Top critical review
Wow, that's a lot of fluff!
on December 6, 2017
Kurt Vonnegut is a world renowned author who wrote many books about many different topics. His first book was Player Piano which depicts a dystopian past where machines have been upgraded to take over for most of the workforce and most people are put out of jobs. The government gives those people jobs but the engineers who created machines cannot be replaced by the machines. Player Piano follows two storylines, one of doctor Paul Proteus and one of the leader of a foreign country. Paul is an engineer at Ilium Works, the main factory in the fictional town of Ilium. Society in split between two sides of a river, on one side the rich engineers and on the other side the poor people of homestead. Society has been set up so that everyone in Homestead is equal and that the engineers are better off than the rest. The leader of the foreign country is known at the Shas. His point of view is supposed to show all the flaws in the society depicted in the story. The point of view of Paul is supposed to show someone from inside the machine, inside the system. I don’t want to ruin the story so I won’t tell anything else but the biggest part of this book is the themes it portrays.
If you want my personal opinion there are two questions I need to answer. Is this a good book? Is this book thought provoking? To answer the first one, heck no, I hate this book with a burning passion. The whole book can be put into about 50 or so pages instead of 360. Most of the book is just meaningless fluff that’s just there for mild enjoyment. It’s terrible. To answer the second question, yes. It’s extremely thought provoking and I felt that was the reason for Kurt Vonnegut to write this book. The reason it is thought provoking is because it shows what will happen when machines completely take over the workforce of manual labor, an entirely possible scenario these days. The book states “Nobody’s so damn well educated that you can’t learn ninety per cent of what he knows in six weeks. The other ten per cent is decoration.”(pg 229). It states that machines have pretty much started to think for the masses that aren’t engineers. Most people in this society are stupid because of this and therefore cannot think for themselves. The book even ends without a proper resolution to let you think about what could happen after the major events in the story. In that aspect it is a fantastic book, but other than that it was a huge waste of time. Every so often there is something decently nice in the absolute clouds of fluff and unnecessary text which adds a bit of humor or something mildly interesting to the otherwise dull and boring book. This book did remind me a lot of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World because it is close to the same premise. Brave New World is about a dystopian future where everything is controlled, how many people are born, their genders, how they are born, social class, literally everything. The point of that book is also to provide a thought provoking experience but it has a lot more conflict and a better plot.
Overall Player Piano is a decent book. It has fantastic themes and it is very though provoking but it isn’t the best Kurt Vonnegut book I’ve read. In my opinion there was too much extra and unnecessary text and the whole conflict is started and wrapped up in the last seven chapters. There was a minor conflict in the beginning of the book but that was left alone and literally never mentioned again.