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Thursday, April 12, 2007

R.I.P. KV.

Cathy Resmer already posted about Kurt Vonnegut's passing, but I can't help but also make note.

Let's talk about what KV did to/for our developing minds when we initially encountered his work.

Me first: I remember the first Vonnegut book I read was Cat's Cradle. I thought, "My God, how can this cranky bastard have such incredible tone?" Actually, it was probably more like, "Wow, now I know why Joe Satriani has a song called Ice 9." Cut me some slack — I was 14.

Your turn.


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the le duo

well, i remember laughing and scratching my head all puzzled-like when I read 'the sirens of titan'- a book that makes the human experience (really, the planet Earth experience) look absolutely absurd & ridiculous. I dont know about joe satriani, but the grateful deads publishing company was also called ice-9... also, Kurt had a great cameo role in 'back to school'


I saw "Back to School" in the theaters. I was only 11, so I don't think I had read any Vonnegut at that point. But his scene definitely stuck with me.


Cat's Cradle. I tried to imagine how I had lived so long in the world without having read it before, and I was 18. I re-read it a couple of months ago, and still marvel at the way that he mocked religion while avoiding that "I hate something that I've never bothered to try and understand," shtick. And the nuclear thing. And the funny. And it gave me the concept of a karass> Holy goodness, that's a lot to fit into a novel. Thanks, Mr. V.


I didn't read any KV until grad school. I sort of went on a kick and read the 6 or 7 that my roomate had. They all sort of blend together for me now. I was bogged down in a bunch of Heidegger and philosophy of science stuff at the time. It was awesome to read something intelligent that was written to entertain. It was nice to read something I actually wanted to read.


sorry to double up but i forgot: I always loved his attitude towards science. I think he used to work at GE. I like his rejection of the idea that it's (misquote) "not possible to be an artist and understand how a digital watch works."


Great point, Ben. I atually wish I'd read him when I was a little older -- getting into the books early has prevented me from revisiting them later. It's so *high school* for me, like Disintegration by The Cure and tripping balls on the bus to some drama meet.

I've been meaning to go back to see how my adult self would respond to Vonnegut. Just haven't gotten around to it. It's sorta sad that it takes the death of a great thinker to force me to reconsider his achievements, but so be it. Off to Amazon, then.


I read Slaughterhouse Five in school. Here's the thing about it, I never had the feeling that I was fully understanding the book while I was reading it or afterwards. However, I still think about the book years later. I think that's a good sign for a book. Not so obvious that you immediately digest it and move one but also not so dense that you just dismiss it.

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