1. Daydream
    Offline

    Daydream Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Messages:
    562
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    In another dimension.

    Brave New World

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Daydream, Jun 6, 2011.

    Hey I had this recommended by a friend who was appalled that I hadn't read it. He's probably right I've heard alot of good things about it. So yeh decided to just order it. Hopping it will be as good as everyone says it is ^^ Anyone else here read it? How did you find it?
     
  2. cruciFICTION
    Offline

    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,236
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Gah, I still haven't read it. A close friend of mine fell in love with it when he read it. I've been hoping to come across a copy ever since. I'll probably end up getting an e-book, but I'd prefer a hard copy.

    :love: John the Savage.
     
  3. Gigi_GNR
    Offline

    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    12,143
    Likes Received:
    250
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    It's been on my reading list for quite some time and I'll probably end up reading it soon.
     
  4. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    I've read it. It's a good book for sure.

    Without spoiling anything, I'd like to add that from my point of view, the society portrayed in the book is an almost-perfect utopia (though most people disagree). Either way, this book makes for interesting discussion.
     
  5. Daydream
    Offline

    Daydream Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Messages:
    562
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    In another dimension.
    Ah nice! Really looking forward to it now! I ordered it on www.play.com at a very nice price incase anyone else is looking to buy a copy.
     
  6. Dandroid
    Offline

    Dandroid Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Messages:
    199
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Canada
    in its time it was absolutely ground-breaking...it does for dystiopian themes what tolkien did for fantasy, or herbert for epic-scale sci/fi...
     
  7. Daydream
    Offline

    Daydream Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Messages:
    562
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    In another dimension.
    Ah even more reason to buy it then! I'm a big fan of J.R.R Tolkien.
     
  8. East
    Offline

    East Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2011
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    1
    I get the impression Brave New World, and other such novels with anti-communist messages from around that time, were encouraged and promoted by the powers that be, more for their propaganda value than their actual quality as fiction.

    And by the way, it is a rip off of a Russian novel 'We' by Yevgeny Zamyatin, written 10 years before Brave new World.
     
  9. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,681
    Likes Received:
    2,533
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Sorry, but I don't see much specifically anti-communist about it. Anti-totalitarian, yes. Besides, Huxley was living in Italy when he wrote it, so exactly which "powers that be" would have promoted it? Benito Mussolini?

    That was a charge that had been made by George Orwell (1984, Animal Farm) that Huxley refuted in 1962. Given that Orwell's 1984 falls within the same genre, he might not have been the most objective observer.
     
  10. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    I read it in high school. It's a great commentary on human nature and society, although certainly very dated in its social assumptions.

    How did I find it? Why, I looked in a bookstore! ;)
     
  11. Dandroid
    Offline

    Dandroid Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Messages:
    199
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Canada
    creative theft...a little different...but just a little
     
  12. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,681
    Likes Received:
    2,533
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    In this case, not at all.
     
  13. East
    Offline

    East Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2011
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    1

    Publishers and distributors are (and were in those days) encouraged by certain entities in power to promote books that influence the literate masses. In this case from the rising socialist/communist/totalitarian threat from the Soviet Union. The publisher of Brave New World was not Italian, and the audience of the book was North America and Western Europe, seeing as it was written in English.

    In my opinion 'We' by Yevgeny Zamyatin is a better story, and it bothers me that an inferior copy became the better known book around the world.
     
  14. cruciFICTION
    Offline

    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,236
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    ... so? It bothers me that the inferior adaptation of Stephen King's The Shining is the better known adaptation around the world (Stanley Kubrick's 1980 film of the same name which was nothing like the novel versus the 1992 TV Miniseries that Stephen King helped direct and actually followed the same plotline as the novel).

    It bothers me that the Bible, which is largely fictional, is held to such a high regard by a) such a large population of Earth and b) so many intelligent people.

    See, a lot of things in the literary world are probably going to bother you, but that's not going to fix whatever you think the problem is. It's intolerant and discriminate to pretend that your opinion matters so much (and I'm slightly hypocritical here, I won't deny it).

    Huxley's "rip off" became famous because it was doing something right, and from what I'm told by friends, the prose is quite brilliant.
     
  15. Declan
    Offline

    Declan Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2011
    Messages:
    154
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    England
    I have read We, Brave New World and 1984. They are all very different books in my eyes, and are the definitive books of the dystopia genre.
    They all share an anti-totalitarian view, and in many ways Huxley's envisioning of a totalitarian society was just as accurate as Orwell's in many respects.
    Also, I cannot see how Brave New World was promoted by the powers that be considering significant efforts were made to ban the book...
     
  16. Islander
    Offline

    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,542
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    Sweden
    During the mid-twentieth century, the idea of social planning was in vogue in North America. Many people believed society could, and should, be run according to rational and scientific principles. It was believed production could be increased by letting central authorities plan and control the economy. People should be educated by the state to become good and functional citizens.

    In Brave New World, Aldous Huxley took those ideas, added some recent scientific advancements in biology, pharmaceutics and pshychology, and extrapolated them. He arrived at a world where people were manufactured, not born, and then systematically conditioned to fit their predetermined roles in society.

    However, I think Huxley's vision of the resulting future was far too bright. Apart from a lack of humanity and creativity, the new society seems to function pretty well and provide its residents with an abundance of material wealth. In reality, I think it would very quickly stagnate, become unable to fullfill its own goals, and be prone to bureaucracy, inefficiency, misuse of power and totalitarianism. Huxley's naive vision of a planned society is understandable given the time he lived in, though.

    I think George Orwell's 1984 is much more thought-provoking and insightful. Orwell extrapolates the disturbing tendencies to totalitarianism in the Soviet Union that were gradually becoming known in the western world, and arrives at a society where everyone is constantly being watched, their thoughts controlled, and truth being perverted to allow the people in power to stay in power. I also think it's far more relevant to the world of today.

    EDIT: Maybe I should add I was young when I read the books, and perhaps I'd appreciate Huxley's literary style better today.
     
  17. Lemex
    Offline

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    10,507
    Likes Received:
    3,151
    Location:
    Northeast England
    Have you even read Brave New World and We?

    I get really irritated by people saying this because We, Brave New World and 1984 are very different novels. I see this rubbish on Amazon all the time, and I never understand it.

    Ok, either you are a member of Amazon, or you go on it a lot, because this is pretty much a quote from the reviews on 1984 .
     
  18. cruciFICTION
    Offline

    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,236
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    See, that's funny, because he was writing a fiction. It's also pretty funny because if someone said to you, "No, you've got <thing> wrong about society in your story," would you say, "Oh yes, you're completely right!" or would you say, "No, I wanted it to be that way"?
     
  19. Daydream
    Offline

    Daydream Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Messages:
    562
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    In another dimension.
    Wish I could join this discussion :( Doesn't help that I haven't read any of those books.
     
  20. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,681
    Likes Received:
    2,533
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Possibly (although I haven't seen you offer any actual proof of it). Then again, people often write anti-totalitarian tracts because that's what they believe. I am writing one myself at the moment.

    As I posted earlier, the charge you raise was made by George Orwell, who had a strong, commercially-based motive to make such a charge. Huxley himself refuted it in 1962.

    In 1946, Thomas Heggen wrote and published the tragi-comedy "Mister Roberts" based on his experiences in the US Navy in World War II. That same year, James A. Michener wrote "Tales of the South Pacific", also a tragi-comedy based on his experiences in the US Navy during World War II and it was published the following year. Heggen's book was fairly well received, while Michener's won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948. Heggen collaborated with Joshua Logan in 1948 on a play that ran on Broadway, but Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II trumped that in 1949 with the hit musical, "South Pacific". Heggen swore that Michener had stolen his idea, but Michener didn't even know about Heggen's book until after he had completed his own. Also, reading both books makes it obvious that other than the fact that both are set in the South Pacific and focus on the US Navy, they are completely different in story lines and characters. Which is better? I find Michener's story more wide-ranging and more compelling, dealing with a wider range of human issues than does Heggen's. But I do like them both.
     
  21. Islander
    Offline

    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,542
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    Sweden
    I see your point. I think we may have a slight culture clash here...

    In science fiction, it's common to assess books based on (among other things) how realistic they are and how well they explore the logical conclusions of their premises. For example, a science fiction work may be criticised because its physics don't seem realistic ("That's not a feasible way to travel between star systems!"), or because it misses the social implications of its premises ("The author seems unaware that a ruling class with absolute power tends to quickly become corrupted!").

    Science fiction stories are often put forth as hypotheses ("This is what I, the author, believe would happen given these premises"), and subsequently criticised as hypotheses ("That's not at all what would happen!").

    I read Brave New World as a science fiction reader, so I asked myself: "Is this what would really happen if people were manufactured, controlled by drugs, and conditioned to fit in to society? Who'd have the power to decide how they were controlled, and what would prevent them from instantly becoming corrupted and using that power for their own ends? How can there be technological innovation in a society where production is centralised and decided by committee, like in the old Soviet Union?"

    Huxley wrote a follow-up essay to his novel a quarter of a century later, titled Brave New World Revisited, where he compared his book with real-life developments in biology, pharmaceutics and propaganda, so I think it's not entirely unfair to criticise the novel based on its predictive abilities. I can see how it seems irrelevant for someone who mainly appreciates it for its literary qualities, though.
     
  22. Declan
    Offline

    Declan Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2011
    Messages:
    154
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    England
    It is worth remembering, also, that these books were written pre-1950. Orwell accurately predicted the CCTV system with his telescreens.
     
  23. cruciFICTION
    Offline

    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,236
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    I'm of the belief that, as a reader, there are boundaries to how far you can go with your That Wouldn't Happens (I added an 's' because it's pluralised). I believe that tacky dialogue is within bounds. But when your That Wouldn't Happen is based on your own opinion/hypothesis regarding something like society, I think that's outside the boundaries. But feel free to agree to disagree.
    I just think that the reader has the obligation to fill in some blanks to think, "Well, there's a reason this society is this way, even if it's not explicitly shown."

    Ever heard, "Art imitates Life. Life imitates Art"? That kind of applies here. I'm willing to bet that people read that and governments thought, "What an excellent ****ing idea."
     
  24. Islander
    Offline

    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,542
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    Sweden
    And there are many other ideas from 1984 which have entered the general consciousness, and which I think are as relevant as ever... like:

    • Big Brother
    • Newspeak
    • Doublethink
    • Thoughtcrime
    • The idea that a nation needs to constantly be at war to keep the population loyal against the leadership and focused against an outside enemy

    Well, I wouldn't be so brazen if I was analysing, say, a fantasy or a general fiction novel. I'm only going so far because I think Huxley's intention was to say something about the real world - to warn us about what could happen.
     
  25. Steerpike
    Online

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,051
    Likes Received:
    5,256
    Location:
    California, US
    Love's as good as soma.
     

Share This Page