A Reader posted a review at 2008-01-30 01:18:08.
This is the first dystopian novel I've ever read where it started out making me think, wow, if this happened to society, if this actually somehow ended up coming to pass, and there were no kinks in it, no individuals slipping through the cracks, well, I guess I wouldn't actually MIND that much.
Of course, no dystopian novel ever follows that route, there always has to be those people who don't fit into the structured society, who are dissatisfied, and that by definition means that the society isn't perfect, that the control isn't complete. In this book, it's the son of a high-ranking director that spent most of his childhood in part of the earth that remains 'uncivilized'. Along with a couple of alpha men.
But if it were perfect... the people in this society are genetically and socially conditioned to love their station in life, to be completely satisfied with it, and if ever anything bothers them, there is a euphoric drug with no side effects to take them away from it all. How could one escape from that, or, indeed, even know they were trapped? Freedom tends to take top billing in novels that are supposed to be hard-hitting and scary, but I think that freedom as an idea would cease to exist under control as complete as this society would have if it were perfect. And that is scary. To us. To them... I'm not so sure.
Anyway, the way people are conditioned in the book obviously took a lot of thought and research, and the ideas are so advanced that I wouldn't have guessed it was written in the 30's. I especially enjoy how, at the beginning, a timeline is given through conversation of how it all came to happen, a 'minor detail' which tends to irk me when it's missing in novels that assume a massive change in the future. I was very glad to see it.
Overall I was basically attached to the book by the hand for the whole time I was reading it, even though it was a second go-around... it made more sense the second time. I'd recommend reading this one slowly and paying attention to the details. It's not an easy one to follow, but it's worth it if you do.