Essays By Kurt Vonnegut
Now Vonnegut is making up the rules as he goes along.
The two are linked, of course, as items on the syllabus of adolescent male Well, if I’ve grown older and more respectable, then so has Kurt Vonnegut.Everything is automated, and a privileged caste of engineers, selected through a ruthless system of aptitude testing, runs the show. The first page contains fourteen paragraphs, none of them longer than two sentences, some of them as short as five words.The average person, benevolently provided for by his betters, lacks nothing other than purpose, dignity, self-respect and meaningful labor. “He just finished his National General Classification Tests,” says a character about his son. There were only twenty-seven openings, and six hundred kids trying for them.” With its idled masses made superfluous by technologically driven gains in productivity, the novel is, if anything, more relevant than ever now. It’s like he’s placing pieces on a game board—so, and so, and so.Ron Hubbard, a man who started writing science fiction but decided he was writing Scripture.* * * Rumfoord, too, is an artist, though his métier is theater.For Fate (the determinations of divine providence), Vonnegut substitutes its opposite, Fortune (chance, chaos, luck). Reversal is the novel’s governing device, and irony its master trope. Even the prose has its falls, as moments of intensity tumble, with a flick of Vonnegut’s trademark bathos, into the banal: Constant sank into a wing chair again.He had to look away from all that beauty in order to keep from bursting into tears.People want illusions, insists, and they are abjectly grateful to anyone who can offer them.Constant is trapped on Mercury with another man, Boaz.The protagonist, Malachi Constant, the richest man in the world; .” And Salo, the Tralfamadorian robot astronaut, three-eyed, three-legged, four and a half feet tall, the color of a tangerine and more human than any human.Vonnegut’s imagination would henceforth be his superpower.