**spoiler alert** I really liked this book. I think of it as a kind of antipodal warning to Orwell's dystopian "1984". Huxley instead warns of the fri**spoiler alert** I really liked this book. I think of it as a kind of antipodal warning to Orwell's dystopian "1984". Huxley instead warns of the frightening possibilities of purely pleasure seeking society, pursuing happiness for the sake of happiness.
The first third of the book almost feels like a historical prologue, as you are lead through the process of "manufacturing" babies by the the head of such a production facility in London. This can become a little tedious, as there is no character development for some time, but it appears that Huxley wants to clearly define for the reader the alien nature of the future world. This scene setting reminded me a lot of Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land", where the martian experience is explained (which was written much later in the 1960's).
The next section of the book follows the troubled path of Bernard and his colleague Lenina. Bernard is struggling to fit into the perpetually happy society around him, and seeks escape by visiting one of the worlds remaining "savage" reservations, where inhabitants follow a more "immoral" lifestyle with natural births and families.
The final section of the book follows John, a savage who is brought back to live in the civilised world by Bernard. From this point we see the real conflicts between John's traditional religious values, and the extremely liberal views of his new society. My most enjoyable section of the book was the dialogue between the world controller Mustapha Mond, and John. Especially the differing quoted 20th century religious views on mans striving for a purpose - Do we move closer to God later in life due to a fear of approaching death, or because our minds are less distracted by the self pleasuring activities of youth?
Ultimately, Huxley's warning is against a society where people continuously occupy their minds with tivial, manufactured experiences, thereby making their existance meaningless; lives with no purpose. A very thought provoking book, and one that I will definitely read again in the future....more