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Galapagos

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  41,937 ratings  ·  1,592 reviews
Galápagos is the story of a small band of mismatched humans who get shipwrecked on the fictional island of Santa Rosalía in the Galápagos Islands after a global financial crisis has crippled the world's economy. Shortly thereafter, a disease renders humans infertile, with the exception of the people on Santa Rosalía, making them the last specimens of humankind. Over the ne ...more
Hardcover, 269 pages
Published October 31st 1985 by Cape (first published 1985)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Cecily

Rewritten after rereading in July 2012.

This 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 more like seals than 20th century humans. Most of the story is
...more
Amanda
As a fan of sarcasm, cynicism, pessimism, and nihilism (yup, I'm fun at parties), as well as an absurdist plot, I'm a smitten-kitten when it comes to Vonnegut. However, I'm not in love with Galapagos. In deep like? Yes, but, for me, the gold standard when it comes to Vonnegut is Cat's Cradle, followed by Mother Night. I did, however, like Galapagos better than Slaughterhouse-Five.

Galapagos is set one million years after 1986, when the world as we know it ended and, through a series of fluke even
...more
Jason
FINALLY. A Vonnegut book I didn’t like. I didn’t think it were possible!

Narrated by the million-year-old ghost of Kilgore Trout’s son (Trout being the obscure science fiction writer whom Vonnegut fans will undoubtedly recall from such books as Breakfast of Champions and Slaughterhouse-Five), Galápagos tells the story of the end of human civilization as we currently know it. Which is, incidentally, a million years before Trout’s telling of it. And by this description one might expect to be highly
...more
Ryan
Kurt Vonnegut explains that the greatest achievement of The Origin of Species is that it has done "more to stabilize people’s volatile opinions of how to identify success or failure than any other tome." The thinking is that so long as we continue to survive challenges, we will have improved over those that came before.

We often associate survival with success, merit and quality, and Vonnegut goes out of his way to undermine this notion in one of his less appreciated novels, Galapagos.

Leon Trotsk
...more
Andreas
Aug 13, 2007 Andreas rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
It will be interesting to see what becomes of the legacy of Kurt Vonnegut now that he is dead. Many great authors don't receive the recognition they deserve until after they have taken the giant step to the other side, but Vonnegut's Slaughter House Five was being taught in high schools across
America while the author was still alive so I guess it can be said that he was a legend in his own time. Maybe his appeal will diminish with age, but I kind of doubt it. I consider him one of the most bril
...more
Kim
I've read a few of Vonnegut's novels now, and I can't get enough. I love his writing style, his dark humor, and his incredible imagination. He has this way of making his bizarre visions of the future seem perfectly plausible, and makes me worry for our future and laugh at the same time.

Galapagos is told from the point of view of a person a million years after 1986. He relates the story of events in 1986 that led to the remnants of all of humanity being situated on one tiny island a million years
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Melki
I hadn't read anything by Vonnegut since 1990. No real reason for the lapse, just life, I guess. But boy, am I glad he's back in my life again.

Like most of THE MAN'S books, this one is about everything and nothing.

The ghost of Leon Trotsky Trout (sprung from the loins of Kilgore Trout) spins a salty yarn from one million years in the future, telling us all about the mating rituals of humans and blue footed boobies in the year 1986. Seems that once upon a time, mankind had bigger brains and oppos
...more
MJ Nicholls
I have been told to spread my legs a little, open up my work to the desperate reading masses. So let me interrupt this blank space to bring you the latest M.J. Nicholls book experience, The Casserole Dishes of Letitia Elizabeth Landon. Here’s the synopsis:

“In my first non-fiction book, I explore the hidden culinary talents of the 19thC poet and writer, known largely for her simple and sentimental verse.

In 1821, at the age of nineteen, Landon published her first book of poems, The Fate of Adelaid
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Chris "Stu"
"Galapagos" is, as far as I can tell, when Kurt Vonnegut decided to become "Kurt Vonnegut." This book feels like an imperfect parody of Vonnegut's style. It's not _bad_, per se, it's just not very good. Narrated from 1 million years in the future, by Kilgore Trout's son, this book has flashes of real resonance, like when Leon Trout speaks of his time in Vietnam. All in all, however, the entire thing feels misanthropic in a way that definitely would have appealed to me back in junior high, but fe ...more
Lyn
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 Galapagos.

Isaac: [Looking at Peter] What are you laughing about?

Peter: You know. [laughing]

Isaac: 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 funny.

Theodore: Well, it’s like Kurt’s book Galapagos, where Kilgore Trout’s son Leon is a ghost a
...more
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
Aug 15, 2013 Joshua Nomen-Mutatio rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Joshua Nomen-Mutatio by: Jimmy
Shelves: fiction
I just really, really regret not ever reading Vonnegut as a teenager. Would've been the perfect time. It's still good now, but I feel a bit like I have to time-travel while reading it in order to appreciate it more. I've also been told that this is not exactly the best Vonnegut to start with, especially as a full-grown adult with pretentious literary sensibility and high intellectual expectations. Still, I enjoyed it quite a bit. I like the wildly speculative and I'm a fetishist of sorts for evo ...more
Mike Calabrese
Feb 15, 2008 Mike Calabrese rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mike by: Josh Avin
I've read a whole lot of Vonnegut. I can summate my general feeling toward his works as follows: it's an incredibly engaging and interesting read that you simply fly through, but over the course of a few days after finishing it the plot is all but totally forgotten, and the protagonist appears increasingly underdeveloped the more you think about it. So not expecting a Raskolnikov or Mersault from Vonnegut leads me to take his books at face value.

Galapogos, however, was different. The characters
...more
Marius van Blerck
I read most of Vonnegut's books many years ago, as an impressionable young lad. I am now re-reading them as an older somewhat cynical man with a fashionably world-weary attitude. He impressed me then. He impresses me even more now. What went on in this man's brain? When I read him, I really really say to myself, "I wish I had written that phrase" ...."I wish I had had that idea". He is beyond description. He is so sane, that it's frightening. Wherever you are today Kurt, whether in consciousness ...more
Kate
Jun 05, 2007 Kate rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dreamers, cynics
For many people, this is a lesser of the Vonnegut books. The giants 'Slaughterhouse Five' and 'Cat's Cradle' eclipse it. Perhaps because those are required reading, they charm me less. They go in the same category as The Great Gatsby and Catcher in the Rye -- brilliant as they go, but ubiquitous.

This is more of a forgotten gem, and so I cherish it more. It's very Vonnegut in that it's unabashedly cynical, yet somehow hopeful. I love the bizarre meaning in his frank storytelling, and the amused
...more
Levi
[This review has been retracted. See it here: http://leviathanbound.wordpress.com/2....]
Tiffany
Now, really... am I the only person who doesn't love Vonnegut?
Molly
Oh how I love this book. Parts of it do come off as a bit dated now, but the overall theme about all that we, the human race, and our oversized brains are doing to make ourselves extinct is still very resonant.

This is a tale of "The Nature Cruise of the Century" to Darwin's Galapagos islands in 1986 and how the small group of people beached on one of the islands ends up becoming the future all of humankind.

The detached narrator looks back on the pivotal moments leading up to and including that d
...more
Jesse
Have you ever wondered about the role of mankind one million years from now? Most of this remarkable story takes place in 1986, yet is narrated by the ghost of a shipbuilder one million years later. He tells the story of evolution at its finest. Using the Adam and Eve template, Vonnegut shares one of his ideas on what can happen to Earth before and after a devastating WWIII. The story is humorous, scary and severely ironic all at the same time. Only Mr. Vonnegut could put this idea into such a w ...more
Nikki
Galapagos is a fun read, playful; for a book about the end of the world, it's certainly more humorous and light-hearted than most, except perhaps Good Omens. The narration is fun -- the narrator is pretty much a character, but also pretty much omniscient, so you get to know everything that's going, but with opinions into the bargain.

When I think about it, though, I can't find much substance in this. It's very repetitive, and if there's one single point that comes out of it strongly, it's that hu
...more
Judy
This is the first book I've read by Vonnegut. I enjoyed its unique style and creativity. What else can I say? Afterall,
Quoth Mandarax:

"Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae."

-Kurt Vonnegut
(1949 - 2007)

Reuben Alcatraz
naive youthful enthusiasm + Vonnegut's humanistic pessimism = anarchic and entertaining fuck-yeah!ishness.
Self-consciously jaded mid-twenties ennui + Vonnegut's humanistic pessimism = cliche city, like Fucking Tom Robbins re-writing Cat's Cradle.
Sorry guys, it's just my baggage bringing us down here.
Anyways, slaughterhouse 5 is great, and I liked God Bless You Mr Rosewater a lot too. Read those first.

The two stars are partly just a reactionary move to pull the ratings down. If I hadn't read Cat
...more
Sue
Textbook example of modern satire. A lot of people interchange "humor" with "satire." They are not the same and if you are unsure what satire is, read anything by Vonnegut, but especially this one. It does have its humorous moments but for the most part it's an angry book. Like a good piece of satire should be.

The text references evolutionary theory, not just by invoking Darwin or the Galapagos Islands, but by artfully weaving elements of the theory into the story. He discusses the course of Hun
...more
Adam
I've read most all of the Vonnegut's at this point, and this is undoubtedly one of the best. An ironic look at evolution based on a twist to the Gilligan's island premise. Basically, a group travelers stranded on the islands are forced to breed to repopulate after some (i forget, honestly) travesty has befallen humanity.

The concept follows a familiar Vonnegut theme - that humans are too clever and emotional to be humane - hence evolution moves these island dwellers away from intellectual greatn
...more
Gearóid
Have been putting off reading Vonnegut for a long
time for some reason but now i have read my first
one i have to say it was excellent.
Such clever and witty writing.
And kinda scary as a lot of what he says is relevant to
the state of the world these days.
So onwards to the next Vonnegut book.
Alex Duncan
I found this one kind of trippy. Not my favorite Vonnegut book.
Emma B
Considering how much I love Kurt Vonnegut, and how much I was psyched about the idea of the book, I simply couldn't get past the narration style. There is a certain desire, when reading a book, for some of the most important things to happen in something resembling the correct order, and to not know the results of the events as much as 250 pages before the details of the event. There is a certain joy in the shock value of story twists that the narration of this book completely stripped away. The ...more
Candice Trebus
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
S.
like a lot of people, I discovered Kurt Vonnegut my 17th year, and then was enthralled to discover this eccentric, zany writer inhabiting a totally private universe--and if this happened to be in the 90s rather than the 60s, which first marked Vonnegut's breakout in the decade of love and flowers and VW campers, nevertheless there was something unusual, special, and totallly different about this author. it was like nothing else out there, and that's a plus of course.

from Player Piano (5/5) to Sl
...more
Andy
Wikipedia insists that Vonnegut is a humanist, but I've only ever detected contempt for humanity in his books. I found this book to be characteristic in that it describes a materialistic world view, which includes no room for sympathetic characters (almost as if people aren't worth bothering about) and seeks solace in a celebration of the absurdity of trying to apply meaning to meaningless material processes (thanks, but no thanks). Like all of his books, the narrative techniques are far too cle ...more
Aaron Wolfson
After reading this a third time, I'm awed as ever by Vonnegut's brilliant simplicity.

Of course, the problem with humans is that our brains are too big. If we just had smaller brains, we'd get ourselves and the world into much less trouble.

This is still my most treasured Vonnegut book, because it distills his ethos into its purest form. Nobody else calls attention to the problems with our society in such a poignant way, while simultaneously celebrating everything that is wonderful about human lov
...more
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Kurt Vonnegut, Junior was an American novelist, satirist, and most recently, graphic artist. He was recognized as New York State Author for 2001-2003.

He was born in Indianapolis, later the setting for many of his novels. He attended Cornell University from 1941 to 1943, where he wrote a column for the student newspaper, the Cornell Daily Sun. Vonnegut trained as a chemist and worked as a journali
...more
More about Kurt Vonnegut...
Slaughterhouse-Five Cat's Cradle Breakfast of Champions The Sirens of Titan Mother Night

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“Some automatic device clicked in her big brain, and her knees felt weak, and there was a chilly feeling in her stomach. She was in love with this man.

They don't make memories like that anymore”
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“For some people, getting pregnant is as easy as catching cold." And there certainly was an analogy there: Colds and babies were both caused by germs which loved nothing so much as a mucous membrane.” 17 likes
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