Brave New World
by Aldous Huxley
Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge
Now that you've read your book, we're sure you'll agree that V for Vendetta was a total rip-off of Brave New World. You've got the same controlling, overpowering society and the same extermination of the past. Guy Fawkes quotes Shakespeare all the time to express his passionate feelings of rebellion (or something), and the systems of government in both cite world disaster as the impetus for gaining control. (In V, they created an epidemic to get in power; in Brave New World, the Nine Years' War took care of things. In both cases, fear convinced the population to give up its liberty.)
All that soma stuff is no coincidence—Huxley was extremely interested in hallucinogenic drugs. There have been reports that he took LSD on his deathbed. (See this History Channel segment.)
For a while, Huxley was nearly blind (from an illness) and suffered from poor eyesight for most of his life.
In his references to Shakespeare, Huxley might have made a mistake. John at one point quotes that Ariel, the tricksy little spirit from The Tempest, could "put a girdle round the earth in 40 minutes." We don't know if he could have, but Shakespeare certainly never wrote as much. It was actually Puck, the tricksy little spirit from A Midsummer Night's Dream, who was credited with this talent.
Brave New World has been banned a bunch of times, which doesn't surprise us at this point, since books with S&M orgies tend to get banned. Anyway it hit #52 on "The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books" list in the 1990s, which makes you wonder is going on in #51.
The term "hypnopaedia" is also used by author Anthony Burgess in another famous dystopian novel, A Clockwork Orange.