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Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Brave New World (original 1932; edition 2006)

by Aldous Huxley

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
46,09664820 (3.95)1239
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 (2006), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library

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Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932)

  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 [novel] 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. 163
    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.
  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
    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.
  16. 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«.
  17. 30
    Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut (Anonymous user)
  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. 21
    Men Like Gods by H. G. Wells (Sylak)
    Sylak: Basically a parody of Wells' own book published seven years earlier.

(see all 40 recommendations)

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A travelogue through an imagined future dys-/u-topia.

From what we are told in the story there was a long war that led to a strong desire to reform everything about society and eliminate every possible source of disruption and discomfort. Thus there is no more parenthood; people are bred in specific tiers (alpha through gamma) to participate in society at various levels and are trained to do specific kinds of work. They are given drugs to make them feel happy and entertainment to satisfy them. Science is exalted, and Ford is apparently the materialist god of these people; but even then all in moderation, and knowledge is heavily controlled.

We meet certain individuals who happen to go on a trip to see some "savages" in New Mexico, USA. While there they come upon a woman who had lived among them but had been abandoned; in the meantime, she has given birth to a son, named John, also known as "the Savage." Permission is granted to bring them back to London and to the "civilized" world. He is paraded around; he is desired; he ends up having a long discourse with the head honcho which ultimately is really the point of the book: a frank discussion of why knowledge, literature, etc. has been so circumscribed, and what happens when security is always chosen over autonomy. The System is maintained; the Savage eventually runs off and becomes a greater spectacle. He ends himself in a fit of violence while those watching him mimic the violence.

If you're expecting a great story, you will find this book disappointing: the narrative isn't great. The text screams the late 1920s and early 1930s: cynical and despondent as after 1918, yet before the horrors of the mid-1930s and afterward, set in a bourgeoisie world in which Marxism remained an acceptable liberal fantasy.

But the reason for the perseverance of the work is certainly valid: a secure utopia is really an individual dystopia. One can compare and contrast Huxley and Orwell, and one will likely realize that we're already realizing a synthesized version. So come and read for the depressing legitimacy of the fictive endeavor, but not because the story is that great. ( )
  deusvitae | May 29, 2021 |
I can't be really sure that I understood what this book meant to say. I think it was a reaction to worshipping happiness as the new God. That happiness should not be the ultimate goal in life, that pain and all other negative emotions have as much part to play into making us humans? That instead of basing our lives around a relentless search for happiness, or unhappiness, what we should do is think and be "concious"? So it was against hedonism and consumerism I guess. Loneliness and the sadness that accompanies death, as unpleasant as they might be are an important part of what makes us humans.

This "Brave New World" really did seem like a utopia to me, and not worse in any aspect as compared to the world we live in. We all grow up with suggestions that we imbibe and refuse to even question, but at least the people there were happy, nobody seemed to be commiting suicide. Perhaps the message of the book was that we can't have everything, that everything comes at a cost. That by choosing constant happiness we will have to forego beauty.

So I guess what the writer wants to tell us is how the negative emotions and vissitudes in life make us humans, and that treatment of happiness as Sovereign Good and the only thing that matters would have the effect of killing a large part of our humanity and turning us into something like long-term junkies. Now that I think about it, this feels like a book version of Katy Perry's Chained to the Rhythm. ( )
  Sebuktegin | May 25, 2021 |
That book was fucked up. ( )
  Stacie-C | May 8, 2021 |
Another great timeless Sci-fi novel from the era of early 20th century, where they had wild imaginations to think of the craziest futures possible. but are they really so impossible? It definitely is a book that gives you chills when you read about some of the concepts and the implications of them. As good as the book was, the ending seemed rushed, and detracted from the main topic of a futuristic society where eugenics is in full production.. ( )
  sjh4255 | May 4, 2021 |
Huxley wrote "Brave New World" at a time when totalitarianism was not just on the rise but in vogue among the wealthy classes, many of whom managed to maintain their positions even as the rest of the world experienced the Great Depression. If you were to ponder how the upper classes would prefer to deal with the riff-raff's troubles, you too might come up with similar answers to what Huxley presents -- make them go away via drugs and mass denial (things a culture awash in advertising accomplishes nicely). In some respects, this is how some in power generally might prefer to deal with social issues and the deeper questions about the meaning of life. Orwell's "1984" -- the novel often compared with Brave New World -- was written at the end of WWII where different circumstances prevailed, being a war caused by dictators whose upper classes ignored the problems of the poor and disenfranchised -- like what Huxley was warning about. In any case, well-crafted distopian novels like "Brave New World" force us to take a close look at the values of our own societies and look into ourselves to see how much we've internalized. ( )
1 vote dcvance | May 4, 2021 |
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» Add other authors (57 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
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 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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