After finally finishing Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, I can only imagine the impact this novel had when it was first published in 1932. As valid a commentary today as it was then, BNW is the type of novel that keeps you thinking long after you’ve put it down, and certainly deserves its place as an enduring piece of science fiction. It’s narrative speaks volumes of the human condition – where it is, and where it is headed.
The topic of engineering humans seems to pop up in the mainstream more and more lately, especially since the release of The Matrix and recent breakthroughs in cloning technology. BNW was written some twenty years before the discovery of DNA, so it focuses not on genetic engineering, but environmental conditioning.
The brilliance of Huxley lies in how efficiency and effectively his writing functions as objective description and sharp criticism simultaneously. The characters residing in his dystopian society were so oblivious to their conditions that readers have no choice but to take notice of the consequences of living life without question. His society had created its own prison, and embraced it because it had the appearance of a healthy, optimal existence.
Definitely a great novel. I almost want to go watch the made-for-TV movie of it now. Supposedly there is also a sequel to the novel, Brave New World: Revisited, that didn’t gain nearly the critical acclaim of the original.