R.I.P. Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut has died.

Kurt Vonnegut, the satirical novelist who captured the absurdity of war and questioned the advances of science in darkly humorous works such as "Slaughterhouse-Five" and "Cat's Cradle," died Wednesday. He was 84.

Vonnegut, who often marveled that he had lived so long despite his lifelong smoking habit, had suffered brain injuries after a fall at his Manhattan home weeks ago, said his wife, photographer Jill Krementz.

When I was in college, I read and loved Cat's Cradle. Later I enjoyed many more of his books. His passing is a real loss. May he rest in peace.

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    So it goes (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by Light Emitting Pickle on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 02:14:02 AM EST
    Here's to the leaders of the trafalmadorians. I, myself, am a Pastafarian.

    Frak. Just frak.

    Slaughterhouse Five (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by Molly Bloom on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 08:05:59 AM EST
    Robert Kennedy, whose summer home is eight miles from the home I live in all year round, was shot two nights ago. He died last night. So it goes. Martin Luther King was shot a month ago. He died, too. So it goes.

    And every day my Government gives me a count of corpses created by military science in Vietnam. So it goes.

    My  father died  many years  ago now--of natural  causes. So  it goes. He was a sweet  man. He was  a gun nut, too. He left me his guns. They rust.

    They rust.


    Ah... (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by TomStewart on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 02:38:57 AM EST
    Damn it.

    Big Loss (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 05:30:49 AM EST
    What a wonderful writer. Sad to hear the news. I too have read many of his books, time for some re-reading.

    Up ::there:: with Philip K. Dick... (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Edger on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 07:08:46 AM EST
    The two of them have all eternity now to come up with the ultimate novel. The one that explains everything. It'll be nice to have some good books waiting when I get there.

    I've only read Slaughterhouse Five. Time to read the rest.

    "wherever you go..... (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by cpinva on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 05:51:49 AM EST
    there you are."

    "slaughterhouse five", "player piano", "cat's cradle", etc. read them all in college. who can forgot the infamous scene of billy pilgrim's wife wiping out the caddy, and killing herself, in her hysterical race to his hospital bedside?

    i long to reach the chronosynclasticinfundibulum!

    Quote (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 06:41:33 AM EST
    A quote from Slaughterhouse Five posted by artios . Boy what a great writer Vonnegut was.

    Rosewater was on the next bed, reading, and Billy drew him into the conversation, asked him what he was reading this time.

    So Rosewater told him. It was The Gospel from Outer Space, by Kilgore Trout. It was about a visitor from outer space, shaped very much like a Tralfamadorian, by the way. The visitor from outer space made a serious study of Christianity, to learn, if he could, why Christians found it so easy to be cruel. He concluded that at least part of the trouble was slipshod storytelling in the New Testament. He supposed that the intent of the Gospels was to teach people, among other things, to be merciful, even to the lowest of the low.

    But the Gospels actually taught this:

    Before you kill somebody, make absolutely sure he isn't well connected. So it goes.

    The flaw in the Christ stories, said the visitor from outer space, was that Christ, who didn't look like much, was actually the Son of the Most Powerful Being in the Universe. Readers understood that, so, when they came to the crucifixion, they naturally thought, and Rosewater read out loud again:

    Oh boy - they sure picked the wrong guy to lynch that time!

    And that thought had a brother: "There are right people to lynch." Who? People not well connected. So it goes.

    The visitor from outer space made a gift to Earth of a new Gospel. In it, Jesus really was a nobody, and a pain in the neck to a lot of people with better connections than he had. He still got to say all the lovely and puzzling things he said in the other Gospels.

    So the people amused themselves one day by nailing him to a cross and planting the cross in the ground. There couldn't possibly be any repercussions, the lynchers thought. The reader would have to think that, too, since the new Gospel hammered home again and again what a nobody Jesus was.

    And then, just before the nobody died, the heavens opened up, and there was thunder and lightning. The voice of God came crashing down. He told the people that he was adopting the bum as his son, giving him the full powers and privileges of The Son of the Creator of the Universe throughout all eternity. God said this: From this moment on, He will punish horribly anybody who torments a bum who has no connections!

    Billy's fiancee had finished her Three Musketeers candy bar. Now she was eating a Milky Way.

    "Forget books," said Rosewater, throwing that particular book under his bed. "The hell with 'em."

    "That sounded like an interesting one," said Valencia.

    "Jesus-if Kilgore Trout could only write!" Rosewater exclaimed. He had a point: Kilgore Trout's unpopularity was deserved. His prose was frightful. Only his ideas were good.

    Just read this when yahoo opened (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 08:21:54 AM EST
    He lived fully and well.  When I was a teenager I used to doodle what looked like stars while being chewed out by various authority, I guess none of them had read Kurt Vonnegut or I would have been in even more trouble.

    We may be sad (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Che's Lounge on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 08:35:40 AM EST
    here on Earth, but there's fireworks on Tralfamador. Enjoy eternity Kurt. We'll deal with the Ice 9 in the White House.

    Unfortunately (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Che's Lounge on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 08:57:40 AM EST
    The midget has it.

    Rest well Kurt Vonnegut (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Jen M on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 09:51:18 AM EST
    Your name, your thoughts and your writting will live on and influence people all over the world for generations to come.

    Vonnegut... (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by desertswine on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 11:07:48 AM EST
    was one of a kind; changed the course of American literature.

    "He was sort of like no one else." - Gore Vidal

    Welcome to the Planet Tralfamadore.

    I'm heartbroken... (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 12:04:41 PM EST
    He was a genius of literature.  A shining example of America's greatness.  No words can do his life and work justice....simply one of the best to ever sit in front of a typewriter.

    As Kurt would say....lets be kind to each other, it's the reason we are here.  That...and to putz around.

    And in his honor, the humanist joke that he told at Asimov's funeral..."he's up in heaven now."

    Thanks for the laughs and the hopes and the dreams Kurt.

    Kurt (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Peaches on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 12:10:24 PM EST
    in In These Times in 2004

    But I know now that there is not a chance in hell of America's becoming humane and reasonable. Because power corrupts us, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power. By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas.

    He'll be missed (none / 0) (#12)
    by Edger on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 10:17:43 AM EST
    "I know of very few people," Vonnegut writes, "who are dreaming of a world for their grandchildren." Later he writes this epitaph for the Earth: "The good Earth - we could have saved it, but we were too damn cheap and lazy."
    "How do humanists feel about Jesus? I say of Jesus, as all humanists do, 'If what he said is good, and so much of it is absolutely beautiful, what does it matter if he was God or not?'
    "But if Christ hadn't delivered the Sermon on the Mount, with its message of mercy and pity, I wouldn't want to be a human being.

    "I'd just as soon be a rattlesnake."

    "...I myself feel that our country, for whose Constitution I fought in a just war, might as well have been invaded by Martians and body snatchers. Sometimes I wish it had been. What has happened instead is that it was taken over by means of the sleaziest, low-comedy, Keystone Cops-style coup d'etat imaginable."
    Kurt blames many of our problems on a drug:
    "Can I tell you the truth? I mean this isn't the TV news is it? Here's what I think the truth is: We are all addicts of fossil fuels in a state of denial. And like so many addicts about to face cold turkey, our leaders are now committing violent crimes to get what little is left of what we're hooked on."