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Ape and Essence by Aldous Huxley

Ape and Essence (original 1948; edition 2008)

by Aldous Huxley

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917109,569 (3.44)24
Title:Ape and Essence
Authors:Aldous Huxley
Info:Vintage Classics (2008), Paperback, 176 pages
Collections:Your library

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Ape and Essence by Aldous Huxley (1948)



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Ape and essence by Aldous Huxley is a bit difficult to get into, but once into the story, this short novel is both interesting and engaging. The narrative structure of the book is unusual, resembling a film script. The beginning of the book consists of a science-fiction account of history, referring to various historical event as they could have happened. The film script, written by a genius, by accident escapes destruction, and is, hence, available to being read.

The scripts describes a story in which most of the civilized world has been destroyed in an atomic war, except New Zealand. An expedition from New Zealand reaches the coast of California, to make contact, and investigate the situation in the United States. Having landed, the expedition members are captured, and the leading scientist is brought before the leader of the community. In various exchanges, it becomes clear what has happened, how history in the US developed after the war and various anthropological details of American society of that time are revealed.

Ape and essence is a dystopian novel, describing a lapse from civilized society into a barbarous state. While this type of story is now very common, and many films and novels are based on a similar premise, often elaborated along very similar lines, Huxley's Ape and essence is probably the classic that gave rise this this type of genre. The description is more anthropological than contemporary dystopian novels which focus more on horror. Huxley's novel is probably a bit too vanilla for lovers of the genre, and the convoluted beginning of the novel forms an additional barrier. Nonetheless, to lovers of science-fiction, Ape and essence is probably an essential read. ( )
1 vote edwinbcn | Oct 21, 2015 |
A bizarre and unique dystopia set after the WWIII when the mutant remains of mankind (?) are living in a strange, sick society worshipping Belial the Evil... ( )
  TheCrow2 | Apr 28, 2013 |
The book starts out at a Hollywood studio where a dumptruck bearing rejected movie scripts is headed to the incenerator. One falls out and the author and his friend scoop it up and start to read it. Intrigued they go in search of the author who has since died. The book is a script and it is strange, fascinating, and comical. It was written around the time when the arms race was heating up and the threat of atomic annhilation was (and still is in some respects) all too real.This is but one example of Huxley's expansive imagination. ( )
  apc251 | May 10, 2012 |
Somewhat interesting and written in Huxley's recognizable style, yet too ham-fisted in making its point. Amusing story if nothing else. ( )
  deathjoy | Mar 28, 2012 |
Two motion picture executives stumble across a screenplay in the lot. The majority of the book is the text of that document. It is about a future era, post World War III, when the residents of Southern California worship the devil and sex is outlawed except for two weeks once per year. The resulting infants are increasingly more deformed due to radiation fallout. The action of the 'film' seems to be mostly an excuse to espouse the philosophy that human kind, following the Second World War were increasingly destructive and not in cohesion with the Order of Things (i.e. Nature, God, etc.) and that led to their downfall. A lot of the points Huxley makes seem particularly true and relevant even now in the late 2000's. Although the first few chapters were almost incomprehensible to me, due to choppiness, jargon, and references to popular events and figures in the late 1940's, once the narrative turned to the screenplay, it was a fascinating tale. The pop culture references that I didn't really comprehend continued throughout the book, and it's quite possible that I've missed out on a lot of the points that were being made due to my having been born several decades later and not being familiar with those references. ( )
  EmScape | Aug 4, 2009 |
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Aldous Huxleyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Woude, F.G.M. van derTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woude, Johan van derTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It was the day of Gandhi's assassination; but on Calvary the sightseers were more interested in the contents of their picnic baskets than in the possible significance of the, after all, rather commonplace event they had turned out to witness.
The leech's kiss, the squid's embrace,
The prurient ape's defiling touch:
And do you like the human race?
No, not much.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0929587782, Paperback)

When Aldous Huxley's Brave New World first appeared in 1932, it presented in terms of purest fantasy a society bent on self-destruction. Few of its outraged critics anticipated the onset of another world war with its Holocaust and atomic ruin. In 1948, seeing that the probable shape of his anti-utopia had been altered inevitably by the facts of history, Huxley wrote Ape and Essence. In this savage novel, using the form of a film scenario, he transports us to the year 2108. The setting is Los Angeles where a "rediscovery expedition" from New Zealand is trying to make sense of what is left. From chief botanist Alfred Poole we learn, to our dismay, about the twenty-second-century way of life. "It was inevitable that Mr. Huxley should have written this book: one could almost have seen it since Hiroshima is the necessary sequel to Brave New World."—Alfred Kazin. "The book has a certain awesome impressiveness; its sheer intractable bitterness cannot but affect the reader."—Time.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:51 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In the year 2108, a rediscovery expedition from New Zealand arrives in a post-nuclear Los Angeles and tries to make sense of what is left of the survivors. Huxley wrote this in 1948 as a response to the use of atomic weapons in WWII and the emerging Cold War.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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