Month: July 2016

What I’m Reading: Brave New World

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Rather than write a comprehensive review or plot synopsis, which I’m sure has been done many times, I’m just going to offer up a couple of thoughts that were stimulated by the book.

Brave New World is set in a Utopian future where morality of any kind is heavily discouraged. The author, Aldous Huxley, sets the stage with such a heavy hand that the effect is rather satirical at moments. For example, police wear porcine masks, monogamy is frowned upon to such a degree that it can be reported to the authorities, and the idea of marriage, fatherhood, and motherhood is considered shocking and obscene.

Some of this is obviously commentary on the communist manifesto, by Karl Marx, which proposes the idea that families should be non-existent and children should be raised by the state. Brave New World explores this idea, sometimes taking it to extremes that seem farcical. Or do they?

The further I consider the idea the more I begin to believe that Huxley was rather prescient. Though Brave New World was published in 1932 it is predictive of a society today where certain segments mock the idea of marriage, where monogamy is ridiculed, and alternative lifestyles promoted as laudable.

Of course, Huxley was not the first prophet to predict such an environment. The prophet Isaiah says the following in the Old Testament verse (Isaiah 5:20):

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

As society continues its decline toward the ‘Utopian’ ideals that Huxley describes, we’ll suffer the consequences of the break down of the family unit, which is the bedrock of a moral, sound, and thriving society.

In Huxley’s book, John the Savage, who resists the Brave New World, ends up succumbing to its temptations and can’t live with the shame. The others who don’t fit in are sent off to island exile where they can pursue their heretical thinking without upsetting and endangering the society of brain-washed drones pursuing their lifestyles of consumption, promiscuity, and sedation.

-Joel Jenkins
Author of Weird Action & Adventure Fiction

Dead Blonde Walking

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Somewhere along the line I got the idea that I wanted to write a short piece of crime fiction. The story would start from the viewpoint of a reporter who, for all intents and purposes, appears to be the protagonist of the story. By the end of the tale that reporter is dead and the viewpoint of the story shifts to the assassin who killed her, and the reader sees that the reporter has been set up–lured to her death by the promise of an interview that will make her career.

As is often the case, one story begets another. I started thinking about the assassin–one Monica Killingsworth, or so she presented herself–and what other sordid deeds she might have been involved in. A number of these short and novella length stories, detailing her bloody exploits, were published in various anthologies and I have gathered them together along with a few stories that have never appeared before.

Monica Killingsworth has a penchant for rugged men, Turkish cigarettes, expensive jewelry, and kills people for a living. 

When Killingsworth finds herself with a bloodstream full of lethal poison and only hours to live she goes to the only friend she has–a woman she once set up to take the fall for a series of assassinations. 

With a cadre of angry hit men on their tail, she blazes a trail of bullet-riddled corpses in a desperate gambit to procure an antidote before her time runs out.