I have known about Brave New World by Aldous Huxley for quite some time now. I forget when I first heard of it, but it has been on and off my reading list since that point (to my recollection).
Brave New World describes just that: a new world. In this society, everyone seems to be happy, and as such, you may say it is a utopian society. However, I am not so sure about that. The ones in power control the others, essentially, through brainwashing, genetic engineering, sex, and drugs. On the surface, things seem great.
Some of the things that happen in this book horrify me. The conditioning they put the children through, the insistence of certain “classes” being a certain way, et cetera. It started as feeling a little uncomfortable. The horror did not come until later on in the book.
In some cases when a book unnerves me in a way similar to this one, I tend not to like it on some level. I think that, technically, applies here. With that said, I think this is the point of the book.
I do not often like to assume what the author means by certain things in a book. That is why I need to preface this by saying I could very well be wrong in my assumption here. However, I really do believe this book is meant to unnerve you. It is a picture of a future world. It is eerie in that this book debuted in 1932. The things it shows…well, I think this is something we could see debut today. This makes me imagine this book is timeless.
I know that I know nothing about how the world truly was in 1932. I know stories, of course, but I have no firsthand account of it. Thus, I can only speak to the way things are now. It is funny, because I feel like we are inches away from going down the path to this novel. I think we are likely on it, but we are approaching the cliff, so to speak. I wonder, then, if we are always on the cliff or close to it, if Huxley wrote this way back then.
I think this book has definite merit. It is worth the read, if only so readers can examine what the future could become. Of course, we can never know if the author was simply writing a hypothetical (“fantastical”) story about the future or if he really thought this could truly happen at some point. I stand by not knowing, but something about the way this books reads now…whether he thought it or not, I would not be entirely surprised if the world went down this path. Scared? Sure. Disappointed? Definitely. But not surprised.
If you do read this book or have already read it, I would love to know what you thought. Did certain things unnerve you? Do you think this situation, or something similar, could actually happen? Or do you think it is impossible? Let me know!
Title: Brave New World
Author: Aldous Huxley
Publisher: Harper Perennial