Saturday, 3 June 2017

Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

''A gramme in time saves nine,' said Lenina, producing a bright treasure of sleep-taught wisdom. 
Bernard pushed away the proffered glass impatiently.
'Now don't lose your temper,' she said, 'Remember, one cubic centimetre cures ten gloomy sentiments.'
'Oh, for Ford's sake, be quiet!' he shouted.
Lenina shrugged her shoulders. 'A gramme is always better than a damn,' she concluded with dignity, and drank the sundae herself.'


So, this is one of the books that are all the rage right now because of the current political situation... yeah. Daniel bought it for me in Edinburgh and I had wanted this specific edition because it came with 3D glasses! And a 3D cover! It's very cool stuff, trust me.

This book was written in 1932, which is easy to forget because of how futuristic it
is. Sure it sometimes goes into talking about radios as if they're the biggest invention ever (aww) and all the such, but the ideas it presents are fresh and creepy and could easily be an imaginable future. Kind of.

Anyway, the world presented in this book is quite complex and finding out more about it was one of my bigger pleasures while reading it, therefore I won't go into too much depth describing it. In short though, people are put into castes from embryos, the lesser ones deprived of oxygen and so on. These people are then conditioned to act in the best interest of the society and to take the world order as it is. They are consumers that buy into Fordism and agree that eveyone owns everyone else and if you want someone - well, you just have them. They also take a drug called soma to take a holiday from the world whenever they are not fully happy.

Cool 3D glasses are cool!
The plot of this book isn't very cohesive or even functioning at all times, but I was willing to forgive that and 4/5 anyway. This is because it's obvious to me that Huxley never set out to write a story as much as he wanted to create a dystopian society. The accomplishments of his imagination are clear, and the writing is very intriquing - at least if you can stop looking for the plot too hard. My favourite scene has characters of different backgrounds arguing about this world order, because it was quite exciting to see how one would go about defending this world order.

The characters also fall equally flat and are definitely not ones you would remember too far into the future. This is what I took a star away from the book for, but it didn't ruin it for me. Bernard Marx is kind of the main character, an Alpha-Plus constantly getting in trouble for acting unconventionally and who is in love with Lenina. Lenina is my favourite character, for she is the best window into this society. She's quick to take soma whenever something is wrong and doesn't understand it whenever someone is acting differently from what she's used to. She's so painfully happy with this world order, and that's very creepy. There's also the World Controller, who's very interesting in his... controlling, and John, whom many people seemed to like but I didn't. I won't go into any more depth about anyone since I don't want to spoil anything for you.

I suppose my verdict is clear: I see why this book is considered so important, so interesting. It's not perfect, but it is very good. It has had an important part in defining this sort of a genre and also, it's very creepy. I would have never thought anything about the 1930's could inspire something so contemporary. I suppose humans never really change, do they? Also, I found the ending of this book very satisfying, so that worked to cement my decision.

For the Helmet 2017 reading challenge I put this into category 12: A book about politics and politicians! I suppose this counts as politics. It sure felt political quite a lot of the time.

I'll probably pick up Brave New World Revisited sometime soon. If you're not familiar with it, it's nonfiction and written 25 years later in which the author discusses whether or not society has moved closer to Brave New World in that time. I didn't know how much I needed it in my life before finding out about its existence. So, you can look forward to that!

1 comment:

  1. Merja-Liisa Toivonen6 June 2017 at 10:48

    Can I be the next one to read your book? And borrow the glasses.