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Galapagos [Paperback]

Kurt Vonnegut
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Book Description

26 Mar 1987
The human survivors of the "Nature Crisis of the Century", are quietly evolving into sleek, furry creatures with flippers and small brains. All other forms of humankind have ceased to exist, made redundant by their prized big brains. From the author of "Slaughterhouse 5".
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Grafton; New Ed edition (26 Mar 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0586064826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0586064825
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 11.2 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 95,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kurt Vonnegut was a writer, lecturer and painter. He was born in Indianapolis in 1922 and studied biochemistry at Cornell University. During WWII, as a prisoner of war in Germany, he witnessed the destruction of Dresden by Allied bombers, an experience which inspired Slaughterhouse Five. First published in 1950, he went on to write fourteen novels, four plays, and three short story collections, in addition to countless works of short fiction and nonfiction. He died in 2007.

Product Description

From the Back Cover

Long, long ago, as he researched into the origin of species, Charles Darwin had been inspired by the creatures of the Galapagos. Now, a million years on, the new inhabitants of the islands – the human survivors of the 'Nature Cruise of the Century' – have quietly evolved into sleek, furry creatures with flippers, and small brains. All other forms of humankind have ceased to exist, finally made redundant by their own inventions.

All that survives of their Big-Brain Culture is contained in Mandarax, a tiny electronic marvel which can recall any one of twenty thousand popular quotations from world literature, as well as translate among a thousand languages. Unfortunately Mandarax doesn't understand Kanka-Bono, the language of the cannibals who have arrived to 'look after' the new humanity…

"'Galapagos' is Vonnegut's funniest and maddest book in years."
TIME OUT

"'Galapagos' is clever, extremely entertaining, cordially balancing on the knife edge of blackness and never falling off."
GUARDIAN

"Vonnegut's best novel since 'Slaughterhouse 5'"
MARTIN AMIS,' Observer'

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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THE THING WAS: One million years ago, back in 1986 A.D., Guayaquil was the chief seaport of the little South American democracy of Ecuador, whose capital was Quito, high in the Andes Mountains. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly excellent - and fun 26 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Once more, Vonnegut uses the genre of Sci-Fi to explore and give insight to the human condition. And he does it in such a way that it is almost but not quite believable and acceptable.
His ever-so-slightly tongue-in-cheek view (that the size of the human brain is the cause of all our problems, from sex to economics to world peace) doesn't seem either believable OR acceptable until you read the book.
Read it and understand that human intelligence is the cause of all of the ills in the world and when humanity is fully evolved (a million years in the future), we'll be less intelligent yet much happier.
This book is a lot of fun.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you're new to Vonnegut, start with this one 4 Oct 2007
By _roope_
Format:Paperback
Vonnegut (may he rest in peace) has been my favourite author ever since I graduated out of 'youth' books 25+ yrs ago, and I've read all that he's written, in many cases several times over. Galapagos may not be his greatest work but it's certainly in the top-5, and in many ways it's my personal favourite - a really interesting, intellectually challenging, fun and life-affirming read. Rather than summarise or 'analyse' the book here, I'll just say this: if you've never read Vonnegut before and are wondering where to start, I'd recommend starting here. You'll get a really good feel for his style, and can then decide for yourself whether you like him.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Survival of the misfits 29 Nov 2009
By sft
Format:Paperback
Written with typical Vonnegut esprit, Galapagos is an entertaining read. The pages fly by and, although a little laboured and repetitive at times, the hallmark humour is present. What it lacks, however, is the depth of some of his other work. Compared to Player Piano and Slaughterhouse 5 this is a slight work that doesn't resonate for long in the mind once finished. It's fun but it's not Vonnegut at his best.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A winner for vonnegut fans 18 Sep 2007
By wombat
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is not a straightforward, run of the mill normal story. Like Vonnegut's most famous work, Slaughterhouse 5, it is told out of sequence, eccentrically and erratically. Much of the main plot is reported rather than seen, and you are told of events several times before they happen. Conceits like the asterisk before the name of everyone about to die keep you aware you are reading a story rather than being absorbed into a universe. This distancing is in keeping with the abstract feeling of the narrator - but what would you expect from the narration of a nosey ghost?

I found the ending an engaging puzzle, particularly when I considered the well known symptom of the illness the narrator has contracted before his death. Daren't say more, as I'd hate to spoil it for anyone.

Vonnegut is a quirky, interesting and funny writer but he is not for everyone. If you like his prose you will probably thoroughly enjoy this - it's a short, easy and appealing read. If a good old fashioned story is your thing, you'd do better to pick something else.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rewarding if frustrating read 4 Dec 2010
By Bacchus TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
This was my first Kurt Vonnegut read and although at the time I was disappointed with it, it was intrigued enough to read Slaughterhouse 5. Knowing a bit more of his style and particular world view, I got more out of that book.

At the time I read Galapagos, I found it hard to take his particular view of the future; that the human beings' large brains will ultimately be our downfall. Having read Slaughterhouse 5, I can now understand Kurt Vonnegut's particularly nihilistic world view. In the book, he shows the end of the human race except for one group of people who end up stranded on Galapagos during some kind of military/ecological disaster. They begin as civilised 20th century people and we then see their descendents in 1,000,000 years time having evolved into inarticulate seal-like creatures.

At the time of reading, I felt the need to defend the human race against such a prediction but then thought, Hey, what's the point? It interests me as much as our ancestors 1,000,000 years ago. There likely to be as much meeting of minds with those ancestors as there is with our descendents.

One annoying flaw in the book is a fact revealed by the Mandrax (a 1980s' Wikipedia-like computer programme) used by one of the characters. The book states that Charles Darwin was born in 1812. He was in fact born in 1809. I realised this was wrong when I read this statement and thought that perhaps the decline of the human race would be predicated on this factual error. Sadly, this is never picked up in the rest of the book.

Anyway, I hope this does not put anyone off reading the book - at the very least, it may lead you to other books by this particular writer.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is the first Kurt Vonnegut book I ever read and is by far the most unique, witty and insightful book that I have come across in many years. The book is narrated by a shipbulider who was decapitated 1 million years before, whos spirit currently resides amongst the only living decendants of mankind who have evolved into small seal like creatures. The story revolves around the last remaining people left to continue the human race after the virtual extinction of mankind. The tragic stories of the individuals brought together for the doomed 'cruise of the century' are pointiently described towards their eventual place in the continuation of the human race. Vonnegut effortlessly exposes the frailties of mankind and the obsurdities of modern civilisations in a way that is very profound and poetic. Anyone unaware of Vonneguts books will soon discover that he has a very unusual (to say the least) perspective on life, which he conveys with ease, writing in a way that makes you think that he believes that everyone thinks this way.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars '..and on and on..'
So slight a book, and such a slog! I started this review becalmed in the vicinity of p158 ('Blah-blah-blah') of the first (Grafton) paperback edition (the one with the misprint on... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Simon Barrett
4.0 out of 5 stars A lot of fun, or Natural Selection according to Leon Trout.
Told by the straightforward case of unreliable narrator (Leon Trotsky Trout, a ghost of a soldier who "died" of syphilis), "Galápagos" the book is a lot of fun with a hint... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Lola
4.0 out of 5 stars American classic
This is a most unusual book!! Vonnegut was a very stylish writer and I think he's a bit like Marmite in that you love him or can't stand him! Read more
Published 3 months ago by severnsquare
3.0 out of 5 stars Great writing, bizarre yet average story
I had heard of Vonnegut's work, but never read any until I found this on special offer for my Kindle. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mr. M.C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of ideas
Interesting - an individual outlook. That sums it up for me - read it yourself and find out. why 25 ?
Published 5 months ago by Mr L C Hughes
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun - but brain twisting
I returned to this author after many years through Slaughterhouse V recently. This is a much lighter read - there is only the potential destruction of mankind and not the real... Read more
Published 6 months ago by RedDit
4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting & amusing but not for everyone
Strange fantasy but good fun. Haven't finished it so I can't say if it has a satisfactory ending but the characters are very well realised and the quirk of giving them asterisks... Read more
Published 6 months ago by D. Francis
1.0 out of 5 stars Galapogo
It's really difficult to see what someone not already familiar with Vonnegut will get out of this novel.

The characters are weak, cliched and very mono faceted. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Darles Chickens
4.0 out of 5 stars very different style of writing
The story switches like a back to the future movie in reverse bot is nevertheless interesting in its structure and style
Published 6 months ago by RRP
3.0 out of 5 stars Science Fiction Gone Mad
This book started off very well, it was witty and quirky and made me laugh out loud. As the title suggests it is set on The Galapagos Islands and gives the reader lots of factual... Read more
Published 6 months ago by zanzibar
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