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Brave New World (1932)

by Aldous Huxley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
48,18068819 (3.95)1266
Huxley's classic prophetic novel describes the socialized horrors of a futuristic utopia devoid of individual freedom.
  1. 774
    Nineteen Eighty-Four 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. 173
    We: A Novel 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.
  6. 151
    The Giver by Lois Lowry (afyfe)
  7. 130
    Brave New World Revisited by Aldous Huxley (pyrocow)
  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. 129
    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (fundevogel)
  15. 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«.
  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. 21
    Men Like Gods by H. G. Wells (Sylak)
    Sylak: Basically a parody of Wells' own book published seven years earlier.
  20. 10
    City of Endless Night by Milo Hastings (fannyprice)
    fannyprice: Both books play with the implications of eugenics and social classes.

(see all 40 recommendations)

Midwest (12)
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1930s (2)

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Showing 1-5 of 628 (next | show all)
I liked this book! I am a big fan of science fiction and this one is a classic. It has an amazing world development however the story isn't really long nor special.

In this world, the industrial revolution took a big step into human evolution, also technology is more important than emotions and reproduction. Humans are all made artificially and society gives them a classification accordingly to their job status.

This book has a lot of interesting ethical questions and shows a world really similar to ours with some twists.
( )
  Hanna_Rybchynska | Apr 29, 2022 |
Þessi saga er ákaflega heilsteypt og vel hugsuð, á köflum þung aflestrar og inniheldur heimspekilegar pælingar um samfélagið.
Huxley skrifaði söguna 1931 og hún er háðsádeila á samfélag nútímans með því að birta ógnvænlega framtíðarsýn þar sem öll fjölgun mannkyns er gerð með gerfifrjógvun, fóstrin eru ræktuð upp og heilaþvegin við fyrsta tækifæri m.a. með raflosti og með því að láta ungviðið hlusta á áróður í svefni sem vöku.
Strax í upphafi eru fóstrin alin upp í stéttskipt samfélag og þeir sem eiga að gegna líkamlegum störfum eru skertir í greind til að þeir sætti sig betur við sitt hlutskipti svo dæmi sé nefnt. Tækniframfarir eru skertar og í raun allt sem getur valdið óánægju, fólk er heilaþvegið til að henda lítið notuðum hlutum til að halda uppi iðnaðarframleiðslu, taka sælupillur til að vera ekki dapurt eða óánægt o.s.frv.
Í upphafi kynnumst við lífi almennings en líka forréttindaaðila sem er þrátt fyrir allt óánægður. Huxley lætur síðan "villimann" úr friðlandi kynnast þessu nýja samfélagi. Hann þarf að takast á við ógnvænlega heimsmyndina og takast á við óttann og átök mismunandi samfélaga og lýsir þannig vel hvernig þessi nýi heimur er séður frá mismunandi sjónarhornum.
Þessi dystópíska framtíðarsýn er hrollvekjandi en dystópía er ættað úr grísku og merkir hreinlega vondur staður og er andheiti útópíu. Saga Huxleys var fyrst ætluð sem andsvar við bjartsýnar framtíðarsýnir H.G. Wells en Huxley sagðist síðar hafa fallið fyrir eigin skrifum og sökkt sér niður í söguna.
Brave New World hefur hlotið ótal viðurkenningar og er oft talin vera á meðal bestu rita síðustu aldar. Hún er ekki léttmeti en magnað rit sem vekur mann sannarlega til umhugsunar. ( )
  SkuliSael | Apr 28, 2022 |
Fairly dark outlook on tech driven human morality, but I do love a good utopian story! Intriguing ideas in the forward 15 years later post atomic bombs. ( )
  ds_db | Apr 25, 2022 |
3 3/4 stars

Impressions first:

What to say? The ending would make anyone with a penchant for books about the "human condition" proud and prove that SF is better at showing off such a thing than so called "high literature" (most of which is unreadable), but I'm biased.

None of the characters in this book are truly likeable, but in a well written book, they don't need to be likeable, just relate-able.

That Huxley is a brilliant writer, there's no doubt. He foreshadows a lot of the worst of modern society: reality TV, the zombification of the populace using drugs and movies, creating a generic population by taking out differences and creating large groups of people who all look alike.

This book is an incredible piece of science fiction and speculation. It's full of fascinating ideas, both wondrous and worrisome, ripe with suggestions and predictions so accurate, they make my teeth ache and assumptions so bigoted, it's no wonder the book keeps getting on the banned lists. Let's start on the author's view on women:

I cannot quite decide if Huxley was truly a misogynist or just a young man with frustrated yearnings. His treatment of women throughout this story would (and probably does) put the backs up of most feminists. Huxley takes great delight in describing women in a state of undress. Specifically, the imagery he uses (women dressed only in shoes and stockings) makes me think he may have had stash of pinup girl photos locked away in a drawer in his office desk, something to look at when the wife was not around. And this is a guy who was married twice and stayed married "til death do us part" both times. Or that there was something else entirely going on there, but who can say?

Yet, he had 'issues' with women in general, I think, and mothers specifically. The way both the Controller and the head of the conditioning center talk about mothers (I listened to the version voiced by Michael York, so I can't say how much was his intonation of the characters), the word comes out with the same connotation as of one speaking of something absolutely foul and disgusting. The mention of fathers is less vile.

Also, there is this need to create a whole group of women who are infertile and therefore 'safe' as it were from ever getting pregnant. They exist to satisfy the needs of men and do their jobs, really. Nothing more. No mention ever of creating a male populace with the same, erm, problem. And then there are all the routines other women are required to do for birth control ... which in turn requires that the world government find an alternative method for producing new people to populate the ultimate in consumer society. So, they turned the whole process of making babies into a factory job, a mechanized test-tube baby factory to be exact. By doing so, the government is able to create differing levels of society, from the alphas and betas all the way down to the epsilons and gammas who do the backbreaking labor that no one else will do.

At the same time, the government suppressed all the old knowledge, including religion, produced a new religion with Henry "Model T" Ford as its main god and isolate those unwanted elements who would otherwise disrupt or not fit into the ideal society. A Savage Reservation is put into place in the desert of New Mexico and left alone, though surrounded by an electrified fence so no one can get out and contaminate the other culture. I think Huxley was actually impressed by the Pueblo people of my home state, as he's careful to separate out the various tribes and not get them mixed up with the Navajo, who are not Puebloans. He mentions the Zuni, Hope and Acoma tribes separately, and though his descriptions of their homes comes across as inescapably aristocratic and snobbish, he takes great pains to give a great deal of detail to a ritual which I believe actually happened while he visited. The rest of it, I'd say would be credited to his characters who are coming from "civilization" and have never encountered humans who live in the more natural state of naturally born babies, interactions between the sexes which is more equatable and families.

To keep everyone calm and happy, the populace is conditioned from childhood to accept their lot in life and be happy with it. Individual thought is subtly discouraged from the get go, as is the desire to have alone time. If one is so desperate to get away for a time, one can take anywhere from half a gram of soma to several for a "soma holiday". Reality is so much easier to take when one is traveling on a wave of drug induced joy, "Y'know what I mean Vern?" (another reason this book keeps getting banned, I'll bet.) Yet, how is soma any different from marijuana, metaphorically? Add TV and types of movies known as the "feelies" in which you can actually feel the same sensations as the characters in the movie (we don't have feelies, but 3D seems to be well on its way to this sort of thing ...).* What's more, we discover toward the end of the story that it's quite probable those feelies are based on actual events or around events that you and I would equate to reality TV, one of the banes of modern TV in the early 21st century.

What to say about the various people of the piece? We're introduced to the view point characters of Lenina Crowne, Barnard Marx, Linda and John Savage and others who give us varying views of society. In the end, none of them are to be admired nor are they likeable.

Lenina is the ideal candidate for living the life civilization offers, from accepting her station in life, to being a willing participant in being "taken" by various men, to being horrified not only by the "savages" on the Reservation to her inability to deal with reality without her soma tablets. She is a true product of the state.

Barnard, desperate to be accepted by those around him, will use any means necessary to achieve his goals. Though he befriends John, a young man he found on the Reservation, Bernard isn't above using him as a way to gain status among those who ridiculed him.

Linda, a beta worker at the conditioning center, went on holiday with the Director and accidentally got pregnant despite all birth control she was taking. The Director proved himself to be a low character and after Linda gets lost on Reservation lands, abandons her to her fate and goes home. Linda comes across as slightly unhinged throughout the text. Alone and reviled by the natives, she raises her son John, and becomes, in essence, the local whore to the tribes' men. Without access to healthcare and beauty treatments, Linda loses her conditioned beauty and bits and pieces of her sanity over time.

When Bernard and Lenina find John and Linda and take them home with them, John discovers just how much of an outsider he is in both worlds. John finds civilization to be a confusing, enthralling and appalling place to be. Used having space to think and for solitude, John begins to long for a space of his own. He's also dismayed when his mother begins slipping away into her soma holidays more and more, to the point that she finally slips into a coma and dies of soma poisoning. When he finally does find a bit of peace, it's shattered by an enterprising journalist who films John in the process of flagellating himself for his lustful thoughts about Lenina and creates a sensational "feely" movie which everyone finds absolutely fascinating. When the people start descending on John's solitude, he takes the only way out he can find.

Brave New World is full of thoughtful insight into human character and future possibilities. Some of Huxley's predictions are spot on, some sound like they would work better in a steampunk novel (i.e. the reporter's hat when he comes to interview John towards the end). He's appallingly bigoted about anyone not of Caucasian descent and misogynistic toward women. He has the British knack for the absurd (like the 16 Saxophone orchestra and other such things). Since this is the only book I've read by Huxley, I cannot how much this book reflect his views, how much is due to the time period in which he wrote it and how much it is artistic license, but I will say that it was an interesting read, enhanced by Michael York's voice, well worth the time. ( )
  fuzzipueo | Apr 24, 2022 |
Brave new world: where the populace is "sexually liberated" (means: sex without feelings is almost required, and relationships are short and meaningless) and drug usage is the norm (the higher classes use anti depressants or anti psychotics without a second thought and the lower classes are kept supressed with the constant usage of Soma). Genetic manipulation is also standard to ensure that the right number of the right people are introduced into the population to keep everything stable
  nordie | Apr 18, 2022 |
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» Add other authors (114 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Huxley, Aldousprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Atwood, MargaretIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Binger, CharlesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bradshaw, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brochmann, GeorgTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harari, Yuval NoahIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herlitschka, Herberth E.Translatorsecondary 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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(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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Huxley's classic prophetic novel describes the socialized horrors of a futuristic utopia devoid of individual freedom.

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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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