Tag Archives: Brave New World

Crome Yellow – Aldous Huxley

Crome YellowTitle: Crome Yellow

Author: Aldous Huxley

Publication Date: 1921

Review Score: 6/10

Published in 1921, Crome Yellow was the debut novel by Aldous Huxley in which he satires the fads and fashions of the time. The story combines many of the themes of literature of this period, such as the grandiose house party, the history of a rich gentry household and the painful and the misplaced love of a young man doting on the fair lady.

In a way this is the traditional country house novel in which an array of interesting characters eat, drink, debate and sponge of the willing host. However, where this work differs from the norm is in Huxley’s subtle pokes at the ridiculousness of this way of life.

Although Huxley is obviously a great writer and Crome Yellow understandably is seen as a classic novel, I found it incredibly hard going and very unsatisfying. The story is basic and uneventful, the characters are rather bland on the whole and there is very little to hold the readers interest throughout.

A couple of interesting themes do poke their head out through the book, including a reference to ideas found in Huxley’s later and more successful work Brave New World, but they are soon swept under the rug and forgotten.

If like me you have read Brave New World and want to try some of Huxley’s other works I would recommend that you avoid Crome Yellow, as it will not live up to your expectations.

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We – Yevgeny Zamyatin

Title: We

Author: Yevgeny Zamyatin

Publication Date: 1924

Review Score: 8/10

The citizens of OneState live in a glass enclosed city, made completely of straight lines, and are ruled over by the all powerful benefactor. The society is made up of numbers not names and all work in harmony for the greater good. They are We not I.

All seems well in OneState until D-503, a mathematician working on one of the state’s most vital projects, makes an unusual discovery, he has an individual soul! He has feelings for a woman that go against the benefit of the state and he starts to see himself as an individual rather than a cog in the greater machine.

Zamyatin wrote We in 1921 but it was suppressed for over 60 years in his homeland of Russia and only first published there in 1988. Due to its suppression it is less known that many other similar novels, but in fact this is the archetypal dystopian story and was the inspiration for George Orwell’s 1984.

If you like 1984 or Brave New World you will definitely enjoy We, it has less of the Hollywood shine to it, being much harsher and mechanical, but the ideas within it are incredibly inventive, especially considering the period and surroundings it was written in.

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin may not be well known but the concepts within it definitely are and Sci-Fi fans will agree that it is worth its place on the list of 1001 Books to Read Before you Die.

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Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Title: Brave New World

Author: Aldous Huxley

Publication Date: 1932

Review Score: 5/10

The year is 2540 and the world is not as we know it, the controllers have come up with the perfect society, through a combination of reproductive technology and neo-Pavlovian sleep learning. There are no families, no parents, no individuality, people are bread in laboratories and through sleep recordings taught to live harmoniously within society.

Bernard Marx has had all of the conditioning and knows how he should live, but still finds himself craving solitude and loneliness and not wanting to participate in this perfect society. With these questions swimming round his mind he decides to travel to one of the few remaining savage reserves, where the old ways of life are still practiced, but will this trip solve any of his problems?

For those of you who follow this blog more regularly, you probably know that the Sci-Fi novels tend to be among my most favourite, and so when starting out with Brave New World I was very excited! Now, the first part of the novel definitely lived up to my expectations, as the futuristic world that Aldous Huxley has created is a stark realisation of what could be possible in the future, with the perfect society seeming creepy and void of all real human emotion.

However, as soon as the main characters come into the frame and go to the savage reservation I found myself enjoying the book less and less. Firstly, it seems illogical that in a society so far advanced and aimed at getting rid of the family idea would for no apparent reason keep one small reservation where it is still practiced.

Further still, in a world where everyone is conditioned to be embarrassed and ashamed of the old family ideas it seems even more illogical that they would let people go to these reservations and interact with these savages, potentially undoing years of neo-Pavlovian conditioning.

Obviously, all of this is needed as it forms the main crux of the story, but I find it difficult to enjoy a book when something as big as this is just blown over with no real explanation or reasoning, especially in a world or perfect order and control.

The futuristic world that Aldous Huxley has created is incredibly interesting and a work of genius, but the series of events he places within it are, for me, not worthy of it. It is definitely deserving of its place in the history of Sci-Fi literature but as a story I didn’t think it lived up to its billing.

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