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Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Brave New World (1932)

by Aldous Huxley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
40,55753820 (3.96)1155
  1. 772
    1984 by George Orwell (chrisharpe, zasmine, MinaKelly, li33ieg, haraldo, Ludi_Ling, Waldstein)
    zasmine: For Orwell was inspired by it. And Orwell's 1984 is as much of a prize as it.
    li33ieg: 1984, Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451: 3 essential titles that remind us of the need to keep our individual souls pure.
    Ludi_Ling: Really, the one cannot be mentioned without the other. Actually, apart from the dystopian subject matter, they are very different stories, but serve as a great counterpoint to one another.
    Waldstein: It's essential to read Huxley's and Orwell's books together. Both present the ultimate version of the totalitarian state, but there the similarities end. While Orwell argues in favour of hate and fear, Huxley suggests that pleasure and drugs would be far more effective as controlling forces. Who was the more prescient prophet? That's what every reader should decide for his- or herself.… (more)
  2. 501
    Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (phoenix7g, meggyweg, Babou_wk, haraldo)
    Babou_wk: Contre-utopie, société future où l'unique but de la vie est le bonheur. Toute pratique requérant de la réflexion est bannie.
  3. 282
    A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (MinaKelly)
  4. 170
    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Both are benchmarks for dystopian literature.
  5. 140
    Brave New World Revisited by Aldous Huxley (pyrocow)
  6. 151
    The Giver by Lois Lowry (afyfe)
  7. 153
    We by Yevgeny Zamyatin (hippietrail, tehran)
    hippietrail: The original dystopian novel from which both Huxley and Orwell drew inspiration.
    tehran: Brave New World was largely inspired by Zamyatin's We.
  8. 60
    Animal Farm by George Orwell (sturlington)
  9. 71
    Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (sanddancer)
  10. 60
    The Tempest by William Shakespeare (Sylak)
    Sylak: Caliban in The Tempest has many parallels with John the Savage in Brave New World.
  11. 50
    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (mcenroeucsb)
  12. 50
    The Machine Stops by E. M. Forster (artturnerjr, KayCliff)
    artturnerjr: If you read only one other dystopian SF story, make it this one (well, you should read 1984, too, but you knew that already, didn't you?).
  13. 40
    This Perfect Day by Ira Levin (KayCliff)
  14. 30
    Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm (rat_in_a_cage)
    rat_in_a_cage: Hinweis auf Rückentext bei »Hier sangen früher Vögel«.
  15. 129
    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (fundevogel)
  16. 30
    Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut (Anonymous user)
  17. 20
    Daedalus; or, Science and the Future by J. B. S. Haldane (leigonj)
    leigonj: Haldane's ideas of eugenics and ectogenesis, which are laid out alongside others including world government and psychoactive drugs, strongly influenced Huxley's novel.
  18. 86
    Stranger in a Strange Land (Uncut Edition) by Robert A. Heinlein (meggyweg)
  19. 10
    The Devils of Loudun by Aldous Huxley (John_Vaughan)
  20. 10
    Love Among the Ruins by Evelyn Waugh (KayCliff)

(see all 40 recommendations)

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» See also 1155 mentions

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more than a little creepy, but interesting how the characters are able to talk themselves in to anything, even at the expense of their own humanity. ( )
  inescapableabby | Nov 28, 2018 |
Un gran libro que describe el rumbo de la humanidad dominado por el total control y uniformidad. ( )
  EduardoArt | Nov 16, 2018 |
This is a brilliant idea that utterly fails as a novel.

In his classic, Huxley paints a dystopian world of a disturbing happiness that eradicates all individuality. He melds the prevailent ideas of the time, communism and consumerism, into a totalitarian regime built on happiness and consumption. Babies are conditioned from birth to accept their class, their roles, to form no attachments. “Everyone belongs to everyone”, all needs are met. Everyone has a role. And if any unhappy thoughts arise at any time - “there is always soma”.

This would have made a brilliant novella if it stopped at about page 80. Unfortunately, Huxley cannot extend this into a novel with a plot, interesting characters, a development of any kind. All characters are one dimensional, the dialog is trite or repetitive, interactions are dumb. This partially derives from everyone being infantilized and conditioned for instant gratification, this makes them dumb and shallow. However, John the Savage, who is supposed to be a counterpoint, is just as shallow and dumb, except in an angry and violent way. The “civilized people” lose themselves in pleasant occupations; his rebellion involves self-flagellation, both mentally and physically. I also hated that he saw it fit to beat the woman who loved him, just because she showed her love in the only way she knew. John had as little or even less empathy than the others.

There is no plot. People go from place to place, and occasionally have a lecture. The lecture at the beginning is the best part: it describes the world, its principles, techniques in conditioning. This part is haunting. But other lectures, later, simply re-hash these ideas in a boring and repetitive way.

The book contains a huge dose of sexism and occasional racism. Huxley is obsessed with sex: in his society everyone copulates with everyone, and people are not supposed to stay with one person for a long time. Women and men are engineered to be beautiful and youthful for their entire lifespan. Huxley clearly relishes describing women as “meat”, writing about their bodies, their sensuality, but in a way I found decidedly creepy. And the only black people are in lower classes, engineered to be dumb and subservient. Yuck!

My biggest gripe, however, is the total lack of developing, maturing, coming to any conclusion. Great premise, but how does it effect the people? Anyone showing any resistance is handled swiftly and effectively. No one learns from anything. And the ending? Total copout. Terrible.

I have listened on audio. Narrator Michael York was excellent. It is not his fault.

ADDENDUM - Ideas That Grabbed Me

As I read my review for typos, I realized that I spent most of it criticizing this work. I do also want to record the ideas, as well, because some are astonishingly visionary.

First, the “after Ford” counting of the years is brilliant. Ford indeed was the harbringer of massed produced riches, who saw the masses not just as laborers, but consumers as well. He observed that raising overall standard of living drives consumption, thus, profit. (He should come and give a lecture to Republican law makers on the importance of a thriving middle class.)

“Ending is better than mending” had to be a sacriligious idea at the time of the Great Depression, but it sounds like what we are living in now. I can’t find anyone to mend the zipper on my boots, which is terrible, because my feet are not standard size and finding shoes that fit is too hard, so I wear them till they fall apart. But the concept of mending shoes is alien to most of my coworkers. “Why don’t you just buy a new one?” is the standard reaction if I mention my shoe-mending voes. We are also surrounded by products made only to last a few years before they must be replaced. And when was the last time anyone has mended a shirt? Fixed a broken zipper?

Games that require consumption were favored over ones you can play with a ball and a string. Well. I look around the house and it is awash with devices meant at entertainment - countless phones, tablets, gaming systems, Kindles, laptops, computers... ironically we only have one TV hooked up to cable and we rarely watch it. Yay for the internet and video games! We don’t even need to leave the house. And synthetic music blasts from EVERYWHERE.

Happy pills... well it isn’t like Soma, but depression and anxiety can be treated easily nowadays with simple pills without side effects, my ADHD is controlled easily, there are therapists, pain killers, doctors liberally prescribe all sorts of addictive drugs, not to mention the availability of recreational drugs easily if you are so inclined.

On the technology. Huxley builds on cutting edge biotechnology and psychology of the time. Genetics was just emerging; biotechnology, griwing cells in petri dishes, was in its infancy, and Pavlov’s theory of conditioning and hypnosis was all the rage. Growing babies in test tubes, not to mention cloning, were way ahead in the future. Since then we have learnt a lot more about nature vs. nurture, however, but the importance of conditioning is not so much in its method but its overall effect. Brainwashing can be achieved in other ways, like non-stop propaganda.

The vision of a totalitarian regime based on propaganda, a conditioned disdain of “lower” classes, of requiring conformity to state approved norms is astonishing, given the novel pre-dates the Nazi era, albeit its formation was in the works, just as the Soviet Union was also descending into an era of total central control. Huxley tries to remove the coercion - what if we just make people happy with their situation? They would have no cause to rebel. Replace police squads with drugs.

Overall, this dumb happiness results in complete central control. A disturbing idea. But is it? Maybe we are just hanging onto our notions of individuality. Who cares if we are happy? Now this is the idea I wish Huxley had truly explored. ( )
2 vote Gezemice | Oct 29, 2018 |
I recently read Orwell's classic 1984 and simply had to follow up and read Brave New World, its oft-compared companion piece. While 1984 is a fantastic novel in its own right (and perhaps shouldn't be compared to Brave New World, I must say that, in my estimation, Huxley’s vision of the future has better approximated the reality of our modern times. I must wholeheartedly agree with Neil Postman, who wrote the following about the two novels in 1985:

“[A]longside Orwell's dark vision, there was another - slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

“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 of 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 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us.”

I also must note that this might be the first novel I have read that attacks the common assumption that attaining happiness is the ultimate purpose of life, an idea I have been quite incredulous of for some years. Huxley’s commentary on a life that puts happiness and comfort above “[the] intensification and refining of consciousness, [the] enlargement of knowledge,” was very intriguing. The final conversation between John and Mustapha is, like the concluding conversation between Winston and O’Brien in 1984, a thought-provoking treat. ( )
3 vote bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
Huxley made his point through this obscene story that some refer to as a classic, which personally I do not. The story I found generic with the shock factor thrown in to try and make it remarkable. Somehow most of it was not even memorable. However the ending was the one thing that was memorably astute.
  mitzee333 | Oct 5, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (92 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Huxley, AldousAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Atwood, MargaretIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Binger, CharlesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bradshaw, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brochmann, GeorgTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herlitschka, Herberth E.Übersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hernández, RamónTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heuvelmans, TonAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McAfee, MaraIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mok, MauritsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Montagu, AshleyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moody, PaulineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Orras, I. H.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosoman, LeonardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salemme, AttilioCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Snow, GeorgeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Szentmihályi Szabó, PéterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
York, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Les utopies apparaissent bien plus réalisables qu'on ne le croyait autrefois. Et nous nous trouvons actuellement devant une question bien autrement angoissante : comment éviter leur réalisation définitive ?… Les utopies sont réalisables. La vie marche vers les utopies. Et peut-être un siècle nouveau commence-t-il, un siècle où les intellectuels et la classe cultivée rêveront aux moyens d'éviter les utopies et de retourner à une société non utopique moins 'parfaite' et plus libre.
(—Nicholas Berdiaeff)
First words
A squat grey building of only thirty-four stories.
Unorthodoxy threatens more than the life of a mere individual; it strikes at Society itself.
..."What fun it would be," he thought, "if one didn't have to think about happiness!"
"I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin ... I'm claiming the right to be unhappy". "Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind." ... "I claim them all".
"All conditioning aims at that: making people like their unescapable social destiny."
"No civilisation without social stability. No social stability without individual stability."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Brave New World is by Aldous Huxley. If you have H.G. Wells as the author of Brave New World, please correct your data. Thank you.
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Book description
A fantasy of the future which sheds a blazing, critical light on the present - considered to be Aldous Huxley’s most enduring masterpiece.

Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone harbouring an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress…
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060929871, Paperback)

"Community, Identity, Stability" is the motto of Aldous Huxley's utopian World State. Here everyone consumes daily grams of soma, to fight depression, babies are born in laboratories, and the most popular form of entertainment is a "Feelie," a movie that stimulates the senses of sight, hearing, and touch. Though there is no violence and everyone is provided for, Bernard Marx feels something is missing and senses his relationship with a young women has the potential to be much more than the confines of their existence allow. Huxley foreshadowed many of the practices and gadgets we take for granted today--let's hope the sterility and absence of individuality he predicted aren't yet to come.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:05 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

A fantasy of the future that sheds a blazing critical light on the present--considered to be Aldous Huxley's most enduring masterpiece. Mr. Huxley is eloquent in his declaration of an artist's faith in man, and it is his eloquence, bitter in attack, noble in defense, that, when one has closed the book, one remembers. A Fantastic racy narrative, full of much excellent satire and literary horseplay. It is as sparkling, provocative, as brilliant, in the appropriate sense, as impressive ads the day it was published. This is in part because its prophetic voice has remained surprisingly contemporary, both in its particular forecasts and in its general tone of semiserious alarm. But it is much more because the book succeeds as a work of art. This is surely Huxley's best book.… (more)

» see all 31 descriptions

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