Ok, it's a classic so definitely a book with deep things to say. Generally I like the classics outside a classroom setting, but I'm just not sure this book was all I was hoping it was going to be. The first half of the book (give or take) is almost entirely consumed with setting the scene of a dystopian future (can you really call it dystopia if the people living in it are 'happy'?). I think the second half was supposed to be plot, but I couldn't really tell. There were a number of main characters, but none of them really seemed to be the 'hero' of the story, or even the focus of the story. There were tons of plot holes and loose ends, and some oddities in the society described (seriously this homogeneous society is ok with just sending the intellectuals off to a random island and hoping they never cause trouble? It just doesn't ring true to me) which betray this book for what it is: not so much a book but an extended discussion of a hypothetical future. It is an interesting concept, and one of those things that you can sort of see happening in a frightening future. Long story short: listen to it, contemplate the overall concept, don't expect a riveting plot.
I read science, biographies, histories, mysteries, adventures, thrillers, educationals, linguistics but not no way, not no how, romances.
There's no getting around it, Brave New World is a bad book. It's the story of a world where humans are engineered to fit a specific purpose and the engineering doesn't end after birth. The characters have come to accept this life, even the scheduling of their free time and the people they have relationships with, as normal. Our main character shifts halfway through the book to a man born on a reservation who is known as the savage. Then he comes into conflict with the New World.
That's the plot, but here's the juice: it's boring. The characters never challenge the world, they rarely come into conflict with its boundaries, and frankly, they're boring. They don't grow or want to grow in any significant way. The conflict only happens when the savage comes to the city, and even then it's too little and way too late. Not only that, but Michael York is an okay narrator - but his American accent is atrocious.
This stock is a definite Don't Buy.
I really liked the world the writer has created. It was very well developed and easy to picture. However the story wasn't any good. It's almost like the story was an after thought. None of the characters were likable so I really had nothing invested in what happened to them.
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
There was a time when the situation described in this book would have inspired universal horror in its readers. Yet nowadays many people seem to be yearning for a lot of the things described in this dystopian society. Maybe they should read the book and reconsider what they really want.
Huxley did a great job extrapolating from his own times what the ultimate end of contemporary trends would be. It would be nice to think we have steered clear of what he warned us about, but I dare say we have stayed more or less on course to become what he describes.
Traditional families and their values have completely disintegrated in this new world. It is a statist paradise, and it's hard to see how the new world order can be brought down. Thankfully, it's equally hard to see how the old world order could be so completely superseded.
This is the second book I've listened to read by Michael York. There will not be a third. York does OK with a lot of the dialog. He tends to read the prose in between in kind of a singsong voice that is very annoying. One gets the impression he thinks everything he reads is being read to a kindergarten class. When he gets dramatic, he gets REALLY dramatic. It is frankly a little surprising coming from a movie actor known for giving relatively flat, unexpressive performances.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
“Brave New World”, by Aldous Huxley, is a dystopian view of the world that describes the potential consequence of idolatry, media conditioning, and drug dependence.
Huxley’s atheism peeks through the pages of “Brave New World”. His main character, the Savage, is raised in an Indian culture that venerates a god that stipulates what is good and evil. The Savage leaves this Indian culture to live in a “Brave New World” that believes in another god named “Ford”.
The logical extension of Huxley’s primitive world is no better than a “Brave New World”. Dictatorship, the opiate of media entertainment and a drug culture are evident in both worlds.
Huxley was one of those extraordinary human beings that have what Abraham Maslow called a “superior perception of reality”.
It had been a long time since I had originally read "Brave New World", and - as this title came up as a daily deal - I thought I'd take the opportunity to enjoy it once again.
The story is still nearly as fresh and provocative as it was the first time I read it, albeit a bit tempered by the long years of reading and thinking about hosts of other utopian/dystopian societies.
Still, if you're not familiar with this story of an engineered and conditioned society, it offers an interesting perspective on what it means to live a life worth living; and if it's been so long that it is only a faint memory, the theme and delivery still hold up and provide plenty of food for thought (and a fair share of pure entertainment, for that matter).
There are very few mis-steps in the way of anachronistic "future" developments that might slightly distract you from the story, but overall the tale does not feel out-of-date and hold together quite well.
The narration and production is superb, I can only complement the efforts of BBC Audio - the clarity of recording and the voice work come together for an excellent listening experience.
If you are interested in utopian/dystopian speculative fiction, stories that examine what it means to be human and how we might accidentally subvert that, or just interesting "non-hard" SF, I would recommend giving this title a listen.
How did I not read this before? Michael York is great! The book is a little dated (some cringe-inducing racial slurs & oh the rampant sexism) but really is a hoot. (Where are our
personal helicopters, anyway?!? Isn't it about time?}
It did bother me how messed up John Savage is. That point of Huxley's I honestly don't understand.
But I now know what soma means.
Brave New World is Huxley's best known novel and a classic for good reason. This is a unique novel and a gripping expose on human nature. With overtones of Orwell's Big Brother this novel is set in a Utopia where the focus is on happiness, and where freedom and truth are removed from society. Huxley explores what happens when there is a clash with tradition ideals of moral obligation, religion, family, truth and free will.
This is a novel that is well ahead of its time and the description of the world is very clever and the language and turn of phrase employed is wonderful.
Micheal York really brings this to life with a masterful performance.
as a matter of fact, i couldn't even finish the book. having read the book in my youth, i was looking forward to experiencing it again, but the manner in which the book was read grated on me. as much as i tried to look past the annoying presentation, i found myself becoming more and more annoyed. to say he least, it was an utter disappointment.