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Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 star story, 0 star product - CAVEAT EMPTOR, March 3, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: 2 B R 0 2 B (Paperback)
This review is about the product not the story.

The story is a short dark shocking take on a (not-so?) brave new world. The title is a phone number as well as a play on Hamlet's soliloquy. No further spoilers. Read it, its free and it's short. It meets Vonnegut's stated rules for short story writing and then some.

This story is available free both at Project Gutenberg and as a PD $0.00 kindle version from Amazon. This product offering seems to be exploiting one of the few Vonnegut works that has to have slipped into public domain. It is a poor value for such a slim item at $2.99 when the two main collections are surely a better deal, or free if one really just wants the one story. Perhaps it has a purpose in life as a stocking stuffer.

There is no question of an item for "Vonnegut Completists" involved here. A Vonnegut completist will already have "Welcome to the Monkey House", and "Bagombo Snuff Box" (which includeds "2BR02B") that between them cover almost all of Vonnegut's published short story career.

The odd story is "The Big Space ****"(1). Written for Harlan Ellison's "Again, Dangerous Visions" (also found in the collection "Cybersex"), it is safely, if unobtrusively, tucked away in the Obscenity section of Vonnegut's "Palm Sunday", not a pure fiction collection but it is all-Vonnegut. Add to that the recent posthumous short fiction releases such as While Mortals Sleep, Look at the Birdie, and Armageddon in Retrospect you will have the short fiction well covered.

A determined completist will also invest in "Canary in a Cat House", the first collection from the early sixties which is completely redundant next to the two major collections above except for the original version of "Hal Irwin's Magic Lamp". Vonnegut re-wrote three of the stories in "Bagombo Snuff Box" describing the results as "Piltdown fakes, part human and part the orangutan I used to be". The truly determined completist will have to excavate the other two originals from a magazine archive it seems. The present state of "Hal Irwin's Magic Lamp" certainly provokes my curiosity.

Then, of course, there are the several essay and autobiographical books.
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(1) **** is the usual f-word which even my earlier rendering with dashes for the middle two letters was too much for the Amazon review filter, notwithstanding that the title with all the words spelled out completely is a well known work in print.
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Location: Battle Creek, MI

Top Reviewer Ranking: 743,354