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)
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.
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.
This CD could put you right off this fundamental book.
Personalized accents, hysterical shoutings, whinings, singings, supposedly used to bring life, don't bring anything, just make the book unbearable after a few minutes.
Advice : (1) if you want to avoid irritation and reach the end, you should plan short listening sequences ; (2) never buy an audiobook without prior listening and comparing.
Mommy of twins
Although I seem to be in the minority here, I wasn’t a big fan of the highly acclaimed, dystopian cult classic BRAVE NEW WORLD. I just didn’t get it... well, I “got it” but I don’t get what all the hype is about.
In BRAVE NEW WORLD the people of the new “Civilized” world believe they are happy because they want for nothing. All needs are met and all pleasures are provided to them, including mood altering drugs and constant casual sex (everyone belongs to everyone), while marriage and religion are dirty words. They live in a class system that is programed (brainwashed) into them from conception, of which by the way, happens in a lab, no mommies and daddies. But are they honestly happy? Can they be? These people lack any true individualism, connection, passion or actual choice; so really they are a society of glorified meat robots. Then there are the Savages that live in small tribe like communities outside Civilization. These are a Native American-like people with a mesh of religions, cultures and a traditional moral standard. At about the halfway point in the book, the two societies cross paths… and the reader may now commence comparisons. So who’s better?...Really they’re both a mess.
All that, being what it is... a utopia with a definite philosophy (agenda) on how society would best be run, fine I’ll except all that, the concept itself holds some interest, but for me it was the execution of BRAVE NEW WORLD that bombed. The story felt…disheveled and scattered and most importantly I felt no connection at all to any of the characters. Really I couldn’t care less what happened to any of them. They were so flat and uninteresting that, in the end, I just felt the read as a whole was pretty boring
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.
Yes because I feel it serves such a strong warning against allowing the government to rule and regulate that which is inherently flawed and as a result, beautiful and perfectly created. When the government oversteps nature, a chain reaction ensues.
The detail the author provides leaves the reader which powerful imagery and leaves very little to the imagination in the sense the reader does not have to supplement with what might be false or misguided images. For example, when describing the hatchery, the author is certain to mention in detail the process and in essence sets up a great foundation for the reader to better understand the actions of those that stemmed from the hatchery.
I have not but I had always "heard" this book in American English and it was brilliant to hear it in its native tongue if you will as the story is centered in London.
The narrator was very vivacious, animated and energetic. Some of the most touching moments included the dynamic of John and "Linder" or Linda.
I highly recommend this to everyone. This book is a good "starting point" for those getting into current affairs. This is a true foreshadow of events that have occurred that the author hit on years prior but a closer look reveals that "Big Brother" and conditioning are amongst us. To have free thought is to be a strong reader and this supports such. Happy reading!
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.
Scary how timeless this book is. I read it in high school and really didn't give it much thought but now as an adult who is aware to the outside world this book will scare the pants off of you. It would not take the society to many steps to get to where they are in the book (I guess that is the genius of it). Great book, a classic for a reason and worth your time. I strongly reccomend giving it a listen even if you read it years ago as I did.
Oh and I am not some conspiracy theorist nut job either, just in case I came across that way.
a Tech Exec who loves the stories about what could be and what should have been. Mixed with histories told from an outside perspective.
Read this at the inspiration of.....reading GW Bush's book decision points, and well...glad I did. This was an amazing glimpse of what today (80 years after it was written) is a very believable future. The idea the people will opt for comfort over everything else. Control of the press, drug the people, tell them all that it is for their own good, remove any differances, and eliminate the family. Then you findout there is no more strife, and that no one is human anymore.
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.
"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!
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.
"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
"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!
"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.
Enjoyed the book, and Michael York has a great voice, but the choices of accents was just bizarre! It was very hard to take seriously a 'savage' that had grown up amongst 'savages' from New Mexico that somehow had a Somerset farmer's accent... quite distracting.
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.
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