eBook Kurt Vonnegut Jr. ↠ Galápagos Epub ¼ ↠

Galápagos takes the reader back one million years to AD 1986 A simple vacation cruise suddenly becomes an evolutionary journey Thanks to an apocalypse a small group of survivors stranded on the Galápagos Islands are about to become the progenitors of a brave new and totally different human race In this inimitable novel America’s master satirist looks at our world and shows us all that is sadly madly awry—and all that is worth saving


10 thoughts on “Galápagos

  1. says:

    Kurt Vonnegut Isaac Asimov Theodore Sturgeon and St Peter sit in a bar in the Great Hereafter discussing among other things Vonnegut’s 1985 novel GalapagosIsaac Looking at Peter What are you laughing about?Peter You know laughingIsaac It’s still funny after all these centuries that me a self described atheist and humanist finds himself here in the Great Hereafter?Peter Yep still funnyTheodore Well it’s like Kurt’s book Galapagos where Kilgore Trout’s son Leon is a ghost and views a million years of evolution Kurt succinctly put together evolution and theism tying the two together as if there was no metaphysical conflictKurt Well there IS NO metaphysical conflictPeter Ha You know that NOW but when you were writing were you trying to make that point or were you being ironic?Kurt Irony is a big concept for a smelly fishermanPeter I washed my hands a all laugh and you are obfuscating the issue Big enough word for you army scout?Kurt Touché Peter and I think I was making the point that it is POSSIBLE theoretically and rhetorically that the two seemingly incongruent paths can arrive at the same destinationIsaac So back on Earth you did not believe that you would end up here smoking cigarettes and drinking cocktails with St Peter and me?Theodore What am I chopped liver?Kurt I didn’t know and that was another point I was making I didn’t know and no one else really knew but there was a great amount of discussion from both sides of the aisles that EVERYONE just KNEW what the answer was but no one really didIsaac Well that was the scientific method describing the lack of a viable observation it was crystal clear to me thenKurt Was it Isaac? By failing to make an observation that was sufficient for you to make an empirical statement?Isaac Well hindsight being 2020 – Peter You’re still full of sall laughKurt The other point I was making was the idea about big brains Me and Isaac and most definitely Theodore were often caught up in the idea that greater intelligence brought forth greater happiness which almost always brings about less happiness My slogan in the novel was Stupidity May Save Us Suppose human beings were shipwrecked on those islands? What would happen? Because all those animals out there have no business being there you know So I was thinking how would human beings adapt?Theodore So that is how you got to the idea about reverse evolution? De evolution?Kurt Of course there were no things to make tools out of out there Just twigs maybe some lava for hand axes We would have to become very different sorts of animalsPeter But humanity would continue to live and love and marry and have kids and grow old and die even without tools without plastic and without big brainsKurt That’s it in a nutshell and I liked the idea that Theodore here aka Kilgore would be watching the whole show from the Great HereafterTheodore Turns out big brains aren’t as necessary as we thoughtCharles Darwin approaches Darwin Who wants to bowl? 2019 re readThere is an anecdote about Isaac Asimov’s wake where Vonnegut delivering a eulogy began with the comment about Asimov who was a very public and outspoken atheist “well he’s in heaven now” Vonnegut ever the humorous humanist got plenty of laughs among Asimov’s mourners In doing so he demonstrating his own playful irreverence towards both theism and propriety This novel about evolution or de evolution? contains multiple Biblical references as well as the biological references to Darwin and to his many theories which has made such an impact on our culture and thus on this story The mainstay of this work is the premise that our “big brains” were an evolutionary experiment gone awry and that a sleeker design with a smaller brain and no hands works much betterMuch of this book is set in and around Guayauil Ecuador and coincidentally I’ve been to Guayauil in 1994 just a few years after the events of this story and so I saw the great disparity between the economic fortunate and unfortunate in that city described by Vonnegut Strangely enough I’ve also been to another city synonymous with Kurt Vonnegut and that is Dresden Germany where he spent some hellish time first as a prisoner of war and then as a survivor of the allied bombing of that once and now again beautiful city And – I’ve been to Indianapolis and to Cape Cod so it’s almost like I’m stalking KurtThe story is narrated by the ghost of Leon Trout the son of none other than Kilgore Trout who speaks to us from the other end of the blue tunnel that leads to the afterlife The elder Trout admonished his late son that if he does not walk through the tunnel and join him in the hereafter that he will not return again for a million years The ghost of Leon Trout then gets to narrate this brilliant work and observe humanity’s great evolutionary journey over this extended time and to see how big brains really just fouled things upAnd so it goes


  2. says:

    “In the era of big brains life stories could end up any which way Look at mine” When I finish novels by Haruki Murakami or Kurt Vonnegut I'm not always sure what I've read That was definitely the case with Vonnegut's Galapagos It was thought provoking and I laughed a number of times Did I understand it though? For Vonnegut nothing is serious At the same time these not serious parts are what most of us view as supremely important When Vonnegut writes about the solution to overpopulation for instance it is really funny but just how we adapt to a changing world is something we need to grapple with For Vonnegut our bigoversized brains are the problem Vonnegut has a hilarious solution I tried to imagine the evolutionary changes a million years in the future Vonnegut was describing I even tried to figure out what was happening on the nature cruise of the century circa 1986 AD So I enjoyed reading Galapagos but I can't say just what happened When I read it again sometime in the future I might or might not understand 45 stars


  3. says:

    The serene Galapagos Islands named after the famous giant turtles discovered there almost 600 miles west of impoverished Ecuador in a remote part of the vast Pacific the small nation that owns them was made famous by scientist Charles Darwin when the HMS Beagle a British Royal Navy surveying ship visited these bleak isles encompassing 21 in number not counting than 100 minuscule peaks breaking the surface of the sometimes cold deep blue waters in 1835 strange animals were observed by the soon to be renowned perpetually seasick young naturalist and geologist A century and a half later things have drastically changed noisy tourists no longer at the end of the world access by ships and airplanes these exotic Galapagos now have airports and sea docks there and even people residing in the formerly pristine lands welcome to 1986 Big troubles occur an economic crisis engulfs the Earth the inhabitants in many parts are starving a virus is making them sterile too and the long planned The Nature Cruise of the Century to the Ecuadorian ocean province from the Guayas River port of Guayauil threatened with cancellation The few who do arrive at the guarded hotel are the new widow American Mary Hepburn despondent with suicidal impulses James Wait an alias he says he's Canadian a con man in reality who takes money you guessed it from grieving women Japanese Hisako Hiroguchi pregnant wife of computer genius Zenji incompetent Captain Adolf von Kleist of the ship Bahia de Darwin that's right the same one that will take them to the islands if he can find the archipelago billionaire Andrew Macintosh he wants and his blind loyal daughter Selena the ghost of Leon Trotsky Trout is our narrator son of the late not so great writer Kilgore Trout and six hungry little girls unexpected passengers natives of the nearby rain forest Still a war breaks out with a fierce neighboring nation bombs falling bullets flying food riots erupting the survivors of this group must get away uickly to the cruise ship there is safety only in the Galapagos just forty hours from the lawless city Captain Adolf von Kleist is constantly amusing a good looking well spoken gentleman a notable storyteller who doesn't know how to steer a boat without any nautical knowledge whatsoever his crew has deserted him he must pretendskillfully A fun read by the always entertaining Mr Kurt Vonnegut those who like his style which can seem rather childish to some the uninformed he knows his targets though they his fans will greatly enjoy this satire about the stupidity of the human race not realizing there are conseuences for every action life is not only for them they must share the planet with other living creatures who deserve to be unharmed and able to prosper tooPS there will be surprises


  4. says:

    Rewritten after rereading in July 2012This darkly humorous satire starts with a world financial crisis in 1986 hopefully that’s where the similarity with current times ends leading to WW3 – though it’s not really about either it’s fundamentally about adaptation A million years in the future the only “humans” left on Earth are the descendants of a small but diverse group of survivors of a Galapagos islands cruise and they are like seals than 20th century humans Most of the story is set between the run up to the cruise and the passengers’ first few years on the island but it is certainly not a Robinson Crusoe type story; it is far provocative than that raising issues of fateindependence the meaning and importance of intelligence and ultimately what makes us humanLike all good dystopias if that's not an oxymoron the individual steps to it don't really stretch credulity few of them are very original but the final destination is startling and even somewhat positiveNARRATIVE STYLEThe story arc is fundamentally chronological but with an enormous number of tiny jumps ahead right from the start Vonnegut sprinkles the story with so many snippets about what will happen to everyone why and how that you don’t know if there will be anything left by the time the main narrative catches up He even prefixes the names of those about to die with an asterisk at which point I went with the flow and stopped worrying about spoilers on rereading this aspect became pure comedy The final chapter which I would have deleted fills in a few random gaps that didn’t really need fillingThe narrator is Leon Trout a long dead man who helped build the cruise ship He reminded me a little of Snowman in Oryx and Crake so if you liked that consider this Kilgore Trout the father of Leon is a recurring character in Vonnegut a prolific but not very successful writer of sci fi This book mentions his “The Era of Hopeful Monsters” with a plot that echoes thisThe book also has random uotes from Mandarax a hand held computer and translator that is a little like the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy They are either bizarrely obscure like the Oracle at Delphi or comically inappropriateTHEMESThe main premise is that humans have evolved badly though the reasons for this are never explained which is odd given how much weight is given to subseuent natural selection in the story Most significantly our “big brains” are the cause of all our troubles they lie so we don’t trust them or other people we can’t switch them off they confuse us with too much information distract us from the important matters of life and death though often causing death eg by fighting or suicide and ultimately cause global financial collapse because the value of so many assets is only maintained by belief in virtual money whizzing around Accepting the idea that our big brains are a handicap is a bit of a challenge which Vonnegut backs up with typical bathos by suggesting alcohol is just a way to relax with a temporarily smaller brain Our long protected childhoods accustom us to the idea of an omniscient carer and hence account for belief in god whilst wealth makes us blasé about our doom Full stomachs are part of the problem too a full belly puts people off guard and all the powerful people are well fed so don’t worry about impending disasterOutsourcing our skills and knowledge by developing machines to take over many brain tasks reduces the need for big brains and indeed for people No wonder humans in their twenty first century form are doomed – even at a comical level a million years hence “evolution hasn’t made teeth durable It has simply cut the average human lifespan down to about thirty years”By contrast animals are happy to survive feed and reproduce and once stranded on an island natural selection leads to humanity being reduced and enhanced to such basics “everybody is exactly what he or she seems to be” and “everyone is so innocent and relaxed now No lies or deceit and no hands to use for evil – it sounds positively Utopian In addition to the above it also touches on the nature of intelligence eugenics voluntary and not consent disability incest contraception mate selection truth marriage and alternatives to it and all sorts of other things You could make a whole PSHE curriculum from thisHUMAN NESSAmongst all the big issues and ideas the book explicitly raises there is one that is always assumed but never uestioned or defended in what sense are the humans on Santa Rosalia in a million years’ time actually human and by extension what does it mean to BE human? And if they are human then surely we should call ourselves apes or even fish And fish and fishing literal and metaphorical are recurring themes many of the characters are fishers of men albeit not in a good way and we’re reminded that “so much depends on fish”; even the narrator’s surname is TroutI would hesitate to impose a New Testament analogy on a secular novel by a secular writer but there are many Biblical allusions creation flood an ark Adam and Eve the danger of knowledge the power of belief the existence of God David and Goliath souls redemption and fishVonnegut toys with why we are as we are and clearly doesn't think it's brain size or capacity that makes us human which is surely good as otherwise what would be the implication for those with learning difficulties and brain damage etc? but he leaves the reader to decide what “human” means FATE AND PURPOSEThroughout the book Vonnegut keeps reminding us of the significance of random and apparently trivial events whilst at the same time implying the apparent opposite the inevitability of the outcome for humanity the butterfly effect versus fate There is a clear message that most people are irrelevant; we can't know who the few important ones are but they're probably the ones we least expect Trout admits his prolonged observation was pointless he was addicted to the soap opera ualities of the story but accumulated knowledge rather than understanding MAIN MESSAGE?The world ends up a happier place because of the power of natural selection echoing the very upbeat uote from Anne Frank on the title page “In spite of everything I still believe people are really good at heart”Yet given his ideas about fate is Vonnegut suggesting the book is pointless too not that I would agree with that is he actually trying to make a point if so what? or just entertaining us? Mostly the latter I thinkIf Leon Trout is reading this or any other discussion of the book he is doubtless chuckling at how seriously people are taking it Mind you as a pretentious late teenearly twentysomething I would have had a field day of profundityOverall not a long book but one to savour ponder chuckle over and rereadOTHER UOTATIONS• “Mere opinions were as likely to govern people’s actions as hard evidence and were subject to sudden reversals as hard evidence could never be”• “It was all in people’s heads People had simply changed their opinion of paper wealth”• Big brains make marriage hard because “That cumbersome computer could hold so many contradictory opinions” and switch between them so uickly “that a discussion between a husband and wife under stress could end up light a fight between blindfolded people wearing roller skates”• “Typical of the management of so many organisations one million years ago with the nominal leader specialising in social balderdash and with the supposed second in command burdened with the responsibility of understanding how things really worked”


  5. says:

    Galápagos Kurt Vonnegut Galápagos is the eleventh novel written by American author Kurt Vonnegut The novel uestions the merit of the human brain from an evolutionary perspective The title is both a reference to the islands on which part of the story plays out and a tribute to Charles Darwin on whose theory Vonnegut relies to reach his own conclusions It was first published in 1985 by Delacorte PressMain charactersLeon Trout dead narrator and son of Kilgore TroutHernando Cruz first mate of the Bahía de DarwinMary Hepburn an American widow who teaches at Ilium High SchoolRoy Hepburn Mary's husband who died in 1985 from a brain tumorAkiko Hiroguchi the daughter of Hisako that will be born with fur covering her entire bodyHisako Hiroguchi a teacher of ikebana and Zenji's pregnant wifeZenji Hiroguchi a Japanese computer genius who invented the voice translator Gokubi and its successor MandaraxBobby King publicity man and organizer of the Nature Cruise of the CenturyAndrew MacIntosh an American financier and adventurer of great inherited wealthSelena MacIntosh Andrew's blind daughter eighteen years oldJesús Ortiz a talented Inca waiter who looks up to wealthy and powerful peopleAdolf von Kleist captain of Bahía de Darwin who doesn't really know how to steer the shipSiegfried von Kleist brother of Adolf and carrier of Huntington's chorea who temporarily takes care of the reception at hotel El DoradoJames Wait a 35 year old American swindlerPvt Geraldo Delgado an Ecuadorian soldierتاریخ نخستین خوانش ماه فوریه سال 1994 میلادیعنوان گالاپاگوس؛ نویسنده کرت ونه گات؛ مترجم علی اصغر بهرامی؛ تهران، مروارید، 1382؛ در 341 ص؛ شابک 9645881412؛ عنوان دیگر مجمع الجزایر گالاپاگوس؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی سده 20 مطنز تلخ روایت نابودی نسل انسان امروزی؛ عنوان کتاب از نام مجمع‌ الجزایر گالاپاگوس، که بخشی از داستان در آنجا می‌گذرد، برگرفته شده؛ داستان گروه کوچکی از افرادی ست، که پس از یک بحران بزرگ اقتصادی، به سفری دریایی رفته، و کشتی‌شان در جزیره ی خیالی «سانتا روزالیا» در مجمع‌ الجزایر گالاپاگوس، خراب می‌شود سپس یک بیماری مسری، تمامی انسان‌های روی کره زمین را نابارور می‌کند، البته به‌ جز افرادی که در جزیره ی «سانتا روزالیا» گرفتار شده‌ اند در چندین میلیون سال، بازماندگان این افراد، که تنها نمونه‌ های انسان‌های باقی‌مانده در زمین هستند، به گونه‌ ای خزدار شبیه به فک‌های دریایی، که قادر به راه رفتن بر روی دو پا نیز هست، تبدیل می‌شوند؛ آنها پوزه‌ ای با دندان، برای شکار ماهی، جمجمه‌ ای دگرگون‌ شده و دستانی شبیه به باله، به همراه انگشت پیدا می‌کنند راوی داستان، روح سرگردان «لئون تروتسکی تراوت» فرزند «کیلگور تراوت» نویسنده علمی تخیلی‌نویسی که «ونه‌ گات» خود آنرا آفریده و در کتاب‌هایش از او و داستان‌هایش نام می‌برد است؛ که چند سال آخر زندگی انسان‌ها را تماشا می‌کند؛ لئون یک سرباز جنگ ویتنام بوده، که به خاطر کشتارها ناراحت شده، و از خدمت فرار می‌کند و به سوئد پناهنده می‌شود او به کارگر کشتی‌ سازی تبدیل می‌شود، و در هنگام ساخت کشتی به یاد «داروین»، بر اثر حادثه‌ ای می‌میرد این کشتی همانی ست که بعدها در سفر طبیعی قرن بکار گرفته می‌شود؛ سفری که در هنگام بحران اقتصادی، برای برخی افراد مشهور برگزار شده‌ بود، تا از جزایر گالاپاگوس دیدن کنند، و سرانجام همین کشتی بود که نسل انسان‌ها را از خطر انقراض نجات داد «کیلگور تراوت» چهار بار بر پسرش حاضر، و از او می‌خواهد که به تونل آبی‌رنگ، که او را به جهان دیگر وارد می‌کند، بیاید اما «لئون» نمی‌پذیرد در بار آخر او هشدار می‌دهد که اگر وارد نشود، او و تونل، تا یک میلیون سال دیگر نمی‌آیند، که همین باعث می‌شود که برای یک میلیون سال به مشاهده ی تغییر آهسته ی انسان‌های باقی‌مانده، به پستانداران آبزی بپردازد این پروسه ی تغییر، از یک زن ژاپنی آغاز می‌شود، که دختر بزرگ یکی از بازماندگان واقعه ی بمباران اتمی هیروشیما بوده‌؛ او در جزیره، دختری با بدنی پوشیده از خز بدنیا می‌آورد؛ «لئون تراوت» می‌گوید که تمام مصیبت‌های انسان از «تنها تبه‌ کار داستان من مغز بیش‌ از اندازه بزرگ انسان» است خوشبختانه، انتخاب طبیعی این مشکل را حل می‌کند، چون در آن جزایر کسی موفق است که بتواند به خوبی، و با سرعت در آب شنا کند، که این به سری کوچک‌تر برای مقابله کمتر با جریان آب نیاز داردشخصیت ها لئون تروت راوی داستان که خیلی پیشتر مرده‌ است او فرزند کیلگور تراوت، نویسنده داستان‌های علمی‌ تخیلی ست که از کاراکترهای تقریباً ثابت بیشتر کتاب‌های ونه‌ گات است هرناندو کروز؛ ماری هپبورن بیوه‌ ای آمریکایی که در دبیرستانی در شهر ایلیوم درس می‌دهد روی هپبورن شوهر ماری هپبورن که در سال 1985 میلادی بر اثر تومور مغزی درگذشت آکیکو هیروگوچی دختر هیساکو که با بدنی پوشیده از خز به دنیا آمد هیساکو هیروگوچی معلم ایکبانا و همسر باردار زنجی زنجی هیروگوچی نابغه کامپیوتر ژاپنی که دستگاه سخنگوی ترجمه همزمان را با نام گوکوبی اختراع کرده‌ است نسل بعدی آنرا نیز با نام مانداراکس ساخته‌ است بابی کینگ سازمان‌ دهنده سفر طبیعی قرن اندرو مکینتاش یک سرمایه‌ گذار آمریکایی و ماجراجویی پولدار سلنا مکینتاش دختر هجده ساله نابینای اندرو آدولف ون کلیست کاپیتان کشتی به یاد داروین که در واقع اصلاً نمی‌داند که کشتی را چطور هدایت کند زیگفرید ون کلیست برادر آدولف که بطور موقت در پذیرش هتل الدوررادو کار می‌کند جیمز ویت یک کلاهبردار سی و پنجساله آمریکایی سرباز جرالدو دلگادو یک سرباز اکوادوری ا شربیانی


  6. says:

    When all was said and done the creatures of the Galápagos Islands were a pretty listless bunch compared with rhinos and hippos and lions and elephants and so on Leon Trotsky Trout is as dead as a dodo but is nevertheless the incorporeal narrator of a story that is told a million years into our futureTrout recounts a seuence of evolutionary events that begin in 1986 as a bunch of bipedal misfits gather in Ecuador for 'The Nature Cruise of the Century' Looking back at humankind from a million years in the future perspective we are a freakish bunch; we possess oversized brains that we don't make the best use of and we even give names to dogsAlso because our brains were the size of fat mangoes and not yet atrophied by evolution a discussion between a husband and wife under stress could end up like a fight between blindfolded people wearing roller skatesCaptain Adolf von Kleist who doesn't know shit from Shinola is somehow left in charge of this ill fated over hyped maiden voyage to the Galápagos Islands I can assure you that the story is better read than explainedI'm a latecomer to Vonnegut and fell in love with his writing uicker than you could say woolly mammoth He elucidates with the conviction of a mad prophet; his prose is cheerily unfussy and he is at all times wickedly provocativeAnd in keeping with the 'circle of life' theme there are fish metaphors aplentyFor no reason other than authorial whimsy he anoints any character who is about to die with an asterisk so we know in advance that they are going to pop their clogs and he mischievously over explains things that are blindingly obvious to anyone bar our tiny brained human descendants one million years into the futureVonnegut has a droll sense of humour that I found immediately enjoyable and fans of Monty Python are sure to like his style But of course there is a great deal of sagacity to be found in his eccentricityIt should come as no surprise to anyone least of all Vonnegut that we humans are the architects of our own downfallDespite our hefty brains we are somehow ignorant to the perils of war financial crashes global viruses world overpopulation climate change and meteorites hitting our planet Aren't we just?The only carp I have with Vonnegut is that he has a scattergun approach to plot lines The story staggers backwards and forwards like a drunken sailor in a hall of mirrors and I felt that the philosophical uotes interrupted rather than enhanced the narrativeIn truth I really didn't know what to expect from Vonnegut's Galápagos it was recommended to me by Cecily but I was pleasantly surprised and absolutely loved every daft dizzy witty moment of this prescient read


  7. says:

    Galápagos is Kurt Vonnegut’s satirical tribute to Charles Darwin The narrator of the tale is a ghost existing for a million years and witnessing everything from the beginning to the end“Nothing could be less inviting than the first appearance A broken field of black basaltic lava thrown into the most rugged waves and crossed by great fissures is everywhere covered by stunted sun burnt brushwood which shows little signs of life The dry and parched surface being heated by the noon day sun gave to the air a close and sultry feeling like that from a stove we fancied even that the bushes smelt unpleasantly” Charles Darwin – The Voyage of the BeagleThe story is also a spoof of Noah’s Ark but instead of landing on Mount Ararat the ship lands on one of the islands in the Galápagos archipelago And instead of evolution Kurt Vonnegut depicts a devolutionBack when childhoods were often so protracted it is unsurprising that so many people got into the lifelong habit of believing even after their parents were gone that somebody was always watching over them – God or a saint or a guardian angel or the stars or whateverPeople have no such illusions today They learn very early what kind of a world this really is and it is a rare adult indeed who hasn’t seen a careless sibling or parent eaten alive by a killer whale or sharkNowadays with all the consumerism conformism and hypocrisy surrounding us individuals just lose their true identity and the devolution has probably already begun


  8. says:

    Humans one million years in the futureWhat would happen if due to a virus that prevents women from reproducing all but a handful of humans die out? In which direction would evolution go if we suddenly had to live without modern technology?This is something I sometimes wonder about If a virus suddenly wiped out nine tenths of us or some idiot wannabe dictator slammed his tiny hands on that big red nuclear weapon button because someone hurt his feelings and tweeting a childish tantrum just wasn't enough to show how yugely pissed he was shrouding the world in nuclear radiation for decades to come Even if humans don't suddenly have to start over with just a handful of us what will we be like a million years from now? That is provided we don't entirely kill ourselves off through greed or stupidityWhether or not you've ever pondered these uestions Kurt Vonnegut has some answersHe envisioned a virus that kept women from reproducing At this time 1986 to be exact so don't worry It didn't happen a small number of humans were isolated and marooned on one of the Galapagos Islands and were the only ones to whom this virus didn't spread The women of this island were the only ones able to reproduce passing on their DNA from one generation to the nextIf you know anything about how evolution works you should have no problem understanding why Vonnegut saw humans stranded on this island becoming seal likeHe writes Galapagos with his usual dry wit and critical view of humanity He decides our big brains are responsible for our suffering and we would be much happier without them And if we had flippers instead of hands we could no longer enslave our fellow human beings or build weapons to destroy our world and each other It's a fun book and if you've enjoyed any of Vonnegut's other works you don't want to miss this one The characters are all too human with their flaws and wants and dislikes and likes and big brains and everything else that makes us the complicated beings we are Oh and what a fun surprise to find out 70% of the way through who the narrator is


  9. says:

    In this era of big brains anything which can be done will be done so hunker down Kurt Vonnegut Galápagos Trying to stay a couple books ahead of my son as I re read Vonnegut I haven't read much since those years between 13 and 18 when I seemed to burn through Vonnegut books again and again He was one of those few writers I ever read twice Dickens Shakespeare and Hugo are a few others So now as an adult I am approaching these books again God I love this man I love his hopeful resigned cynicism about the modern era He writes as an outsider but also as a friend if that makes any sense This novel is so brilliant in its simplicity Kilgore Trout's son Leon Trotsky Trout narrates a tale that covers one million years He is a ghost destined to watch humanity crash and be reborn on the Island of Galápagos That is the basic arc The almost end of man and his rebirth Using evolution as a key Vonnegut shows that like the Irish Elk with its large heavy awkward and almost unadaptive giant antlers man is burdened with a giant brain that seems to cause endless trouble for our species “Given a choice between a brain like you and the antlers of an Irish elk” she told her own central nervous system “I'd take the antlers of the Irish elk”So the accidents of genetics and the isolation of some famous islands West of Ecuador allow for our species to be reborn “What was it going to do with a bigger brain? Compose Beethoven's Ninth Symphony?”


  10. says:

    One million years in the future a man recounts humanity's origins in the Galapagos islandsThis was the third Kurt Vonnegut book I've read and my third favorite Actually it reminds me of one of Grandpa Simpson's rambling stories that circles back on itself only with novel y bits like themes and messages and suchGalapagos is part satire part cautionary tale There's a shipwreck on Galapagos and it turns out those people are the only ones who can reproduces I'm pretty sure this is mentioned in the first two pages Anyway one million years in the future humanity is a whole other speciesGalapagos deals in evolution environmentalism and anti war Also humanity's big brains are blamed for most of their problems The world of Galapagos is in a global economic crisis Yeah a lot has changed since 1986The book is actually pretty funny with Vonnegut's dark absurdist humor being the star of the show I interrupted my girlfriend's Harry Potter reading with this easily my favorite uote “I didn't know then what a sperm was and so wouldn't understand his answer for several years My boy he said you are descended from a long line of determined resourceful microscopic tadpoles champions every one” I enjoyed this fairly well and devoured it in three sittings I didn't like it as much as Cat's Cradle or Slaughterhouse Five however I think it was the circular nature of the narrative that got me If Galapagos was a road trip it would have been thousands of left turns in order to go fifty miles in a straight line 35 out of 5 stars