I have a fascination with dystopian novels. They explore not only the future, but also science fiction, humanity, culture, politics, and philosophical ideas. They tend to be a one stop shop for the brain. They aren’t all created equally either, meaning they don’t all explore the same tropes. 1984 is about an oppressed society where sex is thought of as a bad thing. But Brave New World is set in a society where sex and love are free and expected. Drugs are used to calm the nerves. Work is designed not to stress you out by being that work which you are most fit for. Then the book shows us that world from an outsider’s perspective. It’s not a long book but still manages to tell what it needs to tell.
The book jacket describes it thus, “A towering classic of dystopian satire, BRAVE NEW WORLD is a brilliant and terrifying vision of a soulless society—and of one man who discovers the human costs of mindless conformity.
Hundreds of years in the future, the World Controllers have created an ideal civilization. Its members, shaped by genetic engineering and behavioral conditioning, are productive and content in roles they have been assigned at conception. Government-sanctioned drugs and recreational sex ensure that everyone is a happy, unquestioning consumer; messy emotions have been anesthetized and private attachments are considered obscene. Only Bernard Marx is discontented, developing an unnatural desire for solitude and a distaste for compulsory promiscuity. When he brings back a young man from one of the few remaining Savage Reservations, where the old unenlightened ways still continue, he unleashes a dramatic clash of cultures that will force him to consider whether freedom, dignity, and individuality are worth suffering for.
Aldous Huxley’s ingenious fantasy of a future of mechanical efficiency and engineered harmony has been enormously influential for generations, and is as provocative, powerful, and riveting as when it was first published in 1932.”