Review: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
This infamous dystopian was always something I wanted to eventually get to, and I finally got to it! When I saw the foreword was written by Margaret Atwood, I was especially excited as she is the author of one of the best dystopian science fictions of all time...(in my opinion)
Set in a futuristic World State, inhabited by genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, Brave New World anticipates huge scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning that are combined to make a dystopian society which is challenged by only a single individual: the story's protagonist.
The book opens with a scene of a director taking a school of students on a tour of their facility. This section was written superbly, setting the scene perfectly for an alternate disturbing reality. Blatant brainwashing was shown with excellent skill by Huxley, e.g. '"Think about the fertilisation process for a moment". They thought about it.' This use of language was used continuously throughout this section which was incredibly immersive and effective.
The premise is so imaginative, creating a well formed concept; when embryos are grown, different castes get different levels of oxygen resulting in these embryos receiving less oxygen to the brain so they're stunted in their development. This is how they are able to control the lower castes as they do not have the mental and physical capabilities to withstand an uprising/revolution.
With the introduction of Bernard Marx later on in the book, he initially held promise to be a very intriguing character. He is from a high caste and is granted much more luxuries than his less fortunate counterparts. Despite that, he is human so craves everything he cannot have. I truly loved this idea for a character set in this world. However, as the novel progressed, I felt less and less connected to Marx. The second half of the book felt too rushed, ultimately resulting in the characters feeling underdeveloped, in comparison to the first half of the book where we were getting a detailed build and introduction in the setting. The change of pace had me feeling more and more confused as the book progressed.
I would still recommend this book as it is a real original of it's time and is incredibly readable despite this being one of my main issues with classic literature.
Rating: 3 stars
Publication Date: 1 January 1932 (my edition: 2 September 2004)
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction
# of Pages: 229