Book – Brave New World
Author – Aldus Huxley
Year – 1932
Genre – Dystopian Sci-Fi
It can feel quite wonderful to read a book considered a classic, but at the same time, incredibly boring. In this challenge so far this year I think I have made it three or four pages into about six different ‘classics’, before deciding – however much I may be wrong – that they are too dull to carry on with and picking up a different book instead. It therefore makes it all the more worthwhile when the classic you pick turns out to be an incredible book.
Brave New World was written by Huxley at a time where the idea of a dystopian story – one set in a not perfect future – was so new that the term dystopian had not even been coined yet. HG Wells was writing Men Like Gods, and a book that it has been claimed Brave New World was based on, Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We (curiously enough, I was recommended this book about a week ago, but new nothing of its connection to this book before Googling Huxley a moment ago) had just been written, and Huxley’s novel was met with critisism. However, having read none of these, just some far more recent novels that work along a similar line, I found Brave New World interesting, affecting, and probably most importantly, massively entertaining.
Huxley describes a future that is simultaniously nearly perfect and depressingly bleak. The advances in science have left the world as a population of automatons – albeit incredibly happy and contented automatons. To counterpoint this, we also see a ‘Savage Reservation’ where people live far closer to how we do now. In my eyes, both are painted in tones that highlight their faults, and I found myself wishing for a mixture of the two. It does raise very interesting questions of the possibility of achieving true happiness without anything to compare it to – no loss, no passion and no pain.
The philosophical and psychological points of Brave New World could be – and most definitely are – discussed forever, but maybe this is not the place. This is the place however to say that if you are interesting in expanding philosophical world views, or like a good sci-fi novel that doesn’t involve blowing aliens to pieces or attending conventions, or even just someone who would like to read a book that makes you look clever, yet is actually pretty damn good, then this is a book that I wholeheartedly reccommend.