Aug 13, 2014
Book 39: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
I read this book in my junior year in High School, but I had remembered it as a different book. I still am not sure what book I am confusing it with. I know we had a section with Utopia/Distopia and I must have blended books together. I am not even sure I have not mixed in a Twilight Zone episode as well. It took me about half way through to recognize that I had indeed read this one before.
Back to BNW- First I did not realize that this book was published in 1932. That was earlier than I thought. As I started reading I was struck by the use of mass production and how Huxley makes Henry Ford the the basis of this new society. There is no family, as babies are all born and manipulated in test tubes and cloning. The thought of family is obscene. But there is a lot of sex in the book. Even though sex for procreation is gone, the need for sex is still there and is thought of as a function of your everyday life, like housework. Huxley also focuses on a consumer nation, where purchasing is a way of life. Also there is no privacy in Huxley's world, but the drug soma is used when a break from life is needed.
I enjoyed Brave New World. It really is the type of book I like, one that I am able to chew on. Is it a perfect book? No of course not. With any speculative fiction there are going to be holes and paradoxes, but a perfection is not the point. For a book written 80 years ago, we are still able to see how this type of future could evolve and what it would mean. We are still a nation that focuses on material goods and consumerism. We are more and more living a social lives where we feel the need to share everything and always be connected. We use drugs to make our everyday better. I could go on and on. There is much that is still relevant that is why this book is still a classic and one I hope is still being read.