Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Genre Character of the Week: John, the savage

Every once in a while I take the time to read a book off of my “I should really read that” list, which includes a lot of classics, a number of books my wife enjoys and a varied selection from friends and family.  This week I read the 1931 novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, and was swept up in the section of the story involving a savage named John who travels to a civilized world.
The story (sorry for any mild eighty-year-old spoilers) focuses on the horror of a utopian future, being an ideal place without strife, pain, hunger or fear. It’s interesting because although all of these things are absent in this world, it comes across as unbearably horrible – think of something like The Matrix,wherein everyone is happily living their lives, and they also just happen to be living batteries for (oh wait – mild twelve-year-old spoilers) for a giant computer.
In this Brave New World, there are reservations where people live in traditional ways, called savages by the people living in civilization, and one of these savages is a man named John.
Here’s what I like about John, he is incredibly well read (or as well read as a man in his situation can be), and he has an incredibly strong moral code. Unfortunately, morals aren’t really needed in a utopian society, so John’s journey is destined to be a hard one.
Overall I found the book to be quite readable, and aspects of it reminded me an awful lot of Warren Ellis’ Transmetropolitan.  Honesty, it is worth the read and it was a pretty fast read as well.

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