Kurt Vonnegut is dead at age 84.
There are not many authors that I tried to read every book they came out with. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., is one of them.
I remember I first read Cat’s Cradle then I tried out his short stories Welcome to the Monkey House and liked it also. What was next? I don’t remember, maybe God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater or Slaughter House Five or Breakfast of Champions, They were all good, critical of societies and the critical of the people in societies that took themselves too seriously. And lets not forget The Sirens of Titan, one of his best, I think.
Another book, I think his first, Player Piano he was warning us of electronic automation. I think of that book every time I call a big company and cannot speak to a human and have to leave a voice mail.
He also wrote a play, or maybe it was a screenplay. The name of it was Happy Birthday Wanda June! Happy Birthday Wanda June was what was written on a birthday cake that wasn’t picked up at the bakery so someone else bought it. It was bought for a last minute thought for a birthday party by a egomaniac who loved guns and big game hunting. He was also impotent.
The reason the Happy Birthday Wanda June birthday cake not picked up because Wanda June was playing on the street and got ran over by the ice cream on wheels man. Wanda and Jesus would take a break from playing shuffleboard to watch the story developing around her birthday cake. She had a good view of the action from up there.
In the book Slaughter House Five was about WWII in Dresden, Germany. An American POW lived in the building that was used to slaughter animals for the butcher. It was Slaughter House #5. He told how the German towns people were just a regular beer drinking bunch of people that had their good moments and their sad moments, like the rest of us. He told how the American planes came over and bombed the town back to the stone age, for no apparent reason – there was no military base or ammunition supply there.
He had several characters that appeared in most if not all of his novels. The two I can think of is Kilgore Trout, who was a science fiction writer, whose claim to fame was the book Venus On the Half Shell, but he never gained monetarily success… he had to badger newspaper boys to get their papers delivered, he was their boss; and Billy Pilgram, who, I think is the one who was Kurt Vonnogut at Slaughter House Five, and later in Breakfast of Champions he was picked up by space explorers – but wait! maybe that was in Sirens of Titan…. Gulp! I am getting them confused. I think I need to re-read them, it will be worth it.
Unfortunately, in the past twenty or so years I lost touch with his books. The last one I tried to read I didn’t quiet pick up his writing cadence like I used to ---- either he changed or I changed.
Wait! I forgot one: Mother Night!