100% All-Natural Composition
No Artificial Intelligence!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut is now unstuck in time

This is not something that I wanted to read upon first waking up...

Kurt Vonnegut has passed away at the age of 84.

Sadly, to date I've read only one of his novels. That being Slaughterhouse Five, about Billy Pilgrim: a man who becomes "unstuck in time" and can go to any moment of his life whenever he wants. In high school I also read his short story "Harrison Bergeron": I thought it was one of the most brilliant things that I'd ever read. Looking back on it now, I think Vonnegut was sadly pretty prescient with "Harrison Bergeron". It's the perfect short story about equality enforced by law and deviation from society being a punishable offense. Someday, I'm going to read Breakfast of Champions and the rest of his classics.

Vonnegut had what might have been the all-time greatest cameo appearance in a movie. It came in 1986's Back to School starring Rodney Dangerfield. I won't spoil it for you if you haven't seen it, but seeing him pop up in the context of that scene was, and still is, quite a hilarious shock.

Even if he had never been a literary giant, he would have had a live worthy of serious consideration. Among other things he was a soldier during the Battle of the Bulge. And he was an eyewitness to the firebombing of Dresden: something that I think no doubt still haunted him years later when he wrote Slaughterhouse Five.

Well, I don't know what else to say in a post like this. He was a great writer and an interesting fellow in his own right.


Unknown said...

If you liked Slaughterhouse 5, please please read Vonnegut's other novels - you will be glad you did! Put the words "Vonnegut bibliography" into a search engine like Google, and you'll get a whole list of his novels, plays, collections of short stories, etc. Also, look him up in Wikipedia for loads of great entries and book synopses.

I first read Breakfast of Champions, Slaughterhouse 5, and Cat's Cradle in high school, back when he was considered an author worth studying. Now of course most of his novels are banned for content deemed inappropriate for the new generation. Too bad for them. Anyway, as a fan of Vonnegut from way back, I encourage you to dive headlong into that pool that you've only put your toes into so far..