Book Review: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Book Review: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Published: 6th Dec 2007 (1932)
Publisher: Vintage Classics
Pages: 288
Readership: Adult fiction
Genres: Science fiction, dystopia
Challenge: Classics Challenge – #3
Rating: ★★★★
Buy: Paperback
More: Goodreads

I chose Brave New World to be my third classic of the year for one simple reason: How can I possibly say that one of my favourite genres is dystopia without having read Brave New World or Fahrenheit 451?

Brave New World begins in the Central London Hatching and Conditioning Centre where the Bokanovsky Process is taking place. It’s a scientifically and technologically advanced process that develops embryos in bottles and produces thousands of twins. Embryos are put into one of five castes before they’re fully developed, with Alphas at the top and Epsilons at the bottom. Each embryo within a caste is conditioned – physical ability and intelligence are altered – to make sure each person will be as useful to society as possible.

I loved reading one of the novels that inspired so many of the dystopian books I enjoyed over the past year. I loved delving deeper into, and learning more about, this strange yet eerily familiar society, and I loved it for being a satire – something I didn’t realise I was enjoying back when I read Shades of Grey. It was originally considered to be a view of a utopian society and it’s easy to see why – all members of society are happy regardless of their social position: “people are genetically designed to be passive, consistently useful to the ruling class”. Brave New World never felt dated to me – it reads like a critique of today’s society. I felt a little disconnected when the attention turned to John, but I think that’s because the meaning behind the ‘Savage’ character and what he represents is more explicit. I instead enjoyed thinking about the morality behind the scientific and technological developments that were a result of (or a cause of?) this immense shift in social attitudes and culture. It’s definitely a book that will have a lot to offer even when two or three more times.

Brave New World offers a horrifying but fascinating view of how society can be – and, unintentionally, how society already is. It’s, again, a novel that I can see being analysed to death in a literature class, but one I hope is still incredibly exciting and thrilling even when you do have to write an essay on it.

Someone! Quick! Get me Fahrenheit 451!

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11 thoughts on “Book Review: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

  1. This has been on my list for a long time too as has Fahrenheit 451. If you haven’t read 1984 you definitely need to.

  2. I love this book – great review!

    I read it in my advanced literature class when I was 15. We made a game of it during the week it was read and discussed. Everyone in the class was divided into the different categories – I was Epsilon (those were the ones who wore black, yes?) – and then each person was assigned a task (I had to open and close the door every time someone needed to leave or enter) to perform for the entire period throughout the week. Of course, we also had to dress our part throughout the week. Failure to adhere to the rules resulted in getting sprayed with water; following the rules resulted in 5 Skittles (“soma”) at the end of the class period.

    Ugh, SO MUCH FUN. Really helped us understand the concept and why it was actually a very difficult topic. I agree with you: it’s a novel that is not dated whatsoever. It’s entirely applicable. The society that will form from our pleasures…the opposite of Orwell’s 1984, the society formed from our fears.

    • That sounds fantastic! We never had any English Lit classes like that. It’s one of the books I wish I actually *had* studied since I’ve probably missed lots of interested concepts.

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  8. This book should be read by everyone.
    When you read Brave New World you ask yourself questions like ‘Where is this world going?’
    Our world is very similar to the one described by Aldous Huxley yet all this totalitarianism stuff is now hidden, therefore nobody ever thinks about it.
    I am really glad when somebody says he/she had read Brave New World – I am sure these people are ‘the thinkers’

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