This was a book I had been wanting to read for awhile. I read 1984 a little while ago and was interested to see what the Huxley had to add.
I think I prefer this over 1984. It was a believable world with characters and events that made perfect sense, in a very twisted way. It is easy to imagine out world morphing into the world described here. In many ways we are already on that path.
The science aspects of the book, from genetic engineering to soma to the forms of entertainment, were well done.
It is a bit disturbing, as all great dystopian books are, to realize how easily this could happen. The idea of perfect happiness for everyone, all the time, is something I think many people would want. The value of suffering, loss, and despair is underrated. The value of art and science in our current world is decreasing in the eyes of many people. Art and music are already being eliminated from our schools. Science is regularly challenged by fundamental beliefs. Out world, left on this path, could one day become the same plain, unchallenged existence Huxley imagines. One day science will advance enough that this world is a distinct possibility, and it will be the love of literature and art and truth and science that stops the constant march toward uniformity and obedience.
I was not surprised by the ending for John. It seemed like the natural conclusion to what he was witnessing and becoming in the "civilized" world. To enter this world having lived in a world that allowed love and beauty would be tragic. I think the most tragic character of all though was Mustapha Mond. He knew about science and literature and willingly turned away from it; locked it away and chose to leave it behind. He was the saddest character for me. The one who, knowing about the other option, still chose to live like that.