On the 75th anniversary of its publication, this outstanding work of literature is more crucial and relevant today than ever before. Cloning, feel-good drugs, anti-aging programs, and total social control through politics, programming, and media: has Aldous Huxley accurately predicted our future? With a storyteller's genius, he weaves these ethical controversies in a compelling narrative that dawns in the year 632 A.F. (After Ford, the deity). When Lenina and Bernard visit a savage reservation, we experience how Utopia can destroy humanity.
©1932 Aldous Huxley; ©1998 BBC Audiobooks America; (P)2003 BBC Audiobooks America
"British actor Michael York's refined and dramatic reading captures both the tone and the spirit of Huxley's masterpiece." (AudioFile)
Michael York does a superb job reading this story.
I listened to this after a binge on dystopian novels, starting with Fahrenheit 451, Darkness at Noon, 1984, and Brave New World. Of course I had read all of them back in high school, but each one came alive again decades later.
Those who have a dark view of the direction of civilization at this time would be well served to read all four of these classics. Each one presages a different part of the slide into a potential new Dark Ages.
For example, 1984 is a version of the esoteric negative side that can be found in Plato's Republic. Brave New World also partakes of aspects of The Republic, together with Huxley's prescient vision of the impending ability to control the genome and the mind via new frontiers in the neurosciences.
In some ways Huxley is more optimistic than Orwell. Huxley's hero refuses to surrender and though he can no longer live in the Brave New World, he never capitulates. Poor Winston Smith, Orwell's hero, ends a broken shell of himself.
I highly recommend all four of these to anyone who read them in their youth. They are urgently needed to be heard with adult ears.
I can't imagine anyuone enjoying listening to this book. The story itself had too many "holes" and inconsistencies. If all urges were satisfied then what happens when individuals want different things. Seems like crime would be rampant. The whole thing just didn't make sense to me. And the narration was just plain irritating.
No, but I won't be reading any more Aldous Huxley or listening to Michael York.
Particulalry annoying, were the various English and Irish accents attributed to the charactors. If all babies were raised and trained by the state they would not grow up speaking with different accents. There was so much whining and screaming and yowling going on in the narration of this book It made it hard to take an interest in any of the charactors.
If I had been the editor the whole thing would have ended up on the floor. Not much there to work with.
This book just didn't appeal to me at all and the narration just made it worse.
The premise was interesting. His description of the society and how it functioned was original and clever. The story was just so-so, and it really didn't draw me in. I didn't really care about the characters either. I couldn't relate to the "civilized" characters, who had been conditioned from birth to live in that society, simply because their values were so skewed. I also couldn't relate to the "savage" John, who was supposed to be more like a modern day person, but his decisions and beliefs were just a little too annoying at times. His character made sense based on his background, but I grew tired of him.
Narrated by Logan 5. Fitting considering the material.
Michael York does an outstanding job with the narration.
The last chapter didn't fit the rest of the book. John can't fit into society, so he is allowed to go off and live on his own in the wilderness. He is eventually discovered and, while flogging himself in repentance, he is filmed by a reporter. The footage is turned into a movie and distributed widely, where it had an adverse effect on the population. Based on the society that 17 of the 18 chapters of the book built up, there is no way that this would have happened. It would have been censored. I found this really annoying, to read through a book, only to have something this lame thrown in at the end.
I found the descriptions of the helicopters in the book rather interesting, considering the year the book was written. The references to Henry Ford as their deity were amusing.
There's a reason why this book lands on so many "Best Ever" lists. "Brave New World" basically wrote the book on how to craft a dystopian novel. Huxley brings the satire (Oh, Ford, does he ever!) and layers it underneath a complex message relayed by well-drawn characters. The book contains a ton of themes and ideas that have become archetypes for the genre, and Huxley's influence can still be felt all the way from George Orwell to Philip K. Dick to Suzanne Collins.
Huxley's book is wonderfully prescient -- people being slaves to their televisions, taking drugs to induce happiness, etc. And even in cases where his visions have proved a bit wide of the mark, they still plant the seed of fear that his world isn't very much different from the one we live in today.
Michael York does an admirable job with a difficult narrative. Some of the montage chapters are a bit tough to understand in the beginning, but once you realize that viewpoints are shifting it's easier to appreciate how great of a job York does.
not if it is anything like this one
the stupid accent
none that I could see i couldn't get through chapter 3
I know that this is a classic sci-fi and that nobody will care that I had to plod through it. I listened to a British version and it was dopey. I began to feel like I was listening to a Shirley Temple movie. Especially heinous was the brit accent on the New Mexican pueblo indian..."bay-ah" for "bear," e.g. I could see the New Mexico impact on his book as he must have spent some time here before the book was published in 1931. As for the predictions, I can begin to see them coming, but who would want to live in an environment like that?
Absolutely...Michael York's narration and characterizations take this book over the top!
He is a talented actor who delivers a compelling performance. I listened to this book straight through.
It is a must listen for those of us who HAD to read it in high school and found it disappointing. This audio version brings out the humor, the cleverness and the pathos that we missed as teenagers. I can't say enough about Michael York's rendition.
This book is a classic in dystopia storylines, but I think I should have read it when I was younger. Maybe I'm too jaded, or just this type of universe is no longer shocking to me, but it didn't have the impact I was expecting.
The part that I loved learning about was the way in which babies were programmed and the efforts in defining class was executed. I really enjoyed it, and wanted to know more of how they were brought up. Least interesting: the trip to New Mexico sanctuary. Too much description and not enough story.
Michael York's female voices were awful, sorry Mr. York. Otherwise his performance was enjoyable.
Absolutely, and it should be. I think that it would translate very well, and the lengthy descriptions that distracted from the storyline could be easily summarized by a skilled director in a few camera shots.
Any fool can know something the point is to understand!
Wonderfully read and a great story. Is freedom of want and pain really freedom or a trap. ""All the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects." If you could take a drug induced holiday and forget any worries you had would you? Is freedom the freedom to suffer? Great questions and a good story to review them with an ending befitting better science fiction!
Bleak and excellent. An interesting thought experiment. As opposed to Orwell's "1984", in which a totalitarian government rules by fear and brutality, the Brave New World leaders remain in power by enslaving their population to unbounded, self-indulgent pleasures. All humanity is lost when grief, pain and suffering are eradicated, and the book cleverly introduces a 'savage' from an 'old world' reserve who understands the loss that the new world has undergone. Despite it's cautionary tone (that seems to be more relevant in this day and age than when it was written) I couldn't help feeling I could do with just a little bit of unbounded, self-indulgent pleasure. Huxley would turn in his grave!! Clear sound and excellently narrated.
"Marred by narration"
Great book, no doubting that, but I'm half way through and had to break to come on here and say I can't STAND Michael York's narration. Really after 20 audiobooks or more from Audible this is the first time it's happened, and it's particularly surprising given he's such a well known actor, but absolutely every moment of his performance is over-egged. It's Jackonory story-telling, subtle as a brick and prone to spasms of indulgent and frankly frightening wailing and crying. And the accents, entirely his contribution from what I gather, are atrocious. I'm probably in the minority given other reviews here, but give the sample a go and try before you buy, that's my advice!
I have never posted a review before, as I have never felt strongly enough, in either direction, to want to make a public comment on something - until now. It is more years than I care to remember since I last read Brave New World, and what a delight to listen to Michael York as the narrator. For anyone who thinks that they 'ought to' read this book, then this is the perfect way to do it; and anyone who wants to revisit this timeless classic, then you are in for a sublime 8 hours. If only all audio books were of this standard.
"Better than a gram of soma...."
Superb. An absolute classic! This thought provoking tale of social engineering is made even more accessible by the masterly narration of Micheal York. Sheer auditory pleasure!
"Interesing characters and ideas of the future."
Michael York makes listening to this book very easy.
The story portays a world where human engineering has advanced so far that children are grown in test tubes rather than born naturally. Distinct classes of people are manufactured in the test tube. Love and partnerships no longer exist as everyone belongs to everyone else. Subliminal teachings repeat the mantras of the new world order, ensuring stability and conformity. Drugs are freely available to wash away any hardship or stress. Gone are the writings of Shakespeare and all references to God.
But there are a few that are not content with the way of the world and look for answers to their feelings of emptiness.
The story follows these characters through their journey of self realisation and weakness, exploring the state's reaction to their outspoken views.
I really enjoyed the story and considering its age was impressed by the forward thinking.
"A classic, but period piece"
I read this book many, many years ago when it still had resonance for many fearing the emergence of regimented, totalitarian, mainly communist, states. Being set in the distant future it contains all sorts of predictions about technology and how societies function. It's funny to read it again and to see how things have turned out and how technology like mobile phones and computers simply weren't envisaged in the 1930s. Although it's force has in many ways been superceded by events, it's still a classic and fascinating read.
"Great book, some volume issues"
First of all, this is a great book which I recommend. I do think there is a problem with the sound volume however, in that the volume difference between the most quiet and the loudest parts is too big. I listen a lot while commuting and I had to frequently lower the volume at the loud parts, and increase the volume at the most quiet parts to save my ears / be able to hear. I think it would have been clever if the publishers edited or mixed the sound to prevent that.
I don't think that should stop you from listening to this book still. Because it's great.
I first read this book 25 years ago at school. Time (or my age) has made this book even better! Well read by Michael York. If you like George Orwell's 1984, you'll love this.
"Parody not prophecy."
This novel has to be read with the writer's historical context kept firmly in mind to appreciate its absolute genius. It's a parody - and a very funny one - of all the utopias being prescribed and promised by the political theories that are sweeping the world in that very strange period that was the 1930s. Capitalism was being battered - due to the Great Depression - and Socialism, Communism and Fascism were vying for dominance of people's hearts and minds; each declaring they had the keys to human happiness. And, alongside this, the science of eugenics seemed to be justifying the European dominance of its empires as well as the right of the upper-classes to rule the lower. So throw into this already very heady mix the hedonism of the Roaring Twenties, and the still very fresh memories of the Great War, and Alduous Huxley is writing in an extremely volatile time. So what does he do? He takes the piss out of everybody.
We follow the petty proto-revolutionary bureaucrat Bernard Marx (what a great name: George Bernard Shaw/Karl Marx) in his pathetic and ultimately futile quest for respect and importance in the genetically 'stable' utopia that has been manufactured. It's a very uncomfortable read at times - the erotic play of the toddlers comes to mind - and brutal too - the death clinics, and the descriptions of the Savages' reservations - but Huxley's point is to show that no matter what the grand Social Theories promise, they won't be able to take into account each individual's little weaknesses and lusts and ambitions; humans can't be put into little boxes and expected to be happy. The Shakespeare quoting savage John isn't happy in the reservation nor in the Brave New World; the stunted Bernard won't ever find acceptance from his peers, and Lenina ("Wonderful girl; splendidly pneumatic.") will never be able to understand her taste for something 'different'. Huxley isn't being prophetic, he's being parodic in Brave New World and he's having a lot of fun too. 5 stars
"what an amazing book!"
I simply could not believe that a book as prescient as this was written in 1931 / 1932. This gets to the heart of so much that is wrong in our own era and reads like a creepy but amazing prophecy speaking into all the problems of our age.
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