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For many years (over 50?) Huxley's Brave New World was received poorly by critics, and in many cases banned from libraries and schools.

In what way did society change so that the book is now considered an essential read (and, indeed, brought the Shakespeare quote into the modern vernacular)?

  • We became the world described in it over the last 10 years. Essentially. Go read, you'll see. – DampeS8N Jan 21 '11 at 13:56
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    Where and when was it banned ? I studied it at school in France 20 years ago and never had any idea it could be banned, at least in the western world ? It was indeed the only science-fiction, with 1984, which was thought to be "true literature" and "not really science fiction", so it could be officially taught at school... – Frédéric Grosshans Jan 21 '11 at 13:57
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    Wikipedia link about the ban: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – Frédéric Grosshans Jan 21 '11 at 14:00
  • I'm not sure reading of the "Brave New World" book would be encouraged in the brave new world society itself... so your answer do not explain the change showed in the question. – Frédéric Grosshans Jan 21 '11 at 14:25
  • @FrédéricGrosshans It would be encouraged by the few who are disenfranchised with that society, the group who've become its equivalent to our disparagingly-called "intellectual elites"... – Izkata Dec 16 '12 at 5:08
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Portions of this book hit really close to home in our present society. Several (but not all) of the predictions that were made in this dystopian sci-fi have ended up coming true. Reading this book is akin to taking an objective look in the mirror and seeing the parts of yourself that you've skillfully avoided until this point.

I think history has been the ally of this book, as detractors who claimed that the world was far-fetched and impossible have been shown to be the short-sighed ones.

Predictions that can be argued to have become true (if only for a subset of people in current times):

  • The encouragement of a "throw-away" society based on consumption to buoy the economy.
  • The increased prevalence of recreational sex and the decreased importance of the traditional family unit among some groups of people.
  • The rise of "better living through chemistry" by influencing emotions and our daily lives with drugs, sometimes without thinking of the long-term consequences of those actions.
  • The increasing stratification of society to distinct classes, and the inherent dislike that socioeconomic classes have for each other.
  • The tendency for our society to gape at people that we deem to be more primitive than ourselves instead of looking for the commonality in our existence.
  • Can you give some examples of the predictions that came true? Some that didn't? – TGnat Jan 21 '11 at 16:44
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    @TGnat See the edited answer for more specifics. – Zoot Jan 21 '11 at 17:33

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