Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Book Review - Brave New World
I finished reading Brave New World by Aldous Huxley last night and I have to say that it was a very interesting read. It was first published in 1931 to mixed reviews but the past 70 years it has become a cult classic novel. This was required reading for the English Lit class opposite mine in High School so I never got to read it, but having read George Orwell's 1984 and enjoying it I thought I would enjoy this book as well.
This is the type of book that really makes you think, it is based on a Utopian society set in England in the year 2540. The utopia uses futuristic reproductive technology and sleep conditioning to form a society of humans without individualism, where "everyone belongs to everyone else." Natural reproduction is no longer necessary because children are born in "hatcheries" and raised in conditioning centers. The new concept of bokanovsky process is developed with can split a single egg into 30 or 50 identical twins. The cast system is set from fertilization, with each caste (The Alphas on top, the Epsilons on the bottom) genetically conditioned to fit perfectly into their walk of life, each person is completely happy with the life they have. From the top CEO to the lowliest janitor.
Most of the society's functioning is centered around a drug called soma, a pill that can easily be compared with a strong narcotic, a sedative and hallucinogen that everyone takes like it's candy. Sex is casual and plentiful, children are conditioned from infancy to engage in "erotic play" with one another. There is no ambition, no passion, no love or commitment, "everyone belongs to everyone else."
There is one man, Bernard, an alpha who is considered an outcast from the rest of his peer group because he enjoys spending time alone. (it is considered very rude and a waste of time to be alone at all ever). His feelings for a certain girl, Leina moves him to invite her to a "savage reservation" in America. A jungle like compound where the human "savages" still have family units ("how terrible") and the woman still give birth to their "children" (very crass statements in this society). They travel there together and what they discover is something neither one of them ever could have expected....
The story itself is very creative and surprising. I encourage you to give it a try, it really makes you think about how far off the beaten path a society can get. This is an accurate portrayal of a dystopia.
Read and Enjoy!!
Labels: Book Reviews