Best of: books for ages 18+ #3: ‘Brave New World’ by Aldous Huxley
Written in the 1930s but set in London in year 2540, ‘Brave New World’ is another futuristic dystopia. Set in a world where humans are raised artificially in ‘hatcheries’, where they are assigned castes (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Epsilon), each caste is raised to fill a different role in society.
The population of the novel enjoy recreational sex and regular use of the universally popular drug, soma, which has no side effects, and offers a feeling of extreme happiness. Family ties do not exist, and marriage and monogamous relationships have been abandoned, so society has a very different structure and appearance to our own.
The novel focuses on the character of Bernard, an ‘Alpha’ who is very unusual in that he is not completely satisfied by the status quo. Working in the field of conditioning (moulding children’s thoughts so they unthinkingly accept their caste), he is uncomfortable with the system and its implications.
Complex and worrying, you won’t come across a more thought-provoking story, or a more entertaining one, either.
By the same author: a utopic novel called ‘Island’, and many other novels, essays, screenplays and poems! Huxley was a busy chap.