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Galatea 2.2 by Richard Powers
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Galatea 2.2 (1995)

by Richard Powers

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970None8,931 (3.79)37
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» See also 37 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
I tried. I really did. But I just couldn't get into this book. It just seemed to be a bit muddled, while trying a bit too hard to be something like a Pynchon novel.
  tlockney | Feb 5, 2012 |
I read The Gold Bug Variations maybe 10-12 years ago and loved it, probably bought this book shortly afterward, but it has languished in a box through several moves. I loved this book not as much, couldn't say why because the other was so long ago. There are two interwoven strands: the life of character Richard Powers from his days as a student to his return to the same university as a successful novelist, especially his relationship with C, which began and ended during the same time period; and his encounter with a group of scientists studying consciousness, especially his immersion in a project to teach a neural net to read and interpret literature. To what extent is the machine conscious? To what extent is human behavior a repertoire of patterns and responses? Questions more played with than answered here. More significant for this novel is maybe to what extent are the people using this project, this relationship with a machine, to consider and resolve their relationships with other people? As possibly befits a novel about (stream of) consciousness, there are no chapter divisions.

(read 15 Feb 2009)
  qebo | Jul 16, 2011 |
A love letter to English Literature in the form of an AI update on the Pygmalion myth, interleaved with an autobiographical tale of love lost and inertia, and chock full of wry prose and clever reference. Also an at-times disturbing examination of projection and how it shapes our relationships with others. The setting is rather unnerving for me, as it is set at my alma mater, and even in the very buildings where I once worked and learned. ( )
2 vote jddunn | Nov 14, 2010 |
This novel on artificial intelligence by the brilliant Richard Powers is quite enigmatic and leaves the reader with a lot to think about by the end. ( )
  wanack | Mar 26, 2010 |
This book will both break your heart and blow your mind - often on the same page. ( )
  LitPeejster | Feb 11, 2010 |
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Epigraph
The brain is wider than the sky,
For, put them side by side,
The one the other will contain
With ease, and you beside.

The brain is deeper than the sea,
For, hold them, blue to blue,
The one the other will absorb,
As sponges, buckets do.

The brain is just the weight of God,
For, heft them, pound for pound,
And they will differ, if they do,
As syllable from sound.

-Emily Dickinson
Dedication
First words
It was like so, but wasn't.
Quotations
I told her that the Library of Congress contained 20 milion volumes. I told her that the number of new books published increased each year, and would soon reach a million, worldwide. That a person, through industry, leisure, and longevity, might manage to read, in one life, half as many books as are published in a day. (p.290)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312423136, Paperback)

Cognitive neurologist and well-known writer team up to produce a machine that can pass a comprehensive exam in English literature, with predictably unpredictable results. Like The Gold Bug Variations, this is another of Powers' wild, unforgettable novels encompassing science, philosophy, and the frailty of mankind.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:18 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A man's experiment in creating the ideal woman. He is Richard Powers, a professor with a taste for the cerebral. As no woman matches his expectations, he creates Helen, a talking intelligence which he programs with his favored books. The novel follows Richard and Helen's relationship to its sad and inevitable conclusion. By the author of The Gold Bug Variations.… (more)

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