This boy reads…Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)

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It really is a Brave New World

This boy reads – a riposte to the gender selective book club ‘This girl reads’ frequented by some of my colleagues (you know who you are!). The beauty of the club is that it only requires ‘this boy’ to read.

 

There is no such thing as utopia or dystopia; it all depends on the perspective of the individual. This is what becomes apparent after reading ‘Brave New World’ (perhaps it should be relabelled as simply topian literature, but then maybe people will think of it as books about manicured hedges – no, that’s topiary; I digress!).

On the face of it, the future laid out in ‘Brave New World’ doesn’t seem so bad. Ageing and disease are eradicated, child birth is now unnecessary and people are taught not to fear death. Humans are bred and educated so as to enjoy their role in society and casual sex is not just encouraged, but seen as the norm. If all else fails, a euphoric drug with no side effects is handed out freely.

Scratch the surface though and all is not quite as it seems. ‘Brave New World’ has eerie parallels with the modern world. It is these darker truths that the three protagonists of ‘Brave New World’, Marx, Helmholtz & the Savage, find themselves confronting.

Meritocracy is no more, you are bred for your career and brainwashed into loving it whilst the world is controlled by a select few dictatorial world controllers. Is this so different to the elite schools and universities that are exclusive to our leaders? Rampant consumerism propels employment and leisure, in much the same way that consumer spending props up the British economy. Why we may not be quite at the point where everyone belongs to everybody else, a simple swipe left or right dictates who we do and don’t belong to.

But what is wrong with that when the vast majority accept and welcome that arrangement? Messer’s Marx, Helmholtz and the Savage find out that questioning the status quo results in social exile, much like anyone offering a contrarian view to accepted wisdom on social media. The trio are soon faced with a choice that befalls us all, that even World Controller Mond had to make. Accept your place in the system unquestioning or risk ruin and ridicule. Perhaps the Savage finds another way?

Rating:

 👲👲👲👲 (4 boys out of 5 recommend this book)