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)
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!
I listened to this on audio, and the narrator was very good. There were some parts that were over the top that made me laugh at inappropriate times in the story, but overall, I liked the audio version. The various voices were done very well.
As far as the story, I can't add any clever observations that haven't already been said. I can say that this book shows me the importance of sticking with a book and evaluating it as an entire body of work. I didn't like the first part of the book and was going to ditch it, but I stuck with it. Once The Savage appeared and became an integral part of the story, I became interested in it. I loved the differences highlighted between the satirical "civilized" and "uncivilized" societies. The ending was quite a surprise to me and was well done.
I initially thought that I liked "1984" better, but I think they are pretty much equal in my opinion. Each has something slightly different to offer and both are worth the read.
I purchased this book after listening to 1984. The content isn't bad, and I found the story moderately compelling, but I didn't personally care for the narrator. I don't know if it's the accent or his inflections, but it didn't work for me. Sorry Mr. York.
Super loud followed by super soft reading, while likely well intended, made it difficult to listen to without constantly adjusting the volume
A lover of audiobooks of all kinds, since childhood, when long car journeys were accompanied by Discworld stories. @ReineDesLivres (Twitter)
Michael York was the perfect choice to read this classic work of science fiction. He brings his skills as actor to this narration, providing each character with personality and subtlety, and his descriptions with inflection and meaning, reinforcing the intended preferences of Huxley's dystopian society with delicacy and style. Huxley's classic work is made even better through the perfect partnership of text and reader, and you'll revel in it as you listen, engrossed, as the story unfolds.
So much I could say about this book, and I am a science fiction fan, but this one though a classic wasn't my favorite. I was impressed at the technology
used in London 2540 as compared to the technology available in 1932. Huxley definitely had things nailed such as televisions in hospital rooms, antidepressants
etc. The book definitely made me think about some of the things that we're facing today. We're not there yet, but I think we may be headed the way of the
Brave New World.
I thought that some of the themes and ideas discussed were weird, really weird. It's odd that high schoolers and some junior high readers read this book.
Seems like it could be considered controversial at best, especially in a school environment. I did not like the ending. As far as endings go, this abrupt
one was about as abrupt an ending as I've ever read.
The performance was top notch, and made actually finishing the book more manageable. Some of Michael York's passages are a bit over the top I think, but overall he does well.
The book is definitely warranting, in my opinion a 3 star rating, and I give it that for being such a cutting edge scifi piece for its time.
I love to read. On average I read and/or listen to more than 100 books a year. Audible has been a fantastic addition to my life. Love it!
This s a classic that many are familiar with but haven't thought of since high school The audible version is delightful. The narrator does an impressive job bringing life into each character. It is an easy read and a great way to rediscover a still powerful classic.
I had never read this in high school in the '70s, but if I had, I probably would have thought that was an interesting science fiction story. I got this on one of Audible's sales and really had no idea what the story was about. From the very beginning I was hooked. It's definitely kind of creepy that Huxley wrote about this new world in the 1930’s and it’s not such a far-fetched idea anymore 80 some years later.
Michael York did an excellent job in narration. Will be looking for my books narrated by him.
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!
"Imaginative, But Flawed!"
Set sometime in the distant future (A.F. 632 which may translate to around 2540 A.D. according to some calculations), in an advanced dystopian world; this was at times a fascinating but challenging listen. However, I could not help feeling somewhat disappointed by the end as I did not find it to be the classic that it was alleged to be.
Often compared to Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four", but very different in terms of the worlds both authors so carefully constructed, I found Huxley’s style of writing at times to be overly verbose and difficult to follow. It also made me wonder at times how far he was trying to exhibit his own philosophical beliefs at the expense of the plot and overall story.
I found nearly all the characters unlikeable. Naturally, the only ones I truly sympathised with were John and Linda. No doubt this was deliberate on Huxley's part, as to an outsider looking into this so called "civilised world" where people had been conditioned to show no real lasting unity to one another, you could only feel appalled at their self-centredness. John the Savage (as he was unfairly referred to), represented our world and programming, and his reaction to the likes of Lenina and some of the lower caste members and their behaviour was at times desperate, but understood.
When you take a step back and take it all in, the world Huxley created here is truly frightening, but nonetheless captivating.
Finally, I found Michael York's narration rather strange and somewhat irritating at times. Some of his choice of accents for the characters were quite bizarre and not well thought out (Bernard's and John's especially), and kind of took some of the gloss off of this work.
"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.
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
"Great ideas, pulpy plot, hammy performance"
The performance and the plot.
Fix the clunky dialogue and sketchy characters.
Hammy delivery. Wobbly regional accents randomly distributed. For example, Pueblo Indians that sound like they come from Bristol, my luvverr.
Yeah probably, just to see how they do it.
Seek out an alternative version.
"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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