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.
This book was just plain weird. Honestly the weirdest utopian/dystopian book in the world.
Overview: In this society, ALL babies are genetically made. They submerge a bunch of eggs into a sperm solution and the best mixed are the Alphas and Betas and there is only one of each and developed with optimum conditions. The worse embryos make up the Deltas, Gamma and Epsilons, each with worse and worse conditions and each made in a Bokanovsky batch of twins, anywhere from 8 to 98 identical twins. Each embryo is inoculated against a multitude of diseases and receives conditioning befitting their future job – for example, they give heat conditioning to those that will work in the tropics because the point is that each individual love their job and their position. The lower castes are shorter, that way they develop faster and can start working quicker.
This utopia, the World State, teaches its children through something called hypnopaedia which is basically just having sayings repeated thousands of times to them while they sleep. Through this, they learn to love their job and their caste and not want to be anyone else or do anything else.
BUT even the Alphas, the supposed leaders who hold all the high positions are controlled and have their thoughts directed by the World Controllers who give them their leisures and tell them what’s right. In this world, there’s a drug called soma, the Alphas and Betas spend all their free time playing obstacle golf and people have sex. A lot. Even children are taught to. Only 30% of females are fertile but all of them, man and women, young and old, just have sex with whoever they want whenever (as long as higher castes are having sex with only each other and the lower castes only have sex with their caste.) And they have something like 4D movies where you can feel everything and “orgy-porgy”s. All of them, through hyonopaedia, are taught phrases like “Everyone belongs to everyone else” (which is why everyone just has so much sex) and “I’m so glad I’m not a Delta” (to encourage them to like their caste.
Also, people don’t grow old. They die but they are kept in their prime until the day they die which allows them to work all the way up to the end. AND this society is built on Henry Ford. Their years are counted by A.F (After Ford) and they curse “Ford!”, “Oh Fordy!” and stuff like that. They make the sign of a T (no, not for time out) for Ford’s T-Model and he’s the closest thing to a god they have. No, Ford isn’t alive at the time but because he perfected the conveyor belt and mass production (which is how they produce babies now) he’s like their god.
LET’S MEET THE CHARACTERS!
Lenina Crowne: A Beta who’s apparently stunning, has a lot of sex, is actually fertile and almost every single word she says is a hypnopaedic saying.
Henry Foster: Not that important of a character but he’s the Alpha that Lenina has been with for four months (an uncommonly long amount of time) and he basically shows what a typical Alpha acts like
Bernard Marx: An Alpha who’s a hypnopaedic specialist but has stunted growth like a Gamma and because of such, has almost no friends and prefers his own company and is generally looked down upon by everyone. A little melodramatic too.
Helmholtz Watson: An Alpha who’s practically Bernard’s only friend. But whereas Bernard is looked down upon, Helmholtz has oodles of talent, girls and popularity. He’s just super able and successful and teaches writing at a college.
The D.H.C: The Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning (where the embryos are made and conditioned) he’s in charge at the Hatchery
Mustapha Mond: One of the World Controllers, and one of the only people to own some of the old books. He is also one of the few people not conditioned and seems to be from before A.F
John: He’s a Savage that lives on a Savage reservation (Indians; also not conditioned) He reads a lot, loves Shakespeare and has a strong moral compass
Bernard, who at first you can’t help feeling sorry for is this Alpha that everyone thinks is a joke. (Later you find out he’s a melodramatic asshole). The thing is he’s really into Lenina who’s supposedly really pretty even with “lupus” and “purple eyes”. He takes her to this Indian reservation, which is all uncivilized, and he finds a boy born of civilized parents. He takes him back to London and civilization and suddenly fame is practically handed to him on a silver dish. This guy, who originally seemed to be the one that would change the utopia with radically correct moral ideas, turns out to be starved for attention and is actually super shallow.
The one with morals is the boy, John, who basically shuns civilization and says he rather suffer than live a blissful life and continues pushing away the World State’s ideals. He is not a perfect character, in fact he’s wrong about a lot of things, is mildly annoying and extreme at some points and super naive. He’s passionate and violent spontaneously and a little deluded but he conveyed the author’s message well enough
This book was, like I said, really really weird but analytical of human nature too. Some of the processes were hard to understand but weren’t essential to the plot anyways. It illustrates a lot of societal and moral issues and ends… rather abruptly. But it’s a fascinating read and has a lot of interesting new ideas.