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Kurt Vonnegut: Novels & Stories 1950-1962: Player Piano / The Sirens of Titan /: Library of America #226 Hardcover – April 26, 2012
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His first novel was written in 1952. Player Piano is a dystopian tale of life in Ilium, New York, where the triumph of technology has led to a uniform life of dreariness and boredom. in his foreword, Vonnegut, says that the novel is "mostly about managers and engineers." Dr Paul Proteus is the manager of Ilium Works, drawing upon upon Vonnegut's early experience at General Electric. Proteus helps lead an unsuccessful revolution against this brave, new world. Hopeful that men can learn to live without any machines, he watches as his followers become sidetracked repairing a soft drink machine.
Sirens of Titan is the first novel written in the irreverent and satirical style that characterizes Vonnegut's novels up through Breakfast of Champions. In this book, he first introduces the planet Tralfamadore, to which Billy Pilgrim will ultimately be exiled in Slaughterhouse 5. Sirens is an extended lesson in man's largely unimportant place in the universe. Many of man's greatest accomplishments, from Stonehenge to the Palace of the League of Nations, were coded messages to a native of Tralfamadore who is stuck on the moon awaiting a replacement part for his spaceship. The Great Wall of China is built to tell Old Salo "Be patient. We haven't forgotten about you." So it goes.
Mother Night approaches similar themes of personal responsibility using a more serious setting. Howard Campbell stays in Germany when his parents escape.Read more ›
Take the first novel "Player Piano" as an example. On the surface, it reads like a story of man trying to rebel against the machines that rule his life. Look deeper and you'll find that it is a commentary about man trying to regain his sense of worth and dignity in a society that no longer has a place for that sort of thing. It's about man being consigned to the scrap heap of menial labor for the rest of his life because machines have determined, as the result of being IQ tested as a youngster, that is where you belong. Or because machines can do your job more effectively than you can with technology being so advanced. Yet you can't go through advanced training to upgrade your skills to keep up with technology. No second chances. No attepts to reform. No other options whatsoever. It also skewers the importance of corporate hierarchy as well. Change some of the references regarding the technology of the time and it almost feels like a commentary on what is happening in our society today.Read more ›
THE SIRENS OF TITAN
Report on the Barnhouse Effect
Unready to Wear
Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow
Science Fiction (1965 essay in The New York Times Book Review)
Introduction to "Bagombo Snuff Box," the uncollected short fiction of Kurt Vonnegut
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Vonnegut's early works. His strength was imagination, a critical view of society, and a sense of humor that excelled in brevity. Read morePublished 5 months ago by H. Schneider
As far as the book itself goes, it does exactly what it set out to do. It collects and compiles Vonnegut's earlier works chronologically. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Chris Jeffs
Kinky, and entertaining, yet thought-provoking. I had not heard much about him until coming to Indianapolis in 1971 to attend Butler University. Read morePublished on March 29, 2014 by Dr. John T. Webb
This was a gift for my son. He was happy to get the whole series in one book. Nicely done.Published on January 21, 2014 by Jodi Cruse
Ths is the second Vonnegut edition I've bought. I've read a couple of the stories before and thry always hold my interest. Read morePublished on November 4, 2013 by Michael R. Hyatt