Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sci-Fi November: Who Got It Right: Orwell or Huxley?


I noticed when I started doing my research to prepare for Sci-Fi November that a lot of "Best Sci-Fi Books" lists either have George Orwell's 1984 or Aldous Huxley's Brave New World on them. But rarely both of them on the same list. I read both novels back in 11th grade and I remember really liking Huxley's dystopia novel way better. So it made me want to pose the question: Who got it right? Orwell or Huxley?

This is a discourse that I've been thinking about for a while mostly due to this comic I stumbled upon while I was in college. I think it started to convince me that Huxley's dystopian society is closer to what we have become than Orwell's vision. 

For me, Orwell's fears of what our world would become seem more in-tune with a communist dictatorship, and Fox Mulder's conspiracy theories. While Orwell feared we would become a society repressed on every level, Huxley's fear was that we would turn into a vapid materialistic society that is too distracted to care about the world's "real" problems. That sounds kind of familiar to me. 

So which prolific sci-fi writer got it right? I think this a hard debate to conclude. Although I do like Huxley's story better, I think our world has become, or will become, a combination of both authors' predictions. While I don't agree that everything in 1984 will come to pass, I think the ideas of "War is Peace" and "Big Brother is watching you" are something that is already happening. I feel the same way about Brave New World, not everything is as Huxley predicted but I definitely feel like sometimes we take the Soma rather than faces our conflicts head on. Sometimes we are too apathetic to care about the things that really matter in our society. 

I don't think this is a debate that will ever be settled, but I want to know your opinion. Which Sci-Fi writer painted a better prediction: Orwell or Huxley? Or do you think neither of them hit the mark? Leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts.