“Science fiction” is difficult to define exactly, as it includes a wide range of concepts and themes. American science fiction and fantasy writer James Blish relates,
“Science fiction, in which a conscientious attempt to be faithful to already known facts was the substrate on which the story was to be built, and the story was also to contain a miracle.”
Aldous Huxley’s (1894-1963) Brave New World is a science fiction novel. At the same time, it also criticism of science.
Concept of science fiction
Science fiction contains different types of stories, concepts, and ideas. Imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, parallel universes, and extraterrestrial life. It has been called the “literature of ideas”, and often explores the potential consequences of scientific, social, and technological innovations.
Content of science fiction and utopian vision:
Science fiction reveals the power of imagination. Again, it’s related to the Utopian vision to do something good for the betterment of society. But the world state does everything that goes under criticism. The exploration of different planets, technical enhancement, and scientific development is the main content of science fiction. Besides, geological and climatic change is now regarded as science fiction in this modern civilization.
Brave New World is a science fiction and criticism of science.
The novel “Brave New World “renders a future society in which current ideas about evolutionary biology, genetics, population control, and psychological conditioning are traceable. In this novel, different fictional elements are also found. Here the class distinction, rules of the world state, and many more things are criticized.
Everyone in the world state behaves like a robot. They are deprived of human rights and freedom. But, It’s totally unusual in normal life. So, it’s criticized highly.
More Notes: Brave New World
Poison as medicine:
In the world state, everyone likes to take Soma for their mental recovery. It is a poisonous drug that kills a man gradually. It helps to forget the sorrows and sufferings of life. People feel better after taking a daily dose of Soma. Our protagonist sees a long line of Delta workers in the Park Lane Hospital. He wants to take them far from the poisonous Soma. He relates,
“I’ll teach you; I’ll make you be free whether you want to or not”
But his heartful efforts go in vain.
In the world state, the hedonistic culture is represented. They want only happiness and comfort. For this, they have sacrificed morality, religion, art, philosophy, and literature. So, John wants to escape from the world state. He says to Mustapha Mond,
“But I don’t want comfort. I want God. I want poetry, want real danger, I want freedom.”
Maintenance of stability
In Hatcheries and Conditioning centers stability is maintained following social classification. They are Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons. There is no family bondage. Everyone is involved in the test tube process of production. With the application of this process production rate is controlled. Here the class distinction is badly criticized.
More Notes: Aldous Huxley
Worshipping of Ford instead of God
In Brave New World people worship Ford instead of God. There are several reasons behind this worshipping. There are reasons behind the people of the World State for worshiping Ford. We come to learn from Mustapha Mond who argues with John the Savage, saying that people used to worship God before the Nine Years’ War. There were many deaths and much suffering caused by war but God did not save the people from suffering. So, after Nine years of war, people rejected God and accepted Ford, who is the hero. Now people are happy because they have no poverty, no war, and no sorrow under the influence of mass production by Ford. Here Henry Ford has taken the place of God, for his scientific discovery. so, it is highly criticized.
More Notes: Suggestions
The world state controls everything to preserve its power and stability. Everything is maintained through scientific and technical methods. As science and technology has becomes the rolling power of the world state, so the novel Brave New World fulfilled maximum condition of a science fiction. But in here everyone is not equal. They are treated like commodities. So, from superficial points of view, the novel brave New World may seem a science fiction, but it’s actually a novel of criticism of science.