Brave New World
By Aldous Huxley
Reviewed by Dom
Like many other teens, I was assigned to read Brave New World in high school. It made an impact on me at the time, but nothing compared to the blow it delivers (mumble mumble) years later.
Orwell’s 1984 seems to have generated more attention than Huxley’s classic, but Brave New World predated ’84 by almost twenty years. Some call it satire, some call it prescient science fiction, but almost everyone calls it chilling.
Imagine a world where children are created in laboratories, and then programmed to be happy and content with their caste and their career. Nobody has a desire to try anything new, to think anything contrary, or to question the way everything is.
And, should something like this happen, there’s always a prescription of Soma, which will instantly fix those nasty bad ideas. The question becomes: Can you truly be unhappy when you have no free will? Is it Utopia?
Huxley allows us to witness all of this through characters like Bernard, a nonconformist, and John, a “savage.” But from the opening pages - where we are taken on a tour of the Fertilizing Room in the Central London Hatchery - we recognize that this is a world gone mad while attempting to preserve sanity.
I grew up reading science fiction, and I’ve always strongly believed that the genre does the best job at illustrating society’s ills. Brave New World does this in a way that forces you to think, to compare Huxley’s vision (written 80 years ago) to the ways we are controlling each other - and ourselves - today.
The book has earned its reputation as a classic. I recommend you pick up Brave New World soon, and let it enlighten you.
Ask for it at any of the three Tattered Cover Book Store locations, and request the 20% percent discount as this month’s Dom and Jane Book Club selection. Happy reading.