To me, Brave New World and 1984 are two sides to the same dystopian coin, but it's 1984 that tends toward popularity and glory, while Brave New World is often only discovered by people who are already fans of the science fiction genre and looking to expand their classics reading.
I, too, am guilty of this and only discovered Brave New World a few years ago. Now I say to myself "How can you call yourself a Science Fiction fan without having read this (and 1984 and Stranger in a Strange Land)?" But I digress.
I think that this is the most important book of the science fiction pantheon because of how much of it is true. While 1984 focuses on control by punishment and fear, Brave New World focuses on how the inundation of entertainment and pleasure removes the necessity of external control. While we meet some authority figures, their actual power is limited and feels very figurehead-like.
Huxley predicted people medicating their troubles away and living in an altered state of consciousness. While our current society is still in the midst of it's "War on Drugs", the use of prescription medication (particularly anti-depressants) has been steadily increasing over the past 20 years. His entertainment-drugged society is certainly reminiscent of our reality-television society.
The non-fiction book "Amusing Ourselves to Death" is, unfortunately so far out of date that the internet didn't exist when it was written and reality television wasn't even a seed of thought in a future TV exec's mind, but even 30 years ago people could see his predictions coming true.
Alone, as a story, it's an excellent piece of writing. Removed from what's happening in present day America and without comparisons to 1984, the book is excellent and clever and thought-provoking. All that said, if you've read 1984 and still haven't picked up Brave New World, you've missed the other side of the coin. Read both, then decide for yourself which is closer to true and which one is actually the scarier scenario.
Another excellent example of a negative utopia which generally is named in the same breath as Orwell's 1984...but there is very little in common beyond that. The book opens by showcasing it's perfection of societal division, where social groupings and career roles are predetermined by a eugenics program implemented after years of research and development. As well, within the opening introduction, we discover that the old social mores and customs have been eliminated … more
John and Mond debate the value of the World State’s policies, John arguing that they dehumanize the residents of the World State and Mond arguing that stability and happiness are more important than humanity. Mond explains that social stability has required the sacrifice of art, science, and religion. John protests that, without these things, human life is not worth living. Bernard reacts wildly when Mond says that he and Helmholtz will be exiled to distant islands, and he is … more
One of the noticeable things about this novel at its conclusion is that you don't really find any fully likable characters. While most novels have a clear and defined party you should sympathize with and join for the journey throughout the work Brave New World does not. Lenina, John, and Bernerd all have appalling or ironic behavior that make them difficult to like. The other characters, while developed and rich are even worse. This isn't a bad thing but an interesting story … more
Brave New World is often compared to the better known 1984 dystopian novels which describe a future run by an overbearing government. Brave New World was actually written first and in my opinion is the worse of the two but that does not mean it is a bad book by any means. The story tells the tale of a future where human beings are no longer conceived but instead cloned and have been categorised into pre-determined roles due to controlled levels of intelligence - alphas, … more