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TPG reviews: Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

December 1, 2013

If you haven’t read this yet, you should.

Far in the future, the World Controllers have finally created the ideal society. In laboratories worldwide, genetic science has brought the human race to perfection. From the Alpha-Plus mandarin class to the Epsilon-Minus Semi-Morons, designed to perform menial tasks, man is bred and educated to be blissfully content with his pre-destined role.

But, in the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, Bernard Marx is unhappy. Harbouring an unnatural desire for solitude, feeling only distaste for the endless pleasures of compulsory promiscuity, Bernard has an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress…

BraveNewWorld

One of many (many) covers

My rating: 10/10

I’ll keep this one short

Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley, is a work that has long been held to be a classic. Such a status is entirely deserved. The writing is consistently excellent and the characters are brilliantly complex; at numerous points they surprised me, but always in ways entirely consistent with what was shown about them. The ending is guaranteed to shock you and it really hammers home the horror of the envisioned world. Said world, by the way, is eerily accurate in a number of respects.

Particularly praiseworthy is a sequence towards the end, in which a World Controller is confronted over his society’s various apparent shortcomings. The resulting conversation is probably the finest piece of writing I have seen in my (admittedly, short) time as a reader: the Controller makes a scary amount of sense, at least within the context of the story, and you can honestly feel the emotion of the characters involved as they argue their respective cases. I actually found myself mouthing much of the dialogue here as I read it; let’s just say I’m glad I was alone at the time.

So…yeah. If you haven’t yet read this book, you ought to. Even if you do not and will never read modern science fiction, you should still read this. Seriously.

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