Kurt Vonnegut

Leonard Smalls

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So it goes...
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Jezzer

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"So it goes" indeed...

I had to let out a gasp when I heard the news. A sad day indeed. One of the greatest writers of our time.

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Here was what Kilgore Trout cried out to me in my father's voice: "Make me young, make me young, make me young!"

 

Tel

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I still remember in my teens laughing out loud when I found Venus on the Half Shell by Kilgore Trout in a book shop in the Science Fiction section filed by author under 'T'

We are all what we pretend to be, but,we had better be very careful what we pretend.

The only modern author that sort of comes close is Tom Robbins

 

griffo104

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Very sad, one of my favourite authors. Funny, clever and a great imagination.

Went and reread (again) Breakfast Of Champions when I heard the news.

 

Jezzer

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'Breakfast of Champions'

Has to be my favourite.

Then 'Slaughterhouse Five'

Then 'Mother Night'

Then 'Cats Cradle'...

 

Tel

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Quite hard to answer that.

In a lot of book shops you will find him under Science Fiction, in the better bookshops you won't.

As he said himself

I have been a soreheaded occupant of a file drawer labeled "Science Fiction" and I would like out, particularly since so many serious critics regularly mistake the drawer for a urinal.

SlaughterHouse 5 for instance opens with the Hero 'Billy Pilgrim' as an American GI captured by the Germans in WW2 and held overnight in a basement in Dresden. That night the Allies firebomb Dresden killing a lot of civilians and destroying lots of porcelein factories.

Pilgrim survives and is bought out of his safe basement to see the devastation and the dead, he is convinced the Germans are going to shoot the allied prisoners.

(So far this us exactly what happened to Vonnegut as a young man!)

Then he gets abducted by Aliens and finds himself an exhibit in a zoo on the planet Tralfamadore, where he is expected to have sex three times a day with the other occupant of his cage.

So which part of the storey is more insane?

His books parody life in so many ways, the early stuff like Player Piano was written in the 50's and parodies Roosevelts New Deal, he wrote from the fifties until a few years ago, he came out of retirement to write a scathing attack on George Dubya which has yet to be published in the UK (not sure about the USA)

He had a son who was wrongly diagnosed and wrongly medicated as a Schitzophrenic, some of his comments about mental health and sanity are thought provoking and often very funny.

Vonnegut at his best tilts at all the accepted windmills of society, he pokes fun, makes you think and makes you laugh.

Some of his stuff may seem out of date, as it was written of it's time, quite often he uses other planets and time travel as settings for his imaginary societies and perhaps this is where the 'Sciece Fiction' label came from.

'Kilgore Trout' (who I mentioned in a previous post) is a character who turns up a lot in Vonnegut books, he is an author who has trouble getting his science fiction books published, so they get published as 'pulp fiction' with erotic titles and covers and are sold in Porn Shops, on the basis that when the punter gets the book home and discovers it is not a wank book he will be too embarrassed to take it back.

Vonnegut published a book called 'Venus on the half Shell' in the name of Kilgore Trout. It found it's way into bookshops, and was often put in Science Fiction under 'T'

Start with Slaughterhouse 5 it is as good a place as any, and the one book of his that is on School recommended fiction lists these days, and they made a film of it

 

Tel

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Wish I had seen that link and your post Jezzer, I wouldn't have bothered typing all that out!
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ray70

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Tel wrote:

Wish I had seen that link and your post Jezzer, I wouldn't have bothered typing all that out!
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Well,I appreciated your post Tel, so thanks. Always good to see someone writing passionately about literature.

 

Jezzer

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Tel wrote:

Start with Slaughterhouse 5 it is as good a place as any, and the one book of his that is on School recommended fiction lists these days, and they made a film of it
They also turned 'Breakfast of Champions' into a film. With Bruce Willis as Dwayne Hoover and Albert Finney as Kilgore Trout.

'Mother Night' was also adapted into a film (with Nick Nolte as Howard Campbell).

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griffo104

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Jezzer wrote:

Tel wrote:
Start with Slaughterhouse 5 it is as good a place as any, and the one book of his that is on School recommended fiction lists these days, and they made a film of it
They also turned 'Breakfast of Champions' into a film. With Bruce Willis as Dwayne Hoover and Albert Finney as Kilgore Trout.

'Mother Night' was also adapted into a film (with Nick Nolte as Howard Campbell).

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Breakfast of champs film is sadly pants.

Mother Night is very good, seeing the extras with Vonnegut and Nolte is quite interesting, hard to tell which is the most grizzly.

There is also a rather ok film adaptation of Slaughterhouse 5, which isn't too bad but misses out on what the book was really about.

 

Jezzer

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griffo104 wrote:

Breakfast of champs film is sadly pants.

Mother Night is very good, seeing the extras with Vonnegut and Nolte is quite interesting, hard to tell which is the most grizzly.

There is also a rather ok film adaptation of Slaughterhouse 5, which isn't too bad but misses out on what the book was really about.
What a shame about Breakfast of Champions. Still, you would wonder how they could make that into a film.

Mother Night does look good (from what I've read about it)and it is something that's on the list of things to see...

 

pawnshop92

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I haven't seen either of the two movies but the books that I have read by KV have been all quite good. A similar recommendation would be Tom Robbins (most of his are quite good imho), John Kennedy Toole 'A Confederacy of Dunces'...

 

Leonard Smalls

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Jezzer wrote:

Mother Night does look good (from what I've read about it)and it is something that's on the list of things to see...
It's on my list as well..

Currently re-reading "Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons" - a collection of his essays, speeches and articles.. Full of things I wished I'd said myself.

 

Tel

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pawnshop92 wrote:

I haven't seen either of the two movies but the books that I have read by KV have been all quite good. A similar recommendation would be Tom Robbins (most of his are quite good imho), John Kennedy Toole 'A Confederacy of Dunces'...
Thanks for that, I mentioned Tom Robbins in my first post on this thread, but I had never heard of John Kennedy Toole.

If you are putting him in the same post as Robbins and Vonnegut I will definately look out for him!

 

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