Printable Tire's Reviews > Brave New World

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Apr 14, 2007

Recommended for: anyone

I'm starting to hate "the mainstream's" fascination with dystopian novels. It's basically an education system marketing ploy dreamed up by the Media Lords in control of Orwell and Huxley's copyrights. Also academics and lay readers are ashamed to discuss science fiction these days so they have to fancy it up with genres like the dystopian novel. Brave New World is a pretty good dystopian yarn, fairly outdated (though not as outdated as 1984), fairly well written, fairly well executed. I hope it's not Huxley's best work (he is, I think, a little overrated himself) but it certainly can't be his worst. But I really believe dystopian novels are the lazy "mainstream" writer and reader's idea of slumming into "speculative" fiction (fancy name for science fiction). It's science fiction's own fault, really, as somewhere along the way it became primarily associated with BEMS and Jocks In Space and franchises like Star Trek (and nerds, don't forget the nerds). But there are some great science fiction writers that write more eloquently and acutely on "future-present" problems than this most famous of dystopian novels. Read something else for Christ's sake! Science fiction didn't end with the publication of Brave New World!
9 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Brave New World.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-15 of 15) (15 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Nate D (new)

Nate D What, may I ask, are your favorite actual sci-fi novels? The only sci-fi I've read lately is early Jonathan Lethem, which is entertaining and clever but still basically pulp.

Printable Tire Well, that's certainly a fair question... let me check my list (keeping in mind I started recording what books I read from 2004 on).

-I've started trying to read all of Philip K Dick's books, and while he's certainly really pulpy, I think as I go along he's going to get a lot better. The Man In The High Castle has probably been his most successful literary book so far, although I enjoyed the more pulpy Time Out of Joint and The World Jones Made as well. But I think he's the sort you have to take collectively, as none of his books probably hold up very well.

-Not to Mention Camels by RA Lafferty was one of the more puzzling books I've ever read. I'm not sure if it can truly be called science fiction, but if Kurt Vonnegut can, why not.

-334 by Thomas Disch was a fairly bleak portrait of urban blight in the future. If you like Don Delillo, you might like it.

-Starmaker is probably one of the best books of all time in my opinion, inside or outside of science fiction. Sometimes I believe Starmaker is my religion. In a lot of ways, there was no need for other science fiction books after Starmaker.

-Ice by Anna Kavan is another great unknown gem. Calling it science fiction might again be pushing it, but it did win the Brian Aldiss Award for Science Fiction, so I guess it counts.

-Limbo by Bernard Wolfe is a great if exuberantly pretentious dystopian novel that remains more or less unread. It deals with cybernetics and pacifism and a lot of other stuff and I haven't read any dystopian novels that come as close to being accurate as it is. What's important about Limbo to me is that because it is so unknown it gives me a feeling that there must be lots of books like it out there that are simply forgotten because at a time they were clumped in a group called science fiction and thus thought expendable light reading. A book like Limbo gives me faith in finding good science fiction out there.

-Soviet science fiction (self-discovery, world soul, roadside picnic) has become my favorite. These authors deal with actual science and raise universal questions about mankind. I suppose I could squeeze Stanislaw Lem into this category too.

Recently I have really been into hard science fiction (meaning books that have to do more with "real" science than speculation, which can be pseudo-science or just plain made up science), which is strange to me since hard science fiction and science in general has bored me to tears for most of my life.

I have an endless list of science fiction books I want to read and they all sound promising.

message 3: by Nate D (new)

Nate D Thanks for these. I'll definitely keep an eye out.
I should specify that I don't exactly mind pulp, I just tend to spend enough time on Irvine Welsh and noir tendencies that I get plenty of it anyway. And much as I've enjoyed the Dick I've read, he always seems to be better at big, exciting ideas than their actual graceful execution, so I see what you mean.

And who wrote the Starmaker you're talking about? Searching Goodreads turns up lots of Hollywood Svengali-type biographies.

Printable Tire Olaf Stapledon.

Sorry, I'm being a little more grandiose in my choices because like a fool I had to go and say Brave New World was overrated.

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

AS far as dystopian SF goes, it doesn't get much better than JG Ballard.

Printable Tire Yeah I was going to mention him but the only thing I've read of his is Crash and I didn't like it. But I'm definitely going to check him out again.

message 7: by Nate D (new)

Nate D I'm particularly interested to read some Ballard since he, like PK Dick, was apparently an influence on a lot of British post-punk bands circa late 70s.

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)


Ballard is awesome. His influence can be seen and felt in a variety of mediums, including art, literature, and music.

I got into him because of Joy Division.

Matt Dystopian novels are respectable to mainstream literary criticism in a way that science-fiction in general is not, because - regardless of what the story is actually about - a modern literary critic can always say, "This is a scathing criticism of the American dream." and that theme is, in and of itself, regardless of the merit of the work sufficient to make the novel into literature.

You start applying that test regularly to most esteemed modern fiction, and the Philosopher's Stone that turns detestable pulp into praise-worthy 'cutting edge' literature, and the whole business gets funnier and funnier over time until it makes you cry.

message 10: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Ouch, I have an entire goodreads shelf of dystopian novels!

message 11: by Nat (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nat McLennan Hahahaha "Media Lords" with a ploy for marketing Brave New World. It's not that I don't believe it, it's just I wouldn't advise marketing a book that is so disparaging of the mass produced!

Printable Tire Both Star Wars and Lord of the Rings are stories about individuals battling materialistic oligarchies, and Media Lords seem to have no trouble getting us masses to consume them!

message 13: by Lyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lyn Love it! And I cannot agree more. My next review will be a "nice as I can make it" slam against another mainstream dystopian YA offering.

message 14: by Matt (new) - rated it 3 stars

Matt "Both Star Wars and Lord of the Rings are stories about individuals battling materialistic oligarchies..."

Wait... what?!?!?

They are no more about individuals battling materialistic oligarchies than they are about paternalistic defenses of materialistic oligarchies (I've heard both 'interpretations').

Printable Tire haha

back to top