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Ape and Essence

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  2,441 ratings  ·  146 reviews
In February 2108, the New Zealand Rediscovery Expedition reaches California at last. It is over a century since the world was devastated by nuclear war, but the blight of radioactivity and disease still gnaws away at the survivors. The expedition expects to find physical destruction but they are quite unprepared for the moral degradation they meet. Ape and Essence is Huxle ...more
Paperback, 222 pages
Published August 1st 1992 by Ivan R. Dee Publisher (first published 1948)
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1984 by George OrwellThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsBrave New World by Aldous HuxleyFahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyThe Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Dystopia!
118th out of 731 books — 1,942 voters
The Stand by Stephen KingCat's Cradle by Kurt VonnegutA Clockwork Orange by Anthony BurgessSwan Song by Robert McCammonBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
CLASSIC Dystopia, Utopia, & Apocalyptic Fiction
14th out of 105 books — 11 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Arielle Walker
Though I adored Brave New World, I had quite honestly never even heard of Ape and Essence. Never again will I make the mistake of relegating an author to the "one-book-wonder" list. This little 150 page book is so strange, eerie, beautiful and perfect it has gone straight into my all-time favourites list.

It is clear from Brave New World that Huxley had a huge problem with the egotistical nationalism of modern society. Ape and Essence takes this view to an extreme, and though I agreed with many
...more
Andy
Jan 29, 2008 Andy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: DEVO fans, 1930's musical fans, sci-fi Hollywood types
While I was reading this book I laughed and realized this is where DEVO got all their shit from. Huxley, back in the 1930's said (in this brilliant novel) that while we technologically advance we will behave more and more like crazed apes..."The Truth Behind De-Evolution". I'm sure the Mothersbaugh and Casale Brothers read this book more than a few times when they attended Kent State in Ohio.

Huxley switches time span gears like crazy, veering from a Darwinian 1930's Busby Berkeley musical to a
...more
Alex Akesson
Re-reading my precious 1st edition

page 51 "Fear also casts out intelligence, casts out goodness, casts out all thought of beauty and truth. What remains in the bum or studiedly jocular desperation of one who is aware of the obscene Presence in the corner of the room and knows that the door is locked, that there aren’t any windows. And now the thing bears down on him. He feels a hand on his sleeve, smells a stinking breath, as the executioner’s assistant leans almost amorously toward him. “Your
...more
Chris
[All chanting]:
Give me Detumescence.
Give me Detumescence.
Give me Detumescence.
...

In a post-apocalyptic world destroyed by the nefarious nationalistic exploitation of science, Huxley offers up a supremely hilarious post-apocalyptic satire. In Los Angeles, a new religion has arisen where the Devil (as Belial) has substituted God, while maintaining all other aspects of today's structured institutions of faith. Using this simple device, he penetratingly skewers organized religion more effectively th
...more
Pupottina

Un romanzo un po’ datato, poiché è stato scritto nel 1948, ma attualissimo per le tematiche, che affronta, e gli spunti di riflessione, che offre.
Lo stile di Aldous Huxley in LA RIVALSA DELLE SCIMMIE è coinvolgente. Il libro è per lo più un romanzo breve, considerato il numero di pagine. È ambientato nella Hollywood del 1948, quando Bob Briggs, scrittore e regista, ritrova casualmente il soggetto scartato per un film, dal titolo omonimo a quello del romanzo in questione: "La rivalsa delle scimmi
...more
Mark
Well if Hux were around to day perhaps he'd be amazed how close we're coming to this (less well-known than BNW) negative Utopia. In a world where crotchless thongs are marketed to 9-year- olds, college coaches (as well as priests) sodomize boys-not-yet-men, women advertise themselves via the internet promising no more than a cooling effluvia of ejaculata, and countless millions of might-have-been love stories are food for salt, blood, and tears; it might not be such a far stretch to conclude hi ...more
Erik Graff
Jun 25, 2014 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Huxley fans
Recommended to Erik by: Erin S.
Shelves: sf
After reading Brave New World while still in the public schools, either in junior or senior high, I went into a Huxley phase, purchasing and reading his Brave New World Revisited, Island, The Devils, Heaven and Hell, The Doors of Perception and this one, Ape and Essence. Pulling it out of the bookshelf in my room more than once during high school, I repeatedly replaced it unread, the theatrical elements of it putting me off. Recently, however, several other Huxley nonfiction works having been re ...more
Jordan
Nov 30, 2013 Jordan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Misanthropes and Sex Addicts
Recommended to Jordan by: A Beneficent Stranger
A literate neighbor (they do exist, I have one!) left a library-bound edition of this incredible novella on the console table in my building's hallway, and I wish I could thank the fuck out of them. Holy shit.

On a scale from The Handmaid's Tale to Rosemary's Baby, this book lands somewhere in the middle, and deserves a place on your shelf next to your dogeared copy of Brave New World.

Two screenwriters discuss their mistresses and their miseries in Hollywood before stumbling across a rejected s
...more
Robyn
I'm honestly not sure what to feel about this book. The first thing to note is that it's not nearly as accessible as Brave New World. It's much less straight forward, more surreal, and sometimes I felt that a thesaurus vomited on a few pages of it. It's not an easy book to follow, and there were some parts I really didn't understand until I started reading about it online.

However, once you get into the swing, and you figure out who's doing what (I had to go back and reread a few times to sort s
...more
Christina
Apr 26, 2009 Christina rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of 1984, Faranheit 451, rabblerousers...
I loved this book! So many reasons why, but the most obvious reason being the fact that it took place in a post-apocalyptic world where people were supressed and controlled by those in charge. I cannot even tell you how many times I have read books with the same theme and I am still enthralled every single time. Huxely puts a good small irony at the ending which makes it worth the quick read. And the having the story within the story is an excellent difference too. I can see the similarities bet ...more
Elizabeth
Jan 24, 2014 Elizabeth rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Jordan
Imagine, if you will, a Rod Serling adaptation of an Aldous Huxley dystopia in which Captain Kirk falls in love/lust with a fetching victim of an oppressive Satanic society in which women are viewed as the "vessels" of all the filth and monstrosities of a post-apocalyptic world. Imagine it set in the remains of Los Angeles, which is viewed through the lens of a New Zealander, in turn viewed through the lens of two movie industry employees reading a dead misanthrope's script.

Yeah, it is that cra
...more
Jonathon
Awesome book. Heres some quotes....actually, fuck it, im too lazy to add them. Read the book you lazy ass....its short, so dont worry...Also, usually I agree with the reviews on "goodreads.com" but most of Huxley works are given three stars here??? Duh-fuck is wrong with you all! Dude's a fuckin genius!
OK, that's enough elitism for today...



Tony Gleeson
Aldous Huxley is somewhat of an acquired literary taste-- I never cared for "Brave new World" as much as many of my compatriots. But I felt I finally owed myself to read this after promising to do so for decades. "Ape and Essence" has been called Huxley's re-thinking of "Brave New World" in the light of Hiroshima. It's a dystopian fantasy of America post-nuclear holocaust, presented in the charming form of a screenplay. The prelude to the actual story is a sardonic scene involving two Hollywood ...more
Cristina Jinga
A dystopian landscape as a pretext for maxims and witty(-bitter) remarks about Civilization (history, art, politics, faith, science, progress, greediness, human/ape nature, purposes and meanings) - what I love most in Huxley's writings are the easiness of associations and the unexpected comparisons. And this "essay" ('cause the characters are stereotypes and the storyline is a schematic demonstration - only the framework) is a collection of ranting definitions:

"What we call knowledge is merely a
...more
Nam
Apr 02, 2009 Nam rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: weirdos
Ape and Essence (Harper and Row, NYC, 1948)

I didn't even know that Aldous Huxley had written this. Found it on a 25 cent cart at the hospital while at work. As per Huxley it deals with utopian or not, approaches to futuristic concepts. Not really Sci-Fi but take a Brave New World, for instance. I personally have always loved Doors of Perception, however this book is short, inspiring and challenging in its picture of human (de)volution. One idea that I had never thought of, within a survivalist c
...more
Laurent
Deux personnages ramassent un scénario dans lequel un narrateur raconte l'histoire d'un scientifique Néo-Zélandais qui en 2108 (re)découvre en Californie les dernier humains survivants de l'apocalypse dominés par un peuple de babouins.
Les niveaux de récit se succèdent sans se nourrir les uns des autres, ce qui nuit à la lisibilité de l'ensemble. En résumé, un roman à tiroir qui aurait dû rester dedans.
A noter un message écologique certes très actuel, mais qui ne l'était pas en 1948 au moment de
...more
Sam Dye
I was told by a best friend of 55 years that to remain his friend I would have to read this book! We had been discussing the need for different cultures to seek a Godlike personage to worship/fear.

"Even in the old days, when manpower and machinery were plentiful, people had failed to do what was necessary to preserve the fertility of the soil. 'It wasn't because they couldn't' puts in the Arch-Vicar. 'it was because they didn't want to. Between World War II and World War III they had all the ti
...more
Jas
This is a hard one to rate. I’ve just reread for the first time since I was 16, motivated by a student who compared/contrasted it to Lord of the Flies. . At the time I hardly noticed that it’s not a novel in the sense we usually use the word. It is very didactic, hardly driven by character analysis. Didactic isn’t necessarily bad; Anna Karenina is very didactic, but it’s great because of how it presents its main characters and relatively weak when Tolstoy gets on his hobby horse. Lady Chatterly’ ...more
Yousef
must read for all those ambitious to change the world from what it looks like now.
The book is very satirical and can't be taken literally, as its super extreme views are just to get you thinking and to expand your prescription of the world beyond its usual pigeonholed boundaries.
I don't know why the author put multiple layers between himself and the main content of the book, maybe he was hinting that he wants it made into a movie. language was a bit beyond my level and so was most of the poetry,
...more
Bernardo Arcos Álvarez
Huxley tenía el don de mirar directamente a lo trascendente, de encontrar tendencias ocultas en la cotidianidad y llevarlas a sus últimas consecuencias con exactitud casi profética. Haciendo críticas salvajes de la nimiedad y uniformidad del pensamiento de prácticamente toda la población, logra un libro que impacta profundamente si uno es capaz de mirarse a sí mismo de manera objetiva.
Por otra parte, su aseveración de que el misticismo oriental debe guiar a la ciencia occidental es como mínimo d
...more
Denis Materna
A H had really lost it by Ape and Essence. Something doesn't quite gel in this short story. It may be the characters or the plot, or the weird imaginary devil worshiping society. It's a fantasy too far. And a long distance from the quirky, shy, realism with a skew of earlier Huxley. As a social comment, it cuts just as sharply as any of his previous stuff, more so.

In the future people worship Belial and bury each other alive in the desert, and mate like animals, yet some "hots" fall in love and
...more
Richard
I read this book after reading Brave New World. I didn't understand the reason for the screenplay format at the time but I now realize that Huxley was using it as a distancing device.

The social satire was not quite as biting as in Brave New World but nonetheless Huxley's criticism of the post WWII victorious West was trenchant.
Escrivere
La storia si sviluppa in modo originale, probabilmente inusuale per l’epoca, ovvero come un racconto nel racconto. Nella prima parte si narrano le vicende di un regista di Hollywood un po’ cialtrone e del suo amico scrittore. I due ritrovano, per puro caso, una sceneggiatura che stava per essere data alle fiamme a causa della superficialità dei produttori di Hollywood.
Huxley sembra voler sfruttare la prima parte del libro per celebrare la morte di un grande uomo, Gandhi, che fu assassinato nel 1
...more
Devon  Start
not a favourite of this one. in fact all i can remember is somthing about a female ape saying "detumesence" which is apparently the act of getting flaccid.
interesting
i do recall that this is supposed to be a screen play he found. but i didnt really like this one too much
Travis
a departure for Huxley- detractors need understand the desires/needs of a mind of his caliber to stave stagnation and venture from time to time. pleasingly idiosyncratic, weighted with texture and gravity of subject.
Chris Pauer
Feb 05, 2008 Chris Pauer rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Chris by: Girlfriend as christmas gift
Awesome book, I loved every page.
Large, colorful vocabulary and descriptors assists in projecting a world post nuclear war and the life and civilization that remains.
I was hooked from the first few pages.
Mohit Misra
This is the funniest book I have read.I was laughing loudly and uncontrollably when reading this books.Spiritual knowledge with humor.
Eric Michael
This was different from what I expected, overall good read, so much rings true in our society today.
Mali Morsky
I'd like to see that movie.
Rob Carr
This is the weirdest of Huxley's books I have read to date. I didn't enjoy the start of the script with the baboon singing part. It seemed just a bit too random for me but as the book went on I enjoyed it more. Given its content I can't imagine it was popular at the time though. The events are obviously ridiculous and you don't expect them to actually happen yet at the same time it accurately picks up on some of the undercurrents in society that are developing much in the same way as in brave ne ...more
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Aldous Leonard Huxley was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. He spent the latter part of his life in the United States, living in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death in 1963. Best known for his novels and wide-ranging output of essays, he also published short stories, poetry, travel writing, and film stories and scripts. Through his novels and es ...more
More about Aldous Huxley...
Brave New World Brave New World / Brave New World Revisited The Doors of Perception & Heaven and Hell Island Brave New World Revisited

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“Love casts out fear; but conversely fear casts out love. And not only love. Fear also casts out intelligence, casts out goodness, casts out all thought of beauty and truth. What remains in the bum or studiedly jocular desperation of one who is aware of the obscene Presence in the corner of the room and knows that the door is locked, that there aren’t any windows. And now the thing bears down on him. He feels a hand on his sleeve, smells a stinking breath, as the executioner’s assistant leans almost amorously toward him. “Your turn next, brother. Kindly step this way.” And in an instant his quiet terror is transmuted into a frenzy as violent as it is futile. There is no longer a man among his fellow men, no longer a rational being speaking articulately to other rational beings; there is only a lacerated animal, screaming and struggling in the trap. For in the end fear casts out even a man’s humanity. And fear, my good friends, fear is the very basis and foundation of modern life. Fear of the much touted technology which, while it raises out standard of living, increases the probability of our violently dying. Fear of the science which takes away the one hand even more than what it so profusely gives with the other. Fear of the demonstrably fatal institutions for while, in our suicidal loyalty, we are ready to kill and die. Fear of the Great Men whom we have raised, and by popular acclaim, to a power which they use, inevitably, to murder and enslave us. Fear of the war we don’t want yet do everything we can to bring about.” 84 likes
“The leech's kiss, the squid's embrace,
The prurient ape's defiling touch:
And do you like the human race?
No, not much.”
60 likes
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