Brave New World is a phrase taken from Shakespeare's Tempest:

Brave New World O, wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people in't!

It depicts a dystopia (the was word coined in 1950s, two decades after the book was pulished -- meaning a place directly opposite of Utopia). Huxley paints a bleak, dark place, situated in remote future, where humanity has chosen the wrong course.

Brave New World surprised me by both by its brilliance and -- in some areas -- its shortcomings. For example, in this book, published in 1932, reproduction is carried out through in vitro fertilization. This process also employs another technique, called a rather tongue-twisting bokanovskification, whereby one zygote is treated to churn out up to 96 clones (How eerily prescient, taking into account that the first mammalian clone, the famous sheep Dolly, was created not before 1997. Current record of producing most clones from a single cell is still a paltry 9 mice). Some scenes in the book even remind one of the rows upon rows of test-tube humans in the recent movie The Matrix. This process of reproduction was so fantastic that one of the greatest science fiction writers of the twentieth century, Isac Asimov, could not visualize it even in 1957 (!) while writing his classic "The Naked Sun". In this sci-fi thriller, he describes a colonized planet Solaria, where humans had become so reclusive that the presence of any other person in their close vicinity was absolutely abhorrent -- they meet each other through a 3D holographic device. But however nauseating the presence of any other human being near them, even those hermits produce babies in the good old fashion of us earthlings! This makes it absolutely sure that Asimov didn't read Brave New World.

But on the other hand, the characterization of Huxley leaves much to be desired. All characters are one-dimensional and stiff. Lenina (the heroine), Bernard, Linda, the director and others are as life-like as street-shop mannequins. And I found the character of the Savage - champion of the cause of freewill and old-fashioned humanity -- the most unbelievable. I fail to comprehend how a person who lived all his life in an almost pre-historic environment and who never read any book in his life except the works of Shakespeare (how did he manage to understand him is another matter!) can be so erudite and so thoughtful as to engage in philosophical discussions on history, psychology and human behaviour? I think this is a big flaw that holds back an otherwise brilliant book.

It would be worthwhile here take into account another great 20th century dystopia 1984 by George Orwell. Although it's hard to compare these two novels but in my opinion 1984 is much more terrifying and Orwell's future world is much grimmer than Huxley's. And his characters, too, are more believable.