13 January, 2014

Book Review: Brave New World

From Goodreads: Far in the future, the World Controllers have finally created the ideal society. In laboratories worldwide, genetic science has brought the human race to perfection. From the Alpha-Plus mandarin class to the Epsilon-Minus Semi-Morons, designed to perform menial tasks, man is bred and educated to be blissfully content with his pre-destined role.
But, in the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, Bernard Marx is unhappy. Harbouring an unnatural desire for solitude, feeling only distaste for the endless pleasures of compulsory promiscuity, Bernard has an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress…

Thoughts: This is one of those books I've been meaning to read for years and thanks to both the 5 from forever in '14 and 100 Best Book list challenges, I've finally done it!
Like many dystopian novels, Huxley's vision of the future is quite scary. While the idea of a world where everyone is happy all the time sounds great, there are of course issues.
What I often find interesting in reading classics is what they were unable to predict or see happening. In this hight scientifically controlled world, the recording each embryo and child are subjected to are off a paper roll. Written today, it would of course be computer based, most probably directly into the brain! There is no mention of environmental issues and the "feelies" today would more likely be an interactive, holographic event.
I enjoyed the book, but quite often found myself wondering exactly where it was going. I assumed a protagonist who bucked the system and met resistance. Of course what I got was a slightly disillusioned character and an outsider bought into an incredibly synthetic situation. The sudden focus on The Savage towards the end kind of came out of nowhere for me. It was interesting, but I thought it could have been explored more. The ending was abrupt and jolting. I'm still not sure how I feel about it. I'm glad I've read it, but think I will need to think about it some more.

Challenges: 5 from forever in '14, 100 Best Book List Challenge.