'Brave New World' is Published

Huxley's 1932 work — about a drugged, dull and mass-produced society of the future — has been challenged for its themes of sexuality, drugs and suicide.

The book parodies H.G. Wells' utopian novel Men Like Gods and expresses Huxley's disdain for the youth- and market-driven culture of the U.S. Chewing gum, then as now a symbol of America's teenybopper shoppers, appears in the book as a way to deliver sex hormones and subdue anxious adults; pornographic films called "feelies" are also popular grown-up pacifiers. In Huxley's vision of the 26th century, Henry Ford is the new God (worshippers say "Our Ford" instead of "Our Lord"), and the carmaker's concept of mass production has been applied to human reproduction. As recently as 1993, a group of parents attempted to ban the book in Corona-Norco, Calif., because it "centered around negativity."

Huxley’s vision of the future begins with a tour of the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Center, in the year of stability a.f. 632 (After Ford). “Viviparous” reproduction, that shameful secret of the past, has been replaced with manufacture; here the eggs are selected from disembodied ovaries, mixed in culture with the sperm, and incubated in a clean, sterile, efficient environment overseen by technicians—“the bizarre case,” as one critic has noted, “of a product supervising a production line.” The embryos are designated into five castes, and while the elite Alphas and Betas each come from one unique embryo per egg, the Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons are cloned (“bokanovskified”) into as many as ninety-six embryos per egg. “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?”