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Archive for the ‘Vonnegut’ Category


Kurt Vonnegut Jr. born November 11, 1922
Indianapolis, Indiana and died April 11, 2007 (aged 84), was one of the most brilliant Science Fiction authors in history.

Kurt_Vonnegut_at_CWRU

 

One of the most popular and successful of his works, Slaughterhouse-Five is widely considered one of the greatest American novels.

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Vonnegut’s work is so insightful, humanist, and thought-provoking that he is probably the most read Sci-Fi Author outside of the genre, in fact he blends science fiction themes into his stories so effortlessly that it disappears into the story, and it can often be easy to forget you are reading Sci-Fi.

In his book Slaughterhouse-Five, one of the central characters Billy Pilgrim has become un-stuck in time and experiences and re-experiences pivotal moments in his life and the life of others. He experiences moments in the firebombing of Dresden (a somewhat autobiographical account of Vonnegut’s own experience as a POW in the Battle of the Bulge) and finds a relatively peaceful existence as a Zoo Exhibit on the Planet Tralfamador, where he is mated with a Porn Star, an event that all the Tralfamadorians routinely tune in to watch with great scientific interest. The book has a powerful anti-war theme, as would be expected from a Freethinker and Humanist. The theme of Time Shifting here foreshadows Vonnegut’s future work, the very excellent Timequake,

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in which an unknown celestial event causes a ripple in space-time snapping everyone in the world (universe?) back in time ten years, but not their consciousness, so free will is temporarily revoked, and everyone must watch passively in horror as the universe replays itself, fully aware of the future they already knew, but trapped, unable to change the past, until they reach the moment of the original time-quake. The ten-year prison sentence affects people terribly, destroying their awareness of free-will to the point that when the universe snaps back into normal time it doesn’t make much difference, until the ever-present and un-affected character Kilgore Trout (who appears in many of Vonnegut’s novels and is an alternate persona of the author) re-awakens the world with his mantra “You were sick, but now you are well again. And there’s work to be done.”

A mantra that works well in life even if their hasn’t been a celestial event.

I don’t know a single person who regretted reading a Vonnegut novel, pick up and read either slaughterhouse-Five, Cat’s Cradle, or Timequake, I can promise you won’t regret it.

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