Brave New World was written by English author Aldous Huxley and released in 1931.
It is a classic novel of dystopian fiction and is considered to be highly influential as it was one of the first dystopian novels ever written.
The novel is set in a futuristic dystopia known as the World State. It introduces a society where lives are artificially created and controlled instead of citizens being allowed to reproduce naturally and find their own way in life.
Each citizen is indoctrinated to fit into a specific class in the hopes of keeping the world a happy and peaceful place.
During their lives, adults are controlled by the state through a series of measures such as the production of a happiness-causing pill.
The main character is a psychologist called Bernard Marx. Bernard takes a vacation outside of the World State and sees humans living free of state control.
While there, he meets Linda, an ex-citizen of the World State, and her natural-born son John. Bernard returns with Linda and John but John struggles to fit in with the mandated happiness of the World State.
If you enjoy books like Brave New World, then you’ll thoroughly enjoy books such as 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and Never Let Me Go. Check out our list of books to read after Brave New World.
Themes In Brave New World
Brave New World deals with several heavy and important themes throughout its pages. It is set in a dystopian future and totalitarian society that has complete control over its citizens.
Although these are common tropes in many dystopian novels, especially ones released after Brave New World, Huxley approaches this trope from a different perspective than many of his fellow authors.
Instead of creating a world where the populace is ruled by fear, he created a world where they are ruled by happiness.
Citizens are given a happiness-inducing pill and encouraged to have as much ‘intimacy’ as they want to.
They are given roles and jobs in life that give them a place and purpose.
They are not suffering or constantly monitored as depicted in books such as 1984, instead, they are taught to love and accept their slavery and lack of freedom.
A major method of control exerted by the World State is through technology.
The technology of Brave New World has evolved to the point that humans can be artificially created and controlled throughout their entire lives.
The state has control over all technologies and genuine scientific advancements have been stopped and are only pursued by the World State for its own benefits.
All of this technology and control has become so normalized to the citizens that when John, a natural-born human from outside the World State, arrives, he is seen as a savage and an oddity.
Brave New World also deals with themes of individuality, agency, and their relationship with happiness. In the World State, there is no room for either individuality or agency yet the average citizen is still happy.
Bernard wants more agency and freedom but when he is offered the chance to move outside of the World State and get his agency back, he refuses.
Books Like Brave New World
Now, let’s look at some recommendations for books that are similar to Brave New World (see also “Books Like 1632 By Eric Flint“). If you enjoyed Huxley’s take on a dystopian future, then these books may be to your tastes as well.
1984 – George Orwell
When most people think of books like Brave New World, 1984 is probably the first book that jumps to mind. Written in 1949, the book is set in an imagined 1984 London where the populace is under the complete control of the state.
The country is in a constant state of war although the enemy changes almost daily, and their every action is monitored and logged.
It’s similar to Brave New World as they both center around a dystopian and totalitarian society. In both books, the citizens are controlled by the state and robbed of their personal freedoms.
Both Bernard Marx and Winston Smith, the protagonist of 1984, manage to see how their individuality and agency have been taken from them and try to buck the system.
- Interesting and influential world-building
- Themes of censorship and state observation are still relevant today
- Makes the reader think
- Bleak and without little joy or hope
- Some language is outdated by modern standards
Themes: Totalitarianism, censorship, the influence of language, technology, propaganda, love
Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
This is another famous dystopian novel and is a must for anyone that enjoyed Brave New World. Fahrenheit 451 was released in 1953 and is set in a futuristic America where books have been banned.
The protagonist is Guy Montag who has the job of being a fireman, only in this dystopian world that means his job requires burning any books that are found.
Instead of reading books, the citizens of the world have their media controlled by the state and are fed a diet of inane and superficial broadcasts through gigantic screens in their homes.
At first, Montag takes pride in his job but after meeting a young neighbor named Clarisse, he begins to question his purpose and the role of books in society.
- Interesting characters
- Makes the reader think
- Themes of censorship are still relevant today
- Backstory is a little disjointed and rushed
Themes: Censorship, conformity, knowledge, freedom of information
Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
For our final recommendation of books similar to Brave New World, we’ve picked something more modern than 1984 or Fahrenheit 451.
Never Let Me Go was released in 2005 and is set in a dystopian alternate reality where human cloning has been perfected and regularly performed.
Thanks to advancements in cloning, humans are living longer and healthier lives than ever before but this comes at a cost.
The protagonist is Kathy H, a woman who spent her childhood at a boarding school in England and now works as a carer for organ donors.
The children were monitored closely at the school and they eventually discovered that their purpose is not to live happy and free lives but to be organ donors for others.
When required, they have to donate their organs which leads to them all dying young.
They are led to believe that there are methods to defer their donations to give them hope, but this is found to be lies.
- Interesting premise and ideas
- Poses thought-provoking moral dilemmas
- Writing draws you into Kathy’s world
- Love story is not well-developed
Themes: Individuality, identity, friendship, growing up, life and death
Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World is considered to be one of the most influential and important novels ever written.
It was one of the first novels in the genre of dystopian fiction and portrays a futuristic society where freedom, individuality, and agency have been replaced by totalitarian control in the guise of happiness.
The themes of the book still resonate today and its influence can be seen in many books that followed.
In this article, we recommended three other novels that are similar to Brave New World. These books are all also set in dystopias but all present different worlds and ideas.
Where Brave New World controls the populace by offering them happiness, 1984 takes the route of using fear and oppression instead.
Citizens are fed ever-changing propaganda and are constantly monitored and surveyed to ensure their compliance.
In Fahrenheit 451, control comes from the state through the form of the media.
All books have been banned and burned and citizens are instead fed broadcasts directly from the state. There is no room for freedom of expression or thought.
Never Let Me Go takes a smaller approach to dystopian fiction by concentrating on how a controlling state can affect a small group of people instead of the masses.
In this case, it follows people born to be organ donors and to give their lives so that others can live a little longer.
We hope that you enjoy our recommendations of books similar to Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s answer some of the commonly asked questions about Brave New World.
Is Brave New World Difficult To Read?
The novel was written in 1931 and does reflect the language and patterns of the time so this does need to be taken into consideration.
However, it is not a difficult book to read and is less dense than many other similar books so it shouldn’t be too challenging to read.
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