Brave New World by Aldous Huxley Review
Amanda Leon Friday, December 20
Title: Brave New World
Author: Aldous Huxley
Release Date: 1932
Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics (originally Chatto & Windus)
Far in the future, the World Controllers have finally created the ideal society. In laboratories worldwide, genetic science has brought the human race to perfection. From the Alpha-Plus mandarin class to the Epsilon-Minus Semi-Morons, designed to perform menial tasks, man is bred and educated to be blissfully content with his pre-destined role.
But, in the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, Bernard Marx is unhappy. Harbouring an unnatural desire for solitude, feeling only distaste for the endless pleasures of compulsory promiscuity, Bernard has an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress…
A fantasy of the future that sheds a blazing critical light on the present--considered to be Aldous Huxley' s most enduring masterpiece.
Brave New World is the dystopian epic released in the 1930s by Aldous Huxley. Equal parts horrifying and a sharp contrast from the utopian novels being released at the time, this novel has managed to keep readers enthralled over eighty years since it's original release.
Now I was beyond excited to read Brave New World since I've heard so much about it and it's concept of human cloning and biological engineering really interested me since this was a novel written at a time when such concepts didn't even exist.
In the beginning chapters, we are taken to London's Hatchery and Conditioning Centre where the Director of this building who is named "The Director" (insert clever joke here) is giving a tour to a group of students. This is a great set up since we are being explained everything without one of the character literally explaining everything which takes the reader out the story. In the centre is where human beings are made and raised by the government since concepts such as mothers and family are considered barbaric and no longer used in this society. People are separated by castes: Alpha, Beta, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons. Each caste is genetically manipulated and modified according to the attributes of the caste. The lower three castes' eggs are subjected to x-ray radiation and doused in alcohol to near death in order for them to be intellectually stunted and easier to control. They also do this in the fetus stage where you are taken into a dark room with red lighting full of fetuses in jars where the nurses make routine "adjustments" to them. All of this is creepy and unsettling which was Huxley's point.
Then you are told everything about this world: The world in general is referred to as the World State, there are ten world controllers who each represent a region. We meet one of them, Mustapha Mond who is the controller of the European sector and personally one of my favorite characters because he was so intelligent and it was hard to make out his true intentions. There is no history, no literature, everyone is encouraged to be promiscuous, including the children who are taught to play erotic games with one another (while being naked by the way) which is horrifying to say the least and everyone takes the popular drug, soma, in order to escape reality and have mandatory orgies with each other.
Unfortunately, Brave New World disappointed me. It starts off strong with the introduction of the world but once the story actually starts, it quickly dies off and nothing really happens. There's little to no character development and nothing changes in the end. This is the case when an author has a strong concept but falls flat in its execution.
Would I recommend this? Eh, not really? I would recommend reading the first three chapters because the short summary I gave above does no justice to the horror you feel while this world is being laid out to you. It is truly great storytelling but after the world is explained and you start to meet the characters, it gets extremely dull.
Have you read Brave New World? What did you think of it? Or, if you haven't, what's your favorite dystopian novel?
Comment below! :)