Kurt Vonnegut

Why don't we all just take a flying fuck at a rolling donut? If successful, perhaps we should take a flying fuck at the moon...

Kurt Vonnegut Looking Happy.  Probably Photoshopped...

Just The Facts

  1. Kurt Vonnegut was a satirist who wrote over a dozen novels.
  2. He also appeared in "Back to School" with Rodney Dangerfield
  3. He is the only American satirist to appear with Rodney Dangerfield in that movie
  4. Although Joseph Heller might be in one of the crowd scenes...

Early Years

Kurt Vonnegut was born 11 November 1922, already too depressed to cry. Although he was of Germanic heritage, his parents didn't harp on it much; this was primarily due to World War I. The Great Depression didn't do the family much good either and the economic downturn inspired his mother, Edith, to kill herself. A shittier childhood is possible, but can only be experienced in the Sudan.

Vonnegut attended Cornell University, majoring in chemistry and biology. World War Two popped up and he attended that as well. As a prisoner of war, he saw the firebombing of Dresden. This scene would later be recounted in Slaughterhouse Five. It was also the birth of his catch-phrase: "You call that a fire-bombing? Now this is a fire-bombing"...

Let's Get to the Books Already

Vonnegut's first novel was Player Piano, a dystopia about a world of industrialization and capitalism and especially, automation. This is a standard rip-off of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, with most of its dialog being taken from Moby Dick. It was later re-released under the name Utopia 14 to make it more science fiction-y. This is not a good book. In fact, the only thing that might make this book worse would be if it kicked you in the testicles every time you turned the page.

Utopia 14

Put on your jet-packs, kiddies!

Next was Sirens of Titan. This was the first book with the obvious Vonnegut irony that usually slaps his readers in the face like a great big uncircumcised satire dick. Sirens was science fiction like Player Piano; however, it had enough angst and existential terror to give even the most jaded German film student a hard-on. This was the book that made Kurt Vonnegut a household name because it coincided with the release of Kurt Vonnegut brand cleanser.

Mother Night

Vonnegut's first non-sci-fi novel was Mother Night. It follows the life of an American ex-pat living in Germany during World War II. He is a propagandist for the Germans and a spy for the Americans. It is an existentialist work that was made into a movie that starred Nick Nolte and Alan Arkin; in fact, it is the only existentialist work that has been made into a movie that starred Nick Nolte and Alan Arkin...

Cat's Cradle, perhaps Vonnegut's best novel, addressed religion, the end of the world and the symbiotic relationship between dictators and insurgents. The world is destroyed by a substance known as "Ice-9", which is a variation of ice that stays solid at room temperature. The conclusion of the book is a bleak one for anyone but Vonnegut, who probably wanted to make a musical out of the story.

His next two books are also considered classics: God Bless You Mr. Rosewater and Slaughterhouse Five. Both books have main characters so passive that they have moss growing on their north sides; in fact, the main character in Slaughterhouse Five, Billy Pilgrim, can travel through time...just not at will. Much of Vonnegut's experience as a POW in WWII is drawn upon in the latter novel. Slaughterhouse Five was often banned due to its explicit language and the fact that, upon reading it, women would immediately conceive a child of Satan...