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131 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Huxley was a great mind.
After years of hearing people refer to Brave New World - both online and in real life - I decided to read it myself and find out just what all the commotion was about. Having done so, I will share my thoughts with you.
The story is set in a future society where humans are no longer born but instead grown from embryos in huge research labs. Years of trial and error...
Published on 3 Oct 2005 by Michael de Waal

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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Playing God
Brave New World tells the story of a future time when society and everyone's fate is engineered by advanced technology and brain washing. The aim of this brave new world is to ensure that everyone is happy, and as a matter of fact, this aim is almost perfectly achieved. It portrays a world where humans have mastered the necessarily technology to play God, and this...
Published on 18 Sep 2000


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131 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Huxley was a great mind., 3 Oct 2005
By 
Michael de Waal (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Brave New World (Paperback)
After years of hearing people refer to Brave New World - both online and in real life - I decided to read it myself and find out just what all the commotion was about. Having done so, I will share my thoughts with you.
The story is set in a future society where humans are no longer born but instead grown from embryos in huge research labs. Years of trial and error has resulted in scientists being able to produce up to 15,000 individuals from a single embryo - all of which end up being twins. Immediately they are conditioned to think and feel and act in certain ways which make society what it should be - happy, stable, strong, and united. As they sleep they are played voice recordings which, to cut a long story short, programme them into what society wants them to be. One of the many recordings being "Everyone belongs to everyone else".
In a time when humans are made in batches, pyshcologically conditioned, mentally and physically matured in a fraction of the natural time, encouraged to participate in 'errotic play' from a young age, given 'soma' (a recreational drug) to cure lows, taught to throw out old/dirty/torn clothes and buy new ones, sheltered from dirt and disease, prevented from ever becoming pregnant, told that everyone belongs to everyone else (in effect everyone has sex with everyone without thinking twice as from a young age this is taught to be perfectly natural), given medicine so that you physically look like a 20 year old all your life until around the age of 50 when you drop dead, after hearing all this you are left with many questions. Questions like 'How could it ever work?', 'What would a society of clones be like?', 'Why on earth did they do it in the first place?', and 'Is everyone truly happy?'. Well, this book answers all these questions and many more, all the while introducing you to ideas you may never have come accross or thought too ridiculous to ponder over.
Furthermore, what would happen if someone from the 'old world' was given a chance to see this society? Would they accept the offer? What would they think of being called a 'Savage' just because they were born into a family with a mother and father, just because they weren't conditioned, just because they wasted their time reading books, just because they showed an emotion called love, just because they were like you and me.
Brave New World is one of the most fascinating books you will ever read and Huxley must've had a great mind to write such a masterpiece - and all in 230 pages.
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92 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The future?, 11 April 2009
By 
hendrix (Newport, South Wales) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Brave New World (Paperback)
Society really is getting more and more like this.

This is a vision of the future where the population is controlled by subtlety and manipulation, the basic premise being that if people are too doped up to realise that they have been conned by a tiny minority who have everything then that elite can remain in charge for ever.

In Huxley's world the method of control is to program people to indulge only their most transitory and materialistic desires all of which can be fulfilled quite readily and in doing so suppress any idea that there "might be more to life than this" and this leaves the population with happy but trivial lives.

The morality of this is questioned through the introduction of an outsider to the society and his actions form the basis of the plot. To be honest I think the story isn't as involving as the world it is set in but the questions the book raised easily merit this book classic status.

It seems we are getting closer and closer to the kind of happy trivial life that Huxley forced upon his population and if you are inclined to wonder whether or not there is more to life than work and shopping then this book is probably going to be right up your street.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "When the individual feels, the community reels", 4 July 2007
By 
M. Torun (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Brave New World (Paperback)
I read this book shortly after reading 1984 - having heard them being compared - and it definitely provided a good contrast. While Orwell's vision is dark, gloomy, filled with hate and despair, Huxley's world could almost be seen as a Utopian fantasy.

There is an overwhelming sense of comfort and "happiness" within society that is brought about through two important things: recreational drugs and psychological conditioning. Death, relationships, class differences and work do not provide worry. This is in fact what makes Huxley's work so brilliant: it portrays a Dystopia that operates so perfectly that it is disquieting rather than frightening. Because society does indeed work for the good of everyone in a hedonistic sense, the logic behind the system can only be challenged by pure human instinct, as voiced by the central character in the book: "But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin."

However, although the book brings up excellent questions regarding totalitarianism, and freedom of thought, it is somewhat lacking in story. The characters are very hard to empathise with and although the book starts with a central character, Bernard Marx, the focus shifts then to John ("the Savage"), leaving you with a sense that the novel is written for description rather than story-telling. The reader is able to get a very good mental grasp on the problems within society, but since the story isn't gripping, you finish the book feeling very detached from the characters and the world they live in.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Look into the Future, 26 Jun 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Brave New World (Paperback)
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is set in a technology-rich future where test-tube babies and subconscious learning dominate peopleļ¿½s lives. At first, the reader is introduced to the method and capabilities of genetic engineering, where scientists are able to design babies, changing their attributes (intelligence, physical strength, etc) in order to tailor a person to a specific job. Later on, we find out about subconscious learning and the effects and uses it has on the populace. Apparently this has all been going on for generations, and so the majority of people have been bio-engineered and brainwashed.
We soon find another side of the population, people who have been left out of the technological world, people who live as themselves and with freedom. When a man decides to take a holiday there (a type of quarantined park for the savage humans), he meets one of them and manages to sneak him back to the city.
I enjoyed this novel as it involves many themes and issues including religion, the freedom and rights of people, the possibility of test-tube babies and brainwashing. I found the ending particularly strong and conclusive, not at all disappointing. Highly recommended.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More frightening than brave, 20 Jan 2004
Upon hearing that Brave New World had been awarded a place in the BBC's Top One-Hundred Books list, I decided to give it a read. I must admit however, that I had some reservations about the novel, since the scientific explanations and extensive technological procedures contained within the story are so frequently referred to. Perhaps this could have been tedious if the book had been lengthier, but as it covers around two hundred and fifty pages it was not at all tiresome - it was fascinating.
Huxley begins the novel by explaining the caste system: "We also predestine and condition. We decant our babies as socialized human beings, as Epsilons or Alphas, as future sewage workers or future world controllers." The lower the caste, the less oxygen administered to the embryo - thus the Epsilons foetuses will receive far less oxygen than the Alphas and grow to be far less intelligent. The mental disabilities of the Epsilons allow them to perform the least desired jobs without questioning why, or desiring a more fulfilling life. The story follows two main characters, Bernard Marx (an Alpha plus male) and John (a 'savage,' who is part of a Native American tribe with Christian beliefs, and therefore grew up without the conditioning or clinical living of the majority of people in Huxley's future). Because the two are as different as can be, the way in which the two men cope with their strange lives makes for enthralling reading.
John, the savage, often quotes Shakespeare and this is where the title of Brave New World originates (Miranda's reunion with her family in Act V of The Tempest). Should inhabitants become unhappy or dissatisfied, an anti-depressant known as 'Soma' is regularly handed out to all. Within the dystopian society, marriage and child bearing no longer exist. In fact, the latter is a taboo subject: “The word…‘father’ with its connotation of something at one remove from the loathsomeness and moral obliquity of childbearing – merely gross, a scatological rather than pornographic impropriety.”
Although many people believe Brave New World to touch upon the subject of genetic engineering, this is not quite true: The novel was written in 1932 - twenty years before the structure of DNA was discovered by Crick and Watson. Still, procedures such as hypnopaedia (sleep-teaching) and cloning have accelerated rapidly since the book's publication, and Huxley was quoted in 'Brave New World Revisited' (a collection of essays exploring the themes of his novel) as saying, 'I feel a good deal less optimistic than I did when I was writing Brave New World. The prophecies made in 1931 are coming true much sooner than I thought they would.' It has been said many times before, but Brave New World is a groundbreaking novel, written way ahead of its time. Read it and judge for yourself.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Look into the Future, 26 Jun 2003
By A Customer
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is set in a technology-rich future where test-tube babies and subconscious learning dominate people’s lives. At first, the reader is introduced to the method and capabilities of genetic engineering, where scientists are able to design babies, changing their attributes (intelligence, physical strength, etc) in order to tailor a person to a specific job. Later on, we find out about subconscious learning and the effects and uses it has on the populace. Apparently this has all been going on for generations, and so the majority of people have been bio-engineered and brainwashed.
We soon find another side of the population, people who have been left out of the technological world, people who live as themselves and with freedom. When a man decides to take a holiday there (a type of quarantined park for the savage humans), he meets one of them and manages to sneak him back to the city.
I enjoyed this novel as it involves many themes and issues including religion, the freedom and rights of people, the possibility of test-tube babies and brainwashing. I found the ending particularly strong and conclusive, not at all disappointing. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Brave New Vision, 13 Jan 2001
By 
z_i_s@yahoo.com (Islamabad, Pakistan) - See all my reviews
Brave New World is a phrase taken from Shakespeare's Tempest:
Brave New World O, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't!

It depicts a dystopia (the was word coined in 1950s, two decades after the book was pulished -- meaning a place directly opposite of Utopia). Huxley paints a bleak, dark place, situated in remote future, where humanity has chosen the wrong course.
Brave New World surprised me by both by its brilliance and -- in some areas -- its shortcomings. For example, in this book, published in 1932, reproduction is carried out through in vitro fertilization. This process also employs another technique, called a rather tongue-twisting bokanovskification, whereby one zygote is treated to churn out up to 96 clones (How eerily prescient, taking into account that the first mammalian clone, the famous sheep Dolly, was created not before 1997. Current record of producing most clones from a single cell is still a paltry 9 mice). Some scenes in the book even remind one of the rows upon rows of test-tube humans in the recent movie The Matrix. This process of reproduction was so fantastic that one of the greatest science fiction writers of the twentieth century, Isac Asimov, could not visualize it even in 1957 (!) while writing his classic "The Naked Sun". In this sci-fi thriller, he describes a colonized planet Solaria, where humans had become so reclusive that the presence of any other person in their close vicinity was absolutely abhorrent -- they meet each other through a 3D holographic device. But however nauseating the presence of any other human being near them, even those hermits produce babies in the good old fashion of us earthlings! This makes it absolutely sure that Asimov didn't read Brave New World.
But on the other hand, the characterization of Huxley leaves much to be desired. All characters are one-dimensional and stiff. Lenina (the heroine), Bernard, Linda, the director and others are as life-like as street-shop mannequins. And I found the character of the Savage - champion of the cause of freewill and old-fashioned humanity -- the most unbelievable. I fail to comprehend how a person who lived all his life in an almost pre-historic environment and who never read any book in his life except the works of Shakespeare (how did he manage to understand him is another matter!) can be so erudite and so thoughtful as to engage in philosophical discussions on history, psychology and human behavior? I think this is a big flaw that mars an otherwise brilliant book.
It would be worthwhile here take into account another great 20th century dystopia 1984 by George Orwell. Although it's hard to compare these two novels but in my opinion 1984 is much more terrifying and Orwell's future world is much grimmer than Huxley's. And his characters, too, are more believable.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A close second, 12 Aug 2007
This review is from: Brave New World (Paperback)
I only gave this 4 stars because in the ongoing debate as to which dystopia more closely describes the direction our world is going I have to say George Orwell's 1984 wins out. But that does not mean that this novel is any less of a read than 1984.

Though the grim vision of Orwell's world hold's true today so does much of Huxley's the concept of soma being used to numb the mind, prevent thinking, it exists in our world. Television is our soma, crass news stories of lost cats or who is the father of who's celebrity baby, it's all mind numbing rot. How much longer before babies are created in tubs of gel and people are bred for specific tasks and castes in our societies. Closer than we think I fear.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic, 27 Jan 2002
With every new controversial scientific discovery the media compare modern times and progress with Huxley's Brave New World. Upon reading the book I decided these comparisions are largely unjustified. The civilization that Huxley describes is one in which the people are happy and content to live out their predestined roles. An order and stability is present which is lacking in the societies that, in reality, we attempt to create ourselves. In essence it is happiness versus truth. Stability vs Shakespeare, or in Huxley's words "But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin." You may be surprised by your ambivalence towards Huxley's Brave New World.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant and accurate view on what our life is for, 28 Oct 2000
i have long debated in my mind whether it is better to be ignorantly happy or critically aware and unhappy. i decided a few months ago that there must be something more to the purpose of life than mere contentmet and quick fix happiness - there must be something bigger and more important. i believe that it is this, amongst other things, that Huxley is saying in this novel. the citizens are happy, they are conditioned to be happy, they are satisfied. but this isn't enough for Huxley. this is one of the few novels i have read which all the way through i was thinking "this is brilliant". it is hard to believe this was written 70 years ago, as it could just have easily been written yesterday, and indeed, with the current trend for apathy in our generation, probably should have done. this book completely concurs with my view on the purpose of life. it is about feeling and experiencing and knowing and growing and learning, and questioning. feeling passion and love and intimacy and heartache and jealousy and love and pain. about us all having an individual soul and a mind and heart and using them all. but enough of my hippie ramblings - read this book - i urge you. and while you are there, watch fight club and look for the comparisons.
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Brave New World
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (Paperback - 6 Dec 2007)
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