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Brave New World - Aldous Huxley Standard men and women; in uniform batches. The whole of the small factory staffed with the products of a single bokanovskified egg.

“Ninety-six identical twins working ninety-six identical machines!” The voice was almost tremulous with enthusiasm. “You really know where you are. For the first time in history.” He quoted the planetary motto “Community, Identity, Stability.” Grand words.

“If we could bokanovskify indefinitely, the whole problem would be solved.”

Solved by standard Gammas, unvarying Deltas, uniform Epsilons. Millions of identical twins. The principle of mass production at last applied to biology.


I have read a lot of dystopian fiction this year, for some reason. Brave New World is a classic of this genre. It is a quick, easy read, or in my case listen while running. The language is direct, the plot is clear, the characters are engaging. The world Huxley paints is on one hand disturbing--people gestated in bottles and conditioned and subliminally programmed to happily accept their assigned status in life, with a sort of bland pleasure induced by drugs and multisensory "feelies" (movies of a sort) to keep people entertained and peaceful--but at another level, mildly seductive--the leader of Western Europe explains why a society of all bright independent people didn't work when tried, why the inhabitants of that society begged to be let back into the fold. For me the most disturbing thing about this novel was that it wasn't more viscerally disturbing to me. 1984 gave me the creeps from the get-go, but Brave New World makes a disturbingly persuasive case, both in the illustration of the society, and in its defense by various characters, for the dystopian world it ultimately critiques. I can imagine many people wanting the world where Ford replaces God, and drugs replace disagreement and difficult emotion. In fact, it could be argued that much in our current society shows us to be quite committed to move in that direction, with only a deficit in the appropriate technologies preventing our arriving there already. Still I think I would not be able to live without literature, without meaningful human attachment, without the truth and beauty that are sacrificed for peace and commerce. With Huxley, I must argue for our current, flawed, messy world or for solutions that don't require the compromises and sacrifices of basic humanity that Huxley's dystopian world's peace relied upon.