Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

Summary: Aldous Huxley's tour de force, Brave New World is a darkly satiric vision of a "utopian" future—where humans are genetically bred and pharmaceutically anesthetized to passively serve a ruling order. A powerful work of speculative fiction that has enthralled and terrified readers for generations, it remains remarkably relevant to this day as both a warning to be heeded as we head into tomorrow and as thought-provoking, satisfying entertainment.
summary and book cover from indiebound.org

My Review: In Brave New World, Huxley has created a society with the sole objective of keeping people happy. This new population is given jobs, food and happiness drugs to ensure peace. No longer are people born they are engineered, developed within bottles and then decantered. Natural selection is gone as the controllers decide not only how many babies are produced but also where each will fit on the social ladder.

Brave New World was written in the 30's about a futuristic world. I am floored that this book is not dated and seems to be even more relevant today. It is interesting to see how close we have come to some of the things Huxley touches on in his fiction novel. The growth of babies in tubes with choice on their genetic make-up is no longer so far-fetched. The idea of keeping our bodies young by eliminating the sagging and wrinkles of aging is progressing more all the time. Society has already lost many of the morals when it comes to sexuality and while promiscuous behavior is not exactly socially acceptable current views sure do differ from the 30's.

I had read this book back in high school and have since forgotten about the role sexuality has in the plot. These characters are encouraged to be promiscuous from toddlers and monogamy is unheard of. Sex is no longer used for reproduction but is purely social. As an adult I can now see why some would object to the ideas presented within this book. Though there is no detail in the recreational sex the subject is a major focus of the book. There were spots where I was a bit uncomfortable. Yet I feel that the issues the book brings to the surface outweigh the negative effects of addressing this taboo matter. Subjects such as overpopulation, over organization, subconscious and chemical persuasion, loss of individuality, brainwashing and true happiness are all important for us to ponder.

This book is still very relevant in today's classrooms. Young minds will thrive on the thought-provoking material brought to light within these pages. It would also make an enticing book club read with a deep discussion to follow.

**This book has been challenged for themes dealing with sexuality, drugs and suicide.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Summary: An intellectually stimulating classic

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