Slaughterhouse-Five

      Kurt Vonnegut / History & Fiction / Science Fiction
Slaughterhouse-Five

Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic *Slaughterhouse-Five* introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden. Don't let the ease of reading fool you - Vonnegut's isn't a conventional, or simple, novel. He writes, "There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick, and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters." *Slaughterhouse-Five* is not only Vonnegut's most powerful book, it is also as important as any written since 1945. Like *Catch- 22*, it fashions the author's experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeply funny plea against butchery in the service of authority. *Slaughterhouse-Five* boasts the same imagination, humanity, and gleeful appreciation of the absurd found in Vonnegut's other works, but the book's basis in rock-hard, tragic fact gives it a unique poignancy - and humor.
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    Breakfast of Champions

      Kurt Vonnegut / History & Fiction / Science Fiction / Humor
Breakfast of Champions

*Breakfast of Champions,* is vintage Vonnegut. One of his favorite characters, aging writer Kilgore Trout, finds to his horror that a Midwest car dealer is taking his fiction as truth. The result is murderously funny satire as Vonnegut looks at war, sex, racism, success, politics, and pollution in America and reminds us how to see the truth. *From the Trade Paperback edition.*
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    Cat's Cradle

      Kurt Vonnegut / History & Fiction / Science Fiction / Humor
Cat's Cradle

**Cat’s Cradle** is Kurt Vonnegut’s satirical commentary on modern man and his madness. An apocalyptic tale of this planet’s ultimate fate, it features a midget as the protagonist, a complete, original theology created by a calypso singer, and a vision of the future that is at once blackly fatalistic and hilariously funny. A book that left an indelible mark on an entire generation of readers, **Cat’s Cradle** is one of the twentieth century’s most important works—and Vonnegut at his very best. *From the Trade Paperback edition.*
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    Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction

      Kurt Vonnegut / Science Fiction / History & Fiction
Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction

Here, Kurt Vonnegut’s final short story collection--Bagombo Snuff Box (1999)--we have combined early and rather more obscure stories which had not appeared earlier. Drawn largely from the 1950s and the slick magazine markets which Vonnegut had from the beginning of his career in the postwar period demonstrated an uncanny ability to sell, these stories show clearly that Vonnegut found his central themes early on as a writer. More, he had been able to place stories in great consumer magazines like Colliers (that his good friend and college classmate Knox Burger was editing Colliers during this time was perhaps no small factor in Vonnegut’s success). There were only a handful of science fiction writers of Vonnegut’s generation who were able to sell in such a broad manner outside of the genre during the ‘50s, but it was this success that allowed Vonnegut the consistent denial that he was not a science fiction writer at all.

Vonnegut’s themes--folly, hypocrisy, misunderstanding--cycle through these stories although with perhaps somewhat less bitterness than what had come before. Even through the screen or scrim of magazine taboos, Vonnegut’s voice is singular, infused by disaffection and wit. Most of Vonnegut’s characters stagger through the plot full of misapprehension, cowardice, and self-delusion. In "Thanasphere," the achievement of space travel becomes a means of communicating with the dead (and for that reason the project is abandoned). In "Mnemonics," a forgetful protagonist is given a drug that prompts him to remember everything with the exception of an unrequited crush. This late collection of Vonnegut’s work clearly shows the unifying themes of his work, which were present from the very outset, among them, his very despair.

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    God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian

      Kurt Vonnegut / Humor / History & Fiction / Science Fiction
God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian

From Slapstick's "Turkey Farm" to Slaughterhouse-Five's eternity in a Tralfamadorean zoo cage with Montana Wildhack, the question of the afterlife never left Kurt Vonnegut's mind. In God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian, Vonnegut skips back and forth between life and the Afterlife as if the difference between them were rather slight. In thirty odd "interviews," Vonnegut trips down "the blue tunnel to the pearly gates" in the guise of a roving reporter for public radio, conducting interviews: with Salvatore Biagini, a retired construction worker who died of a heart attack while rescuing his schnauzer from a pit bull, with John Brown, still smoldering 140 years after his death by hanging, with William Shakespeare, who rubs Vonnegut the wrong way, and with socialist and labor leader Eugene Victor Debs, one of Vonnegut's personal heroes.
What began as a series of ninety-second radio interludes for WNYC, New York City's public radio station, evolved into this provocative collection of musings about who and what we live for, and how much it all matters in the end. From the original portrait by his friend Jules Feiffer that graces the cover, to a final entry from Kilgore Trout, God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian remains a joy.

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    Slapstick or Lonesome No More!

      Kurt Vonnegut / Science Fiction / Humor / History & Fiction
Slapstick or Lonesome No More!

**Slapstick **presents an apocalyptic vision as seen through the eyes of the current King of Manhattan (and last President of the United States), a wickedly irreverent look at the all-too-possible results of today’s follies. But even the end of life-as-we-know-it is transformed by Kurt Vonnegut’s pen into hilarious farce—a final slapstick that may be the Almighty’s joke on us all. *From the Trade Paperback edition.*
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    A Man Without a Country

      Kurt Vonnegut / Humor
A Man Without a Country

A Man Without a Country is Kurt Vonnegut's hilariously funny and razor-sharp look at life ("If I die--God forbid--I would like to go to heaven to ask somebody in charge up there, 'Hey, what was the good news and what was the bad news?"), art ("To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it."), politics ("I asked former Yankees pitcher Jim Bouton what he thought of our great victory over Iraq and he said, 'Mohammed Ali versus Mr. Rogers.'"), and the condition of the soul of America today ("What has happened to us?"). Based on short essays and speeches composed over the last five years and plentifully illustrated with artwork by the author throughout, A Man Without a Country gives us Vonnegut both speaking out with indignation and writing tenderly to his fellow Americans, sometimes joking, at other times hopeless, always searching.
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    Look at the Birdie: Unpublished Short Fiction

      Kurt Vonnegut / History & Fiction
Look at the Birdie: Unpublished Short Fiction

Look at the Birdie is a collection of fourteen previously unpublished short stories from one of the most original writers in all of American fiction. In this series of perfectly rendered vignettes, written just as he was starting to find his comic voice, Kurt Vonnegut paints a warm, wise, and funny portrait of life in post—World War II America–a world where squabbling couples, high school geniuses, misfit office workers, and small-town lotharios struggle to adapt to changing technology, moral ambiguity, and unprecedented affluence. 

Here are tales both cautionary and hopeful, each brimming with Vonnegut's trademark humor and profound humanism. A family learns the downside of confiding their deepest secrets into a magical invention. A man finds himself in a Kafkaesque world of trouble after he runs afoul of the shady underworld boss who calls the shots in an upstate New York town. A quack psychiatrist turned "murder counselor" concocts a novel new outlet for his paranoid patients. While these stories reflect the anxieties of the postwar era that Vonnegut was so adept at capturing– and provide insight into the development of his early style–collectively, they have a timeless quality that makes them just as relevant today as when they were written. It's impossible to imagine any of these pieces flowing from the pen of another writer; each in its own way is unmistakably, quintessentially Vonnegut. 

Featuring a Foreword by author and longtime Vonnegut confidant Sidney Offit and illustrated with Vonnegut' s characteristically insouciant line drawings, Look at the Birdie is an unexpected gift for readers who thought his unique voice had been stilled forever–and serves as a terrific introduction to his short fiction for anyone who has yet to experience his genius. 

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    2BR02B

      Kurt Vonnegut / Science Fiction / History & Fiction
2BR02B

The setting is a society in which aging has been cured, individuals have indefinite lifespans, and population control is used to limit the population of the United States to forty million. This is maintained through a combination of infanticide and government-assisted suicide - in short, in order for someone to be born, someone must first volunteer to die. As a result, births are few and far between, and deaths occur primarily by accident. Everything was perfectly swell. There were no prisons, no slums, no insane asylums, no cripples, no poverty, no wars. All diseases were conquered. So was old age. Death, barring accidents, was an adventure for volunteers. Never, never, never -- not even in medieval Holland nor old Japan -- had a garden been more formal, been better tended. Every plant had all the loam, light, water, air and nourishment it could use. A hospital orderly came down the corridor, and looked in at the mural and the muralist. "Looks so real," he said, "I can practically imagine I'm standing in the middle of it." "What makes you think you're not in it?" said the painter. He gave a satiric smile. "It's called 'The Happy Garden of Life, ' you know."
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    The Sirens of Titan

      Kurt Vonnegut / Science Fiction / History & Fiction
The Sirens of Titan

The Sirens of Titan is an outrageous romp through space, time, and morality. The richest, most depraved man on Earth, Malachi Constant, is offered a chance to take a space journey to distant worlds with a beautiful woman at his side. Of course there's a catch to the invitation—and a prophetic vision about the purpose of human life that only Vonnegut has the courage to tell.
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    While Mortals Sleep: Unpublished Short Fiction

      Kurt Vonnegut / History & Fiction
While Mortals Sleep: Unpublished Short Fiction

Foreword by Dave Eggers

Smart, whimsical, and often scathing, the fiction of Kurt Vonnegut influenced a generation of American writers—including Dave Eggers, author of this volume’s Foreword. In these previously unpublished gems, Vonnegut’s originality infuses a unique landscape of factories, trailers, and bars—and characters who pit their dreams and fears against a cruel and sometimes comically indifferent world.

Here are stories of men and machines, art and artifice, and how ideals of fortune, fame, and love take curious twists in ordinary lives. An ambitious builder of roads, commanding an army of bulldozers, graders, and asphalt spreaders, fritters away his free time with miniature trains—until the women in his life crash his fantasy land. Trapped in a stenography pool, a young dreamer receives a call from a robber on the run, who presents her with a strange proposition. A crusty newspaperman is forced onto a committee to judge Christmas displays—a job that leads him to a suspiciously ostentatious ex-con and then a miracle. A hog farmer’s widow receives cryptic, unsolicited letters from a man in Schenectady about “the indefinable sweet aches of the spirit.” But what will she find when she goes to meet him in the flesh?

These beautifully rendered works are a testament to Vonnegut’s unique blend of observation and imagination. Like a present left behind by a departed loved one, While Mortals Sleep bestows upon us a shimmering Kurt Vonnegut gift: a poignant reflection of our world as it is and as it could be.

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    Hocus Pocus

      Kurt Vonnegut / Humor / Science Fiction / History & Fiction
Hocus Pocus

Here is the adventure of Eugene Debs Hartke. He's a Vietnam veteran, a jazz pianist, a college professor, and a prognosticator of the apocalypse (and other things Earth-shattering). But that's neither here no there. Because at Tarkington College—where he teaches—the excrement is about to hit the air-conditioning. And its all Eugene's fault.
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    Jailbird

      Kurt Vonnegut / History & Fiction / Humor
Jailbird

*Jailbird* takes us into a fractured and comic, pure Vonnegut world of high crimes and misdemeanors in government—and in the heart. This wry tale follows bumbling bureaucrat Walter F. Starbuck from Harvard to the Nixon White House to the penitentiary as Watergate’s least known co-conspirator. But the humor turns dark when Vonnegut shines his spotlight on the cold hearts and calculated greed of the mighty, giving a razor-sharp edge to an unforgettable portrait of power and politics in our times. *From the Trade Paperback edition.*
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    Player Piano

      Kurt Vonnegut / Science Fiction / History & Fiction / Humor / Fantasy
Player Piano

Kurt Vonnegut’s first novel spins the chilling tale of engineer Paul Proteus, who must find a way to live in a world dominated by a supercomputer and run completely by machines. Paul’s rebellion is vintage Vonnegut—wildly funny, deadly serious, and terrifyingly close to reality. *From the Trade Paperback edition.*
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    Bluebeard

      Kurt Vonnegut / History & Fiction / Humor
Bluebeard

Broad humor and bitter irony collide in this fictional autobiography of Rabo Karabekian, who, at age seventy-one, wants to be left alone on his Long Island estate with the secret he has locked inside his potato barn. But then a voluptuous young widow badgers Rabo into telling his life story—and Vonnegut in turn tells us the plain, heart-hammering truth about man’s careless fancy to create or destroy what he loves. *From the Trade Paperback edition.*
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