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Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Brave New World (original 1932; edition 1998)

by Aldous Huxley

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41,83256520 (3.96)1179
Huxley's classic prophetic novel describes the socialized horrors of a futuristic utopia devoid of individual freedom.
Title:Brave New World
Authors:Aldous Huxley
Info:Harper Perennial Modern Classics (1998), Paperback, 268 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (Author) (1932)

  1. 764
    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 him- or herself.… (more)
  2. 511
    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. 180
    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Both are benchmarks for dystopian literature.
  5. 151
    The Giver by Lois Lowry (afyfe)
  6. 130
    Brave New World Revisited by Aldous Huxley (pyrocow)
  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. 81
    Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (sanddancer)
  9. 60
    Animal Farm by George Orwell (sturlington)
  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
    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.
  17. 30
    Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut (Anonymous user)
  18. 86
    Stranger in a Strange Land (Uncut Edition) by Robert A. Heinlein (meggyweg)
  19. 32
    Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde (TomWaitsTables)
    TomWaitsTables: The dystopic comedy by by Jasper Fforde, not the adult novel read by housewives.
  20. 21
    Men Like Gods by H. G. Wells (Sylak)
    Sylak: Basically a parody of Wells' own book published seven years earlier.

(see all 39 recommendations)

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» See also 1179 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 515 (next | show all)
This will come as a surprise to anyone who knows me, but I had never read this in 53 years of reading. I could never get into it. So I finally did. How to read it? As the 58 year old man that I am, with a host of dystopian novels extant since its publication? Or perhaps the 16 year old who first set it aside unread after reading Ayn Rand's Anthem a couple of years earlier, not having been exposed to many of those dystopias? Or , more challenging, in the context of of a reader in the time it was published?

I'm listening to Dr. Robert Greenberg's lecture series on Beethoven's symphonies (The Symphonies of Beethoven and he gives a lot of background and context to what came before and why Beethoven was a departure from the classical period, before he dives into each of Beethoven's nine. He says "when we look back at a culture two hundred years ago that had its own norms and its own givens, before we understand the products of that culture, we've got to understand what the norms were...so that we basically understand what Beethoven's own audience understood if we are to have any hope of embracing these works in their own terms." Okay, but I don't have an expert to guide me for Huxley, though I do have a lifetime, so far, of accumulated knowledge to refer to.

As to the period, in the opening, Huxley has a group of students trooping through the baby factory:A troop of newly arrived students, very young, pink and callow, followed nervously, rather abjectly, at the Director's heels. Each of them carried a notebook, in which, whenever the great man spoke, he desperately scribbled. "He" desperately scribbled...only male students. Hmmm. So there's the period sexism. And thenYou should see the way a negro ovary responds to pituitary! It's quite astonishing, when you're used to working with European material.Okay...racism, check. (later there is a "negro porter").

I won't fault Huxley, but the context is telling. Some things struck me as odd in the narrative, as how does a person in New Mexico know of an Abortion Centre, "down in Chelsea"? And in the final chapters, when John (I assume Huxley's use of Savage when nobody was around, though most of the other novel participants called him such, was a literary device, but I wasn't impressed.) is arguing with the Controller for the soul of civilization, one of John's rejoinders was"If you allowed yourselves to think of God, you wouldn't allow yourselves to be degraded by pleasant vices. You'd have a reason for bearing things patiently, for doing things with courage. I've seen it with the Indians."Why does Huxley think (through his character who is arguing against the "utopian" society) think morality comes from religion? Not worth dwelling on, but it does diminish Huxley's message.

So I've read it. For the time, clearly groundbreaking. For now? Clearly groundbreaking for the time. ( )
  Razinha | Sep 5, 2019 |
I think for my tastes Huxley was perhaps a bit too entranced with showcasing his own vision of the future to properly craft the story set in it, which I personally found a bit uneven and not serving much function other than to underline to various points he was trying to make about his setting. It never really carried me away the way I'd like to be by a narrative (though in fairness, a few individual sections or chapters did, for shorter bursts of time). But that said, there's no denying the author paints a very intriguing result of taking a rather benevolently intended focus on consumerism, mass-production and physical well-being to an absolute extreme (and all the more impressive for having been done as early as the beginning of the 1930s). I also think it a great take on a dystopia in that it is by design populated almost entirely by people tailor made to be happy in it -- unlike most fictional dystopias, where the average person showcased is, at least on some deeper, secret level, rather miserable. But even so, in the end, I unfortunately found it to be a novel more worth reading for its cultural significance than for the actual reading experience. ( )
  LokiAesir | Jul 27, 2019 |
This book is really interesting, but it took me a lot of time to finish it, even though it's a short one. I must say that what I liked the most of this book is the description of the setting they live in and basically the beginning when the way the world works is explained, the way it is described and the reasons the author gives for it to be that way make sense. Aside of that I truly disliked the characters and the main story plot with the savage thing. When Lenina and Bernard go to the savage reservation the books becomes kinda boring. I want to think that the author made the characters unlikeable on purpose, because they have a very different way of thinking and basically everything that today is normal to them is stupid and senseless... But even though John is the only one that one can relate to, to me he was still unlikeable. I would have liked to know what happened with Bernard and his friend, whose name I forgot, and the life in the island or how things work in the islands, but nope, instead of that everything ends up focusing on Mr. Savage, although Bernard was the main character at the beginning. ( )
  Rosechaser110 | Jul 17, 2019 |
I found the first half very boring, when they finally meet John (the Savage) it piked up, still by the end I was mostly unimpressed.

The new world has a nice solid base but I don't know, I don't find it particularly horrifying really, I wouldn't like to live there but have you read a history book? It's definitely better than many real periods, I'm not horrified nor enticed.

The Savage is the most interesting part of it all and at the same time the weakest, he doesn't make sense, he's an outsider on civilization but also on the reservation too, and he didn't get that chastity obsession by reading Shakespeare, his mother being a whore probably had more to do with that, I'm not saying what she did was wrong but we all know that's what the others called her, he felt ashamed of her.

But still, he's upbringing was too lacking for him to be such an intellectual man, and I doubt you can get a real sense of what a bishop is, for example, only by reading Shakespeare.

The book doesn't glorify the reservation neither, it seems that there is no escape, humanity is shit whichever way you look, not only that but on the reservation if you are different they ostracise you forever, ban you from important social events and etc, but on the civilization if you are different you are exiled to an island to live whatever life you want with others misfit like you, that does not seem like such a cruel punishment to me really.

Psshh, I don't know what to say, I just didn't care much for the book.

I'll say another thing, maybe the worst part of it for me is that many things are exaggerated but kind of happening already if you really want to focus on that point, we are not sleep-thought but schools aren't that much better most of the time and marketing and Hollywood do the rest, "ending is better than mending" is already a thing for people that can afford it, only the really poor mend clothes anymore, is that wrong? Is hedonism wrong? I'll say it's not the best, but holy hell it's not that bad, being simple ain't bad, hurting others based on stupid subjective morality is bad, and that goes for all of us, the real bad thing about this new world is that people couldn't choose anything, even if they wanted to get a little out of the mold by having a monogamous relationship they couldn't, off to the island with them, but that's nicer than being put on fire so. ( )
  Rose999 | Jun 28, 2019 |
I know that I read this book shortly after I graduated from high school. I'm not sure I remembered much. I remembered about the engineering of humans, but I'm not sure I was "mature" enough to understand the consumerism and free sex and drugs aspect. Basically, if one can keep society in a steady circle of consuming goods, having sex, and taking mind-numbing drugs, one can create a safe, happy, and strife-free society. To deal with the problems of drudge work, the powers that be, create people of lesser intelligence in their baby factories, and then condition them very carefully so that they'll find happiness in being an elevator operator, or hod carrier, or tiller of the soil, or whatever. The few who don't fit in, get shipped off to a remote island.

One such person who doesn't quite fit in is Bernard Marx. He goes on a trip to New Mexico where he gets to visit a "savage" reservation. That is a reservation on which Native Americans live by their traditional methods, hunting, gathering, cultivating, bearing children live (i.e. are still viviparous). It all seems to strange, but then they find a young white man and his mother living on the reservation. Apparently, some 20 or so years previously, the woman, Linda, visited the reservation, and apparently, her birth control efforts had failed. She was left behind and bore a son, John. Neither Linda nor John had fit in with the Native Americans. For some reason, they were taken back to "civilization".

Linda immediately took up the drugging and spent her time in a state of psychedelic bliss. John, who had learned from the natives to embrace a more "spartan" lifestyle, one of self denial and strict moral behavior, was not able to drift into drugs, nor to fit in any better with the folks back in "civilization".

So, how did it all turn out? Well, read it and find out for yourself. I didn't really like this book much, but then I'm an elderly, repressed Calvinist, so the society as described would appall me.
( )
  lgpiper | Jun 21, 2019 |
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» Add other authors (91 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
Southwick, RobertEditorsecondary 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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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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Huxley's bleak future prophesized, in Brave New World was a capitalist civilization, which had been reconstituted through scientific and psychological engineering, a world in which people are genetically designed to be passive and useful to the ruling class. Huxley opens the book by allowing the reader to eavesdrop on the tour of the Fertilizing Room of the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning center, where the high tech reproduction takes place. Bernard Marx (one of the characters in the story) seems alone, harboring an ill-defined longing to break free. Satirical and disturbing, Brave New World is set some 600 years into the future. Reproduction is controlled through genetic engineering, and people are bred into a rigid class system. As they mature, they are conditioned to be happy with the roles that society has created for them. Concepts such as family, freedom, love, and culture are considered grotesque.
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