Monday, 8 November 2010

Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

Considering he was accused by George Orwell and others of stealing the whole plot for BNW from the Russian novel "We" that I tried to read, I thought this would be decent. If an author accuses another of plagiarism then it's got to be decent, why'd they bother otherwise?
Besides We, I suppose I read it because it's hailed as the other side of the coin to Orwell's 1984, which I enjoyed reading immensely. If I had an academic background and studied it in school, then I probably would be studying relevant subjects right now.
From the start, I knew I'd probably give up on this. Page 156/229 is where my bookmarks currently lays. Even when I was reading it for up to an hour at a time, I felt the prose and the ideas really weren't forming any sort of accessibility for me as a reader. The characterisation was just so foggy, and the plot seemed to lack any logic. Doing test tubes, from 20 different perspectives in the factory, introducing characters with multiple aliases without understanding who and what they are in the story.. flying off to Indian jungles, around the world, trying to describe druggy trips on “soma”.. . It was like reading a P.K. Dick novel at times, where all the characters really are androids. 
The first bit is all about the cloning and test tubes, and a load of pseudo-science almost hard sci-fi that really isn't enjoyable to read. The characters were really poor. Bernard Marx, the main character goes off to some jungle place and drags a woman called Lenina with him, who Huxley is supposed to use as a girlfriend-type character, but then ends up dropping her for way to long to talk about crap he hasn't introduced properly. There they meet a clone and her son, called John, or “The Savage”, unless the latter refers to the mother as well. She was sent there, for some reason. I don't know if I'm correct, or if I've even got the characters names right, let alone understand the messages about cloning and utopia the book is supposed to cover. There's also a father in the factory and he comes back with the mother in some helicopter of some sort that he tries to describe in a lot of flying scenes but feels more like you're drowning.. and they seek him out and shame him because being a father is bad in this world. He's a man of authority too. You don't really find out what happens, but that's not the intention you see.. Again the plot fails to make any sense. Is there a valid term called “skim-writing”?
Good ideas for the time but I think that's why this book found success. No idea about utopia but if I want to read about cloning, there are writers that can certainly.. write. And that's what makes this book and Huxley a sci-fi writer: because the ideas are more for essays, not for novels. And that's why, again, I didn't complete the book. If I did new year's resolutions, it'd probably be to finish a book in the new year, but to actually enjoy it as well.

1 comment:

Maxine said...

I've just read Aldous Huxley's Antic Hay, I think he writes wonderfully but I didn't think much of the story. I will give this one a go next year, but will bear in mind your comments.