Tuesday 13 February 2018

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

I've had a bit of a binge on the books I've wanted to read for a long long time. And this one didn't disappoint. Brave New World considers a whole different environment - one where everyone's happiness is paramount. 

How would you go about creating that? Well apart from lots of sex, recreational drugs and entertainment, you may just have to brainwash people too - you know, just in case they decided they wanted to be sad, with all that unadulterated joy available. Then they'd want what they achieved too, because they'd always wanted it. And oh, you'd need to decide early on who is going to do the menial labour - like street cleaning and window washing - and get those people to like doing that too. And while you're at it, better meddle with the genetics and make them a bit stupid too - don't want to waste good brains on that kind of work. They'll be happier that way.

Scared, a bit? You should be. It's eerie work this making people happy forever business. And then of course you do have to watch them - just a little - to make sure it keeps working. And then you notice that Bernard Marx is a little different. He doesn't seem to be accepting of his fate. Let's send him to the savages, where the world is as it was before - quite prehistoric - and he'll realise. Only he doesn't. He wants more.

I'd better stop. Or I'll spoil it. (Although it has been pointed out that spoiling a book that was written in 1932 is really not so bad - you should have found time by now to read it. I disagree - if you were only born in 1998, you may not yet have had the time, because you've been doing other stuff.) 

I'm glad I read this. It's happier in tone than George Orwell's 1984. But no less worrying. And it's almost as good (but not quite) as The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. You should try those, if you liked this one.

4 stars


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