This Post Is Not Beethoven's Ninth Symphny

A couple weeks ago, I brought a stack of books home from the library and told my kids to choose one and start reading . . . Ian chose I Am Legend and really enjoyed it (and then we watched the movie and he was disappointed with the ending, but didn't care for my version either) and Alex started on Kurt Vonnegut's Galapagos but didn't love it and ended up reading A Prayer For Owen Meany-- which he has declared one of his favorite books ever-- and I ended up re-reading Vonnegut's Galapagos, which I will readily admit isn't one of his best, as it's a bit repetitive and probably has too many characters, not all of whom are discernible, but since I first read it-- as a high school kid back in 1986-- I've visited the Galapagos Islands and so the second time around, the book was much more vivid-- I had been to the places and seen the things he was describing and though it was published thirty years ago, the themes are oddly prescient-- there's convenient anthropomorphized AI, the fear of automation, a rapidly deteriorating environment, a fatalistic malaise about this rapidly deteriorating environment, and a general ambivalence for the big brains of humanity, which are capable of so much wonder and innovation, and also so much damage and devastation . . . but don't worry, because in the end, there is a tragically comforting thing that can be said about the demise of nearly each and every one of us, myself included: "Don't worry about it . . . he wasn't going to write Beethoven's Ninth Symphony anyway."

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