This book was a gift to me from a friend; I had asked for it, having wanted to read this classic novel for some time. I have mixed feelings about the book. Please note that this Vintage paperback has introductions and a biography on Huxley. The bio is useful, but the introductions have some spoilers, so if you've not already read the book, you could skip them until you feel like re-reading the book.
A new world order where its population is regulated and optimised though genetic engineering (so, no one gets pregnant or holds any traditional family values). No one gets ill or elderly. Everyone is able to work and play; drugs are rationed to workers to numb any potential harmful, individualistic thoughts and sex is a social norm to keep good relations with others. No one questions their social rank and job assigned before creation; people don't want anything more than they're conditioned to want. There's no wars; no uprisings. There's no old religions or art. There's no new scientific research being done. But is this "Brave New World" a utopia?
This book was first published in the 1930s and as such the geneticist jargon sometimes feels a little dated for a futuristic science fiction. The names of some of the characters are not so fashionable (or common) presently, (the character named Fanny comes to mind,) but who's to say such names wouldn't come back into style in the future? The dated feel doesn't bother me; the text is of its time, like it should be. I believe this novel would have been much more shocking to the original audience than present-day readers. That is my main gripe with this work was the story... I was expecting more 'shock' than I was given. Maybe I've been desensitised! My second grievance is that I found the characters difficult to connect with. Those persons who are settled into the new world order without difficulty felt too far removed from myself to care about (they scare me), and the social outcast, Bernard - one of the most important characters - lacked any charisma. I wanted to like Bernard. But I didn't. I felt pity for him, and that's the closest we got. Reflecting, I wonder if anyone in "Brave New World" was truly 'happy'.
I'm glad not to have been born into the sort of world Huxley presents us with. I'd give him four stars. Huxley's prose is nothing fancy, so it's an easy read!
This is a paperback edition, with having so-so paper quality I guess the white paper will dull somewhat with age. The spine creased a little when I read it, but the comers of the book should only bend if ill-treated.