Exploring Cornell Luminaries of Science Fiction; Kurt Vonnegut, Jr
is generally considered Kurt Vonnegut's masterwork; it is certainly his best known text, and captured the imagination of an entire generation upon its publication in 1969, propelling Vonnegut from science fiction underground favorite into the top ranks of late 20th century literature. Throughout this work, we encounter the characters of many of his other novels, almost as if we were experiencing chronology in a similar fashion to the aliens whose concept of time is portrayed within this book. As one reads the novel, one meets many memorable eccentrics, all of whom loom large in the Vonnegut canon: Eliot Rosewater, Howard W. Campbell and the inimitable Kilgore Trout, “the world's greatest science fiction writer”, believed by some critics to be Kurt Vonnegut's alter ego. Each of these characters have their own Vonnegut novels to inhabit, but like Billy Pilgrim traveling through time, they appear almost out of nowhere just as Billy can see different events with a twitch of his memory. We meet Eliot Rosewater in . Howard W. Campbell, who crosses Billy's path in Dresden, has his story told in . As for Kilgore Trout, his main story is told in , although Kilgore Trout pops up just about everywhere in Vonnegut’s novels.
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Kurt vonnegut science fiction essay
Cat’s Cradle is the second Kurt Vonnegut novel on this list and, although I personally would have put The Siren’s of Titan (#57) ahead of this one, I can still see why this book is so highly regarded and is often thought of as one of his best novels. Vonnegut is known for taking on issues of social importance in a humorous and satirical way, and this book is no exception. The target this time is modern science and the way in which it exists almost as a game for scientists to play, irregardless of the devastating outcomes that their discoveries can have. Through the use of a fictional atomic scientist and a well-meaning but catastrophic invention, Vonnegut is able to show us the irony of a situation in which science tries to improve the quality of life for mankind, yet ultimately helps bring about its destruction.
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: We are pleased to present the conclusion of a two-part essay on Kurt Vonnegut's use of time in his fiction. Use the navigation tool above right to catch up on the first part if you missed it.