Review: Brave New World

Brave New World
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Brave New World appealed to me so much more than 1984 did. They both deal with similar concepts: a controlling government that imposes its own will on society. The government of 1984 does so by oppression. The government of Brave New World controls through kindness. Humans are conditioned even before birth to be consumers. They are conditioned to lack a fear of death. Each child is born predestined for a particular role in society, and through careful conditioning, developed to love playing that role.

Brave New World is going to stick in my mind for a long time, and may be one of those few books that I go back to re-read in the future. If we don't see the cage, are we free?

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Review: 1984

1984 by George Orwell

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Lots of people are exposed to 1984 in high school as required reading. I wasn't one of those people, but I still was aware of many of the concepts of the story because they are part of our common discourse with regard to politics and government. I decided it was time to get the full story and checked this out from my library.

First, an explanation of my 2-star rating. I didn't enjoy this book. I didn't care about Winston, or Julia, or any of the other characters. I felt that it wasn't even really so much as a story as it was a loose framework upon which Orwell's thoughts on communism could be hung.

That aside, Orwell's thoughts on communism and power are really interesting. While I wouldn't recommend reading the entire book, I would highly recommend reading the book within the book (Goldstein's manifesto). It is a very frank essay covering how a body in power might abuse that power to remain in power forever, and purely for power's sake. It's terrifying. The behavior of the party and Big Brother is taken to an extreme, so I don't think it is fair to say that any current government has taken the tenets of that essay to heart. However, it is easy to identify various elements in place all over the world. Whether it is falsification of the past (holocaust denial), falsification of production (North Korea), or continuous involvement in warfare.

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Review: The Light Fantastic

The Light Fantastic
The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The same whimsical humor from the first discworld book is present here. We get introduced to a handful of new characters that I hope we see more of. I thought this book was entertaining, but not something I would recommend. This style of humor is great in small samples, but I grew tired of it after the first hundred pages. Still, I will probably continue reading the series.

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Jade Mason