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A whole new world....

The Works has opened in Newquay now, so it's been a lot easier buying things to alter. These boxes are only a quid (bargain) so I bought three. With this one I started off by coating it in white gesso, before coating the outside in tissue paper, and spraying it with Lindy's sprays. I used a bit of black distress crayon in places, to make it look like it's been burnt. I then used texture paste through a floral stencil, and painted it with mica powder. On the inside I stamped a crackle stamp, then used various ephemera on the inside lid, using distress crayons to age them a little. I also painted the inside edge with metallic copper paint.

This is my progress on my current cross stitch so far. I'm hoping to get this one done soon, as I have another one in mind for a present for somebody. Not to mention I have a few more still in my stash!

search for a novel,
panned b y critics and readers,
see if I agree

The plan this week was to choose a book that has been critically panned. I started off by posting on a Facebook group I belong to , asking for people's opinions. Big mistake. Personally I think that people's opinions are important, whether it be about a book they love or a book they hate, as it illustrates people's opinions in a more rounded way. Some people didn't agree; so much so that the mods ended up taking the post off. Before it did a lot of people had voted for 50 shades, which I am not going to read, so I tried a different tack.

I found this article, which has some great examples of books that were hated in their time (gives aspiring author's hope that one - it's the literary equivalent of Van Gogh). I chose Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. I've always admired the ability of a writer to write about the future. It's easy to write about the present, and about the past, as we have reams of references at our beck and call. Far harder is to write about a possible future, many years from where we are now, because it relies almost solely on our imagination. At the time of publishing, Huxley's vision of the future was absolutely panned, most likely for it's dystopian bleak outlook.

"Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly. They can go through anything." How true is that line. Words have the ability to ensnare and enthral us, to cut us so deeply we bleed sadness.

I will admit there was a little bit I didn't like, which was the pages of conversation. These conversations were between three pairs of people, and it took more than a little concentration to discern who was speaking to who!

In the book, babies are made, with no need for the antiquated family/home unit, which are looked on with revulsion. Obviously we have not got that far yet, but ethics committees still have avid discussions about just how far we should go to create the perfect embryo. So far it has been limited to choice of gender, and tissue type, both for severe medical reasons, but what will the future hold? And with the obviousness of money being an issue, will this separate the class divides even further?

Class divides are clear within the population, with literally no means of travelling between them. A person is genetically designed with the necessities for their particular class, and post-birth (which isn't actually birth - these people are grown in bottles; mass-produced via a budding process) they are given pavlovian training to condition them via negative reinforcement so that the lower classes do not waste time on things like gardening and music. They also undergo hypnopaedia - learnable sleeping, which is defunct at least in reality. All this adds up to almost robotic, automatic phrases, that are blurted out at regular intervals in a conversation, and the fervent belief that you wouldn't want to be any other class than you are. It's the ultimate control, leaving people free of aspirations.

Side effect free drugs (now that is a pipe dream) have replaced religion, people taking them daily. I wouldn't mind seeing side effect free drugs, but ones used medically not recreationally.

The interesting thing about this book, apart from the parallels between our society now, is the fact that Huxley doesn't concentrate on one single person. There are three main characters, all given their own story, all fleshed out properly, and all of different classes. In fact, one is not in the class structure whatsoever, being born naturally in Mexico, which still conforms to the old style family units. The book ends with him, and it is a truly shocking end. Victorians were fascinated by the macabre (look at memento mori if you don't believe me) but I think even this ending would have appalled them. That being said, it is the perfect ending for the book in my opinion.

Being born in the Orwellian year '1984' I have always been fascinated by people's visions of the future, and whether that future pans out in any way. I think in a few decades time I may dig out books from the eighties, and see just how accurate they turn out to be. Who knows, one of those that was critically panned in it's day may turn out to be another Huxley.

Copulation is for copulation's sake, not for reproduction, everyone being encouraged, even children, though not with adults as this would have been a step too far in the book I think. The reason for this is not about the sex itself, it is the lack of repression. Victorians on the whole were notoriously repressed in public, even going so far as to cover up table legs as they reminded them of women's legs.


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