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)
This is a good story. The narrator's delivery ultimately led me to choose not to finish the book. There are too many poorly done female characters and whiny lines that make it hard to listen to.
I can't help but think that every single character was NOT meant to be an awful, unlikable, whiny baby. Yet even the scenes that were meant to be angry sounded like a bratty toddler. I would recommend reading and not listening for this one.
Husband, father, lifter, recovering alcoholic
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.
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 value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.
Brave New World is often help up as being the partner of 1984. Both have different versions of dystopian futures where humanity loses its individuality to a faceless system that destroys independent thought.
1984 stuck with me long after I read it, but Brave New World never touched me on an emotional level. I found it redundant, slow and boring. I also think that the book failed to make it's point.
Huxley examines the world government that is based on control through pleasure-induced apathy, without ever providing evidence as to why it was a bad system. We're just supposed to take it on faith that it is. Art is gone, and passion is gone, even love is gone... which is appalling on its face. But that's a subjective reaction on the part of the reader. I love my family and I can't imagine being happy in world without families... but objectively, and undeniably these people ARE happy.
What we don't hear about is the progress of the sciences outside of the sciences which support the system of control. Is humanity still exploring the universe? Are we learning and progressing as a species? In 1984, the answer to these questions was an obvious "no". Humans and humanity as a whole were getting stupider. In Brave New World we know they're being systematically cut off from literature and art... basically all the "humanities" subjects. But what about everything else?
There is plenty to think about here, but while 1984 is a perfect 5-star book in my opinion, Brave New World falls short. Still an important read, and an interesting cautionary tale.
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.
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.
There are books of the same chemical composition as dynamite. The only difference is that a piece of dynamite explodes once, whereas a book explodes a thousand times. ― Yevgeny Zamyatin
What a blasphemous question to ask!
It looks real. That's human nature never to learn from your mistakes.
The narrator did a brilliant job of bringing the characters to life. He had no problem with the female character as well.
I loved every minute of it. And to Michael York's credit, the experience will stick in my memory.
Yes- I like to try to listen/read classics. This just did not capture my attention.
I feel a bit unsophisticated because this is the 2nd classic in a row I could not finish. I did not care about the characters and the story was not interesting enough to keep me listening although I did like Michael York as the narrator.
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.
Brilliant! This is not the sort of thing I normally read, but thoroughly enjoyed it. The narration is great, each character is very distinctive making the story very easy to follow.
"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.
"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.
"The lighter side of dystopia "
Intriguing and thought provoking, society conditioned, relevant even in this day and age, loved it.
"Great story that makes you think!"
Really enjoyable - raises a lot of questions about society today. I recommend for sure
"The most jarring publisher's outro"
Fascinating insight into what the future looked like in 1932. Much was prescient although we're not all flying around in personal helicopters!
No spoilers here, but the ending is one that should be given space and allowed to sink in, instead of which we get a tiny silence followed by someone who sounds like he's trying to warm up a crowd in a half-empty comedy club. Awful.
"I'm getting towards the end of chapter 3 and starting to think I have a defected copy"
From what I can gather there are 3 different stories/situations, the numerator is switching between each by reading a sentence of each one, its very off putting and I can't keep up, not sure if anyone else had found this? First two chapters gripped me but don't think I will be able to continue if it carries on like this...
"Unbelievably ahead of its time"
This is a superb book. I cannot believe it was published in 1932. If it came out in the 80's it would still have been futuristic.
"A fascinating story, beautifully read"
I thoroughly recommend this beautifully dramatic reading of a first class story. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
"Great book destroyed by a bad performance"
I recommend reading it! This version is painful to listen to..
Dreadful - the poor regional accents detract from the story.
Report Inappropriate Content