Monday, March 26, 2007

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Well, I finally completed the dystopian trilogy. I borrowed 1984 from my brother three or four years ago; two summers ago I read Fahrenheit 451; and I closed the cover of Brave New World not 10 minutes ago. Although all three of these novels dealt with roughly the same topic, they were quite different. The worlds of 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 were police states, where people were forced to conform with the threat of violence. With Brave New World, Huxley depicts a society in which people are intoxicated into a state of conformity.

Huxley's future is more believable than the future created by either Orwell or Bradbury. This edition of Brave New World includes a letter written by Huxley to Wells, shortly after the publication of 1984. Huxley praises the book, but notes that the violent coercion that takes place in 1984 will ultimately give way to a more subtle form. Brave New World's ubiquitous somma that puts those who take it into a coma-like state of bliss strikes me as a more practical method of control than brute force.

While none of these books offers a completely accurate reflection of modern society, they come eerily close at many points. Huxley is not concerned with making specific predictions, but the world that he describes has many parallels to the present.

Note: P.S. is an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. They produce great editions of classic works. The supplementary materials are informative and insightful. Even the binding if better than most books, allowing the book to actually remain open while you read it, instead of constantly flipping shut. Look for great P.S. books at your local bookseller!


Nihil Novum said...

With the Patriot Act, we are closer to 1984 than ever.

Curse you, George Bush.

Carlton said...

The Patriot Act is the only reason that I sleep comfortably at night.

Christopher said...

Brave New World > 1984

In every way.

Anonymous said...

"... please for the love of God don't read that Brave New World book by Hoxley. It is twice as worse as 1984."

Source: Amazon reviews of George Orwell's 1984

Really funny stuff!

Travis said... bad you spelled "hoxely"'s huxley, and i read "animal farm, by orwell, in a day, and loved it.. the extended metephor pervading the entire theme of the book is brilliant...definately should be on anyone's "books to read" list.