Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Book Review: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

from here
It's been a year of dystopia for me- from the five star (a couple books of Vonnegut, Habibi, and BFG) to the mediocre (World Made by Hand,  Hunger Games).

So, on a recent road trip, I brought along the audio-book of Brave New World.

World building is a double edged sword. Most science fiction has two options: either craft a world much like our own with a few key differences, or build a completely new world. Both options are a form of world building. While the artistic world stands in awe of the few complete worlds that have been built (Tolkien's Middle Earth, Asimov's Foundation), most efforts to build a complete world spiral out of control. It's much safer to stay in this world, with a few twists.

Huxley's world is our world, and when you consider that it was published in 1932, it's very frightening how precisely Huxley captured the future- the drugs, the disassociation between city life and rural life, the rabid classism and group-think. Technology has progressed in the last 80 years, but have we?

If I have a complaint about the book, it was that I can't imagine (refuse to imagine?) that people would so willfully deceive themselves. As I listened, I often laughed at the antics of the characters doping themselves on soma.

And yet, I found myself identifying with the idea that "everyone belongs to everyone," specifically that time spent alone is time wasted. Why would I run a blog talking about books if I didn't feel passionately this compulsive need to share my thoughts with someone, with quite literally anyone who stumbles upon the site. Quiet, reflective alone time has its value; but isn't quiet, reflective time with someone else just as good?

Book #39 of my book a week challenge.

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