Thursday, September 26, 2013

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is arguable second to George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four as the most famous SF novel ever written.  I haven't read it yet.  It's on my "to read" book list, I just haven't gotten around to it.  Ironically when it was published in 1932  it wasn't published as SF--that term would take a while to catch on and become the genre it is today.  Brave New World dissects the consequences of World War I.  It warns about the aftermath of war, loss of faith, obeisance to technology, and the allure of pleasure.

A couple of things are noteworthy still about the book, aside from it being a classic, Huxley's use and his idea of "Feelies"  which predates virtual reality by half a century, and "Soma" predicts the use of drugs as a technique of social control.  He believed that drugs would be overtly used by governments to make us chemically happy.  This prediction isn't entirely accurate, but one can see how much the current  large pharmaceutical industry has grown in our lifetime, and also the growth of illegal drugs to see Huxley wasn't too far off that extrapolation.   He also described a caste system, with a dictator at the top, but mostly it was a book about change, and how radically our own world would change.  I'd say he was correct about that.  Who could have predicted the internet, cell phones, and such was on the horizon?

He wrote a follow up, nonfiction book, Brave New World Revisited in 1958.  It is a series of articles telling us what has happened to the world since 1932, and attempts with some success to predict the future.

I wanted to share a site where I found of a recording of Brave New World.  The CBS Radio Workshop was an “experimental dramatic radio anthology series” that aired between 1956 and 1957. And it premiered with a two-part adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s now classic 1932 novel, Brave New World. Huxley himself introduced and narrated the program, and now this classic radio drama has resurfaced online.

You can find it: here, in parts one and two or you can listen to both parts online as well.  

I also found a BBC production of a Brave New World on Youtube: here.
It stars Julie Cobb, Bud Cort, Keir Dullea, and others.  It's a three hour movie. 

2 Comments:

At 7:27 AM, Blogger Roman J. Martel said...

I've got this one on my "to read" list too. I actually had this book in my collection for a number of years. A cousin knew I liked sci-fi and got it for me. I never got around to reading it and it ended up being lost in a move (with a bunch of CDs)

 
At 10:16 PM, Blogger El Vox said...

Moving is a bear. I'm not sure I have Brave New World in my library. Though I have a backlog of stuff I want or should read. I'd think I'd hate losing the CDs over the book, I'm such a huge music lover.

 

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