Home Literature Stories Movies Games Comics News Discussion Forum
  Science Fiction and Fantasy News
Esslemont's Stonewielder Prologue and Cover (07-26)
Deals and Deliveries (9!!!) (09-12)
Iron Man: Femmes Fatales by Robert Greenberger (09-12)
Indiana Jones and the Army of the Dead by Steve Pe (09-12)

Official sffworld Reviews
Big Time, The by Fritz Leiber (05-29 - Book)
Rogue Clone by Steven L. Kent (05-25 - Book)
The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig (05-21 - Book)
The Wisdom of the Shire by Noble Smith (05-17 - Book)


Site Index

Book Info    Bookmark and Share

Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut Jr

  (15 ratings)

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z

Rating (15 ratings)
Rate this book
(5 best - 1 worst)
Book Information  
AuthorKurt Vonnegut Jr
Book Reviews / Comments (submitted by readers)
Submitted by Alan Oak 
(Jan 16, 2007)

Our brains are just too big. In fact, they are an evolutionary disadvantage that contributed to humanity's near extinction. I have this on the expert authority of Leon Trout, a one million year old ghost and narrator of Galapagos, by Kurt Vonnegut.

Trout tells the tale of humanity's evolution from a planetary scourge to an isolated population of seal-like creatures on the fictional island of Santa Rosalia in the Galapagos islands over one million years. The story begins in 1986, when a luxury cruise ship, the Bahia de Darwin, is set to make its maiden voyage with a shipfull of celebrities, including Jackie O.

But then the world economic system fails, leaving only a small sample of the original passenger roster (not including Jackie O!) stuck in the Ecuadorian port city of Guayaquil. It seems that money -- which human's big brains had imbued with imaginary value just months before -- becomes nearly worthless by an act of collective disbelief. Small countries like Ecuador find themselves worthless currency and unable to import foodstuffs. All is chaos as starving people riot in the city. Then war breaks out with Peru.

In the chaos, the further dues ex machina of human's big-brained stupidity results in eleven people escaping the city on the Bahia de Darwin: four original passengers, the ship's captain, and six girls, who themselves are the improbable surviving remnant of an Ecuadorian jungle tribe, the kanka-bonos. The Bahia de Darwin is shipwrecked on Santa Rosalia, and the survivors become the new Adams and Eves when a viral plague destroys humanity's reproductive ability on the mainland. Over the next million years, human brains devolve as maladapted for survival by fishing.

If there is a weakness in the book, it's that Leon Trout never lets us appreciate the good qualities of the other characters, or come to recognize their humanity in other than their folly. This makes sense with the message and the cynicism of the narrator, but some readers won't find this satisfying. This is a book for ideas and wit, not characters; it is a satirical dissection of people as a subject of scientific scrutiny in light of evolution.

Galapagos is a vortex of a novel that's nonlinear style of storytelling and strong central idea sucks the reader in and won't let go. The plot and theme are laid out in the first few pages; but the reader is drawn to see how exactly it all happens by one improbable coincidence after another. I read this book for the first time about 17 years ago, and it's still holds an honored place in my personal canon of literature.

Sponsor ads



The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize!
05-31 - News
Stephen King's Joyland UK Promotion
05-30 - News
UK Publisher of Stephen King’s New Novel Unusual Promotion
05-30 - News
Big Time, The by Fritz Leiber
05-29 - Book Review
Rogue Clone by Steven L. Kent
05-25 - Book Review
The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig
05-21 - Book Review
The Wisdom of the Shire by Noble Smith
05-17 - Book Review

05-10 - News
The Tyrant's Law by Daniel Abraham
05-04 - Book Review
Galaxy's Edge 1 by Mike Resnick
04-28 - Book Review
Poison by Sarah Pinborough
04-21 - Book Review
Bullington, Beukes and Bacigalupi event
04-19 - News
The City by Stella Gemmell
04-17 - Book Review
Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan
04-15 - Book Review
Tarnished Knight by Jack Campbell
04-09 - Book Review
Frank Hampson: Tomorrow Revisited by Alastair Crompton
04-07 - Book Review
The Forever Knight by John Marco
04-01 - Book Review
Book of Sith - Secrets from the Dark Side by Daniel Wallace
03-31 - Book Review
NOS4R2 by Joe Hill
03-25 - Book Review
Fade to Black by Francis Knight
03-13 - Book Review
The Clone Republic by Steven L. Kent
03-12 - Book Review
The Burn Zone by James K. Decker
03-06 - Book Review
A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz
03-04 - Book Review
Blood's Pride by Evie Manieri
02-28 - Book Review
Excerpt: River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay
02-27 - Article
Tales of Majipoor by Robert Silverberg
02-24 - Book Review
American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett
02-20 - Book Review
Evie Manieri Guest Post
02-19 - Article
The Grim Company by Luke Scull
02-17 - Book Review
Red Planet by Robert A. Heinlein
02-11 - Book Review

New Forum Posts

About - Advertising - Contact us - RSS - For Authors & Publishers - Contribute / Submit - Privacy Policy - Community Login
Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use. The contents of this webpage are copyright © 1997-2011 sffworld.com. All Rights Reserved.