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Kurt Vonnegut recommendations?


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With the recent talk about Vonnegut, does anybody have any recommendations for someone unfamiliar with his work? Based on my current literary likes (see below), he seems one that would resonate with me.

I think I tried reading "Breakfast Of Champions" in high school, and wasn't particularly impressed, but I've expanded my reading base a lot since then, to include Harlan Ellison, Samuel R. Delany, Hunter S. Thompson, Thomas Pynchon*, etc., along with a lot of the "classic" SF authors like Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, etc. (As can be seen from those authors, my tastes run more towards SF [both as "science fiction" and "speculative fictions" than mainstream literature.)

I think I'd like to start with short stories first, to get an across-the-board feel for his writing without having to invest in a full novel, but any opinions would be welcome.



* Well, some Pynchon: I read "Gravity's Rainbow" and was impressed by it, and "The Crying of Lot #49" was OK, but "V" ranks as one of the worst books I've ever read.

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I have read all I can find of Vonnegut. My personal favorite is Slapstick. It is the most mature blend of humour and satire he wrote IMO. Slaughter House 5 is a completely different style from everything else, but a must-read. I also love his early works like Player Piano (fear technology people) and Sirens of Titan. Galapagos is another phenom, up there with Cat's Cradle.

Timequake was a very late book, and I do not remember it well, but I do remember loving it.

There is the big cosmic joke book too, with the time-travelling dog...I think it was Sirens of Titan....maybe not, but what a fucking well-crafted stiry. Blew my mind when I read it. Maybe it was the drugs.

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Brad, you want "Galapogos". You will piss your pants laughing about big brains, mandrax and rafts made of vegetable matter. "Bluebeard" pokes fun at the impressionists and is great too. Also you can't go wrong with "Slaughterhouse Five" ... Billy Pilgrim, unstuck in time ...


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