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Minas Tirith Forums » The Prancing Pony Archive » God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut
Author Topic: God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut
Maia Olorin
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Kurt Vonnegut: 1922-2007.

This makes me sad. Another light has gone out. He is probably my favourite 20th century American writer, a great soul.


Ironically, I came by the knowledge of the Dresden atrocity not from any history course, but from Slaughterhouse Five.

R.I.P., Kilgore Trout.

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Meliverindë
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Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.
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Roll of Honor Freya
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This is such sad news! He was one of my favourites too: Slaughterhouse 5 and Sirens of Titan are both definitely in my top 10.

Goodbye, Kurt []

quote:
People aren't suppose to look back. I'm certainly not going to do it anymore. I've finished my war book now. The next one I write is going to be fun. This one is a failure, and had to be, since it was written by a pillar of salt. It begins like this: "Listen: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time." It ends like this: "Poo-tee-weet?"

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Elanor Gamgee
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RIP Kurt.
I particularly loved "Mother Night"

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Roll of Honor Marcho Blackwood - MSS
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Sigh. Tolkien, Heinlein, Asimov and Vonnegut.

A large part of my youth is gone.

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
Marcho Blackwood, MSS - #16 Brookshade Close - Bindbale, North Farthing, The Shire
1st Winner Mahanaxar's Boy Howdy of Approval with 2 Bronze Stars (3rd Award) & Balrog Cluster with Laurel.
King of Grammar with Queen SSA
Sass this hoopy hobbit frood who really knows where his towel is!

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Roll of Honor Adulithien
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Awww. Sirens of Titan will live on.
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Thingol of Doriath
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Hmmm... never read Sirens of Titans, maybe now would be a good time. I loved Cat's Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five when I read them in high school... [] []

R.I.P.

E: I loved his eight rules for writing a short story:

quote:
1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
4. Every sentence must do one of two things -- reveal character or advance the action.
5. Start as close to the end as possible.
6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them -- in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.




[ 04-12-2007, 05:48 AM: Message edited by: Thingol of Doriath ]

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Roll of Honor Gna
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R.I.P., Mr. Vonnegut, never one to sugar-coat reality, or flinch from difficult truths:

quote:
Yes, this planet is in a terrible mess. But it has always been a mess. There have never been any “Good Old Days,” there have just been days. And as I say to my grandchildren, “Don’t look at me. I just got here.”
Thanks for Tralfamadore, Paul Proteus, Malachi Constant, ice-nine, *, and granfalloon (especially granfalloon), and so many hours of enjoyable reading....

Recent interview with Kurt Vonnegut on NOW

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Roll of Honor Wandering Tuor
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I haven't read him in years but that is sad news.

From the Lawyers Guns and Money blog:

quote:
In 1971, Kurt Vonnegut wrote a brief essay for the New York Times that I've thought about quite a bit over the past five years but haven't read again until tonight. Titled "Torture and Blubber," Vonnegut's essay wondered "where our leaders got the idea that mass torture would work to our advantage in Indochina. It never worked anywhere else. They got the idea from childish fiction, I think, and from a childish awe of torture.

Children talk about tortures a lot. They often make up what they hope are new ones. I can remember a friend's saying to me when I was a child: "You want to hear a really neat torture?" The other day I heard a child say to another: "You want to hear a really cool torture?" And then an impossibly complicated engine of pain was described. A cross would be cheaper, and work better, too . . .

I am sorry we tried torture. I am sorry we tried anything. I hope we never try torture again . . . "

 -

And so it goes.

[ 04-12-2007, 08:11 AM: Message edited by: Wandering Tuor ]

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Grimwulf Stormspear
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And so it goes.
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Éoric of the Riddermark
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A giant has fallen. []

"What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured."

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Roll of Honor Wandering Tuor
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quote:
Rosewater was on the next bed, reading, and Billy drew him into the conversation, asked him what he was reading this time.

So Rosewater told him. It was The Gospel from Outer Space, by Kilgore Trout. It was about a visitor from outer space, shaped very much like a Tralfamadorian, by the way. The visitor from outer space made a serious study of Christianity, to learn, if he could, why Christians found it so easy to be cruel. He concluded that at least part of the trouble was slipshod storytelling in the New Testament. He supposed that the intent of the Gospels was to teach people, among other things, to be merciful, even to the lowest of the low.

But the Gospels actually taught this:

Before you kill somebody, make absolutely sure he isn't well connected. So it goes.

The flaw in the Christ stories, said the visitor from outer space, was that Christ, who didn't look like much, was actually the Son of the Most Powerful Being in the Universe. Readers understood that, so, when they came to the crucifixion, they naturally thought, and Rosewater read out loud again:

Oh boy - they sure picked the wrong guy to lynch that time!

And that thought had a brother: "There are right people to lynch." Who? People not well connected. So it goes.

The visitor from outer space made a gift to Earth of a new Gospel. In it, Jesus really was a nobody, and a pain in the neck to a lot of people with better connections than he had. He still got to say all the lovely and puzzling things he said in the other Gospels.

So the people amused themselves one day by nailing him to a cross and planting the cross in the ground. There couldn't possibly be any repercussions, the lynchers thought. The reader would have to think that, too, since the new Gospel hammered home again and again what a nobody Jesus was.

And then, just before the nobody died, the heavens opened up, and there was thunder and lightning. The voice of God came crashing down. He told the people that he was adopting the bum as his son, giving him the full powers and privileges of The Son of the Creator of the Universe throughout all eternity. God said this: From this moment on, He will punish horribly anybody who torments a bum who has no connections!

. . .

"Jesus - if Kilgore Trout could only write!" Rosewater exclaimed. He had a point: Kilgore Trout's unpopularity was deserved. His prose was frightful. Only his ideas were good.

~ from Slaughterhouse Five or The Children's Crusade
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Grimwulf Stormspear
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Oh boy, he sure picked the wrong God to make fun of. []

At least “Harrison Bergeron” was smart & funny. []

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Roll of Honor Neytari Took-Baggins
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I've only read "Harrison Bergeron" (my dad threw out all his sci-fi books [] and I just didn't know where to start. Guess I'll have to start now), but I've read it so many times I could probably recite it.

But even without reading him I am saddend by this loss. It's always made me happy to know that there was one amazing writer still alive (and posting on SecondLife! Now I'll never get to meet him there [] )

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Roll of Honor Gna
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quote:
Our century should be called this: the Age of the Planet Gobblers. We, the ancestors of all Generation A's still to come, inherited an aromatic, juicy blue-green planet, and we ate it up!

In our defense, we can only say, ''We never asked to be born such prolific, voracious creatures in the first place. It would have been much better for all concerned if we had been sea lions instead, provided, of course, that nobody else got to be a human being, or a great white shark, or a killer whale.''

Meanwhile, there is jazz, which, as I've said, has no harmful side effects. And I am put in mind now of a lawsuit against a pharmaceutical manufacturer years back, in which the plaintiff's lawyer had this to say about a certain pill, a nostrum that might be likened to our indifference to what we are doing to our environment: ''Death is not an acceptable side effect.''

~ from Rolling Stone, 1998
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Roll of Honor bombadil
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I saw the headline, just as I was preparing to go out of town on choir tour for three days. How terribly, terribly sad -- the world has lost a great one.

quote:
Oh, a sleeping drunkard
Up in Central Park
And a lion-hunter
In the jungle dark
And a Chinese dentist
And a British queen --
All fit together
In the same machine.
Nice, nice, very nice;
Nice, nice, very nice;
Nice, nice, very nice --
So many different people
In the same device.

I wonder who at MT is in my karass?

I can think of a few who most certainly are not. []

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Roll of Honor Silmahtar
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It's odd... I'm less affected by his death than if it had happened, say 10-15 years ago.

And so it goes...

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Angathas
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Some of you might remember that Sean Astin (Samwise) was in an adaptation of Harrison Bergeron. I have read "Slaughterhouse-5" and have the film. Love the section about the backwards time-travel. Also read read "Breakfast of Champions" but didn't like that movie at all. But you got to know more about Kilgore Trout. Stll have to read all the other novels, especially "Timequake, Slapstick, Cat's Cradle, Sirens of Titan, and Player Piano". Oh yeah, saw movie of "Mother Night" and liked it, but still have to read the book. Look for a film of young Chris Walken and Susan Sarandon in "Who Are We This Time?" about actors in a community theater.
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Roll of Honor Wandering Tuor
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bombadil - I had forgotten about karasses and wampeters and granfalloons. I have to reread that book.
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Roll of Honor bombadil
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Yeah, WT, Slaughterhouse is undoubtedly my favorite of his, but Cat's Cradle comes in second. Not sure about third -- probably a big tie between many already mentioned.

Ang, I absolutely LOVE "Who Are We This Time"! What a fantastically written show. I didn't know anyone else had even heard of it.

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Kalkin
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Bomby

Cool that you posted "Nice, Nice....". Thought I would post the longer version by Ambrosia.

quote:
Oh a sleeping drunkard up in central park
Or the lion hunter in the jungle dark

Or the chinese dentist or the british queen
They all fit together in the same machine

Nice, nice, very nice
Nice, nice, very nice
So many people in the same device

Oh a whirling dervish and a dancing bear
Or a Ginger Rogers and a Fred Astaire

Or a teenage rocker or the girls in France
Yes, we all are partners in this cosmic dance

Nice, nice, very nice
Nice, nice, very nice
So many people in the same device

I wanted all things to make sense
So wed be happy instead of tense

Oh a sleeping drunkard up in central park
Or the lion hunter in the jungle dark

Or the chinese dentist or the british queen
They all fit together in the same machine

Nice, nice, very nice
Nice, nice, very nice
So many people in the same device
So many people in the same device

Vonnegut loved the song and sent Ambrosia a very nice letter about it (which is reprinted in the liner notes to their "Anthology" collection).
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Roll of Honor Wandering Tuor
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Proposition: If MT is a karass, then LotR the book is the wampeter and the movie is the granfalloon.

<Insert Earendilyon's professor smiley>

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Roll of Honor bombadil
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Agreed, WT -- and I'd add that several citizens regularly post foma. []
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Minas Tirith Forums » The Prancing Pony Archive » God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut
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