Sometimes I wonder if science fiction writers really can see into the future. And by the future I don’t necessarily mean the technological side of things. Flying cars aren’t exactly commonplace after all. But Kurt Vonnegut’s Galápagos seems to hit the nail on the head as far as the human failure to protect the environment and its people is concerned. The words he has written about forests being killed and lakes being poisoned are more real now than when he wrote them 34 plus years ago.
A book a million years in the telling, Galápagos shows us how humankind evolves after a small group of people from the 1980s find themselves marooned on an island due to a war – caused by people, or more specifically, their big brains. As it turns out, these same people will be the only ancestors of human beings a million years later, as a disease wipes out humanity’s ability to reproduce.
Yet despite the seeming doom and gloom, this is a Vonnegut story, and it would not be one without his oddball sense of humour. After all, who else can narrate this story besides a million plus year old ghost who has witnessed life on earth evolve?
Also, doesn’t Mandarax sound a little like Google to you? How’s that for a bit of seeing into the future?