Read Ape and Essence by Aldous Huxley Online


In February 2108, the New Zealand Rediscovery Expedition reaches California at last. It is over a century since the world was devastated by nuclear war, but the blight of radioactivity and disease still gnaws away at the survivors. The expedition expects to find physical destruction but they are quite unprepared for the moral degradation they meet. Ape and Essence is HuxleIn February 2108, the New Zealand Rediscovery Expedition reaches California at last. It is over a century since the world was devastated by nuclear war, but the blight of radioactivity and disease still gnaws away at the survivors. The expedition expects to find physical destruction but they are quite unprepared for the moral degradation they meet. Ape and Essence is Huxley's vision of the ruin of humanity, told with all his knowledge and imaginative genius....

Title : Ape and Essence
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780929587783
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 222 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Ape and Essence Reviews

  • Matthias
    2019-06-13 17:17

    "There are times, and this is one of them, when the world seems purposefully beautiful, when it is as though some mind in things had suddenly chosen to make manifest, for all who choose to see, the supernatural reality that underlies all appearances."I was reading Ape and Essence in a sunlit park when I was struck by this line. It emitted a beacon of light that folded back on itself and enveloped these words, this book, my hands, my legs, the ground under my feet, the park, the city, its surrounding forests, the seas and the planet in a golden glow that made me look at it all with a disposition that was more generous than ever. I've got a weak spot for sumptuous prose, whether carefully crafted or welling up from a natural spring, but it's been since reading G.K. Chesterton and Charles Dickens that I've been so smitten with man's way of words. Ape and Essence made me discover that Huxley belongs up there with the other wizards of writing.The fact that the strongest point of this book is its prose doesn't help me in reviewing it very effectively. I can't hope to emulate it, obviously. Weaving some kind of metaphor around it with silly beacons of light folding back on themselves can tell you something about the effect it had on me, but it doesn't convey what it is in its essence. Its essence can only be experienced through direct contact with this book. Much like with a song, people can tell you it's good, but it's only upon hearing it for yourself that you can truly be immersed into what other people's opinions unsuccesfully tried to convey. Brilliance. Simple, basic brilliance. I could present you with some more quotes, a selection of flowers grown and cultivated in this bright author's garden patch of a book, but they'd whither in my clumsy hands, out in this cold review.So what else can I do to convince you to read this, aside from maladroitly trying to describe its beauty beyond expression? I can try by mentioning this tells the stories that Fahrenheit 451 and Lord of the Flies tried to tell, only with more humour and more grace, and that it did so way before those well-known books. That it paints the picture of a grey post-apocalyptic world, but with colour and poetry. That it dissects modern society in a way that is as pertinent today as it was when it was first written. That it recognises both the ape and the essence within all of us, that amidst the bleak remnants of a collapsed society it offers an optimistic vision, a convincing explanation of why evil can't endure. That it made me smile. Faced with the limits of my reviewing prowess in the face of this work of congenial genius, I decided to give you another flower. A small one, a description of a woman that wears the same expression this book would if it had a face. Cherish it, give it warmth and let its scent convince you to explore this story for yourself. "In a minute or two, she is lying quite still in the crook of his arm. Sighing happily, she opens her eyes, looks up at him and smiles with an expression of tenderness, to which the dimples add a ravishingly incongruous hint of mischief."

  • Arielle Walker
    2019-06-18 20:31

    Though I adored Brave New World, and therefore considered myself familiar with its famous author, I had never even heard of Ape and Essence before stumbling across it on one of the dustier shelves in the local library. Never again will I make the mistake of relegating an author to the "one-book-wonder" list. This little 150 page book is so utterly bizarre, eerie, beautiful and perfect that from the very first reading it has leapt straight into my list of all-time favourites. Brave New World makes it very clear that Huxley had a huge problem with the egotistical nationalism of modern society. Ape and Essence takes this view to an extreme, and though I agreed with many of his points, it was the writers unusual and eloquent way of getting them across that made me fall in love. The story is told in two sections. The first, only 25 pages long, is from the point of view of a screen writer who finds a rejected screenplay entitled "Of Ape and Essence" and goes on a journey to meet the author. The second, much longer part is the transcription of this screenplay. It details how the world has been destroyed through atomic warfare, and human-kind worship the devil, "Beliel", as they cannot face the idea that they are in fact to blame for their own destruction. Such an inherently human trait, the fear of guilt, the need to feel blameless. I suppose this is where the term "scapegoat" comes in handy. The prose is strange and quite beautiful, with a narrator who speaks in poetry, and details that come from the "screenplay" nature of the work. Potential soundtracks are mentioned, as are details such as "close-up on..." or "wide shot of...", "Voices fade out as Narrator speaks again"... The themes are all politically charged, a warning against selfish hedonism and, equally, deprivation and self harm caused by religion and patriotism. Lines include "Church and State, Greed and Hate:- Two baboon-persons In one Supreme Gorilla." and "The longer you study modern history, the more evidence you find of Beliel's Guiding Hand." (these lines fall far short of giving any idea as to the odd beauty of the writing, but I wanted to include them anyway)Quite honestly, writing a short review of this book is near impossible - it would be all too easy to write an essay-like discussion, dissection, dissertation of Huxley's ideas about religion, war, politics etc, but I think to do so would in fact be detrimental to the book itself, at leasst without having the anaylitical skills to do it justice. I will leave the in-depth analysis to a possible future thesis, but by not going in depth there is little more to say here other than this is a book that begs for many more readings, and I will do so very happily. I strongly suggest you do the same.

  • Sara Zovko
    2019-06-19 20:37

    Prvih 50-ak stranica bila sam totalno izgubljena u knjizi, radnji i svemu ostalome, a onda... Mračno, ironično, potresno i genijalno, sve ono što Huxley je.

  • Andy
    2019-06-17 21:27

    While I was reading this book I laughed and realized this is where DEVO got all their shit from. Huxley, back in the 1930's said (in this brilliant novel) that while we technologically advance we will behave more and more like crazed apes..."The Truth Behind De-Evolution". I'm sure the Mothersbaugh and Casale Brothers read this book more than a few times when they attended Kent State in Ohio. Huxley switches time span gears like crazy, veering from a Darwinian 1930's Busby Berkeley musical to a cold, bleak sci-fi fable, all taking place in the sleazy Eden that is Hollywood. Huxley has given us a Jean Harlow worthy glam sci-fi novel; There's never been a book like "Ape and Essence". It really will blow your mind. I think I've read this book at least 20 times.

  • Nataša
    2019-05-24 22:25

    Distopija koja je na mene ostavila nešto slabiji utisak od svih prethodnih...A i od Hakslija sam imala prevelika očekivanja nakon što pročitah "Ostrvo" :)

  • Alex Akesson
    2019-06-12 18:34

    Re-reading my precious 1st edition page 51 "Fear also casts out intelligence, casts out goodness, casts out all thought of beauty and truth. What remains in the bum or studiedly jocular desperation of one who is aware of the obscene Presence in the corner of the room and knows that the door is locked, that there aren’t any windows. And now the thing bears down on him. He feels a hand on his sleeve, smells a stinking breath, as the executioner’s assistant leans almost amorously toward him. “Your turn next, brother. Kindly step this way.” And in an instant his quiet terror is transmuted into a frenzy as violent as it is futile. There is no longer a man among his fellow men, no longer a rational being speaking articulately to other rational beings; there is only a lacerated animal, screaming and struggling in the trap. For in the end fear casts out even a man’s humanity. And fear, my good friends, fear is the very basis and foundation of modern life. Fear of the much touted technology which, while it raises out standard of living, increases the probability of our violently dying. Fear of the science which takes away the one hand even more than what it so profusely gives with the other. Fear of the demonstrably fatal institutions for while, in our suicidal loyalty, we are ready to kill and die. Fear of the Great Men whom we have raised, and by popular acclaim, to a power which they use, inevitably, to murder and enslave us. Fear of the war we don’t want yet do everything we can to bring about." — Aldous Huxley (Ape and Essence)

  • Jon
    2019-05-20 17:32

    Awesome book. Heres some quotes....actually, fuck it, im too lazy to add them. Read the book you lazy ass....its short, so dont worry...Also, usually I agree with the reviews on "" but most of Huxley works are given three stars here??? Duh-fuck is wrong with you all! Dude's a fuckin genius! OK, that's enough elitism for today...

  • Roxana-Mălina Chirilă
    2019-06-15 16:40

    Two guys from Hollywood are talking about... stuff. One of them is the first-person narrator, the other is a guy who's gotten a mistress despite the fact that he didn't really want one, and now he's in trouble with his wife.I'm making it sound way more interesting than it actually is. I spaced out while reading some of their discussion, which was about Gandhi getting murdered and the nature of marxism and fascism and politics and whatever.In the middle of the philosophy, I shut the book and read the summary on the back - "In February 2108, the New Zealand Rediscovery Expedition reaches California at last. It is over a century since the world was devastated by nuclear war, but the blight of radioactivity and disease still gnaws away at the survivors." Yeah, no relation to what I was reading. I had the weird feeling the book's cover had been replaced, you know?So, as the two Hollywood guys walk around, a truck filled with manuscripts headed for the incinerator takes a sudden turn and three scripts fall out. Two are declared to be crap, one is read by the two friends, who go in search of the mysterious writer, but find out that he died a few weeks before and has no family, but his neighbors piece together a short history of the guy, which... whatever.And then the script is reproduced in its entirety - and, well, to be honest, no wonder it was heading to the incinerator. It starts with SYMBOLISM!!!! and baboons who act like humans and who have Albert Einsiteins on leashes, making them create weapons which let them destroy the world. Very symbol, much wow. More spacing out on my side, I had to re-read some of this stuff.Later on, New Zealanders go off to explore the world, since they're the only ones who apparently escaped the nuclear war because nobody cared much about them (go, New Zealand!). They land in America, somewhere next to L.A., and one of the characters, a botanist, is captured by a tribe of genetically mutated people who have extra fingers, toes and pairs of nipples, who have mating seasons, and who are dead-set on worshiping the devil, seeing him as a cause of the world's destruction.I'm making this sound interesting again. It's all very symbolic and philosophical and the priests keep explaining how the devil convinced humanity to self-destruct. So the New Zealand dude gets left behind by his colleagues, falls in love with one of the natives and runs off with her in search of a colony of other humans, because the devil-worshipers hate people who have sex out of mating season.Symbolism, poking fun at humanity, philosophising about the world, more poetry thrown everywhere, more random words your eyes will skip over, and less fun than "Brave New World".

  • Jay
    2019-05-23 22:35

    "The leech's kiss, the squid's embrace, the prurient ape's defiling touch. And do you like the human race? No, not much."I read this book in high school after I had finished Brave New World. Almost back to back. "Ape and Essence" is a story-within-a-story, a screenplay written by one of the semi-autobiographical characters. The screenplay is rescued from the Hollywood reject bin, and after the finders find the author on his desert hacienda, the screenplay then becomes the novel. The quote, above, is Huxley speaking his own mind as well as the recluse author's. The screenplay is a great literary device by which Huxley becomes twice removed, in a sense, from the themes and ideas articulated therein. The "screenplay" relates a tale of post-nuclear war society where survivors from New Zealand rediscover what's left of California and find humans there have devolved into... I won't spoil it. Ape is a much more ambitious novel than BNW and satirizes in less than 200 pages Hollywood, Southern California, the insanity of the Cold War, science, human nature, a smorgasbord of targets, all deftly skewered with the inimitable Huxley wit. In character and plot development, Ape is a more mature and compelling novel than the more allegorical BNW, although the latter seems like the more accurate prediction of our future as a species. Prurient apes, indeed. Confession: I actually bought and read the Bantam paperback edition with the cover shown for this review (the ambiguous menacing face above the two naked people). Truth to tell, the cover hooked me to buy the book.

  • Jim
    2019-06-15 19:39

    Take Brave New World (1931) and scroll the calendar to 1948, after World War Two and Hiroshima. Significantly, the action begins on the day that Gandhi was assassinated. The world that author Aldous Huxley gives us in Ape and Essence is slightly different.There has been a World War Three that decimated the entire population of the world, except for New Zealand, which sends an expedition to Southern California. One of the scientists, a botanist named Alfred Poole, is kidnapped by the surviving humans who now worship Belial. Sex is frowned upon as sinful -- except for five days of the year during a Satanic festival, which is an all-shag-all orgy. Other times of the year, humans must avoid sex. To this end, they wear aprons and patches over their erogenous zones that just say NO.Part of the reason for this is that many of the children born nine months after the festival are not only deformed, but frequently badly deformed enough to warrant death. Naturally, this is not a society that is in danger of overpopulation. In the background of the novel is a song whose refrain is: "Give me, give me, give me give me detumescence."There is also a framing story set in the present day, and the main story is the full text of a rejected script by a screenwriter named William Tallis, who dies shortly after sending his work to the studio.Ape and Essence is not up to the level of Brave New World, but it is, if anything, even more skeptical. "The chief end of man is to propitiate Belial, deprecate His enmity and avoid destruction for as long vas possible."

  • Mark
    2019-06-14 16:42

    Well if Hux were around to day perhaps he'd be amazed how close we're coming to this (less well-known than BNW) negative Utopia. In a world where crotchless thongs are marketed to 9-year- olds, college coaches (as well as priests) sodomize boys-not-yet-men, women advertise themselves via the internet promising no more than a cooling effluvia of ejaculata, and countless millions of might-have-been love stories are food for salt, blood, and tears; it might not be such a far stretch to conclude his vision of a world corrupted to the celebration of pain rather than joy is now yet well nigh.It's a world a hundred years hence (2108) where the third- generational survivors of a nuclear & biological holocaust live in a latter-day Los Angeles devoted to the worship of -the Devil-. No need for high tech suction machines here, the infant young are dispatched before the eyes of their cowed and degraded mothers with an easy low-tech solution- the knife. Work is all the de-sexualized drones know, but for two weeks of the year- when the infants resulting from the 9-months-prior orgies which don't conform to standards (seven toes, three sets of breasts, & that's OK- but more than that & off to the axe-man) are dispatched, and subsequently the entire community take part in compulsory loveless sex which will, in another nine months, lead to yet another harvest for the priests of Belial. Because they have not the technology to do anything but else, they clothe themselves by digging up the dead of the previous century and wear their clothing. The protagonist, who came west from untouched New Zealand, where such quaint things as railroads, Christian churches, and regular crops still exist, is eventually (but not completely) convinced by the logic of a high-priest that it's best he make his own peace with Belial- or else... & no I won't spoil the ending.If this is freaky enough for you, perhaps you'll read it yourself and draw your own conclusions. I would certainly not recommend it to the squeamish. Huxley was not really aiming at shocking people for shock's sake, through his work, but to make them aware of the possibilities and consequences of a world where blind faith in science took precedence over values, a nuclear war might have only been inevitable when human ideals were being sacrificed to militarism, and the threat of annihilation only grew worse between 1945 and the year Huxley died (1963). While people often cast him as a cynic, actually he happened to have a great deal of hope in humanity, being one of the century's premier humanists. It's a brooding book that will keep you reading and thinking it over for a good whiles.

  • Erik Graff
    2019-06-09 18:16

    After reading Brave New World while still in the public schools, either in junior or senior high, I went into a Huxley phase, purchasing and reading his Brave New World Revisited, Island, The Devils, Heaven and Hell, The Doors of Perception and this one, Ape and Essence. Pulling it out of the bookshelf in my room more than once during high school, I repeatedly replaced it unread, the theatrical elements of it putting me off. Recently, however, several other Huxley nonfiction works having been read and appreciated in the meantime and a respected friend having spoken well of the thing, I pulled it out again.Ape and Essence is a story within a story. The first is of an erudite narrator and his craven Hollywood friend discovering a discarded screenplay, then finding its author recently deceased. The second is of the play itself, its plot ending in a twist whereby the protagonist encounters the grave of the author 'previously' visited by the original narrator and his friend. The bulk of the text consists of the screenplay.The book is a satire on Hollywood, on the arms race, on governments, on theology and on human self-conceit, a very dark satire distanced from the objects of its criticism by being set in the far future, after a third world war has devastated much of the planet. Much of the humor concerns sex, the play's protagonist being a repressed thirty-something academic Congregationalist. Despite the bleak picture painted overall, the story ends hopefully.As literature, this is not a great work. For one thing, it's too blunt in its satire, Huxley basically ridiculing the objects of his abuse. For another, as a political satire it is naturally dated--but not so much so as to be irrelevant, many of Huxley's points being, as he would say in another context, 'perennial'. It also demands rather too much of its readers to be fully appreciated by most. Huxley was supremely well educated in the humanities and he does a lot of showing off here. A strong liberal arts background finds some reward in this book by allowing those with such to get all the jokes.

  • Jose Moa
    2019-05-27 20:42

    This is th most original, misantropic, terrorific,grotesque postapocaliptic distopia perhaps ever written.In this book Huxley makes the most corrosive acid satire,with touchs of the blakest humor on the human nature and human civilization i ever read,all is demolished,the ideologies,marxism,capitalism,nationalism,militarism,christianism,the bad use of science and technologie.Is the final victory with our help of the evil over the good in a inverted moral values world,a world where actually Belial is God,is the triumph of the animal we carry within over the rational.It is a extremely bitter reflection on the humankind,on the evilness and stupidity of the humans.Huxley is also a visionary, in this novel of 1947 he anticipates the environement catastrophic destruction by us and the hell of a nuclear war,where only the devil Belial,The Lord of Flies,the wild ape wins and the humanity lose and dies.A literally must to read before to die book

  • Speranza
    2019-05-28 16:33

    Give me detumescence We are all apes -That's the essence.I don't know if Huxley was on psychedelic drugs while writing this, but I surely felt like being on some while reading it.

  • Jovi Ene
    2019-06-07 21:35

    Un scenariu respins din 1947 este descoperit și este înfățișat cititorului.Mare parte din carte este tocmai acest scenariu avangardist, despre un viitor îndepărtat, în care lumea este devastată, post-apocaliptic, iar California este condusă acum sub auspiciile unui zeu nebun, un fel de diavol, Belial, care interzice (cu excepția a două săptămâni din an) pasiunea, sexul, diformitatea, libertatea înseamnă de fapt sclavie etc. Huxley face de fapt o critică acidă umanității, care se transformă în sclavă a răului, tocmai pentru că este incapabilă să recunoască răul pe care l-a produs ea însăși.Multiple referințe culturale, muzicale, cinematografice, cărțile sunt arse fiind ultimele surse de energie, un roman greu, mai ales până intri în atmosferă, pentru care trebuie să ai nerv și deschidere, dar care rămâne memorabil măcar pentru descrierea unui viitor potențial.

  • Jordan
    2019-05-30 21:35

    A literate neighbor (they do exist, I have one!) left a library-bound edition of this incredible novella on the console table in my building's hallway, and I wish I could thank the fuck out of them. Holy shit. On a scale from The Handmaid's Tale to Rosemary's Baby, this book lands somewhere in the middle, and deserves a place on your shelf next to your dogeared copy of Brave New World. Two screenwriters discuss their mistresses and their miseries in Hollywood before stumbling across a rejected screenplay for Ape and Essence, written by a Mr. William Tallis. The two of them are so taken by the peculiar screenplay, that they find themselves driving across the Mojave Desert to find Tallis. Well, Tallis is dead, but his landlady takes the time to talk to them about the lonely and hateful, yet respectful man who wrote such an odd and insightful movie. Then Huxley launches us into the dystopic world of Ape and Essence, with New Zealanders venturing into North America in the year 2108, to look for signs of civilization after a nuclear holocaust blasted that unfortunate hunk of land from sea to shining sea. Dr. Poole, the introverted botanist with an overbearing mother and without a girl to appease said mother, is drawn into the new theocracy of Belial, full of sex, murder, and atrocities galore. I read it in a day, because it is that good (and short!). Despite this incredible story, the ending is so-so. It's a bit saccharine, really, considering the gruesome events that came before it: (view spoiler)[Dr. Poole and Loola defy the meticulous breeding schedule of their Satanist world and become "Hots," or two fools in love and on the run. Huxley suggests that they are safely away from the ruins of Los Angeles, and moving steadily across the Midwest, but I'm not sure I can stomach that, especially with all the asides of Romantic poetry. (hide spoiler)] Huxley seems to want to leave on a hopeful note, "love conquers all" and that sort of nonsense... but for a novella condemning nuclear warfare and the core of human nature, it seemed a little cheap and underdeveloped, sort of like the happy-go-lucky ending to Great Expectations (SPOILER: not Dickens' original). But, I suppose Huxley can have one small breath of fresh air in a novel of such aching, asphyxiating power. Buy this title from Powell's Books.

  • Pupottina
    2019-06-02 17:36

    Un romanzo un po’ datato, poiché è stato scritto nel 1948, ma attualissimo per le tematiche, che affronta, e gli spunti di riflessione, che offre.Lo stile di Aldous Huxley in LA RIVALSA DELLE SCIMMIE è coinvolgente. Il libro è per lo più un romanzo breve, considerato il numero di pagine. È ambientato nella Hollywood del 1948, quando Bob Briggs, scrittore e regista, ritrova casualmente il soggetto scartato per un film, dal titolo omonimo a quello del romanzo in questione: "La rivalsa delle scimmie". Il soggetto per il film è stato scritto da uno sconosciuto di nome William Tallis ed è proprio Briggs a salvarlo dall’inceneritore e dall’oblio eterno. Briggs non è solo. A fargli da spalla c’è un anonimo narratore. Insieme i due andranno a scoprire chi è William Tallis fino a scoprire la sua fine. Però, questo è solo l’inizio. Nella seconda parte del romanzo viene data la trascrizione, commentata dal narratore, del soggetto scartato: un espediente famoso, che permette a Huxley di creare una delle più potenti distopie del suo tempo. Al contrario del romanzo, il film è ambientato nel futuro, per l’esattezza, nell’anno 2108. Nuova Zelanda e Africa Equatoriale sono rimaste le sole terre popolate, dopo la Terza guerra mondiale che ha devastato il resto del pianeta. Le scimmie si sono evolute a un livello superiore di coscienza e governano sugli uomini, i quali ormai sono stati ridotti in totale schiavitù. C’è, inoltre, una piccola comunità di persone, tra le rovine della città di Los Angeles, che a causa delle radiazioni è stata trasformata in mutanti ed ha ceduto al trionfo del Male. Il lettore in LA RIVALSA DELLE SCIMMIE, titolo anche del copione del film, assiste all’evoluzione della comunità attraverso gli occhi di un esploratore che è stato catturato. Tale pretesto che consente allo scrittore di descrivere un futuro fantastico, ma plausibile, e che rappresenta un’amara critica ai tempi moderni. Questo romanzo breve di Aldous Huxley, già pubblicato in Italia con il titolo “La scimmia e l’essenza”, è un’opera ricca di simboli e metafore che merita di essere letto ed approfondito per comprendere le dinamiche della società e i meccanismi della politica occidentale dell’epoca in cui è vissuto lo scrittore, ma che ancora risulta attuale.

  • Emily
    2019-06-17 15:26

    Two motion picture executives stumble across a screenplay in the lot. The majority of the book is the text of that document. It is about a future era, post World War III, when the residents of Southern California worship the devil and sex is outlawed except for two weeks once per year. The resulting infants are increasingly more deformed due to radiation fallout. The action of the 'film' seems to be mostly an excuse to espouse the philosophy that human kind, following the Second World War were increasingly destructive and not in cohesion with the Order of Things (i.e. Nature, God, etc.) and that led to their downfall. A lot of the points Huxley makes seem particularly true and relevant even now in the late 2000's. Although the first few chapters were almost incomprehensible to me, due to choppiness, jargon, and references to popular events and figures in the late 1940's, once the narrative turned to the screenplay, it was a fascinating tale. The pop culture references that I didn't really comprehend continued throughout the book, and it's quite possible that I've missed out on a lot of the points that were being made due to my having been born several decades later and not being familiar with those references.

  • Robyn
    2019-05-25 17:32

    I'm honestly not sure what to feel about this book. The first thing to note is that it's not nearly as accessible as Brave New World. It's much less straight forward, more surreal, and sometimes I felt that a thesaurus vomited on a few pages of it. It's not an easy book to follow, and there were some parts I really didn't understand until I started reading about it online. However, once you get into the swing, and you figure out who's doing what (I had to go back and reread a few times to sort some of it out) the tale Huxley spins is pretty interesting. Exaggerated? Sure. Shocking? Absolutely, but the man had something worthwhile to say about our culture, and it would certainly behoove us to listen.A very worthwhile book, overall, though frustrating and oddly put together. Read it, but read it slow.

  • Christina
    2019-05-19 16:32

    I loved this book! So many reasons why, but the most obvious reason being the fact that it took place in a post-apocalyptic world where people were supressed and controlled by those in charge. I cannot even tell you how many times I have read books with the same theme and I am still enthralled every single time. Huxely puts a good small irony at the ending which makes it worth the quick read. And the having the story within the story is an excellent difference too. I can see the similarities between Huxely and Orwell. They were from the same school of thought and paranoia. Best 51 cents I ever spent at the thrift store...will be reread.

  • Simona
    2019-06-04 17:17

    Negaliu goodreads'e užkabinti 3.5 stars įvertinimo. Šiai knygai brendau 4 metus. Tuos keturis metus ji ir pradulkėjo nepaliesta mano knygų lentynoje. Nežinau, ar tai sunkiai virškinamo lietuviško vertimo įtaka, bet Hakslis manęs „Beždžione ir esme” nesužavėjo. Distopinis istorijos kontekstas su groteskiškomis detalėmis gal ir verčia skaityti kūrinį iki pat pabaigos, bet neužkabina interpretacijos prasme. Yra ta „paviršutiniška gelmė“ - galima įžiūrėti simbolinį žmonių pragaišties įkūnijimą religijoje, politikoje ir kapitalizmo gniaužtuose, siurrealiai vaizdinga vertybių kaita po milžiniškos katastrofos, žmogiškumo, pažeidžiamumo, meilės ir gyvuliškumo kaip sąvokų vartymas keisčiausiuose kontekstuose... Bet knyga neturi to WOW faktoriaus. Hakslis turi geresnių tricks up his sleeve!

  • Sasha Yurodiver
    2019-05-30 22:38

    If you still want to join freemasons, read this and change your mind :) It's one of the best books I've ever read.

  • Nam
    2019-06-02 15:31

    Ape and Essence (Harper and Row, NYC, 1948)I didn't even know that Aldous Huxley had written this. Found it on a 25 cent cart at the hospital while at work. As per Huxley it deals with utopian or not, approaches to futuristic concepts. Not really Sci-Fi but take a Brave New World, for instance. I personally have always loved Doors of Perception, however this book is short, inspiring and challenging in its picture of human (de)volution. One idea that I had never thought of, within a survivalist context was making use of cemeteries/graves as sources of good(s)/a resource/mine...Plus, the whole concept of a Church of Belial on a post nuclear planet, but particularly in the context of a post-nuclear human civilization is enlightening. Some of the sexual politics and rituals/orgies were surprising in their structurally poetic delight(s).The most surprising aspect of the book, or of it's plot line for me, was the at least until the end of the book, successful escape of Dr. Poole and his co-Hot.. I figured they wouldn't make it. But evolution i guess then holds promise?Finally, the most interesting section of the book from a architectural, urban or decay perspective is that describing the vista of a post-nuclear LA wasteland of 2108. To quote the Narrator (pg 46);"The Sea and its clouds, the mountains glacous-goldenThe valleys full of indigo darkness,The drought of lion-colored plains,The rivers of pebbles and white sand.And in the midst of them the City of the Angels.Half a million houses,Five thoushand miles of streets,Fifteen hundred thousand motor vehicles,And more rubber goods than Akron,More celluloid than the Soviets,More nylons than New Rochelle,More brassieres than Buffalo,More deodorants than Denver,More oranges than anywhere,With Bigger and better girls-The great Metropolis of the West."The passage goes on;"And now we are only five miles up and it becomes increasingly obvious that the great Metropolis is a ghost town, that what was once the world's largest oasis is now its greatest agglomeration of ruins in a wasteland. Nothing moves in the streets. Dunes of sand have drifted across the concrete. The avenue of palms and pepper trees have left no traces."Some other pages of personal interest; 48 and 59.

  • Whisper19
    2019-06-03 19:13

    If you were to ask me what is the one thing in the world I couldn't live without I would say books.I love books.They are my friends, my companions, my addiction. I love the way they look with all their different sizes and print types and with their covers and illustrations. I love the way they smell, some are sharp and biting, while others are soft and rich. I love the way they feel under my fingertips; paperbacks with their glossy soft covers and sharp edges, hardbacks with their rough cloth; the raised letters of old printed books; the unevenness of the books whose pages you need to cut open yourself...But most of all I love the way a book can change you.There are books that you don't just read, you feel them, you live them. They affect you so much that years after you've read them  you can still remember where you were when you first read them. You remember what you felt like while you were reading them and you especially remember what you felt like after you'd read them. You remember that you had become someone different to that person who opened and read the first page.I judge my reading years by the number of such books, by how many times I was changed. (This might be a good year.)Well, this last book I read is one of those books: Ape and Essence by Aldous Huxley.I'd already read Brave New World by Huxley some 4 years ago and I liked it. It wasn't a book that would make me go "wow, I have to read more of his books immediately," but it was very good. And it had some good quotes:“But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”“Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.”And even after finishing Brave New World I had felt like reading more of Huxley's books, Ape and Essence wouldn't necessarily be the next one on my list (mainly because I have Point Counterpoint on my bookshelf). It is the 9th on the goodreads list of Huxley's works and the plot itself isn't something that would make me go "I gotta read this now." You know what I mean, it's just another post-apocalyptic dystopian novel, nothing new there.But last week a friend mentioned it as a very good book. We'd had a bit to drink by that point but I seem to remember him saying that he'd read it a couple of times and this made me curious.I am a firm believer that you can learn a lot about a person by reading their favourite books (especially those they'd read more than once) and I wanted to see what this new friend is like. So, I found the book and read it. It took me 2 days to read some 60 pages, and then one morning to read the remaining 160 pages.The book is weird, and I mean really weird, but good weird. I don't mean just in the textual sense where it begins like any other novel and then transforms into a screenplay. I mean the plot, the characters...The plot of the screenplay is a fairly simple one - following a nuclear holocaust a group of scientists sets off on an expedition and they come across a society which is very very different from their (normal) society. But however much this plot is set in the "future" it is also very reflective of both Huxley's present and our present. Reading the description of the mores of that society today seems almost prophetic at times.It is a society which believes at its core that the war that destroyed most of the world, the destruction people brought on to themselves, is all the proof one needs that the Darkness has defeated God (which ever god, I feel like it doesn't really matter here). It is a society where a small group of people rule over the rest of the population. Where the majority of the population is kept in practical servitude to the state and the mores. Where each individual is treated like just another clog in the machine. Where the emotions are discouraged. Where physical pleasure is allowed only within strict guidelines defined by the ruling elite. Where physical traits that step too much outside the "normal" are seen as demonic and detrimental to the society. And where women are seen as incubators and as the root of all evil.Any of this ring a bell?"Not a shot had been fired and civilization was already in ruins. Why the soldiers ever found it necessary to use their bombs, I really can't imagine."In addition to this, there is Huxley's writing. There are moments when he gives you such beauty only to then replace it with the cruelest of humanity."Night seems to linger in the darkness of an almost unruffled sea; but from the fringes of the sky a transparent pallor mounts from green through deepening blue to the zenith."He makes you question yourself all the time. Question your own humanity, your own soul."Cruelty and compassion come with the chromosomes; All men are merciful and all are murderers. Doting on dogs, they build their Dachaus."When you look at the world today, with the idiots making money, with the aristocracy of morons running the governments, with the éminence grise pulling the strings, have things changed that much since 1948?He says that fear is what is in all of us and what makes us what we are now. Love is strong, it can cast out fear, but you really gotta work at it.“Love casts out fear; but conversely fear casts out love. And not only love. Fear also casts out intelligence, casts out goodness, casts out all thought of beauty and truth. What remains in the bum or studiedly jocular desperation of one who is aware of the obscene Presence in the corner of the room and knows that the door is locked, that there aren’t any windows.  [...] in the end fear casts out even a man’s humanity. And fear, my good friends, fear is the very basis and foundation of modern life. Fear of the much touted technology which, while it raises out standard of living, increases the probability of our violently dying. Fear of the science which takes away the one hand even more than what it so profusely gives with the other. Fear of the demonstrably fatal institutions for while, in our suicidal loyalty, we are ready to kill and die. Fear of the Great Men whom we have raised, and by popular acclaim, to a power which they use, inevitably, to murder and enslave us. Fear of the war we don’t want yet do everything we can to bring about.”The ending of the book might surprise you, but just go with it, don't fight it. And if you can, read the book again, I plan to, but not this year, maybe next year when the things have settled a bit.Oh, and there's angst (for my angst-loving friends):"But you'd give everything in the world just for five minutes, to be free for five minutes."And now it's time to say good night."Sleeping, we cease to live that we may be lived (how blessedly!) by some nameless Other who takes this opportunity to restore the mind to sanity and bring healing to the abused and self-tormented body."

  • Mike
    2019-05-26 15:15

    “The leech's kiss, the squid's embrace,The prurient ape's defiling touch:And do you like the human race?No, not much.” The above quote comes in the opening pages of Ape and Essence, one of the most viciously cynical works of fiction I've ever read. The setting of the frame narrative is "the day of Gandhi's murder," which sets the tone for this pessimistic and misanthropic gem. As with some of Huxley's other writings, I get the impression that Huxley is brilliant-bordering-on-mad. He clearly expresses the fears and foibles of mid-20th-century politics and culture, but also tends to exaggerate or present extreme scenarios in his dystopian visions. The result is writing that compels me to keep reading, even if I find myself disagreeing with his critiques or shaking my head at his over-the-top conclusions. (I almost wrote "rantings," but that's the thing: he never quite reaches the point of "rant," despite some truly disturbing prophesies.) And yet these marvelously grotesque landscapes are what keep me turning pages. In the case of Ape and Essence, Huxley delivers a text that's postmodern in structure: two Hollywood agents in 1948 discover a bizarre screenplay by a reclusive man named Tallis (Huxley's alter ego?). In the first few pages, they arrive at his desert hermitage, only to discover he has recently died. The remaining 180 pages is Tallis' complete screenplay (without notes or further commentary) about a post-apocalyptic world in which humans who have survived a nuclear war become Satanists, embracing all the most negative attributes of humanity. Moments from the frame narrative return in the screenplay, but only briefly. I can't even begin to describe Huxley's surreal imagery, in which he cynically portrays man as nothing more than apes with slight self-awareness. It must be read to be appreciated. As the screenplay's narrator intones: "Only in the knowledge of his own Essence / Has any man ceased to be many monkeys." This is a weird, wild book!

  • MichaelK
    2019-06-19 19:12

    'Ape and Essence' is not as well known as 'Brave New World', and there is good reason for that. The narrative is split between a short introduction, in which a Huxley character finds a strange movie script and learns about its author, and the script itself: a post-apocalyptic story about a group of New Zealand scientists who visit the ruins of America and discover a morally and biologically degenerated human society which worships the Devil (In their view, the Third World War, the Nuclear Holocaust, was the Apocalypse: Satan won the fight and now rules the world.).It's very bleak, and darkly hilarious. Huxley's anger at the modern world burns throughout; it's the angriest book I've read in a long time, possibly the angriest book I've ever read. Sometimes it felt like Huxley's rage was getting in the way of him writing decent prose: he's just so fucking angry and wants to tell you why.I loved it.

  • Brett
    2019-06-16 17:15

    Not long ago, I wrote about how, though Aldous Huxley's non-fiction never really spoke to me, I always seemed to enjoy his fiction. Now I have to go back on my statement.Ape and Essence is half-baked nonsense. It is warmed over Brave New World without compelling ideas or characters that the reader cares about. The plot concerns a world that has been decimated by nuclear war and the totalitarian society that arises in its aftermath. Well--it's sort of about that. It begins in Hollywood, where a couple of people who work for a movie studio find a script called Ape and Essence. They travel to meet the writer, who it turns out is dead. That's the first 25 pages of the book. The remainder of the 150 is dedicated to basically printing out this supposedly revolutionary movie script.By an odd coincidence, this is also the time period when Huxley was living in Hollywood and trying to make money as a screenwriter, without much success. So the whole thing, as you can imagine, feels very much like wish fulfillment on the part of Huxley. No one is recognizing how great my scripts are, so here is a book about how great my scripts are! (With the side benefit that I can just cut and paste a lot of my material from a rejected script into the book).I don't know if that's what really happened, but it sure feels that way. Ape and Essence is a preachy bore and would have, in all likelihood, made a terrible movie. The studio was right to reject it.

  • Bob
    2019-05-22 19:40

    Published in 1948, it predates the French novel that became "Planet of the Apes" by 15 years and it could well have been an influence.The framing story, set at the time of the book's publication, involves two men, one a slightly parodic version of a Hollywood film producer (clearly a type Huxley had gotten to know by that time) and a "reasonable man", one often the foil for more exaggerated characters. They find a rejected film proposal in a dumpster at the studio, are struck by its highly unusual nature and set out to find its writer, a man who turns out to have recently died, leaving no known connections.After this intro, we are given the script in its entirety which proves to be an interesting variation on the post-nuclear holocaust dystopian genre, set in the early 22nd century. Huxley spends a lot of time describing the control of human sexuality by a neutered priest caste (who have switched the object of worship from God to Satan, as the one who clearly actually runs things). With shades of Margaret Atwood, women are stigmatized as "vessels" and everyone is taught to abhor sex except for a three-day a year festival orgy at which all children are conceived. The lingering teratogenic nuclear radiation results in most of the newborns being promptly put death (there is a scale of acceptable mutation) and their mothers further ostracized.Despite the horrific premise, it is funny at times and I haven't even touched on the characters who drive the eventual plot.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-05-31 20:23

    Imagine, if you will, a Rod Serling adaptation of an Aldous Huxley dystopia in which Captain Kirk falls in love/lust with a fetching victim of an oppressive Satanic society in which women are viewed as the "vessels" of all the filth and monstrosities of a post-apocalyptic world. Imagine it set in the remains of Los Angeles, which is viewed through the lens of a New Zealander, in turn viewed through the lens of two movie industry employees reading a dead misanthrope's script. Yeah, it is that crazy. Crazy good! You'll find yourself closing the back cover of Huxley's tiny, absorbing book before you've scarcely realized you've begun it (I honestly thought I had ten more pages to go), and then you're left with the best questions and fears. (view spoiler)[ I will say, while a first reading of Huxley's ending feels positively sunny, I felt discomfort with it born of prior experiences with dystopian tales (film, television, and literature alike). Visions of happy people cluelessly boarding a spaceship, only to find the friendly aliens want to chop them into recipes danced through my head. Most significantly, I saw parallels between Orwell's Winston/Julia/O'Brien dynamic and the Poole/Loola/Director dynamic, which caused me a chill when Poole felt he could depend on the veracity of the Director's claims about other local communities. Is there actually a way out for our hero and his damsel or not? I guess it depends on the reader. (view spoiler)[ (hide spoiler)] (hide spoiler)]

  • Tony Gleeson
    2019-05-24 16:27

    Aldous Huxley is somewhat of an acquired literary taste-- I never cared for "Brave new World" as much as many of my compatriots. But I felt I finally owed myself to read this after promising to do so for decades. "Ape and Essence" has been called Huxley's re-thinking of "Brave New World" in the light of Hiroshima. It's a dystopian fantasy of America post-nuclear holocaust, presented in the charming form of a screenplay. The prelude to the actual story is a sardonic scene involving two Hollywood characters who find the passed-over script when it falls off a truck heading for the dump. This part is priceless and obviously written with real people (and his Hollywood experiences) in mind. The actual meat of the tale is rather depressing (I think he meant it sardonically and satirically but it's SO graphically pessimistic that it comes across as more of a downer) and in terms of pure form it's a bit awkward. But I am glad I finally got to read it. I can imagine that in 1947 it might have shocked a few of the more priggish. For some reason I thought of the movie "Wicker Man" (and if anybody else catches the resemblance, I'd love to know).