Galatea 2.2

( 4 )

Overview

After several years abroad, novelist Richard Powers -- the fictional protagonist of the story -- returns to America and accepts the position of Humanist-in-Residence at the enormous and prestigious Center for the Study of Advanced Sciences. There, he meets Philip Lentz, an outspoken neurologist intent on creating a model of the human brain with computer-based neural networks, and together they embark on an outlandishly ambitious project -- to teach the neural net English ...
See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (53) from $1.99   
  • Used (53) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 6
Showing 1 – 10 of 53 (6 pages)
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$1.99
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:

(172)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

Like New
1996-05 Paperback Like New Softcover, clean new condition.

Ships from: Gilroy, CA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2007

Feedback rating:

(2926)

Condition: Good
1996 Paperback Meets or exceeds the guidelines for GOOD condition. May have minimal wear or damage; may have previous owner's signature.

Ships from: San Jose, CA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:

(4013)

Condition: Good
First Good [ No Hassle 30 Day Returns ] [ Edition: First ] Publisher: Perennial (HarperCollins) Pub Date: 5/1/1996 Binding: Paperback Pages: 329.

Ships from: College Park, MD

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(15732)

Condition: Good
Good condition.

Ships from: Frederick, MD

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(2)

Condition: Good
Book is in good condition.

Ships from: Cedar Hill, TN

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:

(21769)

Condition: Good
1996-05-22 Trade Paperback Good Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 336 p.

Ships from: Sparks, NV

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(1776)

Condition: Good
1996 Paperback Good Books have varying amounts of wear and highlighting. Usually ships within 24 hours in quality packaging. Satisfaction guaranteed. This item may not include ... any CDs, Infotracs, Access cards or other supplementary material. Read more Show Less

Ships from: Lincoln, NE

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(15732)

Condition: Acceptable
Acceptable condition. Former Library book. Inside clean.

Ships from: Frederick, MD

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(1034)

Condition: Good
Good book, great price! We ship daily via USPS. Buy with the best! BN

Ships from: Toledo, OH

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(49)

Condition: Acceptable
0060976926 THIS BOOK IN STOCK & WILL SHIP SAME DAY! NOTICEABLY READ/USED.CLEAN & INTACT PAGES.AVERAGE WEAR TO COVER(MAY HAVE SPINE CREASES),PAGES AND /OR SPINE, WATER DAMAGE, BUT ... NO MISSING PAGES OR ANYTHING THAT WOULD COMPROMISE THE LEGIBILITY OR UNDERSTANDING OF THE TEXT.FREE TRACKING NUMBER PROVIDED IMMEDIATELY UPON PURCHASE SO YOU CAN TRACK ORDER WITH EASE.WE SHIP 6 DAYS A WEEK TWICE A DAY. GUARENTEED A++CUSTOMER SERVICE. Read more Show Less

Ships from: Northridge, CA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 6
Showing 1 – 10 of 53 (6 pages)
Close
Sort by
Galatea 2.2: A Novel

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook - Second Edition)
$9.99
BN.com price
This digital version does not exactly match the physical book displayed here.

Overview

After several years abroad, novelist Richard Powers -- the fictional protagonist of the story -- returns to America and accepts the position of Humanist-in-Residence at the enormous and prestigious Center for the Study of Advanced Sciences. There, he meets Philip Lentz, an outspoken neurologist intent on creating a model of the human brain with computer-based neural networks, and together they embark on an outlandishly ambitious project -- to teach the neural net English literature so that it can pass a difficult master's exam.

As their experiment progresses, their brain-child absorbs more and more information, gradually becoming increasingly worldly. Soon, it demands to know its name, sex, race and reason for existing. Meanwhile, this literary crash course sparks in Powers a parallel awakening, and he begins a reconsideration of his chosen profession, his decade-long, failed relationship with a former pupil and his obsession with the master's candidate against whom his cybernetic pupil is slated to compete.

The author of The Gold Bug now offers the intriguing story of an outspoken neurologist intent upon modeling the human brain by means of computer-based neural networks. Through repeated tutorials, the device grows gradually more worldly until it demands to know its own name, sex, race and reason for existing.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Washington Post Book World
A splendid intellectual adventure, a heartbreaking love story, a brief tutorial on cognitive science, and the autobiography of one of the most gifted writers of the younger generation.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Powers, in his mid-30s and with four well-received books under his belt Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance; The Gold Bug Variations; etc., is among our most prodigious young novelists, and without a doubt our most cerebral. He seems bent on proving the novel to be a form capable of housing all manner of human thought and expression: art, music, genetic theory, linguistics and philosophy. In Galatea 2.2, Powers, known as an extremely private person, is writing about himself-Richard Powers, the cerebral author of four novels-in a most intimate fashion, detailing his loves, passions and failings. His objective, however, is nothing so mundane as self-portraiture. Typically, he has a bigger idea: in exploring the nature of consciousness, he is trying to build a conscious novel in much the same way that the novel's fictional Powers is trying to spark consciousness in a university computer. The result is a kind of double simulation of intelligence that is breathtakingly elegant. Powers the character, returns to a Midwestern university with a huge computer science department, after several years in Holland, where he has left behind the love of his life, who saw him through the first four books. As a visiting writer, his job is to bombard a computer network, which he comes to call Helen, with literature, music and conversation so that it will recognize beauty in some neuronal simulation, and therefore become conscious of it. Meanwhile, Powers reveals his life, including his career as a novelist down to the mentioning of a rare picture of him in a PW interview four years ago. It's as if both Helen and the novel itself can be programmed into self-consciousness. In the course of tutoring Helen to be able to successfully interpret a piece of text in a manner indistinguishable from a human, Powers and Helen form an enchanting though eerie bond: she has ``read'' all his books; he knows her circuitry. Still, there remain mysteries that can't be accounted for by electron paths, in Helen's case, or by a theory of the self, in Powers's case. In the end, Powers is left with the conviction he started with: that intelligence is irreducible; it cannot be known. Although parts of the book seem hastily done or weakly felt the university folk are rather two-dimensional, and Powers's crush on a rail-thin, obnoxious grad student is simply unaccountable, these are minor flaws in an otherwise ingenious performance. June
From the Publisher
"Dazzling...a cerebral thriller that's both intellectually engaging and emotionally compelling, a lively tour de force." —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"A splendid intellectual adventure, a heartbreaking love story, a brief tutorial on cognitive science, and the autobiography of one of the most gifted writers of the younger generation." —The Washington Post Book World

"Terse and heartbreaking." —Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Brilliantly imaginative." —Time

"I love and admire this book...but I cannot give an adequate sense of its many marvels....One of the most beautiful and baffling dialogues in recent fiction." —The Boston Globe

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060976927
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/22/1996
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.28 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Powers

Richard Powers has been the recipient of a Lannan Literary Award and a MacArthur Fellowship. He is the author of eight novels, including Plowing the Dark, Gain, and Galatea 2.2. He lives in Illinois.

Biography

It isn't easy to characterize Richard Powers in a single sentence. The MacArthur grant recipient and award-winning novelist suffers from what Powers himself, in a Salon interview, called "a restlessness of theme"—his books feature everything from molecular genetics and neural networks to soap manufacturers and singers. What they have in common is something Powers refers to as "the aerial view": a perspective that sees humankind as one small element in a complex universe.

As a child in Chicago's northern suburbs, and later as a teenager in Thailand, Powers had no thoughts of becoming a writer. He believed he was destined to be a scientist and explored paleontology, archaeology, and oceanography before he finally enrolled as a physics major at the University of Illinois. But an honors literature seminar helped inspire him to change fields, and he ended up earning his M.A. in English. Powers then moved to Boston, where he found work as a technical writer and computer programmer. He embarked on an omnivorous, self-directed reading program and spent his Saturdays at the Museum of Fine Arts, where he came across a photograph titled "Young Westerwald Farmers on Their Way to a Dance, 1914."

"The words [of the title] went right up my spine," he later told an interviewer for Cultural Logic. "I knew instantly not only that they were on their way to a different dance than they thought they were, but that I was on the way to a dance that I hadn't anticipated until then. All of my previous year's random reading just consolidated and converged on this one moment, this image, which seemed to me to be the birth photograph of the twentieth century."

The photograph also engendered Powers's career as a novelist. His first book, Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance, was followed by Prisoner's Dilemma and The Gold Bug Variations, which was chosen as a New York Times Notable Book and as Time magazine's Book of the Year for 1991. Gerald Howard, writing in The Nation, called Powers "one of the few younger American writers who can stake a claim to the legacy of Pynchon, Gaddis, and DeLillo." The Gold Bug Variations, which includes the story of a Bach-obsessed scientist who abandons his quest to crack the genetic code, established Powers as a writer who could articulate questions about science and technology—which emerge again in novels like Galatea 2.2, about a writer trying to teach literature to an artificial-intelligence program named Helen, and Plowing the Dark, which explores virtual reality and the human imagination as different means (or possibly the same means) of escaping the physical limitations of life.

Powers's works are packed with puns, parallels, and allusions; as Daniel Mendelsohn noted in The New York Times Book Review, each novel is "a kind of literary installation in which art objects, theoretical musings, plots and subplots, disquisitions on intellectual and literary history, histories of countries and corporations" illuminate an underlying theme. For some critics, Powers's brand of literary gamesmanship can be too much of a good thing: "He is quite capable of fluent sequential narrative, and readers will be relieved when he lapses into it after all the self-conscious brilliance and endlessly impressive allusion," noted a Publishers Weekly review of Operation Wandering Soul. But for his fans, part of the pleasure of a Powers novel comes from its dazzling and unexpected fusions of intellect and imagination. "It's instruct and delight, right?" Powers asked in the Salon interview. "You gotta give both."

Good To Know

Powers holds the Swanlund Chair in English at the University of Illinois, where he has taught classes in multimedia authoring and the mechanics of narrative.

On the Internet, he has been the subject of several hypertext essays, along with a hypertext vignette titled "Richard Powers Eats Peanut Butter Sandwich."

Several of Powers's novels have been finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award, including Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance, The Gold Bug Variations, and Galatea 2.2. Operation Wandering Soul was a National Book Award finalist.

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      Urbana, Illinois
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 18, 1957
    2. Place of Birth:
      Evanston, Illinois
    1. Education:
      M.A., University of Illinois, 1979

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

It was like so, but wasn't.

I lost my thirty-fifth year. We got separated in the confusion of a foreign city where the language was strange and the authorities hostile. It was my own fault. I'd told it, "Wait here. I'm just going to change some money. Check on our papers. Don't move from this spot, no matter what." And chaos chose that moment to hit home.

My other years persist, like those strangers I still embrace in sleep, intimate in five minutes. Some years slip their chrysalis, leaving only a casing to hold their place in my sequence. Each year is a difficult love with whom I've played house, declaring, at each clock tick, what it will and won't put up with.

My thirty-fifth trusted no one. As soon as I said I'd only be a moment, it knew what would happen to us.

Thirty-five shamed me into seeing that I'd gotten everything until then hopelessly wrong. That I could not read even my own years.

At thirty-five, I slipped back into the States. I did not choose either move or destination. I was in no condition to choose anything. For lack of a plan, I took an offer in my old college haunt of U. The job was a plum, my premature reward for a portfolio that now seemed the work of someone else.

I thought the year a paid leave of absence. A visiting position, where I might start again with the recommended nothing. House, meals, office, expenses, and no responsibilities except to live. I clung to the offer without too much reflection.

In fact, I had nowhere else to go. I couldn't even improvise a fallback.

It had to be U. U. was the only town I could still bear, the one spot in the atlas I'd already absorbed head-on. I'd long ago developedall the needed antibodies. When you take too many of your critical hits in one place, that place can no longer hurt you.

Nothing else remotely resembled home. Time had turned my birthplace into an exotic theme park. I could not have gotten a visa to live where I'd grown up. And I'd just spent the last seven years in a country that seemed exile already, even while I'd lived there.

But U. I could slink back to, and it would always take me. We were like an old married pair, at exhausted peace with each other. I did school's home stretch here, learned to decline and differentiate, program and compose. U. was where I took Professor Taylor's lifechanging freshman seminar. Twelve years later, a stranger to the town, I passed through to watch Taylor die with horrific dignity.

U. was the place where I first saw how paint might encode politics, first heard how a sonata layered itself like a living hierarchy, first felt sentences cadence into engagement. I first put myself up inside the damp chamois of another person's body in U. First love smelted, sublimated, and vaporized here in four slight years.

I betrayed my beloved physics in this town, shacked up with literature. My little brother called me here to tell me Dad was dead. I tied my life to C.'s in U. We took off from U. together, blew the peanut stand to go browse the world and be each other's whole adulthood, an adventure that ended at thirty-five. The odds were against this backwater having anything left to throw at me.

Since my last trip back, I'd achieved minor celebrity status. Local Boy Makes Good. I'd never get my name on the city-limits sign. That honor was reserved for the native Olympic legend. But I now had the credentials to win a year's appointment to the enormous new Center for the Study of Advanced Sciences. My official title was Visitor. Unofficially, I was the token humanist.

My third novel earned me the post. The book was a long, vicarious re-creation of the scientific career I never had. The Center saw me as a liaison with the outside community. It had resources to spare, the office cost them little, and I was good PR. And who knew? A professional eavesdropper with a track record might find no end of things to write about in an operation that size.

I had no desire to write about science. My third novel exhausted me for the topic. I was just then finishing a fourth book, a reaction against cool reason. This new book was fast becoming a bleak, baroque fairy tale about wandering and disappearing children.

Even I could not fail to see the irony. Here I was, crawling back to the setting I had fictionalized in my sprawling science travelogue. The University put me up in a house, the seventies equivalent of the barracks where the hero of my book had lived on his arrival in town. Beyond a lone bed and desk, I left my rooms unfurnished, in my character's honor.

I bought a secondhand bike, perfect for the stretch from my house to the Center. The research complex had sprung up since my last visit. A block-long building in a town the size of U. cannot help but make a statement. The Center's architecture laid irony upon irony. It was a postmodern rehash of Flemish Renaissance. In the Low Countries, I'd lived in postwar poured concrete.

The Center had been built by an ancient donor couple, two people archaic enough to get through life still married to each other. They reached, the end of that shared existence with nothing better to do with the odd fifty million than to advance advanced science. I don't know if they had children, or what the kids were slated to get when the folks passed away.

U. got a warren of offices, computer facilities, conference areas, wet and dry labs, and an auditorium and cafeteria, all under that jumble of Flemish gables. The small city housed several hundred scientists from assorted disciplines. Thankless Ph.D. candidates did the bulk of the experimental drudge work, supervised to various degrees by senior researchers from all over the world. Galatea 2.2. Copyright © by Richard Powers. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 19, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great read for Powers fans

    This autobiographical/fictional story relies heavily on computerese and multiple plotting. I am a Powers fan, so that helps. There is a love affair that ends sadly, but that is countered by the protagonist's challenge to make a computer respond to literature. Characters are well drawn. Typical of Powers is the amount of research that has gone into it. His style is engrossing. This was followwed by THE ECHO MAKER, which is his best novel to date.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2003

    Worth your while

    I understand the reception this book has received from other reveiwers and I should state from the beginning that I am not the world's biggest fan of Powers. I think that of the big three--Powers, Wallace and Vollman that William T. Vollman is the most gifted of the novelists (even though I wonder with some of his most recent works if he is not wasting his gifts). This book is a wonder though and while Powers would seem to be making a fiction out of science and could be judged quickly in his ability as a writer, I think that this is his best work. By fleshing out some of the ideas that started filtering their way into popular conscience in the mid-1990s, namely cognitive theory, Powers would seem to be simply riding a trend. But the work resonates still and having not read it in about 7 years, I recently picked it up for a second run. I was astounded to discover subtleties I had not noticed before. While this book owes quite a bit to the works of Daniel Dennett and Douglas Hofstader, these observations do not take away from what is the true genious of Powers when he is on his game--that he can take the mundane or the scientific and make each look spectacular or simple with relative ease. Before picking this novel up, though, I would suggest at least glancing at a few of the texts I have listed in related titles.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2002

    If I Didn't HAVE to Read It I Wouldn't

    I was waiting for it to get good the whole time. It was a good story and I think it was kind of over my head. I had to read this for a Summer Reading Assignment and if I didn't have to read it, I wouldn't. As I got closer to the end of the book, the harder it was to finish.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2001

    Enticing but falls short

    This novel has a great premise and starts with great promise, but ultimately falls short. It is the story of a novelist, Powers himself, who is enticed into helping train a neural network, eventually named Helen, to learn enough literature to be able to mimic a graduate student. The story of Helen is paralleled by the story of Powers' troubled relationship with his love C, and by his own story of becoming a novelist. The two threads eventually merge into a lovely parable of love gained and love lost. This is the strength of the novel. The novel, however, suffers from weak characterizations, dull self-centeredness, and, most troubling, insufficient science. Powers paints many characters as stereotypes, with dialog that is often stilted and unnatural. Powers' own story of becoming a novelist is dull and uninvolving. But most serious, Powers fails to bring the science to life. He manages to work in references to terms such as neural networks, training, back propagation, Hebbsian, synapses, but the science is never really explored. It serves largely as a backdrop. This is a shame as Powers truly has an original idea and the science is at the heart of it. But give the book a try; the originality of the premise is worth it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)