What Do I Read Next?
- 1984 (1948) George Orwell’s dystopian novel, was written after Brave New World and after the rise and fall of Hitler and Stalin. It paints a far more grim, violent, and oppressive picture of the future. Unlike Huxley, who wrote his novel before television began to appear in American homes, Orwell incorporates into his futuristic vision a role for television, an invention whose influence and possibilities, good and bad, were just beginning to be imagined at the time the book was written.
- Brave New World Revisited (1958) is a collection of essays Aldous Huxley published to expand upon the trends explored in Brave New World. In it, Huxley talks about the social and scientific developments since writing the book, and he reveals what he would change in the book if he were to rewrite it. Most significantly, he says in retrospect he wishes he would have incorporated some of the grimmer aspects of totalitarianism, which revealed themselves in the 1930s, and would have given the Savage more than just two choices, sanity or insanity. He would have allowed the Savage some sort of compromise, a way to live within a flawed society.
- Point Counter Point (1928) is a novel Huxley wrote before Brave New World, and it is considered one of his finest. The complex narrative structure imitates the rhythms, harmonies, and dissonance in music (counterpoint is a musical term referring to a contrasting melody structure). The main character, Philip Quarles, wants to write novels like the one he is in, which incorporate musical ideas. Other characters, his wife and friends, have very different experiences, dreams, and perceptions, and are mouthpieces for Huxley’s many ideas.
- This Perfect Day (1970) by Ira Levin is another futuristic novel about a totalitarian society with very different values from that of contemporary society. As in Brave New World, citizens dull their pain and fears through drugs and are genetically very similar. Those who have some genetic differences have a greater tendency to be dissatisfied with the pacified society, which is controlled by a huge computer that dispenses mood-altering drugs.
- The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) by Margaret Atwood is the story of a woman named Offred who lives in the Republic of Gilead, an oppressive society of the future in which women’s roles are severely limited. Gilead is, in fact, America in the future after right-wing extremists have taken over and virtually enslaved women in service to men.