This story is set in Futuristic London, 632 years “After Ford” (referring to the first model T by Henry Ford in 1908). In this future, the mass population are controlled by leaders who use technology and conditioning to keep the citizens in a constant state of comfort and happiness, everyone is split into five specific ‘castes’. Let me also add individuality and introverted behaviour is weird, recreational sex is a daily practice and everyone works for the greater community.
The first chapters introduce us to a group of students being toured around the laboratories where all the cloning and conditioning occurs. I felt like the student walking around, asking questions, listening to the scientific jargon and reacting in astonishment. Already Huxley sets the scenes and informs us about this future.
Imagine a drink called Soma widely accessible, used to remove negative emotions; imagine all people are happy with who and what they are, and everybody works for the society as opposed for themselves; and sex is an acceptable instinctive act. That is the Brave New World, communism at its best.
Huxley describes an extreme England (so we think), yet it was like looking at a reflection of society through a magnifying mirror; up close and personal. I could write a list of similarities: government hierarchy systems; split of social classes, beliefs and morals. The novel acted as a statement piece rather than a narrative, it was like watching a theory of the future as opposed to reading a ‘flowing story’. I did not feel a clear beginning, middle and end (that worked well). It was like reading a series of events happening to different characters in an alternative society. It could have resembled a non-fiction memoir sent to twenty-fourteen from the far future.
The book was travelling at a steady pace until the last fifty or so pages. The main characters were randomly dismissed as the book reached its end, almost as if the author was not too sure what to do with them. I did not feel there was a main protagonist; the role was split between four people who were outcasts to this society in some way. The Savage, who grew up with the old values; Lenina, a woman who has been conditioned well but leads her love life differently to the norm; Bernard Marx, a writer who seeks more than what he sees and Helmholtz Watson, who feels like he was not made for his role.
I would recommend this book for those interested in a little politics, some Utopia and a little brain food. Personally, I did not love the ending; it was like being left in a drafty room with the windows wide open. It made me think in a different light, and that is what I want from a book.