Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Galápagos” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.87  ·  Rating details ·  58,783 Ratings  ·  2,419 Reviews
Vonnegut was in his early sixties and his career, still successful, drawing toward a kind of bitter summation when Galapagos (1985) was published. His early work with its unequivocal statement of absurdity and hopelessness was now almost four decades behind when he completed this meditation on Darwinism, fate and the essential irrelevance of the human condition.

Humanity ha
Kindle Edition, 338 pages
Published (first published 1985)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Galápagos, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Galápagos

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Henry Avila
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 more than 100, minuscule peaks, breaking the surface, of the sometimes cold, deep blue waters, in 1835, strange anima ...more
Jul 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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

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
J.L.   Sutton
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Galápagos, Kurt Vonnegut
Galápagos is the eleventh novel written by American author Kurt Vonnegut. The novel questions 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 Press.
Main characters:
Leon Trout, dead narrator and son of Kilgore Trout
Hernando Cruz, first mate
Kevin Ansbro
"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 future.
Trout recounts a sequence 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 m
Mar 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
"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, r
Dan Schwent
One million years in the future, a man recounts humanity's origins in the Galapagos islands.

This 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 such.

Galapagos 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
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: undefined
“Just about every adult human being back then had a brain weighing about three kilograms! There was no end to the evil schemes that a thought machine that oversized couldn’t imagine and execute.”

No “so it goes”, but “and so on” does make the occasional appearances. This quote represents what appears to be the basic theme of Galápagos. The “big brain” is humanity’s downfall. Though I believe Vonnegut means something more subtle than that.

Galápagos is about a group of survivors of an apocalypse af
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-kindle, 2014, reviewed
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
Anthony Vacca
May 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely adored the central conceit of this novel: In the midst of the death of the human species, a pocket of "humanity" manages to trundle on for at least another million years into the future, but the caveat being that these far-flung descendants are forever marooned on an ashy isle of the Galapagos where they have devolved into furry small-brained creatures with flippers--and the species and the planet couldn't be better off for it! The conceptual remove from its characters will probably t ...more
Aug 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Vonnegut puts to use a hyper imagination with Galapagos. This book is about big brains. Big brains, like big boobies, regularly get in peoples way. Fortunately, I have neither. They are in peoples way when riding a crowded bus, or crowded elevators or when actively engaged in a sport. And evolution. This book is about big brains, boobies and evolution. That's about all a person needs to know before reading Galapagos... after all, it's not likely you were going to write Beethoven's Ninth Symp ...more
Jan 02, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog
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
Caro the L. of the H.
It was a complicated relationship, with this book. I love Vonnegut, so I was more than enthusiastic to start yet another book by him. And as I started reading it, I got stuck right away... It took me a MONTH and a couple of days to finish it. Which is unusual for me, with Vonnegut.
My main problem with it - knowing from the start that all the characters were doomed and what sort of fate awaited them (and the whole humanity too, btw) wasn't good. There were no surprises, no "aha!" moments, no twis
Galapagos: Our biggest problem is our oversized brains
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
This year I read or reread my favorite Kurt Vonnegut books after a two-decade gap: The Sirens of Titan (1959), Mother Night (1961), Cat’s Cradle (1963), and Slaughterhouse-Five (1969). In these works, his trademark cynicism and resignation towards humanity’s recurrent vanity and folly was mitigated by his gallows humor and simple, unadorned prose. It’s a formula that really transcends any period and keep
Люда Дмитрук
А можна поставити десять зірочок? Це мій другий роман Воннеґута і це любов! Його філософський сарказм вводив мене в захоплений транс. Ідеальна книга!
Sep 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Apr 05, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015

The ship, a fragment detached from the earth,
went on lonely and swift like a small planet.

I love to come across Joseph Conrad quotes, and the one above is eminently appropriate as a one line review of Galapagos . The whole Earth is reduced in this novel to a single vessel, a modern Noah's Ark carrying the last survivors of the human race to the haven of the Galapagos Islands. By placing the action of the novel in 1986, only one year into the future considering the date of publication, Vo
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This riotously funny book is classic Vonnegut. It is satirical, cynical, yet somehow cautiously optimistic in the end, but maybe for a race of people that has evolved more in line with nature. On the Jon Stewart show, Kurt Vonnegut once remarked, “We are terrible animals and our planet’s immune system is trying to rid itself of us and probably should.” Within this novel, Vonnegut rids the world of the human race as we know it and is able to rapidly evolve humans in the Galapagos into creatures t ...more
Aug 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Aug 06, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Daniel Clausen
Jun 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is either the best or the worst travel book ever written. I was traveling through central Europe while I read this book. And as I read, I kept thinking that perhaps I was on my own "Nature Cruise of the Century." I thought that perhaps my own version of James Wait was around every corner. Now, let my oversized brain ruin a simple book review, let me finish by saying that there were no currency crises, wars, drunken captains, or con artists (at least that I knew of) on my trip. I wasn't stra ...more
Liz Janet
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
"In the era of big brains, life stories could end up any which way. Look at mine.”

This is my favourite of Kurt Vonnegut’s books. It is a story told through the eyes of Leon Trotsky Trout, son of one of Vonnegut’s recurring characters, Kilgore Trout. Leon has been watching over humanity for around a million years as a ghost, and by watching over I mean he just sits there and watches them, not in any divine form.

Galapagos takes quite a big chunk being about Ecuador in 1986 during the Latin Ameri
Dec 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: usa, 2017-read
When will evolution correct its mistake and shrink our excessively big brains? - because obviously, what we do with our intelligence ultimately goes against the interest of the planet and consequently, against our own best interest. The speculative future evolutionary stages of mankind and how they might come about, that's what lies at the heart of this satiric dystopia.

The book is a typical Vonnegut: It's funny, but the humor serves to amplify the author's message which is, as usual, dead-serio
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"One million years ago, back in 1986 A.D., Guayaquil was the chief seaport of the little South American democracy of Ecuador". This is the opening line of the science fiction book entitled Galapagos, by Kurt Vonnegut.

Now (year 1,001,986), civilization is existent in one place only: Galapagos. The narrator, Leon Trotsky Trout, who has been a ghost for those one million years, relates to the reader the events that occurred resulting in this new civilization.

The human race died out because of a mu
Chris "Stu"
May 15, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007
"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
Anna Vovchenko
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Не те, щоб я не знала майже всього опусу Воннегута приблизно напам'ять, але в такі часи, як тепер, завжди підтримує нагадування, що хтось на цій планеті ставиться - власне, вже ставився - до людства так само скептично, як ти. Власне, за це й люблю, за це і знаю приблизно напам'ять, за це щороку й перечитую, і отепер також.
Mike Calabrese
Feb 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
Sep 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
the meaning of the end-spoiler alert 4 213 Jan 29, 2018 08:32PM  
Mentor Texts: Mentor 1 2 Dec 11, 2017 07:28PM  
MxCC READS!: Galapagos 1 6 Aug 10, 2017 03:26PM  
The Evolution of ...: July 2017 - Galapagos 20 26 Aug 07, 2017 03:44AM  
The Brewster Acad...: What do you think of Galapagos? 3 4 May 10, 2017 11:19AM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut 2 30 Aug 20, 2015 01:25PM  
  • Extravagance
  • The Fall of the Athenian Empire
  • Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos
  • Selected Essays from: How to be Alone
  • Just a Couple of Days
  • Novels, 1930-1942: Dance Night / Come Back to Sorrento / Turn, Magic Wheel / Angels on Toast / A Time to Be Born
  • Fat Land
  • How the Light Gets In
  • Rescuing Patty Hearst: Growing Up Sane in a Decade Gone Mad
  • Quattrocento
  • The Meaning of Consuelo
  • Molière: A Biography
  • Now Wait for Last Year
  • Sacred Time
  • Monsieur Proust
  • A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays
  • Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature
  • My Life in Orange
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
“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”
“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.” 27 likes
More quotes…