Brave New World

Paperback | August 28, 2007

byAldous Huxley

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Marking the 75th anniversary of its original publication, Vintage Canada is proud to publish the first Canadian edition ever of the 1932 classic Brave New World with an original introduction by Margaret Atwood.

Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs, all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone in feeling discontent. Harbouring an unnatural desire for solitude, and a perverse distaste for the pleasure of compulsory promiscuity, Bernard has an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations, where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress.… Huxley’s ingenious fantasy of the future sheds a blazing light on the present and is considered to be his most enduring masterpiece.

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From the Publisher

Marking the 75th anniversary of its original publication, Vintage Canada is proud to publish the first Canadian edition ever of the 1932 classic Brave New World with an original introduction by Margaret Atwood.Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashin...

ALDOUS HUXLEY, born in 1894, wrote some of the most famous and enduring books of the twentieth century. His works include the classic novels Brave New World, Island, Eyeless in Gaza, and The Genius and the Goddess, as well as the nonfiction volumes The Devils of Loudun, The Doors of Perception, and The Perennial Philosophy. He died in ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 0.75 inPublished:August 28, 2007Publisher:Random House of CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:030735654X

ISBN - 13:9780307356543

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Customer Reviews of Brave New World


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic A great read with an interesting social commentary. Read it in high school and it became one of my favourite novels. Happy to now own it. Highly recommend if you're interested in dystopian fiction.
Date published: 2017-01-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Brave New World Very unique book made me look at society differently.
Date published: 2016-12-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Uncomfortable but True This book causes you to take a critical look at society which can be uncomfortable if you prefer blissful ignorance.
Date published: 2016-12-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Freakishly Accurate I actually see reflections of several crazy elements of the book playing out in daily life. Do read this book!
Date published: 2016-12-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from haunting this will haunt you forever (that's good!). its thought-provoking theme resonates with what we see in our world today
Date published: 2016-12-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Dystopian A great dystopian novel that isn't specifically YA, which is increasingly hard to find. I highly enjoyed it #PlumReview
Date published: 2016-12-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Relevant This book has a strong message like 1984 that is still poignant in today's society
Date published: 2016-12-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Classic Thought provoking indeed
Date published: 2016-12-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A sporadic and often times chaotic read I was expecting more from this so-called classic. The novel never really landed for me. It felt too chaotic and unstructured with plot points that felt like the author never went back to edit what he had written. It was interesting at times, but better narrative structure and less Christian-moral preaching would have made for a much more enjoyable book.
Date published: 2016-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Required Sci-Fi Reading A potent statement on the advancement of human society which, in this novel,is caught between being backwards and crazy and advanced and crazy. Highly readable and highly recommended.
Date published: 2016-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic This is a superior book to 1984 in my mind, and more prophetic. This book really makes you think like few others.
Date published: 2016-11-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Makes you think Makes you think about society.Which is a good thing
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Read for School - Decent! An alright read. Not very fresh or well put-together.
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Scary future It does not seem like a very distant future anymore. A real classic, that will impress you with the foresight of a society slave of the pleasure and the prejudices. Along with 1984 (that I personally believe they are two visions that don't exclude each other), together are the most scary eye opener we can get.
Date published: 2015-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An eye opener. "Brave New World by Aldous Huxley" was a brillant dystopian novel that masterfully depicted a religion against science conflict. It featured a society where era's was measured by Before Ford or After Ford, instead of B.C. and A.D. People were not born normally but mass produced in Petri dishes. Drug use, sex, adultery, and other immoral things were praised, and the government was ruled in totalitarian. It was then tested by the main characters of the novel who showed the religious and morally proper mindset that our society currently supports. The ideal audience for this novel is late teens and up with the explicit material this novel holds. I think the themes created in this novel make this dystopia so controversial, that it's just brillant and so hard not to talk and think about it. This novel is certainly one to read and something people can learn from and see where our society could end up if we don't take things seriously. It's just amazing to see how religion, art, freedom, can really take away what the basis of humanity is. That there seems to be no point in life when there is no goal or risk to be taken in this society where everything is stable and so immoral. This novel should be read and enjoyed by our older youth, or our "future leaders".
Date published: 2013-04-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Creative World, Weak Plot. Brave New World Book Review Brave New World by Aldous Huxley Published by HarperCollins in New York City, NY in 1932 268 Pages If you’re one of those people who look at today’s society and wonder if the future will be any better, Brave New World might crush your hopes a little. This dystopian themed novel by Aldous Huxley will immerse you in a future where you should throw away all your current morals before entering unless you feel like having the world as you know it turned upside down and inside out. With technology ruling mankind, causal sex and drugs in every street corner, and a totalitarian government, this book is not for a young audience or those easily offended. Published back in 1932, at the time the morals and ideas portrayed in Huxley’s book might have seemed even more disturbing than they appear now due to society still being not quite as diverse as now. At the time there were quite a few books that were using the dystopian theme. 1984 by George Orwell in particular is often compared to Brave New World as both share a distinct similarity. Brave New World, despite offering some unique characters and a well thought out setting of a technology-takes-over-man dystopian society, fails to back them up with a strong plot which is confusing at many times and at some points, quite disturbing. The tale starts off with an introduction to how humans are “formed” and raised in a special manner so that they develop in a very specific way, opening the doors to one of the book’s main themes: technology. As the plot progresses, more characters are introduced, with some being the stereotypical citizen of this high tech future, and others seeming more similar to our current people. Eventually apart from society in the city is introduced and they are followers of religion, not science, and considered to be more like animals by those within the science based society. An ambassador from these “Savages” eventually comes in contact with the head of the Society and two worlds begin on their travel on a dangerous path that may lead to the destruction of one of their worlds with one wrong step. Huxley takes a stab at trying to create the image of a future where human morals and emotions have no place in society and all is controlled by technology and everything is already planned out for everyone. The moment these “people” are born they have their lives set in stone already. While his attempt was decent, there are still points in the plot that leave many scratching their heads wondering what just happened or why it happened. Brave New World includes several slightly hidden references to many modern day problems or conflicts which are quite easy to connect to. For one there is the reference to the drug and alcohol problem in today’s youth which is demonstrated by Huxley’s use of “Soma” a concoction consisting of beer and cocaine. Another major theme is how we as humans are being taken over by technology as it advances more and how science and religion will always collide at one point or another. While these are very relatable subjects, Huxley seems to take them to an extreme where it is almost becoming hard to believe our problems will escalate to that point. There are a few issues that the book could have addressed but didn’t, such as pollution which was slowly becoming a bigger problem in the era when it was written, along with political tensions that may stir up a war, especially since world war II broke out soon after this book was written. While reading through the book, some might get rattled by how far our current problems have come, along with how they might even relate to yourself and others around you. In terms of creating a dystopian world, Huxley has done a fantastic job, detailing it well and really letting you feel how all your current morals are no longer in use and emotions are a thing of the past. But without a stronger plot to back up this well thought out world, Brave New World doesn’t satisfy completely.
Date published: 2013-04-16
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Eight Bookcases Check out my review of Huxley's work on my blog at:
Date published: 2012-09-30
Rated 2 out of 5 by from I prefer 1984 more. I don't know. :/ There's something about the way Huxley developed the book makes it impossible for me to get through. I can't believe I picked this book for my English assignment. This book is just odd. No doubt deep in life lessons but also full with mumble jumble. Not a fan! Took me about 2 months to get through a 255 page book. :/ I can't say more.
Date published: 2012-08-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Savage or Soma. . . Brave New World is a book about cloning people who have to live in whatever caste they were born into. They are raised and conditioned into the people they will become. There are people who live free from this society that live on reservations. This book made me feel really sad when I read it. It really makes you think of humanity as a whole, and makes you focus on the fact that we'll never see true peace. We are destructive by nature, we crave power and control over life. This book shows a society where everyone is happy, but there is no real connections or literature or music in this world. The books society takes the very nature of freedom away from the people and makes them into sheep. It's a sad, bleak look at society. Maybe John did find the only way to be happy in his society as seen by his pair of feet. "Slowly, very slowly, like two unhurried compass needles, the feet turned towards the right; north, north-east, east, south-east, south, south-south-west; then paused, and, after a few seconds, turned as unhurriedly back towards the left. South-south-west, south, south-east, east. …"
Date published: 2012-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great visionary Aldous Huxley's look at a supposed "utopian" society left a great many readers hoping that they would never themselves live in such a society. The society was reliant on a hallucinogen to sustain them, and drew pleasure only from that and a vast selection of strange sensual inventions. The work was visceral, sparing no details, and the characters reminded people of the worst and best parts of themselves. Nevertheless, it was considered worldwide as an amazing book, and ultimately, ended up influencing the world for the better, with its forward-thinking ideas and political views. Today, "Brave New World" is still as relevant as it was when it was written in 1931. The story is fantastic, the characters are believable and interesting, and it has stood the test of time well. Recommended for anyone who enjoys a good 'what-if' scenario.
Date published: 2011-01-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not bad. Not the best utopia book I've ever read, and at times it was a bit hard to follow, but it had a very interesting concept behind it. Enjoyable for the most part.
Date published: 2010-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Crazy amazing. Crazy. Amazing. Definitely to be read at least once in one's life, in my opinion. Huxley's BNW is fascinatingly and scarily accurate.
Date published: 2010-06-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Intriguing I had to read this book for school, and even though it's not what I usually go for, it was pretty interesting. Personally, I thought it was boring at times, but the main idea behind the story was really intriguing. It made me wonder whether happiness can really exist without its opposite, and whether life would be better or worth living if we didn't have obstacles to overcome. To tell you the truth, it's a little scary thinking of living in the society Aldous Huxley created in "Brave New World", and that alone makes this book worth reading.
Date published: 2009-03-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I've finally read it, and I'm content in my discomfort Good Ford! I sit here exhausted after finishing Brave New World, and the first thought to enter my mind is that I am grateful to my High School English Department for not including it in our studies, as I’m sure it would have sent me into a fast and furious depression. Alas, I feel that a gramme of soma may be my only recourse. haha Huxley’s didactic and political satire has sent me into a spiral of whirling emotions, as I draw far too many comparisons from his dystopian society to our modern day. A revolutionary of his time, Huxley’s oppressive World State is not a far cry from the western world, as he conjures up images of the lower-caste members as “… a long caterpillar of men and women travelling home on the monorail.” (Wasn’t I a part of that caterpillar in my trek home on the TTC yesterday, minus the doses of soma to keep things civil?) How about the nine-years war, which created a state of fear and panic, forcing the government to take charge and control all measures of the World State in pedantic form, in order to stabilize society and provide uniform happiness? However, to me, enforced happiness seems just as ridiculous and unattainable as enforced democracy. Of course one could argue that both of these things are illusions, in and of themselves anyway. One of the most disturbing aspects of this ‘fictional’ world is the use of a structured class system, derived by embryo manipulation, sleep hypnosis, and the numbing soma, to create a population of slaves who happily carry out the dirty work for the upper-caste members of society. This of course being the most powerful parallel to western civilization, as the capitalist machine oppressively ensures that immigrants and children of low-income families get stuck in the cycle of low-paying, dead-end jobs, unable to afford an education that could possibly enhance their opportunity for personal growth. How would consumerism continue at this accelerated rate if everyone were educated? Who would take on the monotonous task of flipping the burgers, or working the assembly lines? In the end, theirs is a sacrifice for the greater good of the collective. (I can’t help but be reminded of the Borg.) And if they complain, just write them a prescription for the latest anti-depressant or anti-psychotic that the ravenous pharmaceutical monster is peddling. All in all, the World State is a mirror of our world wrought with consumerism, sexual liberation and sedation through government-issue medication, simply exaggerated. In this state of disillusionment and contentment through instant gratification, the truth of our existence is lost. Without our passion for each other, artistic expression, scientific exploration or dogma, what is the purpose of our time here on earth? I choose to live life on my own terms, and if that means I must suffer through pain, misfortune, destitution and fear, then so be it. At least this will sustain in me an ability to recognize and enjoy pleasure, prosperity, security and heroism. The struggle, of course, is maintaining the balance.
Date published: 2009-01-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Eerie I read 1984 in high school, but not Brave New World until recently at age 34. I used the word "eerie" as my review title not only because this is the world we live in now, but also (and more so) because we as a collective society are voluntarily striving for. We have countless self-righteous advocate groups that use media and lobbying to sway opinions in their favour that become a society norm. Our children are "grown" through an education system that now goes beyond teaching math, reading and writing to one that teaches our children relative morals - we as parents no longer have a say in our children's upbringing and way of thinking and if our teachings defy the modern left and their politically correct ways we are wrong. We are striving towards a world that is fully pre-planned and does not require real individual decision making. It's hard to imagine that this book was written in 1932. What insight you had Huxley!
Date published: 2008-06-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Pretty good. I had to read it for Grade 11 high school. It was alright.
Date published: 2008-06-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Where do I start. This book is just amazing. I just finished reading Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and I have to tell you that it is a must must must read. This book caused me to miss my subway stop and not even realize I missed my subway stop until we were standing for a long time and I wondered what’s taking so long to move just to realize I was at the end of the line. This book talks about a time when children are harvested in bottles to remove the need for mothers , fathers and relatives. The word mother and giving birth is considered a very shameful thing. It talks about a time when children are conditioned in their sleep and all their lives to be satisfied, happy, work hard without asking any questions where all their carnal desires are met. This book talks about a time when not having sex is considered abnormal, having only one sexual partner is abnormal and a big shame and it is considered “good manners” to pat a woman’s behind. It talks about a time where you can erase your worries by having soma and everything feels good again and you are happy again. A savage is brought into this world as an experiment and we see this world through his eyes and what a a journy it is. Is this a Utopia where there is no illness, no growing old and no unhappiness? You can have whatever you want, consume as much as you want, be beautiful and young till the day you die. Or is it a Dystopia because you can have anything anytime making everything lose it’s value? If you could have sex all the time ,with as many people as you want dosn’t it make it lose it’s value and it becomes like eating ? Wouldn’t a hungry person enjoy good food a hundred times more than a person who just got his fill? An excerpt: A man grows old; he feels in himself that radical sense of weakness , of listlessness, of discomfort, which accompanies the advance of age; and, feeling thus, imagines himself merely sick, lulling his fears with the notion that this distressing condition is due to some particular cause, from which, as from and illness, he hopes to recover. Vain imaginings! That sickness is old age; and a horrible disease it is. They say that it is fear of death and of what comes after death that makes men turn to religion as they advance in years. But my own experience has given me the conviction that, quite apart from any such terrors or imaginings, the religious sentiment tends to develop as we grow older; to develop because, as the passions grow calm, as the fancy and sensibilities are less excited and less excitable, our reason comes less troubles in it’s working, less obscured by the images, desires and distractions, in which it used to be absorbed; whereupon God emerges as from behind a cloud; our soul feels, sees, turns towards the source of the light; turns naturally and inevitable; for now that all that gave to the world of sensations it’s life and charm has begun to leak away from us, now that phenomenal existence is no more bolstered up by impressions from within or from without, we feel the need to lean on something that abides, something that will never play false - a reality, an absolute and everlasting truth. Yes, we inevitably turn to God; for this religious sentiment is of its nature so pure, so delightful to the soul that experiences it, that it makes up to us for all our other losses” ‘ Mustapha Mond shut the book and leaned back in his chair. ‘ One of the numerous things in heaven and earth that these philosophers didn’t dream about was this’ (he waved his hand), ‘us, the modern world. “You can only be independent of God while you’ve got youth and prosperity; independence won’t take you safely to the end.” Well, we’ve now got youth and prosperity right up to the end. What follows? Evidently; that we can be independent of God. “The religious sentiment will compensate us for all our losses.” But there aren’t any losses for us to compensate; religious sentiment is superfluous. And why should we go hunting for a substitute for youthful desires, when we go on enjoying all the old fooleries to the very last? What need have we of repose when our minds and bodies continue to delight in activity? of consolation, when we have soma? of something immovable, when there is the social order?’ ‘then you think there is no God?’ ‘No, I think there quite probably is one’ ‘Then why…?’ Mustapha Mond checked him.’But he manifests himself in different ways to different men. In our modern times he manifested himself as the being that’s describes in these books. Now…’ ‘ How does he manifest himself now?’ Asked the savage. ‘Well, he manifests himself as an absence, as though he weren’t there at all.’ Lots to think about and ponder after reading this book so I will leave it for you to decide. It’s definitely going on my favourite books of all time list.
Date published: 2007-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Huxley's Classic Distopian SF It's a classic. Huxley writes the quintessential distopian novel of the future. Our possible present.
Date published: 2007-12-06
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Review Having heard from countless sources how great this book is, I was excited when I finally had the opportunity to read it. Sadly, the book was not at all what I expected. It started off well, describing the scientific intricacies involved in creating and molding human beings. Instead of blossoming, however, the story quickly became unbearably boring. There was no clear plot to draw the reader in, and the characters were completely one-dimensional. Finally at page 56, Huxley's prose deteriorated to the point where I was tempted to throw the book out the window. At that point, I decided not to continue. What a disappointment.
Date published: 2007-12-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Chemical Happiness? Could your happiness and life be dicatated by the effects of a little pill? This book is an absoultely amazing (considering it was written 70 years ago) description of today's society. It startelling to see how far society has degenerated and this book issues a passive yet potent warning of where this could lead. Head the warning from past.
Date published: 2000-12-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Brave New World isn't so far away.... Imagine a world where your alotted position in life was one you were chemically and mentally made to accept? Where people are grown in test tubes and taught that such words as "mother" and "birth" are obsene. This is the frightening portrait of a futuristic world painted by Aldous Huxley in this infamous work which will have you pondering our own beliefs and what is to come for weeks after enjoying it.
Date published: 2000-09-26

Extra Content

Read from the Book

Chapter IA squat grey building of only thirty-four storeys. Over the main entrance the words, Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, and, in a shield, the World State’s motto, Community, Identity, Stability.The enormous room on the ground floor faced towards the north. Cold for all the summer beyond the panes, for all the tropical heat of the room itself, a harsh thin light glared through the windows, hungrily seeking some draped lay figure, some pallid shape of academic goose-flesh, but finding only the glass and nickel and bleakly shining porcelain of a laboratory. Wintriness responded to wintriness. The overalls of the workers were white, their hands gloved with a pale corpse-coloured rubber. The light was frozen, dead, a ghost. Only from the yellow barrels of the microscopes did it borrow a certain rich and living substance, lying along the polished tubes like butter, streak after luscious streak in long recession down the work tables.‘And this,’ said the Director opening the door, ‘is the Fertilizing Room.’Bent over their instruments, three hundred Fertilizers were plunged, as the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning entered the room, in the scarcely breathing silence, the absentminded, soliloquizing hum or whistle, of absorbed concentration. A troop of newly arrived students, very young, pink and callow, followed nervously, rather abjectly, at the Director’s heels. Each of them carried a note-book, in which, whenever the great man spoke, he desperately scribbled. Straight from the horse’s mouth. It was a rare privilege. The DHC for Central London always made a point of personally conducting his new students round the various departments.‘Just to give you a general idea,’ he would explain to them. For of course some sort of general idea they must have, if they were to do their work intelligently — though as little of one, if they were to be good and happy members of society, as possible. For particulars, as everyone knows, make for virtue and happiness; generalities are intellectually necessary evils. Not philosophers, but fret-sawyers and stamp collectors compose the backbone of society.‘Tomorrow,’ he would add, smiling at them with a slightly menacing geniality, ‘you’ll be settling down to serious work. You won’t have time for generalities. Meanwhile . . .’Meanwhile, it was a privilege. Straight from the horse’s mouth into the note-book. The boys scribbled like mad.Tall and rather thin but upright, the Director advanced into the room. He had a long chin and big, rather prominent teeth, just covered, when he was not talking, by his full, floridly curved lips. Old, young? Thirty? fifty? fifty-five? It was hard to say. And anyhow the question didn’t arise; in this year of stability, a.f. 632, it didn’t occur to you to ask it.‘I shall begin at the beginning,’ said the DHC, and the more zealous students recorded his intention in their note-books: Begin at the beginning. ‘These,’ he waved his hand, ‘are the incubators.’ And opening an insulated door he showed them racks upon racks of numbered test-tubes. ‘The week’s supply of ova. Kept,’ he explained, ‘at blood heat; whereas the male gametes,’ and here he opened another door, ‘they have to be kept at thirty-five instead of thirty-seven. Full blood heat sterilizes.’ Rams wrapped in thermogene beget no lambs.Still leaning against the incubators he gave them, while the pencils scurried illegibly across the pages, a brief description of the modern fertilizing process; spoke first, of course, of its surgical introduction — ‘the operation undergone voluntarily for the good of Society, not to mention the fact that it carries a bonus amounting to six months’ salary’; continued with some account of the technique for preserving the excised ovary alive and actively developing; passed on to a consider­ation of optimum temperature, salinity, viscosity; referred to the liquor in which the detached and ripened eggs were kept; and, leading his charges to the work tables, actually showed them how the liquor was drawn off from the test-tubes; how it was let out drop by drop on to the specially warmed slides of the microscopes; how the eggs which it contained were inspected for abnormalities, counted and transferred to a porous receptacle; how (and he now took them to watch the operation) this receptacle was immersed in a warm bouillon containing free-swimming spermatozoa — at a minimum concentration of one hundred thousand per cubic centimetre, he insisted; and how, after ten minutes, the container was lifted out of the liquor and its contents re-examined; how, if any of the eggs remained unfertilized, it was again immersed, and, if necessary, yet again; how the fertilized ova went back to the incubators; where the Alphas and Betas remained until definitely bottled; while the Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons were brought out again, after only thirty-six hours, to under­go Bokanovsky’s Process.‘Bokanovsky’s Process,’ repeated the Director, and the students underlined the words in their little note-books.One egg, one embryo, one adult — normality. But a bokanov­skified egg will bud, will proliferate, will divide. From eight to ninety-six buds, and every bud will grow into a perfectly formed embryo, and every embryo into a full-sized adult. Making ninety-six human beings grow where only one grew before. Progress.‘Essentially,’ the DHC concluded, ‘bokanovskification con­sists of a series of arrests of development. We check the normal growth and, paradoxically enough, the egg responds by budding.’Responds by budding. The pencils were busy.He pointed. On a very slowly moving band a rack-full of test-tubes was entering a large metal box, another rack-full was emerging. Machinery faintly purred. It took eight minutes for the tubes to go through, he told them. Eight minutes of hard X-rays being about as much as an egg can stand. A few died; of the rest, the least susceptible divided into two; most put out four buds; some eight; all were returned to the incubators, where the buds began to develop; then, after two days, were suddenly chilled, chilled and checked. Two, four, eight, the buds in their turn budded; and having budded were dosed almost to death with alcohol; conse­quently burgeoned again and having budded — bud out of bud out of bud were thereafter — further arrest being generally fatal — left to develop in peace. By which time the original egg was in a fair way to becoming anything from eight to ninety-six embryos — a prodigious improvement, you will agree, on nature. Identical twins — but not in piddling twos and threes as in the old viviparous days, when an egg would sometimes acciden­tally divide; actually by dozens, by scores at a time.‘Scores,’ the Director repeated and flung out his arms, as though he were distributing largesse. ‘Scores.’But one of the students was fool enough to ask where the advantage lay.‘My good boy!’ The Director wheeled sharply round on him. ‘Can’t you see? Can’t you see?’ He raised a hand; his expression was solemn. ‘Bokanovsky’s Process is one of the major instruments of social stability!’Major instruments of social stability.Standard men and women; in uniform batches. The whole of a small factory staffed with the products of a single bokanovskified egg.‘Ninety-six identical twins working ninety-six identical machines!’ The voice was almost tremulous with enthusiasm. ‘You really know where you are. For the first time in history.’ He quoted the planetary motto. ‘Community, Identity, Stability.’ Grand words. ‘If we could bokanovskify indefi­nitely the whole problem would be solved.’Solved by standard Gammas, unvarying Deltas, uniform Epsilons. Millions of identical twins. The principle of mass production at last applied to biology.‘But, alas,’ the Director shook his head. ‘we can’t bokanov­skify indefinitely.’Ninety-six seemed to be the limit; seventy-two a good average. From the same ovary and with gametes of the same male to manufacture as many batches of identical twins as possible — that was the best (sadly a second best) that they could do. And even that was difficult.‘For in nature it takes thirty years for two hundred eggs to reach maturity. But our business is to stabilize the population at this moment, here and now. Dribbling out twins over a quarter of a century — what would be the use of that?’Obviously, no use at all. But Podsnap’s Technique had immensely accelerated the process of ripening. They could make sure of at least a hundred and fifty mature eggs within two years. Fertilize and bokanovskify — in other words, multiply by seventy-two — and you get an average of nearly eleven thousand brothers and sisters in a hundred and fifty batches of identical twins, all within two years of the same age.‘And in exceptional cases we can make one ovary yield us over fifteen thousand adult individuals.’Beckoning to a fair-haired, ruddy young man who happened to be passing at the moment, ‘Mr Foster,’ he called. The ruddy young man approached. ‘Can you tell us the record for a single ovary, Mr Foster?’‘Sixteen thousand and twelve in this Centre,’ Mr Foster replied without hesitation. He spoke very quickly, had a vivacious blue eye, and took an evident pleasure in quoting figures. ‘Sixteen thousand and twelve; in one hundred and eighty-nine batches of identicals. But of course they’ve done much better,’ he rattled on, ‘in some of the tropical Centres. Singapore has often produced over sixteen thousand five hundred; and Mombasa has actually touched the seventeen thousand mark. But then they have unfair advantages. You should see the way a negro ovary responds to pituitary! It’s quite astonishing, when you’re used to working with European material. Still,’ he added, with a laugh (but the light of combat was in his eyes and the lift of his chin was challenging), ‘still, we mean to beat them if we can. I’m working on a wonderful Delta-Minus ovary at this moment. Only just eighteen months old. Over twelve thousand seven hundred children already, either decanted or in embryo. And still going strong. We’ll beat them yet.’‘That’s the spirit I like!’ cried the Director, and clapped Mr Foster on the shoulder. ‘Come along with us and give these boys the benefit of your expert knowledge.’Mr Foster smiled modestly. ‘With pleasure.’ They went.In the Bottling Room all was harmonious bustle and ordered activity. Flaps of fresh sow’s peritoneum ready cut to the proper size came shooting up in little lifts from the Organ Store in the sub-basement. Whizz and then, click! the lift-hatches flew open; the Bottle-Liner had only to reach out a hand, take the flap, insert, smooth-down, and before the lined bottle had had time to travel out of reach along the endless band, whizz, click! another flap of peritoneum had shot up from the depths, ready to be slipped into yet another bottle, the next of that slow interminable procession on the band.Next to the Liners stood the Matriculators. The procession advanced; one by one the eggs were transferred from their test-tubes to the larger containers; deftly the peritoneal lining was slit, the morula dropped into place, the saline solution poured in . . . and already the bottle had passed, and it was the turn of the labellers. Heredity, date of fertilization, membership of Bokanovsky Group — details were transferred from test-tube to bottle. No longer anonymous, but named, identified, the procession marched slowly on; on through an opening in the wall, slowly on into the Social Predestination Room.‘Eighty-eight cubic metres of card-index,’ said Mr Foster with relish, as they entered.‘Containing all the relevant information,’ added the Director.‘Brought up to date every morning.’‘And co-ordinated every afternoon.’‘On the basis of which they make their calculations.’‘So many individuals, of such and such quality,’ said Mr Foster.‘Distributed in such and such quantities.’‘The optimum Decanting Rate at any given moment.’‘Unforeseen wastages promptly made good.’‘Promptly,’ repeated Mr Foster. ‘If you knew the amount of overtime I had to put in after the last Japanese earthquake!’ He laughed good-humouredly and shook his head.‘The Predestinators send in their figures to the Fertilizers.’‘Who give them the embryos they ask for.’‘And the bottles come in here to be predestinated in detail.’‘After which they are sent down to the Embryo Store.’‘Where we now proceed ourselves.’And opening a door Mr Foster led the way down a staircase into the basement.The temperature was still tropical. They descended into a thickening twilight. Two doors and a passage with a double turn ensured the cellar against any possible infiltration of the day.‘Embryos are like photograph film,’ said Mr Foster wag­gishly, as he pushed open the second door. ‘They can only stand red light.’And in effect the sultry darkness into which the students now followed him was visible and crimson, like the darkness of closed eyes on a summer’s afternoon. The bulging flanks of row on receding row and tier above tier of bottles glinted with innumerable rubies, and among the rubies moved the dim red spectres of men and women with purple eyes and all the symptoms of lupus. The hum and rattle of machinery faintly stirred the air.‘Give them a few figures, Mr Foster,’ said the Director, who was tired of talking.Mr Foster was only too happy to give them a few figures.Two hundred and twenty metres long, two hundred wide, ten high. He pointed upwards. Like chickens drinking, the students lifted their eyes towards the distant ceiling. Three tiers of racks; ground-floor level, first gallery, second gallery.The spidery steelwork of gallery above gallery faded away in all directions into the dark. Near them three red ghosts were busily unloading demijohns from a moving staircase.The escalator from the Social Predestination Room.Each bottle could be placed on one of fifteen racks, each rack, though you couldn’t see it, was a conveyor travelling at the rate of thirty-three and a third centimetres an hour. Two hundred and sixty-seven days at eight metres a day. Two thousand one hundred and thirty-six metres in all. One circuit of the cellar at ground level, one on the first gallery, half on the second, and on the two hundred and sixty-seventh morning, daylight in the Decanting Room. Independent existence — so called.‘But in the interval,’ Mr Foster concluded, ‘we’ve managed to do a lot to them. Oh, a very great deal.’ His laugh was knowing and triumphant.‘That’s the spirit I like,’ said the Director once more. ‘Let’s walk round. You tell them everything, Mr Foster.’Mr Foster duly told them.

Editorial Reviews

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