James Morrow's "Galapagos Regained" centers on the fictional Chloe Bathurst, an unemployed Victorian actress who finds work on Charles Darwin's estate, nurturing the strange birds, exotic lizards, and giant tortoises he brought back from his trip around the world.Read more...
James Morrow's "Galapagos Regained" centers on the fictional Chloe Bathurst, an unemployed Victorian actress who finds work on Charles Darwin's estate, nurturing the strange birds, exotic lizards, and giant tortoises he brought back from his trip around the world. When Chloe gets wind of the Great God Contest, sponsored by the Percy Bysshe Shelley Society 10,000 to the first petitioner who can prove or disprove the existence of a Supreme Being she decides that Mr. Darwin's materialist theory of speciation might just turn the trick. (If Nature gave God nothing to do, maybe He was never around in the first place.) Before she knows it, her ambitions send her off on a wild adventure a voyage by brigantine to Brazil, a steamboat trip up the Amazon, a hot-air balloon flight across the Andes bound for the Galapagos archipelago, where she intends to collect the live specimens through which she might demonstrate evolutionary theory to the contest judges."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-10-13
- Reviewer: Staff
Morrow is best known for his quirky speculative fiction with plots that skewer religion and involve extraterrestrials and boorish people behaving badly. This latest (after The Madonna and the Starship) is a comic blend of Victorian science colliding with Christian faith as greedy folks enter the Percy Shelley Society’s “Great God Contest” to win a hefty cash prize if they can either prove or disprove the existence of God. Unemployed London actress Chloe Bathurst is the zookeeper for scientist Charles Darwin in 1848, fascinated by his yet unpublished theory of natural selection. Desperate to get her destitute father out of debtor’s prison, she steals Darwin’s famous essay and enters the contest, intending to pass Darwin’s theory off as her own, to prove there is no God and claim the prize. Funded by the society, Chloe and her dissolute brother, Algernon, lead an expedition to the Galapagos Islands, racing against a rival expedition hoping to find Noah’s Ark in Turkey. The society’s pompous judges intend to prevent Chloe’s success, secretly sending a ship with orders to destroy any evidence of natural selection on the Galapagos. Although too long, the complex tale is a round-the-world romp of improbable but delightful fun and harrowing adventures, a cross between Phileas Fogg and Lara Croft. (Jan.)