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Galápagos

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  65,678 ratings  ·  2,766 reviews
Galápagos takes the reader back one million years, to A.D. 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 ...more
Paperback, 324 pages
Published January 12th 1999 by Dial Press (first published 1985)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  65,678 ratings  ·  2,766 reviews


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Lyn
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
...more
J.L.   Sutton
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
“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 overpopulati
...more
Henry Avila
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
...more
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
...more
Vit Babenco
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 su
...more
Darwin8u
Mar 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
"In this era of big brains, anything which can be done will be done -- so hunker down."
-- Kurt Vonnegut, Galápagos

description

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,
...more
Dan Schwent
Apr 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, 2016-books
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
...more
WILLIAM2
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stephen Jay Gould used to assign this novel to his students at Harvard. Probably for some introductory paleontology course or other. Since I admire SJG’s essays I’ve always wanted to read Galápagos. Two things: most if not all of Vonnegut’s novels feature a highly intrusive narrator—God-like—marshaling his patterns. E.M. Forster doesn’t hold a candle to Vonnegut for sheer intrusiveness. Second, Vonnegut uses a relentless list of referents—in this book, big human brains, natural selection, marine ...more
Apatt
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
David Schaafsma
"The only true villain in my story: The oversized human brain."

So to me Galápagos (a series of islands off the coast of Ecuador) is a kind of environmental symbol. I’ve never been there, but it emerged for me (and many of us) decades ago as one of many pristine places where eco-diversity thrives. Very old tortoises! Iguanas! Finches galore! I know Charles Darwin was the guy that catapulted the place to international fame, and that it is still much written about and researched and visited. Since
...more
Jason
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
...more
PirateSteve
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
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
Amanda
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
...more
Caro the Helmet Lady
Mar 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: s-f, 2017-reads
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
...more
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
Stuart
Apr 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Liz Janet
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Ryan
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
...more
Daniel Clausen
Jun 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
[7/10]

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
...more
Andreas
Aug 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Marie
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Kim
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
...more
Dan
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars.

This was not one of my favorite Vonnegut novels to be sure. I liked the concept of humans evolving 1,000,000 years into the future based on a single ancestor. I enjoyed the contemplations of evolution and placing the seminal moment in the Galapagos.

However I did not care one iota for any of the characters. But it is Vonnegut after all and there are sections that are thought provoking. Perhaps the idea would have been better expressed as a short story or novella.
Meike
Dec 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Celia
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
...more
Neil
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
The three-pound human brain is the most destructive force on this planet. Unless you distract it our brains will go on a rampage seeking importance, alcohol and self-esteem. There are some things that work well like mindfulness but the best distraction people have found is to make babies.

It was humanity’s ability to heal so quickly, by means of babies

Then that lead to the problem of more brains and now there are a lot of brains and we probably don’t need them all but since we are all here Vonneg
...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
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