Westworld, The Matrix or even Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. Nonetheless, a pleasant “feely” with some nice eye candy!
Profile Image for Clare.
63 reviews138 followers
July 4, 2007
As a teenager I went through a period of reading a vast number of distopian novels - probably all the teenage angst. This is the one that has continued to haunt me however, long after the my youthful cynicism has died it's death. It's basically a book about the utopian ideal - everyone's happy, everyone has what they want and EVERYTHING is based on logical principles. However, there is something very rotten at the heart. It's about how what we want isn't always what we should get. It looks at how state sponsered "happiness" can entirely miss the point. Perhaps, most importantly, it makes the case for individual freedom rather than authoritarian diktat. It should be read hand in hand with Mill's Utilitarianism to get a good idea of the philosophy that inspired it.

Incidentally, I gave this book to my boyfriend as a present for his 18th birthday ( a rather depressing gift I know). At the time he wasn't particularly freaked out by it and said that it didn't hold the same level of dread as say, 1984 or "The Handmaid's Tale". As he's got older however, he's found the idea more and more frightening. Six years later it has more of a sting in the tail for him. I don't know why this should be but I'll hazard a guess that as you get older you're idea of "happiness" becomes perhaps more complex, making the ideal of "Brave New World" even more disturbing.
Profile Image for هدى يحيى.
Author 9 books16.2k followers
April 25, 2022
I am I, and I wish I weren't.

إن كان راي برادبوري في روايته الأشهر
قد اخترع عالما تُحرق فيه الكتب

فهسكلي قبله بسنوات طويلة
توصل إلى فكرة أشد شناعة

ففي عالمه الناس لا تُمنع من القراءة ‏
فهم أصلا لا يرغبوا فيها
‏ ولا يعرفوا لها قيمة أو معنى ‏


تخيل نفسك تعيش هنا في هذا العالم‏‎
عالم السعادة الزائفة .. سعادة العقاقير
عالم يبتسم فيه الجميع ‏
عالم ألمه مخدر وعقله مغيب‏

عالم بلا مشاعر أو علاقات إنسانية‏
عالم يقوم على التقسيم الطبقي البحث ‏
عالم خال من العاطفة والجمال‏

تصور أننا صرنا أجنة مرصوصين في القوارير‏
ننتظر ترتيبنا إلى واحدة من الطبقات الخمس
والتي يحددوها لنا من قبل حتى أن ننشأ ‏

لا خيار لك في أن تكون واحد من الخمسة التاليين

‏*الفا ثم بيتا
والذين هما الأعلى مستوى اجتماعيا وفكريا ‏
فمن ألفا يأتي قادة العالم وأعضاء الحكومة

‏*ثم جاما
وهو من يقومون بالأعمال المكتبية والإدارية

‏*ثم دلتا
وهم من يقومون بالأعمال اليدوية التي لا تتطلب مجهودا ‏فكريا

‏*وأخيرا إبسيلون‎ ‎
الأغبى والأدنى مرتبة –عمال نظافة وما شابه
وهم يشكلون أغلبية الشعب

لا تحاول أن تختار
ليس لديك هذا الحق أصلا

‏" ولكنني لا أريد الراحة..‏
أنا أريد الرب..أريد الشِعر..أريد خطرا حقيقيا..أريد الحرية
أريد الخير..أريد الخطيئة" !‏

إنه عالم ينشد سعادة آلية ‏
همست بها أزار إلكترونية في أذنيه منذ مولده
فبات لا يعلم عن شيء سواها
لا فن لا دين لا أدب لا حب لا أسرة
وأيضا لا حزن لا ألم لا معاناة لا فقر

هذه أشياء لا يفهم لها معنى


وعلى الجانب الآخر
هناك مجتمع الهمج المنبوذ
الذي يتكاثر بطريقة ‏طبيعية
ويعرف عن معنى الله والأسرة والحب والخوف
والذي منه يطل أمل يائس
فلربما تتغير الأوضاع يوما
أو تحدث ثورة من نوع ما

على الأقل هذا ما يدور في ذهنك أثناء القراءة
ولكن أملك يخيب مع نظرة هكسلي اليائسة
وتنتهي الرواية بنهاية أكثر بؤسا من أحداث الرواية


‏ فالمدينة الفاضلة الخالية من الروح
المغرقة في المادة لا تزال هنا
مبتسمة في سخرية وهي ترمق جثة جون المشنوقة
والشعب لا يزال يبتسم
فحبوب السعادة تكفي لإلهائهم عن الحقيقة
إنه شعب لا يحتاج قوة ليُحكم ‏
لقد تم تكييفهم منذ البداية على الاستسلام‏

ولكن الباب لم يغلق بعد
علك تريد الهروب من هذه الآلة الكبرى
علك تريد العودة إلى كل ما هو حار وحقيقي ومؤل
علّك .. وإن كان الثمن موتك

على الهامش

‏=يستمد المؤلف عنوانه من أبيات شكسبير في العاصفة
How many goodly creatures are there here
How beauteous mankind is!
O brave new world
That has such people in 't!

في عام 1958
كتب هكسلي كتابه
Brave New World Revisited ‎
مبديا فيه في عدة مقالات أراؤه التي أودعها الرواية السابقة
إن أحب أحدكم المزيد من الإطلاع

‏ المرة الأولى التي قرأتُ فيها الرواية كنت في نحو السادسة عشر
كان كتيب مختصر ضمن سلسلة مكتبة الأسرة للناشئين
تحت عنوان عالم رائع جديد

وهي مترجمة أيضا بعنوان العالم الطريف –دار المدى
كاملة دون اختصار ‏

ولكني لم أقرؤها ولا أعرف هل ترجمتها طيبة ام لا
Profile Image for emma.
1,864 reviews54.3k followers
March 14, 2023
I would like to be an intellectual.

In an ideal world, I wear a monocle, and I have a pocket watch on a chain, and all of my sweaters have elbow patches. In this world, I consume exclusively classics at a very slow pace (so as to examine every word), but somehow simultaneously I have read everything that's ever been called worth reading by any person who's ever been called pretentious.

But that is not this world.

To be fair, I AM trying. I read literary fiction the most of any genre. I used to have a quest where I would have to read at least one classic every month, but I retired it because I typically read more than that. (Last year, for example, I read 46. And granted I have a loose definition of "classic," but still.) I tend to rate books from those two categories higher than others.

But still, we find ourselves here.

I didn't like this book. I can say there are a lot of reasons, and I can even tell the truth: I can say that the depiction of women in this was so offensive it turned around and became funny and absurd, or that this dystopian world is not nearly as prescient as 1984's, or the Handmaid's Tale's, or even goddamn The Hunger Games', and both of those would be fairly respectable criticisms that I do have.

But that isn't completely accurate.

I didn't like this because it felt silly and boring.

That's really all.

Bottom line: I'll try to be smart next time.


either i did not care for this or i was being intellectually stimulated.

i'll figure it out later.

review to come / 2.5 stars

tbr review

personally being very brave by adding classics to my to read list

clear ur sh*t book 49
quest 22: free space
Profile Image for Steven Medina.
204 reviews935 followers
June 1, 2021
Libros así valen la pena leerlos mil veces. La mejor distopía de todas.

¡Magnífico libro, ha sido una gran sorpresa! Personalmente, pienso que Un mundo feliz es un libro que supera en todos los aspectos posibles a cualquier distopía publicada hasta el día de hoy, incluyendo al famosísimo 1984 de George Orwell. Sí, decir este tipo de declaraciones puede tomarse como una gran imprudencia de mi parte, pero, después de analizar cada aspecto de este libro he llegado a esa conclusión y estoy completamente seguro de lo que digo.

En Un mundo feliz, Aldoux Huxley, nos presenta un hipotético futuro en el que prácticamente todo lo que conocemos ha sido alterado de una forma muy radical. No hay religiones, familias, nacimientos, emociones, amor, silencio, soledad, se desconoce el pasado, la ciencia ha sido eliminada, el conocimiento ya no es importante, etc.; pero también es un mundo donde no existe el sufrimiento, ni la pobreza, ni el hambre, ni las guerras, y en el cual las personas tienen mejor salud —incluso viven muchos años más—, no le temen a la muerte, etc. Esas características convierten este libro en una distopía y utopía a la vez, por lo que por momentos sentiremos que es un futuro horrible el que nos presenta Aldoux, pero también observaremos que vivir en un mundo en el que no existe la miseria tampoco es tan malo como parece. Por lo tanto, la premisa que nos ofrece el autor es muy interesante porque nos hace preguntarnos: ¿Preferirías vivir en un mundo con ciencia y conocimiento pero atiborrado de guerras, muerte y tragedia, o preferirías vivir en un mundo pacífico y estable, pero totalitario y lleno de ignorancia? Como pueden notar, elegir cualquier opción nos brindaría muy buenos privilegios pero asimismo grandes desventajas. Y no, no se puede erradicar todo lo negativo de un futuro porque se necesita un equilibrio, por lo que por ejemplo para que existan los milagros se necesita que exista el sufrimiento, o la presencia de la ciencia llevaría irremediablemente a la desconfianza, miedo, guerras y autodestrucción: Es algo inevitable.

En cuanto a los personajes, son seres que están completamente trastornados pero que viven plácidamente en esa época. Esto ocurre porque todos sus pensamientos y comportamientos son manipulados desde antes de ser creados, por lo que son como un estilo de «máquinas programadas» que fueron hechas para pensar y actuar de una manera específica: Son personajes muy bien diseñados a pesar de su excentricidad y anormalidad. Naturalmente no me encariñé con ninguno pero tampoco los aborrecí porque es comprensible su forma de vivir. Puede que para nosotros ese estilo de vida pueda ser contraproducente, pero cada generación de seres humanos ha crecido bajo un entorno, vocabulario, cultura, profesiones y sueños diferentes, por lo que es natural ese rechazo hacia un estilo de vida contrario al que llevamos. Es por esta razón por la que nuestros abuelos se quejan de nuestro mundo actual, pero a la vez subrayan las virtudes de la época en que nacieron, y de esa misma forma nosotros actuaremos en el futuro cuando tengamos más de cincuenta años. La humanidad nunca dejará de cambiar por lo que seguramente para cada generación Un mundo feliz será diferente. Los personajes de este libro viven en Un mundo feliz, los piratas vivieron felices en el mar, quienes creen en Dios viven felices orando, los reyes vivieron felices con sus comodidades y su poder, los campesinos no cambiarían el campo por nada del mundo, los guerreros sin una espada serían desdichados, etc. Por ello, el nombre del libro me parece súper correcto porque presenta justamente lo que anuncia: Un mundo feliz.

Algo curioso de este libro es que la trama principal pasa a un segundo plano. Es tan atrapante conocer más y más detalles sobre el lugar donde viven los personajes, que en realidad el destino de ellos importa muy poco. El argumento es simple y predecible, y quizás podría ser el punto más bajo de esta nóvela, pero en una distopía/utopía eso es algo normal porque en este tipo de libros lo verdaderamente interesante es la visión futurista que nos presenta el autor. En este caso, esa visión futurista el autor la realiza de manera magistral, y lo mejor, es que el autor no escribe con odio. ¡Eso me encantó! Recuerdo que cuando leí 1984 el libro me pareció muy interesante, pero el autor escribió con tanto odio hacia la sociedad, que irremediablemente asocie esas similitudes con tantas protestas e inconformidad que se vive actualmente en la mayor parte del planeta; pero aquí, Aldoux presenta un libro sin una pizca de rencor u odio, a pesar de reconocer en el prólogo que está completamente en contra del totalitarismo. Y ya que menciono el prólogo, tengo que reconocer que esa parte del libro es excelente. En esa sección el autor realiza una gran explicación sobre la creación de su historia, errores, personajes, etc., pero contiene spoilers por lo que recomiendo que lo lean al finalizar el libro y no antes.

La prosa también ha sido adecuada lo que permite que esta novela se lea rapidísimo; aunque, el inicio fue un poco lento y confuso debido a la terminología relacionada a los genes que personalmente me pareció muy difícil de asimilar: La genética no es mi especialidad. Aun así, Aldoux ha sabido jugar muy bien con el estilo de la obra y me ha gustado mucho la forma como lo ha hecho. Mi parte favorita de la prosa fue una sección donde se presentan tres conversaciones simultáneas y tan solo separándolas por párrafos, logra un efecto de adrenalina y un ritmo frenético que puede dar a entender que efectivamente si nos repiten excesivamente una información, puede que empecemos a usar esas ideas como si fueran nuestras, a pesar de que solo las han implantado en nuestra mente. Asimismo, la parte final ha sido espectacular porque nos da una cátedra sobre la sociedad impresionante. Prácticamente cada una de las frases usadas allí son dignas de destacar porque son muy profundas, sencillas de entender y pueden convertirse en una información muy importante para cada uno de los individuos de una sociedad, es decir, para todos nosotros. Entre esa información, se destaca la necesidad de que exista en una sociedad las clases sociales, ya que sin ellas lo único que ocurriría sería un caos total. Hay muchísimas frases para destacar, pero solo haré mención de dos porque descubrir esas frases hace parte del premio de quien se anima a leer esta obra:

«Bueno, si usted quiere, puede llamarlo un experimento de reenvasado. Se inició en el año 73 d.F. Los Interventores limpiaron la isla de Chipre de todos sus habitantes anteriores y la colonizaron de nuevo con una hornada especialmente preparada de veintidós mil Alfas. Se les otorgó toda clase de utillaje agrícola e industrial y se les dejó que se las arreglaran por sí mismo. El resultado cumplió exactamente todas las previsiones teóricas. La tierra no fue trabajada como se debía; había huelgas en las fábricas, las leyes no se cumplían, las órdenes no se obedecían; las personas destinadas a trabajos inferiores intrigaban constantemente por conseguir altos empleos, y las que ocupaban estos cargos intrigaban a su vez para mantenerse en ellos a toda costa. Al cabo de seis años se enzarzaron en una auténtica guerra civil. Cuando ya habían muerto diecinueve mil de los veintidós mil habitantes, los supervivientes, unánimemente, pidieron a los Interventores Mundiales que volvieran a asumir el gobierno de la isla, cosa que éstos hicieron. Y así acabó la única sociedad de Alfas que ha existido en el mundo.»

El párrafo anterior no hace referencia a conformarnos con la vida que nos tocó, sino hace referencia a que cada individuo en una sociedad es igual de importante, y todos seremos felices cuando encontremos nuestro verdadero lugar en ella. Los seres humanos somos sociables por naturaleza, y aunque nos duela aceptarlo, somos más felices cuando encontramos personas con quien hablar sobre nuestros gustos, sueños, etc. De la misma forma como una construcción necesita de buenas columnas, bases y muros estables, una sociedad necesita de todas las clases sociales para que exista un equilibrio, pero para que exista ese equilibrio se necesita que el pueblo se sienta satisfecho constantemente para que no afecte la estabilidad de la nación. No es bueno tener muchos líderes, pero tampoco es positivo no tenerlos.

«Actualmente el mundo es estable. La gente es feliz; tiene lo que desea, y nunca desea lo que no puede obtener. Está a gusto; está a salvo; nunca está enferma; no teme a la muerte; ignora la pasión y la vejez; no hay padres ni madres que estorben; no hay esposas, ni hijos, ni amores excesivamente fuertes. Nuestros hombres están condicionados de modo que apenas pueden obrar de otro modo que como deben obrar. Y si algo marcha mal, siempre queda el soma. El soma que usted arroja por la ventana en nombre de la libertad.»

Al iniciar el libro creí que sería una obra recomendada para que los adictos a las drogas dejaran de consumir esas porquerías, pero después de avanzar entendí que sería malísimo que una persona adicta leyera este libro porque justamente se sentiría orgulloso de su proceder. Por lo tanto, si tienen un familiar o amigo que en este momento tiene problemas de ese tipo, por nada del mundo les mencionen este libro porque podrían terminar de corromperse.

En resumen, un libro corto pero muy profundo e interesante sobre el comportamiento humano, la sociedad, las clases sociales y la religión, que seguramente no olvidarán nunca y querrán repetir varias veces porque sinceramente es una obra maestra en todo el sentido de la palabra. Es una novela que me ha encantado en todo momento, la volveré a leer en el futuro, quiero seguir analizándola, e incluso siento el deseo de realizar un podcast sobre este libro —a pesar de que nunca he hecho uno— para seguir profundizando y hablando sobre esta obra, que me ha parecido bastante, pero bastante interesante. Libro súper recomendado, excepto si tienes una adicción y quieres superarla, en ese caso, léelo en otro momento.
Profile Image for فؤاد.
1,065 reviews1,757 followers
December 9, 2018
آیا دنیای ما بیشتر شبیه 1984 جورج اورول است، یا دنیای قشنگ نوی آلدوس هاکسلی؟

اورول از آدم هایی می ترسید که کتاب ها را ممنوع می کنند.
اما هاکسلی از این می ترسید که دلیلی برای ممنوع کردن کتاب وجود نداشته باشد، چون اصلاً کسی خودش نخواهد که بخواند.

اورول از کسانی می ترسید که ما را از دسترسی به اطلاعات محروم کنند.
اما هاکسلی از این می ترسید که کسانی آن قدر ما را غرق در اطلاعات کنند که ذهن ما مصرف کنندۀ غیرفعّال اطلاعات شود، یا تبدیل به آدم های سطحی خودشیفته شویم.

اورول از این می ترسید که حقیقت از ما پنهان شود.
هاکسلی هراس داشت که حقیقت در انبوهی از اخبار بی اهمیت دیگر پنهان شود.

اورول می ترسید که ملت ها اسیر و دربند شوند.
اما هاکسلی از مبتذل شدن و کم مایه شدن فرهنگ ها می ترسید، از این که عواطف انسانی خود را از دست بدهیم و کم ارزش ترین محتواهای فرهنگی را مصرف کنیم.

در 1984 مردم با زور کنترل می شدند.
در دنیای قشنگ نو مردم با ترفندِ دادنِ لذت های خوشایند سطحی کنترل می شدند.

اورول هراس داشت که چیزهایی که از آن ها متنفر هستیم نابودمان کنند.
هاکسلی می ترسید که چیزهایی که دوستشان داریم باعث تباهی ما شوند.


عکس بد باز می شد، ناچار لینکش رو گذاشتم!
متن ریویو مال من نیست و مال اون عکسه و عکس از من نیست. فکر کنم از کانال صدانت، یا کانال مشابه دیگه گرفتمش. یادم نیست حقیقتش!
Profile Image for Anne.
4,053 reviews69.5k followers
September 8, 2021
I think I read it wrong.
Because my first thought upon finishing this was this:
Where the hell do I sign up for this Brave New World?
Basically, this society is missing religion, shame, sin, misery, fear, disease, and classic books.


Now, that's not to say life is perfect in this utopia.
Nobody gets married and has kids anymore. I know, a lot of you are thinking that isn't quite the downside that the book thinks it is. No more monogamy? Gasp. Whatever would we do?


The new people are grown in test tubes. There are the dumb ones who do the menial shit, the average ones who do the office stuff, and the smarter ones who run the show. After being conditioned genetically, everyone is raised in state-run lab/home/school facilities, brainwashed in their sleep, and given a teeny bit of shock therapy in the toddler years to ensure that folks are content with their lot in life.


Can you imagine if people were actually set up to be in charge by nothing more than a coincidence of birth?
Gosh. That's some crazy sci-fi caste shenanigans right there.


So what we have here is job security, free drugs that don't have side effects and make you feel good, non-judgemental sex, no conflict, no health issues till you die, and no barky religious folks knocking on your door at 9 am on a Saturday.
And what are you missing out on, pray tell? Shakespeare.
I've read his stuff, and I can say without a doubt that I could skip it and make do with a Micheal Bay movie. Fair warning, no one has ever accused me of being someone they aspire to emulate.


Even the evil overlord in charge of it all wasn't that bad of a dude. When these guys met him and confronted him with their doubts as to how well they actually enjoyed their place in society, he just sent them to an island full of like-minded individuals so they could do what they wanted without disrupting the flow of things. He was kind of like, yeah, this isn't for everyone and sent them off with a wave of his chill hand.


For the entire book, I kept waiting for the Soylent Green is People moment, but it never really came. To me, that world did not appear worse than ours in any significant way. The only weird thing was that being a mother or father was shameful and no one was monogamous. That's not exactly the most horrifying thing I've ever heard happening in a dystopian novel.


Especially if the other option is to be like John, who flogged himself every time he got a boner over cute little Lenina. On a related note, the part where he kept yelling STRUMPET! STRUMPET! STRUUUUMPET! had me laughing until the tears rolled down my face. I kept waiting for some sort of redemption arc for this savage wherein he stopped being a complete asshat, but that didn't happen. He was creepy as fuck right up till the end.
And what an ending it was.

If you drew random scenarios out of a hat and put them down on paper in no particular order, you seriously could not have come up with a more bananas conclusion to this book.


I'm still not sure what the moral of the story is here. Now, admittedly, I like the sound of the drugs and sex and fun holidays. I will say I think it was a bit of overkill to taze babies.
Then again, sacrifices must be made for the greater good.


I'm kidding! Don't zap toddlers, you idiot.
Ok. At the end of the day, I didn't really care for this book. I personally thought it was sort of boring. Not much happened plotwise and I never really felt invested in any of the characters. It seemed (to me) a bit of a daffy book that had a lot of fuckwit ideas of what would happen if we ignore the strict moral codes about sex found in most religions.
I know this is a beloved novel and I don't think you're stupid if you enjoyed it. Different strokes for different folks and all that.

Michael York was the narrator of the audiobook I listened to, and I thought he did a fantastic job.
Profile Image for Nataliya.
781 reviews12.4k followers
March 12, 2012
Brave New World is a classic written to make its readers uncomfortable. It accomplishes its point well. Still, it is only getting 3 stars from me, as I rate books based on my personal level of enjoyment rather than literary value.

The characters of this book were not meant to be likeable - I am fine with that concept. The first few chapters made me want to curl up in the corner and cry - that's how repulsive the design of this universe was (mission accomplished, Mr. Huxley). But as we plunge into the depths of the neverending moral message of the story (basically the entire last third of the book), I felt my patience stretching thin. I get the message, no need to beat me over the head with it.

I did chuckle at the ridiculous consumerism of this world (inspired by America of the turn of the century) in which, unexpectedly, most characters have distinct socialist names - Lenina, Trotsky, Marx, Bernard (as in G.B.Shaw). I just think it's funny how both of the enemies of Huxley's ideal world - the competing ideologies of socialism and rampant consumerism - were dealt with in one blow. Good try - but come on!

I liked the description of the effects of soma drug on the mind. No wonder, as this was written by the author of The Doors of Perception about mescaline effects on the mind - an interesting read, by the way.

Of the classic trio of dystopian books (this one, Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and Zamyatin's We) this one is my least favorite (We is the best, in my opinion, and may have actually inspired this one). Brave New World succeeds at portraying dystopia at its worst and making the reader think, but stilted language and moral heavy-handedness take away from the enjoyment. Yet it's a classic, and should be read, even if not for fun. 3 stars.
Profile Image for Vit Babenco.
1,461 reviews3,610 followers
September 25, 2021
Ford and Freud… Machinery and sexuality… These cosmic signs rule the world… Consumers and conformists constitute an ideal society…
Like aphides and ants, the leaf-green Gamma girls, the black Semi-Morons swarmed round the entrances, or stood in queues to take their places in the monorail tram-cars. Mulberry-coloured Beta-Minuses came and went among the crowd. The roof of the main building was alive with the alighting and departure of helicopters.

No more childbirths… Human beings are cloned in batches… Population is strictly divided into castes… Sexual promiscuity flourishes but love is unknown…
“Oh, wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, that has such people in ‘t!” William ShakespeareThe Tempest
One fine day, from the Mexican Reservation straight into the brave new world, the Savage is brought… In the total isolation, among the uncivilized natives, he thoroughly scrutinized The Complete Works of William Shakespeare and now, infected with the unhealthy poetic ideas, he falls in love… However, the old fiction turns out to be incongruous with the new reality.
Consumerism and conformity… It feels so much like today.
Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books248k followers
December 9, 2020
”I feel I could do something much more important. Yes, and more intense, more violent. But what? What is there more important to say? And how can one be violent about the sort of things one’s expected to write about? Words can be like X-rays, if you use them properly--they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”

Aldous Huxley was prompted to write this book in the early 1930s because he feared the direction society was heading. The worship of material goods, the embracement of capitalism, the promiscuity, the growing ambivalence towards books, the self-medication to escape reality, and the overall vacuousness of people, in general.

The book begins rather awkwardly in the lab where people are being created. A massive, industrial, test tube baby factory with very little variety, after all, they have determined the very best specimens so why create anything else? Note to self: rewatch the movie Gattaca. We do meet Lenina in the lab, an uncommonly pretty woman, who feels a pat on a fanny by her supervisor is a reassurance that all is well. Note to self: #metoo movement needs a time machine.

Huxley read a book on Henry Ford, who was certainly the poster child for industry and capitalism. In this book, he has become a deity of sorts. ”Oh for Ford’s Sake!” a character thunders. Note to self: Start using Ford for Fuck and see if anyone has a clue where such a use of the word came from.

”We don’t want people attracted by old things. We want them to like the new ones.” Rampant consumerism is the only way to keep the merry-go-round turning. Fortunately, by using brainwashing techniques while everyone sleeps, they can implant the proper desires and prejudices that will make for a united and happy society.

Lenina has become hung up on a guy by the name of Henry Foster. She hasn’t been with another man for four months. She is dangerously close to being accused of monogamy. Her friend is appalled and reminds her that ”everyone belongs to everyone else.” A woman being “allowed” and even encouraged to be promiscuous would seem like evolution, but when it becomes an obligation to be promiscuous, it feels like just another form of oppression. Sex has become a plaything to keep the masses happy.

They also have soma, which is the ultimate happy pill. Anytime things become too real, they pop a tab of soma or three. ”Christianity without tears--that’s what soma is.” It bleeds all meaning out of life, leaving the user complacent and happy and completely oblivious to whatever had been bothering them in the first place. It feels more than a bit like the opioid epidemic that we are struggling with currently; only soma is made readily available to all who need it and seems to have been carefully manufactured to avoid overdoses. Overdoses would definitely be a downer that would create some of that much feared unhappiness. #opiodcrisis

What kind of life would it be to feel nothing?

Bernard Marx has been trying to get Lenina to do something with him for some time. He is a bit of an odd duck among these carefully designed people. A Danny Devito among a herd of Arnold Schwarzeneggers. Note to self: Rewatch Twins, just because it is such a hoot. There is much speculation that something went wrong in the lab, a bit too much of this or too little of that leaked into his test tube. Needless to say, he is testy about it. After all, why does he look like this while his siblings look like that? He finally convinces Lenina to go with him to an Indian reservation in America, where they meet the natives who have been untouched by technology. They get old. They get sick. They die young. They give birth. This is a #povertyporn trip similar to white westerns driving through African villages so they can point and say things like...can you believe people live like this? Bernard is there really to feel something. Lenina is there to become overcome by all the squalor and unfamiliar feelings of discomfort, but she is glad she came because she is going to rock her #Facebook page when she gets back.

Bernard decides to bring a white Savage back with him. He is the product of a lustful coupling by Bernard’s boss, and believe me Bernard needs all the leverage he can get with his boss. The Savage is reading, not only reading, but reading Shakespeare. Can you imagine a person learning to read from Shakesepeare being integrated into an uneducated society such as this? Note to self: Read Othello. The Savage is primitive and a thinker, and this will prove to be a dangerous combination. He will see the absurdity in everything. He will protest violently...how dare he?

”O Brave New World!”

Can one man bring truth to the masses? It will be a nearly impossible task, given that the masses don’t even know they need saving.

I had forgotten about all the humor in the book. Huxley is poking fun at nearly everything we hold sacred. Satire is the perfect vehicle for modern comedians like John Oliver, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, and Bill Maher to make their political points and make their audience laugh as well. We seem to need our truths given to us with a dose of sugar. Even in this futuristic utopia, Huxley called it a negative utopia, the population still needs healthy doses of soma to keep up the pretense that everything is fine. The people who rebel are those who find integration to be a problem or, like Bernard, feel disadvantages from the very beginning of their life. One size does not fit all, even when everyone is manufactured to be the same. A society will always be judged by the tolerance it shows for those different than the majority.

If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com
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Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews585 followers
September 27, 2017
Given that dystopian books are generally not my first choice ‘run-to-books-to-read’.... and I’m sure I didn’t understand the full depths of this book - which was written 21 years before I was born....even I can see Aldous Huxley had a brilliant mind.

I was trying to wrap my thinking around the conspiracies that it looked liked the author was trying to warn us were happening in the world —�trying to visualize the already futuristic setting —( was he thinking of 2017?)....and follow the story itself, trying to get inside the heads of the created characters.
See... I’m not very good at this. This type of reading is challenging for me. It hurts my brain!!!!

But.....here are a few things I think I got from this book:
.....thousands of little babies got born from one cell.....but not from a mothers womb....and these were the SORRY SUCKERS...( too bad for you Johnny - you’re pretty much a worthless bean- and you get to have all the shitty underpaid jobs in the world).
.....embryos were incubated in bottles in laboratories.
.....there were no traditional ‘Leave It To Beaver’ families in this society - there were no families at all - no sexual reproduction at all!
.....there is a REASON for all this. Embryos were divided by their social status. There were five castes: alpha, beta, (THE LUCKY SUCKERS).....and delta, gamma, and epsilon.....(the SORRY SUCKERS)......

Oh but wait the SORRY SUCKERS won’t feel sorry for themselves because this is utopia....where everybody is made to be happy - as all personal identity has vanished. DRUGS ARE COOL.... even encouraged! Everybody must get stoned.

So? How am I doing? Am I understanding this book somewhat?
...that what Aldous Huxley was saying is that the FUTURE LOOKS SCARY?/!....
It looked scary in 1931.... and it still looks scary in 2017.
One of Huxley’s predictions was spot on: Bombastic- pretentious -pompous RIDICULOUS senatorial entertainment! ( Huxley was more kind and didn’t use all those adjectives)....but he might have if he knew how right he’d really be!

Lots more in this slim-jim novel - we get enlightened on history - religion - consumerism- emotions ( not to worry - you won’t need to worry - it’s a no worry society).... we’ve become deadbeats!

PLEASE read other reviews- I have NO idea if I read this book right.
However ...seems like I shouldn’t worry about it all according to the brilliant man himself...Aldous Huxley! VERY WORTH READING! ( even for a girl who understands nothin)

Whew.... now I can start my day.... as all is well in the world. 🌏
Profile Image for MischaS_.
785 reviews1,371 followers
July 11, 2020
Back in high school, one of the teachers brought a little sample from this book, and I found it totally captivating. Terrifying but at the same captivating.

So, I went back to it.

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

The beginning is totally the strongest part of this book, as it progresses, it goes a bit down. But at the same time, I think that the beginning is the hardest to get over. The world is being introduced to us in a rather raw way which definitely has the potential to make people uneasy. And while it was hard to read but it was also fascinating in a way. You do not like what you see, but you cannot look away.

However, the book gave me chills; it's definitely not a "summer-read", it's quite a bit to unpack and get over what's happening.

Side note, I just hope that no one ever looks at this book and thinks that it's a great idea. THAT would be terrifying.
Profile Image for B0nnie.
136 reviews49 followers
October 6, 2012
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Brave New World is a vision of the future where science will (at last) be put full time into the service of our needs. Some of the ideas might seem a little controversial (because of our preconceived ideas) but we must be open minded...!

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
SEX. Biology teaches that sex is meant to be had. To put restrictions on sex is as silly as putting restrictions on which chair to sit. And like chairs, women are meant to be pneumatic. "Oh, she’s a splendid girl. Wonderfully pneumatic. I’m surprised you haven’t had her."

Le meilleur des mondes by Aldous Huxley
BIRTH. Why should modern man have to put up with it? Any informed person will affirm it is gross: all meat and blood and pain. Science will solve this problem with advances in reproductive technology: thinking outside the box. "Which brings us at last," continued Mr. Foster, "out of the realm of mere slavish imitation of nature into the much more interesting world of human invention."

Прекрасният нов свят by Aldous Huxley
CHILDREN. If you've been to a supermarket you will have seen plenty of bad parenting. How often have you wanted to step in and rectify the situation? Let's take the important job of citizen building out of the hands of amateurs. There's a good reason some of the foulest language we use involve the word *Mother*. "Psychically, [home] was a rabbit hole, a midden, hot with the frictions of tightly packed life, reeking with emotion. What suffocating intimacies, what dangerous, insane, obscene relationships between the members of the family group! Maniacally, the mother brooded over her children (her children) … brooded over them like a cat over its kittens; but a cat that could talk, a cat that could say, "My baby, my baby," over and over again."

Admirável Mundo Novo by Aldous Huxley
PEACE OF MIND. This is something we all want. Yet we must contend with traffic jams, lost cellphones, and raised voices. The frustration you feel is the result of a chemical reaction in your brain. Thus it is only natural that Science should offer a chemical solution. "A gramme in time saves nine"

Brave New World (Level 6 RLA Longman Reader) by Aldous Huxley
DEATH. The problem here is not death per se. It is our poor attitude toward it. Rigorous psychology will help us achieve complete indifference and thus free up a lot of wasted time. "...what fatal mischief he might do to these poor innocents? Undoing all their wholesome death-conditioning with this disgusting outcry—as though death were something terrible, as though any one mattered as much as all that!"

Schöne neue Welt by Aldous Huxley
BOOKS. These are only needed for reference and factual information. Reading in itself is profoundly antisocial. And, although there is little danger of anyone actually reading Shakespeare, his works are especially egregious in provoking time wasting thoughts."Do they read Shakespeare?" asked the Savage as they walked, on their way to the Bio-chemical Laboratories, past the School Library. "Certainly not," said the Head Mistress, blushing. "Our library," said Dr. Gaffney, "contains only books of reference. If our young people need distraction, they can get it at the feelies. We don’t encourage them to indulge in any solitary amusements."

Brave New World (Modern Classics) by Aldous Huxley
RELIGION. The absurdity of religion is self-evident, as every nonconforming individual knows. If there must be faith, let it be bright. Let it be in science. "As if one believed anything by instinct! One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them. Finding bad reasons for what one believes for other bad reasons—that’s philosophy. People believe in God because they’ve been conditioned to believe in God."

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
LOVE. Love is the unifying idea in each of the above themes - certainly the most destructive concept ever to exist. Shakespeare of course has been largely responsible for its glorification. Brave New World is a world without pain, without hunger, with total comfort. It is a world without love.
"Community, Identity, Stability."

Profile Image for Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen).
425 reviews1,638 followers
March 31, 2018
DNF @ 50%

I know, I know. I'm a peabrain pleb and this is truly a classic and how dare I?

I understand what it's trying to do. I understand the over-enthusiasm for science and the depersonalization. I understand how showing a thriving world devoid of relationships and emotions feels counterintuitive and wrong. ('That's the point!' I understand that's the part that's supposed to 'make you think!') I understand how the conditioning and predestination of this "utopia" sacrifices individuality for compliance and just whoaaaa

I even understand that the frickin orgies and the special drug ("Soma") are representative of the way the people shed their own identities and continue to live a unified existence.

I understand how ground-breaking this was. I understand it raises all sorts of questions and opens discussions about free will, societal control, the role of government and what humanity is.

But it's not for me. This is incredibly dense as the entire first half has been dedicated to showing the science and structure of this 'brave new world.' There's not really a plot and there's not really even characters? (I mean kinda?) It all feels dedicated to driving the same few points home.

I understand. But I'm bored. And I'm tired of the shock-factor of orgies and children engaging in "erotic play"

(This really could have been a short-story and it would have accomplished the same things)
Profile Image for Lisa.
991 reviews3,321 followers
May 8, 2018
"You all remember," said the Controller, in his strong deep voice, "you all remember, I suppose, that beautiful and inspired saying of Our Ford's: History is bunk. History, " he repeated slowly, "is bunk."

The rhetorical skills of the Controller remind me of the Epsilon Semi-Moron who runs one of the bravest new worlds in our current era in bunk.

As I had forgotten the major plot of this dystopian novel written just when fascism emerged in the 1930s, some fifteen years before the nuclear age, I spent a day rereading it with mixed emotions. Some things are almost prophetic in all their scary details, for example the efficiency of the childlike custom-made contributor to consumerist society:

"Adults intellectually and during working hours", he went on. "Infants where feeling and desire are concerned."

The reliable drug - soma - which makes sure that society's stability is not threatened, the focus on entertainment which requires people to spend money on gadgets that keep the economy working, the sexual control mechanisms (for promiscuity is just as limiting as marriage or chastity if you are not given any choice), the early childhood social conditioning in addition to biological selection processes - it all leaves a bitter taste as it rings too many bells.

The part of the plot I found difficult to swallow was the juxtaposition of the scientifically perfected "utopia" of drug-induced happiness with the dirty "natural" world of the savages, who follow absurdly ancient rituals. Their world, where "god" is still needed to balance their suffering and to help them accept ageing, hunger and pain, is like a black-and-white contrast foil. Their need for self-denial in God-fearing doesn't generally differ much from the self-indulgence of the consumption society where soma takes care of controlling emotions and actions. In either case, human beings are controlled, or conditioned, by a greater power, and they can fall back into a state of irresponsible acceptance of pleasure or pain, according to their choice (- which of course is pre-destined by early childhood drilling).

Call me a hopeless idealist, but there is a third alternative!

Human beings can be offered the freedom of choice if they learn to embrace diversity, knowledge and differences of individuals rather than the "utopian" goal of "sameness" of one kind or the other. If sameness is the ultimate goal, any paradise will turn into hell, an automatic regression into robotic behaviour will follow, regardless of the oppressive dictatorship that imposes it (consumerism and religious doctrine are quite the same in Brave New World).

Interestingly, Huxley himself commented on the problematic binary world he had created when he reflected on his novel in 1946. His third option, to decentralise power and encourage individual freedom, is still a work in progress in our historical (bunk) era, and his two dystopian visions have merged into one. The worship of His Fordship, the consumerist god of the capitalist world, has been combined with ancient religious rites serving as soma for some people, while others take the more direct approach of over-consumption of food and fun and drug intake against meaninglessness. It made me think of another novel showing two juxtaposed oppressive systems, Things Fall Apart. British colonial rule, with all its religious and social implications, stands against the ancient rites of the Nigerian past, which to me would constitute just as much of a dictatorship against my personal wishes. Two opposing, rigid systems leaving no individual freedom, two doctrines that condemn whatever is different from their own specific tradition. Zero tolerance for individual differences. No compromise or combination possible. It is either or. No third or fourth option.

"Oh Ford" can be used as casually as "Oh Lord" (of whichever confession), and has about as much impact. Margaret Atwood in her MaddAddam at least insisted that her new deity "Oh Fuck" should only be called upon in emergencies.

I finish reading Brave New World with the feeling that it is time to call on Atwood's god, for the bravest and newest of worlds is in danger. The devil is in the sameness, as is god. For they are the same thing, utopia and dystopia being completely identical, turning humans into Epsilon Semi-Morons, children or robots. Even Shakespeare can be destroyed by application in banal situations. If history is bunk, everything is always new and brave. But also meaningless.

Oh Fuck!
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
3,004 reviews10.6k followers
December 21, 2016
In a dystopian society of genetically engineered consumers pacified by drugs and conditioning, Bernard Marx cannot seem to fit in. When he visits a Savage reservation, his eyes are opened and he brings one of the savages back to England with him...

As I continue my bleak science fiction parade toward the new year, I wonder why I've never read Brave New World before.

In Brave New World, Aldous Huxley takes on consumerism, the media, genetic engineering, recreational drugs, religion, herd mentality, individualism, and lots of other socially relevant topics, weaving them into a science fiction setting that our world resembles more every day.

The setting and society are the stars of the show in Brave New World. The people live in a caste system based on genetics, conditioned from birth and pacified by drugs, living to consume goods and take soma to forget their troubles. Free love is encouraged but free thinking is not. Bernard Max can't seem to get with the program and winds up nearly causing a revolution.

The characters are pretty secondary to the setting but it wasn't hard to feel sorry for Bernard, the square peg in a world of round holes. Even when he gets a measure of fame, he still can't manage to shake the feeling that something's wrong. John the Savage provides a nice contrast, an outsider looking in on a world everyone else sees as normal but he sees as hellish.

Huxley may not have thought so at the time but he may have been a futurist. Our culture seems to be moving in the direction of Brave New World all the time. The rampant consumerism, lowest common denominator entertainment, and herd mentality all seem a little too familiar. Is the internet our soma? Things to ponder...

There are some classics that are as hard to read as an insurance policy written in Klingon and then there are ones like this. Brave New World is very readable and not at all dense. The ideas are very easy to absorb, especially in this day and age. In these uncertain times, Brave New World is as timely as ever. Four and a half stars.
Profile Image for Luís.
1,939 reviews603 followers
April 26, 2023
Hallucinogenic Drugs, Virtual Sex, Alienated People. Brave New World is a futuristic novel traced by Aldous Huxley, considered one of the greatest prophetic writers of the 20th century. Aldous, who wrote about the effect of LSD and acids, brought from his experimental sessions ideas that were at the very least intriguing, so much so that some renowned scientists then chose him for research into the effect of hallucinogens on humans.
In Brave New World, Aldous describes a perfect society, possibly located in Europe, dominated by a single ruler, where the state distributed a drug called SOMA to the citizens. All had a very calm life, without stress, which helped discipline all inhabitants. In addition to this collective doping strategy, the state provided cinemas where the audience connected to the sensory terminals. It accompanied the films, directly knowing sensations, taste, and smell from the screen. The sex divides into two parts, one for pleasure and another for prosecution. The latter depended on state authorization. The first was free since there was no sensual coition, i.e., no direct contact between people, which eliminated the carnal intercourse of relationships, connecting to individual terminals, conveying the sensations of sex through the mind and not of the sensual body.
Several children were born in a test tube, adapting them to future situations and raising those working in the basement from a fetus in a dark room. Others who would be soldiers were taught by electroshocks not to appreciate nature, flowers, and wild animals.
The fascination of this literature, beyond context, is that Aldous described all this writing around 1913, when the world was still preparing for the first great world war, trench warfare, without any technology. No one dared to think, much less talk about test-tube children and sensory terminals were unimaginable; humanity had barely gotten used to the telephone. There was no television; cinema was recently released by the genius Chaplin, still in black and white and mute.
In the book, Aldous mentions a region that would protect from the state's power, where wholly savage people lived, preserving customs of food, sex, and freedom unrelated to the present stage. This charming place, described by Huxley in that fiction written in the moments of his hallucination, was Brazil, with its forests and people.
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