Utopian Literature


The most fascinating about utopian stories is that although they are fictitious they represent a possible future. Some of this invented futures are worth to be strived for, but most of them should be avoided.

Before the 20th century "utopia" meant "ideal state". During and after the 20th century the nightmare-visions of a totalitarian ruled world predominate.

We live at the beginning of a new millennium, the era of information. All things considered it looks as though Utopia is very close to us now from the technical point of view. The periods of technical development are shorter and shorter; the knowledge (biological, physical, mathematical,...) is immense and the importance of computers which get faster and faster (the faster they go the more they take over responsible tasks) is increasingly growing.

This all results in many consequences, partly very bad for nature and environment, often also bad for quality of life.

In this situation it is important to a high degree to look forward, to plan the future carefully; to avoid continuing making mistakes which destroy our planet finally; to prevent wars that lat disappear whole cities in a few days.

We should be grateful to writers like George Orwell and Aldous Huxley for their prophetic stories because we need their arguments, no matter if they are warning or optimistic to learn from mankind's mistakes. Reading Fahrenheit 451, 1984 or similar stories we are made conscious of our responsibilities and duties.

There are enough utopian stories to deal with (Jules Vernes: Paris in the 20th Century, George Orwell: Animal Farm, H.G.Wells: The War of the Worlds, ...); I've picked out 4 very popular ones from which I think they offer very interesting points of view.



H.G.Wells was born in Bromley, Kent in 1866, to a working class family. His mother worked as a maid and housekeeper.

After working as a draper's apprentice and pupil-teacher, he won a scholarship to the "Normal School of Science" in South Kensington where he began to write. The first published work appeared in May 1887 in the Science Schools Journal - "A Tale of the Twentieth Century". After his studies he worked in poverty in London as a cramer and published his first book "A Textbook of Biology" (1893), which was to remain in print for over forty years. Wells had been in print as a professional writer, since 1891 when the Fotnightly Review published his article "The Rediscovery of the Unique". He lived on his writing in those times. But not until he published his first novel "The Time Machine" (1895) his literary career started.

H. G. Wells died in London, on 13th August 1946 at the age of 79 years, after having survived the First and Second World War.

He was a scientific visionary and social prophet. One of the most widely read British writers of his generation, he explored the new territory of science fiction and crusaded for a new social order in more than forty-four novels and social and historical books.

The Time Machine (1866)

The first publication as book was 1895 by Heinemann in Britain and in the USA by Holt.

It is a science fiction novel about the Victorian future which is more than a fantastical yarn. It raises chilling questions about progress, social orders, so called civilisation and the ultimate fate of the world. It tells the story from the present until the end of our sun-system, a cold, almost lifeless earth with a dying sun.

Wells wrote this novel mainly because Charles Darwin published and proved his theory of Evolution, which was the greatest scientific row since the trial of Galileo. Although the theory shocked society, and Wells had created another "prove" with "The Time Machine", he got positive critics like:

"The Time Machine - considered by the majority of scientific readers to be Mr. Wells's best work" - Nature Magazine.

"The Time Machine - A new thing under the sun" - The Daily Chronicle.

It's a story about evolution brought to the reader as an adventure of an old scientist who has invented a time machine. Although Wells doesn't tell the reader the names of the Victorian scientist and the Narrator, he creates a personal relationship with the reader, which is very difficult and proves again that H.G.Wells is one of the best writers.

The Time Traveller lives in a house in London, in Richmond. In the cellar he has his laboratory, his workshop, where he invents a miniature and a full- size time machine. The Time Traveller shows his disbelieving dinner guests a device he claims is a Time Machine.

In real time a week later the dinner guests visit the Time Traveller again, but instead of a settled old man they find him raged, exhausted and garrulous. The tale he tells is of the year 802701 AD of life as it is lived on exactly the same spot, what once had been London. He has visited the future, he has encountered the future -race, beautiful, vegetarian, helpless, leading a life of splendid idleness.

But this is not the only race, these are not our only descendants. In the tunnels beneath the new Eden there lurks another life form.

The end of the book is open because the Time Traveller disappears in front of the eyes of the Narrator and hasn't come back for three years although he said he'll need only half an hour for his journey.

The whole book is narrated like a diary by the Narrator who is not named.

All characters are only related to one another because of their meetings with the Time Traveller.

The action of the book plays in two main settings. One is the house of the Time Traveller in the Victorian age. The other one is on exactly the same place, on an area from Richmond until Wimbledon (in London), but in the year 802701, where everything but-physical rules-has changed. The action, if one sees it in the perspective of the Time Traveller, is strictly chronological, but in the view of all other involved persons in real time, the action has a long and exact foreshadowing.

The novel is gradually built up. It starts with an open beginning, where the Time Traveller, Provincial Mayor, Very Young Man, Psychologist, Filby and the Narrator discuss the existence and nature of a fourth dimension. The Time Traveller explains, that he found out that the fourth dimension, time, is only another dimension of space. He also tries to convey to the dinner guests that man is only able to move in two dimensions without technical help (like a balloon as technical help for the third dimension, height). He compares time with some sort of gravitation which limits our movements up or down. The Time traveller visualizes with that example, if it is like that, that it is possible, with technical help, to interrupt the floating time stream, or even move through time as one wants. To prove that to his guests, he experiments with a miniature time machine and shows his guests his lifework, the full-size version of the nearly completed Time Machine.

After a week real time, the Psychologist, Medical Man, Journalist, Editor, Silent Man and Narrator gather at the Time Traveller's. As they can't find him, they start to eat dinner. When he suddenly appears, unkempt and lame, he washes himself, eats dinner and begins his story.

"At ten o'clock this day, real time,..." the Time Traveller begins his hardly believable story about his journey. He tells about his sensations as he travelled through time, that one gets a bit sick of it, that years pass like seconds for him,... and he tells about the risks of time travelling.

The peculiar risk lies in the possibility of him finding some substance in the space which he, or the machine, occupies. As long as he travels through time at a high speed, this scarcely matters, but to come to a stop would involve the jamming of him, molecule by molecule into whatever lies in his way. That would result in a far reaching explosion and would blow him and the apparatus out of all possible dimensions into the Unknown.

But already while he was making the machine, he accepted it as an unavoidable risk, one of the risks a man has to take.

When continuing the story, the Time traveller says that when he halted, he saw some creatures, friendly, smiling, human, vegetarian, but degenerated. Their behaviour was comparable to children's, not to adult's. He says that he had dined with the creatures he met and comments on their nature and way of life. Eg. that they spoke a very sweet and liquid language. They didn't know what fear during sunshine was, their hair, which was uniformly curly, came to a sharp end at the neck and cheek, their mouths were small, with bright red, rather thin lips and their eyes were large and mild,...

The Time Traveller considers how the world of his own time could have changed to that in which he finds himself after the journey. After dinner he discovered that his machine had disappeared. He met Weena. In the early dawn of one night he caught a glimpse of creatures other than those he first met and concluded that there were two distinct peoples, those who lived above ground, and those who existed below.

Convinced the under-world creatures which he named Morlocks had hidden his machine, the Time Traveller descended to their underground caves but had to escape, empty- handed. But that action was not useless. From that moment on he knew that the Morlocks feared light and the Eloi, like he named the upperworlders, feared the dark. He considered the relationship between the two races and realized that the once- subservient Morlocks now dominated the Eloi. So he toke Weena to explore a large place, which had been a museum in former times.

During the journey Weena put some flowers into his pocket. While he tells the story he puts the flowers onto a table in his smoking room. After a short break he continues and says that it was further than he thought. With the darkness approaching, his and Weena's fear of Morlocks grew. They spent the night in safe. In the ruined museum the Time Traveller found matches, camphor and a metal bar to use against the Morlocks as a weapon.

As the Time Traveller and Weena returned from the museum, they were forced by tiredness to rest in a forest. Although the Time Traveller had set fire to the trees to fend off the Morlocks, the two were attacked and Weena disappeared which gave the Time Traveller a keen stab of pain directly into his heart. The Morlocks, however, were blinded by the raging fire.

On the next day the Traveller returned to the Eloi and found his time machine in a trap of the Morlocks, but he escaped through time. He went on into the future. During his journey he recognized that the changing of day and night got more slowly although he drove at a constant speed, which could only mean, that the earth was spinning more and more slowly. He also saw that the sun got bigger. When he stopped, he discovered a cold and almost lifeless earth with a dying sun. That shocked him that much, that he returned immediately into his own time, where he was greeted with scepticism.

As the Narrator visits the Time Traveller on the next day again, he, the Time Traveller disappears with a camera in his Time Machine.

Main characters

The Time Traveller: He is an old but lively grey-eyed man who usually has a pale face. He is very learned and wise. The Time Traveller is as reliable as all inventors of new things that weren't proved properly. He thinks unhappily about the advancement of Mankind, and sees in the growing pile of civilisation only a foolish heaping that must inevitably fall back upon and destroy its makers in the end.

The Narrator: He is one of the most constant guests of the Time Traveller. He is a young man, who believes the Time Traveller because of the things he saw (the flowers, the Time Traveller disappearing). But he also has his own point of view of the future. For him future is still black and blank - is a vast ignorance, lit at a few casual places by the memory of the Time Traveller's story.

A Psychologist: He always tries to destroy a theory with facts that are universally accepted.

A Medical Man: He is a very realistic thinking man. He trusts his eyes but doesn't make premature decisions.

A Provincial Mayor: He doesn't really understand the matters of science, but tries hard to do so.

Filby: He is an argumentative person with red hair.

A Very Young Man: Smokes cigars, is very young and gullible

A Editor: He believes that the Time Traveller is only an old man who made "telling fantastic stories" to his aim.

A Journalist: He thinks the same as the Editor.

A Silent Man: plays his part perfectly. Silent in action and sound.

The Eloi and the Morlocks: Those were the two species that resulted from the evolution of man. Those two were now in the year 802,701 AD sliding down towards, or had already arrived at, an altogether new relationship. The Eloi who were the Upperworld people, might once have been the favoured aristocracy, and the Morlocks, their mechanical servants. But that had been long ago. The Eloi, like Carlovingan kings, had decayed to a mere beautiful uselessness, since the Morlocks, subterranean for innumerable generations, had come at last to find the daylight surface intolerable. In contrast to the Upper-worlders, to whom fire is a novelty to watch and play with, the Morlocks fear any light because their eyes were that sensible that they could see under the surface of earth.

Weena: One of the Eloi women. She fell in love with the Time Traveller because he saved her life. Weena had the oddest confidence in the Time Traveller. She followed him everywhere he went and tried to delight him when he got upset. The Eloi feared the darkness like the Morlocks the light but nevertheless Weena followed the Time Traveller into the darkness. After one week queer friendship for about a week, during a journey, the Time Traveller and Weena got attacked by Morlocks and Weena died.

George Orwell


George Orwell, whose real name is Eric Blair, was born in India in 1903, and was educated at Eton, where he contributed regularly to the various college magazines. From 1922 to 1927 he served with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, an experience that inspired his first novel, Burmese Days (1934). Several years of poverty followed. He lived in Paris for two years before returning to England, where he worked successively as a schoolteacher and bookshop assistant, and contributed reviews and articles to a number of periodicals. Down and Out in Paris and London was published in 1933. In 1936 he was commissioned by Victor Gollancz to visit areas of mass unemployment in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and The Road to Wigan Pier (1937) is a powerful description of the poverty he saw there. In 1937 he went to Spain to fight for the Republicans and was wounded.

During the Second World War he was a member of the Home Guard and worked for the BBC. In 1943 he joined the staff of a newspaper and was sent to France and Germany as a special correspondent. He suffered very much from sickness and poverty during his life and died of tuberculosis in 1950.

His works include: Down and Out in Paris and London, Burmese Days, The Road to Wigan Pier, Coming Up For Air, Keep the Aspidistra Flying and Homage to Catalonia. Animal Farm made Orwell famous when it was published in 1945; Nineteen Eighty-Four had a similar success later.

1984 (1948)

Nineteen Eighty-Four, which is written in 1948, is a nightmare picture of life in totalitarian England as it might be in the next generation. Orwell puts forward the horrible theory in Nineteen Eighty-Four that people can be dehumanized and swayed in any direction ideologically if exposed to sufficient physical torture. Nineteen Eighty-Four is a vision of the future as nightmare rather than paradise. Orwell's police state is terrifying, life in it is grim and miserable. The book is a warning of what might happen if totalitarianism covered the whole world.

In Nineteen Eighty-Four the world is divided up into the three super-states of Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia, each in a permanent state of war with the other. Britain is part of Oceania and has the name of Airstrip One. It is governed by the Party through the Ministry of Peace, which runs the war, the Ministry of Love, which accommodates the headquarters of the secret police, the Ministry of Plenty, which deals in scarcities, and the Ministry of Truth, which handles propaganda. The Leader, who is never seen in person, is Big Brother and his face looks down from every wall. In every room there are telescreens which not only broadcast propaganda but can see what the people are doing in their private lives. No one is allowed to criticise the Party and "thought crime" is punished by terrible torture and certain death. Living conditions are bad, everything is scarce and of bad quality. The (imaginary) enemy of the people is Emmanuel Goldstein, who directs the activities of the Brotherhood, Oceania's enemies in the other super-states. Every day there is a "Two Minutes Hate"-session during which the face of Emmanuel Goldstein is shown on screens and the population is whipped up into a frenzy of fury against him. The Party's goals can be summed up in their mottos. "WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH."

"War Is Peace" is the belief that when two countries are perpetually at war they are perpetually at peace. Both countries are gaining a few cities at a time, and then losing them. The war never endangers any of The Party's inhabited land. When this happens both sides citizens are at peace and not threatened by war. "INGSOC", which means English socialism, knows what it wants. It is the high, it wishes to stay high. The way it does it is by keeping its middle and low in constant drudgery. They falsify information to make it seem as if it is always getting better, and through twists in double speak, it is.

"Freedom Is Slavery" means that as an individual you will die off. As a group you are immortal. You are part of a collective culture that will live on forever.

"Ignorance Is Strength" is the idea that by keeping the people ignorant, they will not realize what is really going on. The Party keeps The Outer Party ignorant by constantly changing The Truth, and destroying all data that could prove the situation otherwise. The Party keeps The Proles ignorant by keeping them pleased. They are of no menace to The Party because they are incapable of intelligent thought.

In Orwell's novel, there is used a new and interesting language to take the place of traditional English with its uncomfortable associations. It is based on short, clipped words which arouse the minimum of echoes in the speaker's mind and which make it impossible to think of measures against the Party. It is "Newspeak". The vocabulary has been gradually reduced in power, the language becomes more and more simplified (plus good, double plus good,...).

There will be no possibility to commit thought crime as soon as everybody speaks Newspeak, because there will be no words to express it. The purpose of Newspeak is not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of INGSOC (the party's ideology), but to make all other modes of thought impossible. When everybody will speak Newspeak, a heretical thought, diverging from the principles of INGSOC will be unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words. Newspeak was designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought.

If Nineteen Eighty-Four is an accessible novel, that is because of the lucidity of Orwell's writing.

Orwell demonstrates in a lucid way what will happen if the individual loses his majority, if Big Brother takes control of human beings. I guess the novel wants to impart the understanding that it depends now on the individual not to let come true such a future. But the problem seems to be that in our present the individual and the whole society is more and more apathetic, indifferent and gullible, so it will be possible to take control over the world, if you take advantage of this weakness.

In order to change the future and the present you do not need to own a time machine. You simply have to control the past. In 1984 the government, The Party, controlled the past. They are able to destroy all proof that something did or did not happen. If at the beginning of the year The Party published an estimate that 5 million kids would be born that year, and only 2 million were really born they would destroy all evidence of them ever having estimated 5 million. They would find all of the newspapers with this information in and destroy them. The Ministry of Truth would have someone change the estimate to something like 3 million babies. Then the next newspaper article would state that they actually over-filled their quota.

This is a very scary thought. The Party in the book is able to destroy all of the references that something, even a person, ever existed. Although you knew he had, you could never find proof that it was true.

The really scary part about this is that we could do this with even greater ease today. Since most information is now kept on disks, and backed up onto even more magnetic media, one could simply destroy all areas where the data said that someone had existed. The only problem would be finding the newspapers and other references, which could be taken care of by agents of the government.

Main characters

Winston Smith: A member of the Outer Party, is a thirty-nine years old man who is filled with an impotent rage at those who control his life. He is a loner and a loser, a prospectless member of the lower upper-middle class. He thinks and works against the Party because he feels responsible for the next generation. But in the last part Winston, is dehumanized and swayed in any direction ideologically because he was exposed to sufficient physical torture. At the end he loves Big Brother.

Julia, also a member of the Outer Party, is a sympathetic an pleasing character. It is possible that she contains something of Orwell's first wife, Eileen, who died in 1945. Certainly Julia has a solididity and a touch of humour that are lacking elsewhere in this novel. She seems to be a perfect Party-member, because she spends much time to organize campaigns for the Party and screams loudest when Goldsteins picture is shown on the telescreen during the hate-minutes. At the end she is also dehumanized like Winston. She betrayed him, too.

O'Brien: Is a member of the Inner Party. During the novel he always behaves in the way of a teacher or parent. He doesn't only try to make Winston betray Julia but also stop loving her. This is the complete surrender which O'Brien works for. He and his Party are the only winners.

Emmanuel Goldstein is the leader of an underground organisation called "The Brotherhood". Nobody knows if he and the organization really exist. Goldstein is said to be the author of "The book" which is criticising the party's politics and the structure of society. Party members have to hate him and his picture is shown on the telescreen during the hate-sessions and the people have to shout at it.

Big Brother: It isn't clear if Big Brother really exists. His face is shown on all telescreens almost all the time but he doesn't appear in the story himself. (Dialogue between Winston and O'Brien: Winston: "Does Big Brother exist?" - "Of course he exists. The party exists. Big Brother exists. Big Brother is the embodiment of the Party." - "Does he exist in the same way as I exist?" - "You don't exist," says O'Brien)

Winston Smith, who works in the Records Department in the Ministry of Truth, can vaguely remember a time when his parents were alive and life was different; he can hardly identify himself with the present regime. He dares to buy a diary at a junk-shop, although writing is forbidden. If he would get detected, he would be punished by death or sent into a forced labour camp. Nevertheless he starts to write into the diary, unseen by the telescreen in his room.

He also gets to know that the propaganda consists of lies and that the confessions made by enemies of the Party are not true, as he has seen old newspaper articles by chance in his records office. Normally all old records and books are destroyed or changed to suit the purposes of the Party. He notices an intelligent-looking Party member at his Ministry called O'Brien, and he thinks that he is on his side, but does not dare to speak to him.

A girl called Julia, who works at Winston's Ministry, and whom he distrusts, slips a paper one day into his hand with the words "I love you" on it. This starts a secret love affair between the two. They meet secretly as often as they can. One day the expected sign from O'Brien comes. He tells Winston he wants to see him to talk about his work and invites him to his house. Winston goes there and O'Brien tells them that he is a secret member of the "Brotherhood"; they swear that they will do anything in their power to overthrow the Party. Some days later Winston is secretly given the forbidden book by Emmanuel Goldstein, "The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism" (1984, p.191). This describes the true state of the world and the terrible methods of the Party and it expresses what Winston already knows and feels.

He and Julia meet secretly above the antique shop of a kind old man, Mr. Charrington. Suddenly, one day, the house is surrounded and the couple gets arrested by the Thought Police.

Winston is imprisoned in the Ministry of Love and meets many old acquaintances. O'Brien comes in and Winston thinks that he has been arrested, too, but O'Brien turns out to be the head of the Ministry and is responsible for the torture.

Winston is put in a cell alone, he does not know where he is or for how long, as the fights are always burning and there are no windows. He is beaten continually, sometimes with truncheons, sometimes with steel rods, sometimes kicked by boots. In between beatings men in white coats feel his pulse and give him injections.

Winston confesses to everything he is accused of, including assassination and sabotage. He is often taken to a room where O'Brien directs the worst tortures. Although he speaks the truth every time, painful electric shocks are run through his body, so that at last he swears that 2 plus 2 makes 5 or 3 (depending on what the party wants him to say) and really believes it. But O'Brien is still not satisfied because although Winston has betrayed Julia often under torture, he has not stopped loving her. So Winston is brought into the dreaded "Room 101" where people are tortured by the "worst thing in the world" which varies from individual to individual. In Winston's case it is a cage of enormous starving rats which is fixed to his face, the two doors ready to open and let them out. In his horror he shouts out "Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! [...] Not me!". This is what O'Brien is waiting for to complete Winston's brainwashing.

Winston is free again; one day he meets Julia again in the Park. But she has betrayed him too, and their relation towards each other has changed. Winston is sitting in a café, on the telescreen news of another great victory are broadcasted. He looks at the huge portrait of Big Brother. He has won the victory over himself. He loves Big Brother.

Aldous Huxley


Aldous Leonard Huxley was born in Surrey, England, on July 26, 1894, third son of Dr. Leonard Huxley and Julia Arnold. He is the grandson of T.H. Huxley, the scientist. Aldous Huxley was educated at Eton, which he left at seventeen owing to an affliction of the eyes which left him practically blind for two or three years. This event

prevented him from becoming a doctor, for which he was grateful later on. The book Brave New World was written in 1932.

Brave New World

The story takes place in the future. In a World state, which is governed by 10 World controllers.

This brave new world is basically nothing but worldwide servitude. The world controllers are the only ones who know what is really going on. Not even the scientists in the hatchery and conditioning centre in London know anything conclusive about the world as it used to be. Only the controllers know exactly where they are leading the world to. They don't want to run a new form of tyranny - their aim is not the fear of authority and terror, it's nothing other then stability. The controllers don't have to do very much to maintain this state, they can take it for granted (as long as they can stop individualists like Bernard Marx before they can "infect" others with their ideals of personal freedom). Some things that are described as utopian in the book, written in 1932, are already reality, for example the televisions in almost every room and the "synthetic" music. Contrastingly in the book, very little has changed in the last 600 years. Which in this case seems realistic. Change doesn't fit well with stability.

The founder of the new system, Ford, seems to be very important for the system. His name appears very regularly, but not in the sense of a political revolutionary. It appears like the word "god" does in our language: "My Ford", "Ford, no!" etc. Also the new calender is based on his birth, which automatically reminds of Christianity (A.F. = Anno Fordii).

Henry Ford lived from 1863 to 1947. His book "My Life and Work" is like the "Holy Bible" in our days. He found out that family-life, love and hate are the origin of wars, social problems and instability. If you love only one person, you soon can become extreme. Mustapha Mond, one of the world controllers gives an example:

"...No wonder these poor pre-moderns were mad and wicked and miserable. Their world didn't allow them to take things easily, didn't allow them to be sane, virtuous, happy. What with mothers and lovers, what with the prohibitions they were not conditioned to obey, what with the temptations and the lonely remorses, what with all the diseases and the endless isolating pain, what with the uncertainties and the poverty- they were forced to feel strongly. And feeling strongly (and strongly, what was more in solitude, in hopelessly individual isolation), how could they be stable?"

The state of social stability is based on one single fact: everyone is happy. So the key to a functional system of servitude is making the slaves like it. If anyone is unhappy, rebels will soon develop. But if there is no unhappiness, there are no rebels. To make certain, that the people won't feel unsatisfied or unhappy, they are conditioned to like their unescapable social destiny. One method of conditioning small children is the shock therapy. If a delta-caste child picks up a book, alarm bells start sounding and sirens shriek shrilly. Nobody will ever have to worry about these children reading books, that they shouldn't.

Another way of conditioning children in class-consciousness, elementary sex and other subjects is hypnopaedia. Sleep teaching. While the child is asleep a taperecorder speaks sentences which influence it's subconsciousness. An example of a beta class-consciousness tape: "Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they're so frightfully clever. I'm really awfully glad I'm a Beta because I don't work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don't want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They're too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides they wear black, which is such a beastly colour. I'm so glad I'm a Beta".

The key to a successful enduring system is keeping the next generation calm. There are no such things as marriage, pregnancy, or raising your own children anymore. 2/3 of all females cannot have children, because they are sterile, called Freemartins. The others take Anti -Baby pills of some kind. Sexual promiscuity is part of the society. Everybody belongs to everybody. Loving one person is indecent.

Another problem would be having the same humans working in very different jobs. But even that problem is solved in the book by having created five different castes, educated separately and conditioned to be proud of their personal caste.

So everything is perfect, or isn't it?

What has brought the world to the point it has reached in the book, was the last, the ultimate revolution. It didn't take place on a battlefield, in the government building or beneath a guillotine, but in the minds of the people and in the minds of all the following generations as well. It is one of the most frightening pictures of a future system. Humans are treated like machines or just a chemical process which can be easily controlled. Aldous Huxley has drawn a really good picture of a possible future. Only a few years after he wrote his book as a warning, a part of his frightening vision became reality. In the middle of Europe books were burned (...Delta Children don't read books...). Races and confessions were treated differently. "Jedem das Seine" was written in big letters over the entrance of a concentration camp (...Everybody is conditioned to like his unescapable social destiny...).

Bernard Marx is an Alpha plus. He and his friend Helmholz Watson think that there must be more than this life. Lenina is a Betha. She works in the Hatching and Conditioning Center were the babies and children live. She is very good looking. She tried all the Alpha plus men in the center. The last one is Bernard. He offers her to make a trip to the savage reservation. Before they fly to the reservation Bernard's director tells him the story about a girl who got lost when he was in the reservation with her. When Lenina and Bernard arrive at the reservation they make a trip to the village. A blond boy lives in the village. After having talked to his mother Bernard knows that the woman is the lost girl. The boy is her and the director's son. The boy wasn't accepted in the village. Because of this he agrees when Bernard asks him if he wants to come to the "Other Place". The boy is a real attraction for the citizens of the "Other Place". In the beginning John, the savage, likes the new world but he doesn't want to take soma. John falls in love with Lenina but she doesn't understand that he doesn't want to share her with other men. Once John tries to tell a group of Deltas that they will be free if they stop taking soma. After a fight he and his friends Helmholz and Bernard are brought to the world controller of Europe. Mustapha Mond talks with John about Shakespeare because this is the only book John has ever read. He explains that this is now a forbidden book. During this dialog Bernard loses control. He is brought to hospital. The world controller decides to send the two Alpha plus on a island where other people live who are to individual. John doesn't know what to do. After some time he finds an old lighthouse where he wants to live. But after a few days of peaceful life some people find him. Next day hundreds of helicopters come to the lighthouse for visiting the strange "animal". John commits suicide.

Ray Bradbury


Ray Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois on August 22, 1920 as the third son of Leonard Spaulding Bradbury and Esther Marie Moberg Bradbury. He is one of America's most famous novelists, a short-story writer, essayist, playwright, screenwriter and poet. In the fall of 1926 Ray Bradbury's family moved from Waukegan, Illinois to Tucson, Arizona, only to return to Waukegan again in May 1927. By 1931 he began writing his own stories. In 1932, after his father was laid off his job as a telephone lineman, the Bradbury family again moved to Tucson and again returned to Waukegan the following year. In 1934 the Bradbury family moved to Los Angeles, California.

Bradbury graduated from a Los Angeles High School in 1938. His formal education ended there, but he furthered it by himself - at night in the library and by day at his typewriter. He sold newspapers on Los Angeles street corners from 1938 to 1942. Bradbury's first story publication was "Hollerbochen's Dilemma," printed in 1938 in Imagination!, an amateur fan magazine. In 1939, Bradbury published four issues of Futuria Fantasia, his own fan magazine, contributing much of the published material himself. Bradbury's first paid publication was "Pendulum" in 1941 to Super Science Stories. In 1942 Bradbury wrote "The Lake", the story in which he discovered his distinctive writing style. By 1943 he had given up his job selling newspapers and began writing full-time, contributing numerous short stories to periodicals.

In 1945 his short story "The Big Black and White Game" was selected for Best American Short Stories. In 1947 Bradbury married Marguerite McClure, and that same year he gathered much of his best material and published them as "Dark Carnival", his first short story collection.

His reputation as a leading writer of science fiction was established with the publication of The "Martian Chronicles" in 1950 (published in England under the title "The Silver Locusts"), which describes the first attempts of Earth people to conquer and colonize Mars, the constant thwarting of their efforts by the gentle, telepathic Martians, the eventual colonization, and finally the effect on the Martian settlers of a massive nuclear war on Earth. As much a work of social criticism as of science fiction, The Martian Chronicles reflects some of the prevailing anxieties of America in the early atomic age of the 1950's: the fear of nuclear war, the longing for a simpler life, reactions against racism and censorship, and fear of foreign political powers.

Another of Bradbury's best-known works, the novel "Fahrenheit 451", was released in 1953 and is set in a future when the written word is forbidden. Resisting a totalitarian state which burns all the books, a group of rebels memorize entire works of literature and philosophy.

Ray Bradbury's work has been included in the "Best American Short Story collections" (1946, 1948, and 1952). He has been awarded the O. Henry Memorial Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award in 1954, the Aviation-Space Writer's Association Award for best space article in an American Magazine in 1967, the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement, and the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America. His animated film about the history of flight, Icarus Montgolfier Wright, was nominated for an academy award, and his teleplay of The Halloween Tree won an Emmy.

Ray Bradbury's writing has been honoured in many ways, but perhaps the most unusual was when an Apollo astronaut named the Dandelion Crater on the Moon after Bradbury's novel, Dandelion Wine.

Ray Bradbury currently lives in California and is still actively writing and lecturing.

Fahrenheit 451

"Fahrenheit 451 - the temperature at which book paper catches fire and burns..."

The first paper and hardcover edition were published in 1953. They contain the title novel, plus two short stories, "The Playground" and "And the Rock Cried Out". The hardcover had a print run of approximately 4500 copies.

A shorter version of Fahrenheit 451 was originally published in Galaxy Science Fiction Vol. 1 No. 5 (Feb. 1951) under the title "The Fireman".

A 40th anniversary cloth edition was published by Simon & Schuster in 1996.

This edition was limited to 7500 copies of which 500 were signed and numbered by the author.

Fahrenheit 451 is set in a future when the written word is forbidden. Guy Montag is a fireman. The fireman's orders are to destroy all books that are discovered along with the houses in which they were hidden. People don't talk to their neighbours, they aren't ought to think about various things. So they all are equal, there's no aggression against other people. The ideal picture of a human being sits in front (or even between several) video walls and watches TV all the day. Bradbury's vision is astonishingly prophetic: billboards two hundred feets long, so that speeding drivers can make sense of them;

Montag enjoys his job and never questions the destruction of books:

"It was a pleasure to burn. It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed. With the brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his head, and his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history. With his symbolic helmet numbered 451 on his stolid head, and his eyes all orange flame with the thought of what came next, he flicked the igniter and the house jumped up in a gorging fire that burned the evening sky red and yellow and black. He strode in a swarm of fireflies. He wanted above all, like the old joke, to shove a marshmallow on a stick in the furnace, while the flapping pigeon-winged books died on the porch and lawn of the house. While the books went up in sparkling whirls and blew away on a wind turned dark with burning (...)"

Montag burns lots of books, he is so reliable that he will be conveyed soon. He doesn't think about his life until he meets a young girl, Clarisse, who tells him of a past where people didn't live in fear and the written word was legal - even fireman put out the fires instead of starting them. Montag begins to think about his work, he wants to know why people wrote books in earlier times.

Montag secretly begins stealing books before they are destroyed and reads them at home when his wife sleeps. But his wife finds out about Montag's lapse and after having some arguments betrays him to the firemen. Montag's pilfering didn't go unnoticed at the firehouse, too and soon he finds himself running for his life.

Montag is able to flee from society and finds his way along an old railroad track to the dropouts.

Every person there has learnt a book by heart. After they read their books they burn them. So nobody owns a book, they only know them -this isn't forbidden. They are living books. The old ones give their imaginary books to the young ones and therefor no book gets lost. Montag gets to know Marc Aurelius, Gulliver's Travels, Schopenhauer, Aristophanes, Mahatma Gandhi,...

Bibliography and Reference

    Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (HarperCollins Publishers) George Orwell, 1984 (Penguin Books) H.G. Wells, The Time Machine (Bantam Books) Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (Penguin Books)

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