I must say that I'm beginning to consider myself a real conservative in everything related with literature. I can measure this statistically - I usually like straightforward, historical books, and I usually dislike sci-fi and works with too much imagination mixed in. I can't begin to count the amount of books I thought I'd like and I hated (the best example is probably Neal Stephenson's books, which, as a hacker, I was supposed to love, but which left me deeply disappointed). Vonnegut's "Galapagos" is going to join this sad category. A priori, it was something I was supposed to like - a book by a very famous writer (so he must be good?) about a topic I find very interesting (human evolution and the Galapagos islands). So it's sci-fi, so what, perhaps it could be "realistic" sci-fi of the kind I like (Asimov, Tolkien) and not a mad-imagination kind of sci-fi of the kind I don't (Stephenson, Vinge, Pratchett). But alas, it wasn't. "Galapagos" is a mad-imagination kind of sci-fi, the kind where the author gets over-creative and leaves the books as a whole shallow, without any interesting plot to follow. I repeat, this book has no plot. So what does it have ? Is it humor ? Well, yes, of a kind. I suppose the writer tried to match Douglas Adams here, but he failed. I only chuckled once or twice while reading it, and noticed many places where the reader was probably supposed to laugh, but that just weren't funny. Was the book supposed to be thoughtful, reflect some criticism on humanity ? It sure tried to be. And it failed miserably. Peppering every second page with the same "our big brains are the sources of our problems" is hardly constructive criticism. So maybe I disliked the book because I hate negative, pessimistic thinking. I hate people who don't propose solutions, don't look forward, but only whine about all the problems. Even if they make jokes from it. This review, as I now see, appears a bit harsh. The book, after all, was quite easy to read and finish quickly, because it flows well. But it left such a bad taste in my mouth...

Comments

comments powered by Disqus