June 14, 2006
Slapstick : Or Lonesome No More!

by Kurt Vonnegut
An author I feel comfortable with, an easy read.

I guess Vonnegut was wildly popular in his day. I totally missed out until a friend recommended him recently. Now he's arguably my favorite author. Maybe it's a toss up between him and Philip K Dick. Either one, I can pick up a novel at any time and just relax. It's thought provoking stuff, but told in a morose tone that points out the futility and majesty of life. And so on.

Strangely I enjoy the prologue more, like Slaughterhouse Five. Both are semi-autobiographical. Both are extended allegories. He really cuts to the chase in the prologue, then he lets the fluff unfold for a couple hundred pages. Good for him.

Pretty straightforward stuff in his normal pseudo-scifi dressing. The world is messed up because people are messed up, and there's really no reason for it to be this way. A couple of freak geniuses figure out a few ways to make things vastly better. By the time anyone gets around to trying out any of their ideas, American civilization is starving from energy deprivation and micronized Chinese are exploring the universe, using the Earth's gravitational field as their fuel (much to the unhappiness of the non-Chinese left on Earth). Hi ho.

Somewhere in the downfall of America, a scientist accidentaly happens upon a device to allow him to speak with the dead. Ends up they're stuck in an eternity of minor irritants and moral slights, a tedious, everlasting boredom. We call it heaven. Sounded like corporate employment to me. Inside myself, I had to laugh.

Written at June 14, 2006 3:25 AM
Lost Seattle
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