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Ape and Essence

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  4,123 ratings  ·  267 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 25th 1992 by Ivan R. Dee Publisher (first published 1948)
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3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,123 ratings  ·  267 reviews


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Matthias
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, my-reviews
"There are times, and this is one of them, when the world seems purposefully beautiful, when it is as though some mind in things had suddenly chosen to make manifest, for all who choose to see, the supernatural reality that underlies all appearances."

I was reading Ape and Essence in a sunlit park when I was struck by this line. It emitted a beacon of light that folded back on itself and enveloped these words, this book, my hands, my legs, the ground under my feet, the park, the city, its surro
...more
Arielle Walker
Though I adored Brave New World, and therefore considered myself familiar with its famous author, I had never even heard of Ape and Essence before stumbling across it on one of the dustier shelves in the local library. Never again will I make the mistake of relegating an author to the "one-book-wonder" list. This little 150 page book is so utterly bizarre, eerie, beautiful and perfect that from the very first reading it has leapt straight into my list of all-time favourites.

Brave New World make
...more
Jonfaith
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cruelty and compassion come with the chromosomes

I've elected to storm into the ranks of Huxley, like a Korean antihero in a Vengeance film. This is a peculiar fruit. There was much from which I recoiled. I feel at moments that History had made the novel look foolish and impotent.

The reasons to dislike this were Legion
The novel's thrust is a rejected screenplay
The narrative then is couched
in satirical and cinematic terms
speaking of a future
a world devastated by nuclear exchange
Kiwis having no st
...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 than
...more
Sara Zovko
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
Prvih 50-ak stranica bila sam totalno izgubljena u knjizi, radnji i svemu ostalome, a onda... Mračno, ironično, potresno i genijalno, sve ono što Huxley je.
Andy
Jan 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Nataša
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Distopija koja je na mene ostavila nešto slabiji utisak od svih prethodnih...
A i od Hakslija sam imala prevelika očekivanja nakon što pročitah "Ostrvo" :)
Jay
Nov 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: apocalypse-now
"The leech's kiss, the squid's embrace, the prurient ape's defiling touch. And do you like the human race? No, not much."

I read this book in high school after I had finished Brave New World. Almost back to back. "Ape and Essence" is a story-within-a-story, a screenplay written by one of the semi-autobiographical characters. The screenplay is rescued from the Hollywood reject bin, and after the finders find the author on his desert hacienda, the screenplay then becomes the novel. The quote, above
...more
Alex Akesson
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-reading
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
Thought_Criminal
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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...



Roxana Chirilă
Two guys from Hollywood are talking about... stuff. One of them is the first-person narrator, the other is a guy who's gotten a mistress despite the fact that he didn't really want one, and now he's in trouble with his wife.

I'm making it sound way more interesting than it actually is. I spaced out while reading some of their discussion, which was about Gandhi getting murdered and the nature of marxism and fascism and politics and whatever.

In the middle of the philosophy, I shut the book and read
...more
0rkun
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maymun Ve Öz şeytanın başrolde olduğu bir Aldous Huxley distopyası. Kitabın büyük kısmında yok edilmekten son anda kurtulan bir senaryoyu okuyoruz. Kitabın içindeki kitap gibi biraz. Uzak gelecekte nükleer bir yıkım gerçekleşmiş, dünya eskisi gibi değildir. Amerika kıtasını keşfe çıkan Yeni Zelandalı bir ekip şeytana tapan bir yerli grubuyla karşılaşır. Ekipten Dr. Poole'u esir alan yerlileri Poole'ın gözünden inceleme şansı buluruz. Şeytana tapan bu toplulukta cinsellik büyük ölçüde yasaktır, h ...more
Mark
Nov 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
Sep 15, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  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
Jim
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Take Brave New World (1931) and scroll the calendar to 1948, after World War Two and Hiroshima. Significantly, the action begins on the day that Gandhi was assassinated. The world that author Aldous Huxley gives us in Ape and Essence is slightly different.

There has been a World War Three that decimated the entire population of the world, except for New Zealand, which sends an expedition to Southern California. One of the scientists, a botanist named Alfred Poole, is kidnapped by the surviving hu
...more
Jose Moa
This is th most original, misantropic, terrorific,grotesque postapocaliptic distopia perhaps ever written.

In this book Huxley makes the most corrosive acid satire,with touchs of the blakest humor on the human nature and human civilization i ever read,all is demolished,the ideologies,marxism,capitalism,nationalism,militarism,christianism,the bad use of science and technologie.
Is the final victory with our help of the evil over the good in a inverted moral values world,a world where actually Belia
...more
Jordan
Nov 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  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
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
Brett
Sep 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
Not long ago, I wrote about how, though Aldous Huxley's non-fiction never really spoke to me, I always seemed to enjoy his fiction. Now I have to go back on my statement.

Ape and Essence is half-baked nonsense. It is warmed over Brave New World without compelling ideas or characters that the reader cares about.

The plot concerns a world that has been decimated by nuclear war and the totalitarian society that arises in its aftermath. Well--it's sort of about that. It begins in Hollywood, where a c
...more
Emily
Feb 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Two motion picture executives stumble across a screenplay in the lot. The majority of the book is the text of that document. It is about a future era, post World War III, when the residents of Southern California worship the devil and sex is outlawed except for two weeks once per year. The resulting infants are increasingly more deformed due to radiation fallout. The action of the 'film' seems to be mostly an excuse to espouse the philosophy that human kind, following the Second World War were i ...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
Jovi Ene
Un scenariu respins din 1947 este descoperit și este înfățișat cititorului.
Mare parte din carte este tocmai acest scenariu avangardist, despre un viitor îndepărtat, în care lumea este devastată, post-apocaliptic, iar California este condusă acum sub auspiciile unui zeu nebun, un fel de diavol, Belial, care interzice (cu excepția a două săptămâni din an) pasiunea, sexul, diformitatea, libertatea înseamnă de fapt sclavie etc. Huxley face de fapt o critică acidă umanității, care se transformă în sc
...more
Christina
Apr 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Speranza
Give me detumescence
We are all apes -
That's the essence.


I don't know if Huxley was on psychedelic drugs while writing this, but I surely felt like being on some while reading it.
Chris Pauer
Feb 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Simona
Feb 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Negaliu goodreads'e užkabinti 3.5 stars įvertinimo. Šiai knygai brendau 4 metus. Tuos keturis metus ji ir pradulkėjo nepaliesta mano knygų lentynoje. Nežinau, ar tai sunkiai virškinamo lietuviško vertimo įtaka, bet Hakslis manęs „Beždžione ir esme” nesužavėjo. Distopinis istorijos kontekstas su groteskiškomis detalėmis gal ir verčia skaityti kūrinį iki pat pabaigos, bet neužkabina interpretacijos prasme. Yra ta „paviršutiniška gelmė“ - galima įžiūrėti simbolinį žmonių pragaišties įkūnijimą relig ...more
Nam
Apr 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Mike
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-owned
“The leech's kiss, the squid's embrace,
The prurient ape's defiling touch:
And do you like the human race?
No, not much.”


The above quote comes in the opening pages of Ape and Essence, one of the most viciously cynical works of fiction I've ever read. The setting of the frame narrative is "the day of Gandhi's murder," which sets the tone for this pessimistic and misanthropic gem. As with some of Huxley's other writings, I get the impression that Huxley is brilliant-bordering-on-mad. He clearly expr
...more
Bob
Sep 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1948, it predates the French novel that became "Planet of the Apes" by 15 years and it could well have been an influence.
The framing story, set at the time of the book's publication, involves two men, one a slightly parodic version of a Hollywood film producer (clearly a type Huxley had gotten to know by that time) and a "reasonable man", one often the foil for more exaggerated characters. They find a rejected film proposal in a dumpster at the studio, are struck by its highly unusu
...more
Elizabeth
Jan 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
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7,487 followers
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
“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.” 126 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.”
124 likes
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