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One of the most prolific writers of the 20th century, Kurt Vonnegut has made a great contribution, not only to literature, but also to popular culture. Although first a cult icon of the artistic underground, Vonnegut began to be noticed by the general public after the publication of "Cat's Cradle." His simple prose style tells the stories of people trying to be decent in an indecent society.


"Player Piano": Vonnegut's first novel tells the story of Paul Proteus, a man supposedly in charge of the machines that control the world, as he rebels against them in favor of humanity.

"The Sirens of Titan": Although it is often dismissed as science fiction, this novel addresses the more philosophical question of the purpose of human life as rich playboy Malachi Constant embarks on a bizarre journey through outer space.

"Mother Night": An American playwright in Germany at the outbreak of WWII, Howard Campbell is persuaded to stay as a spy while pretending to be a Nazi propagandist. After the war ends, he returns to America and a life of quiet obscurity until he is discovered and put on trial for war crimes.

"Cat's Cradle": A scientist's secret discovery and a peculiar religion known as "Bokononism" unite to bring about the end of the world on a remote island where a strange group of people--including a writer, the scientist's three children, and many others--come together to set the events in motion.

"God Bless You Mr. Rosewater": A drunken billionaire begins an experiment to improve humanity in his hometown as a greedy lawyer embarks on a scheme to transfer his money to a distant cousin, helping himself in the process.

"Slaughterhouse-Five": Vonnegut's most famous novel, this is the semi-autobiographical story of Billy Pilgrim, a man unstuck in time after his abduction by aliens. Chief among the moments he is reliving are his experiences as an American prisoner of war in Germany during the bombing of Dresden.

"Breakfast of Champions": Car dealer Dwayne Hoover goes insane after reading a novel by science fiction writer Kilgore Trout and turns against the world around him. Vonnegut uses this book as an outlet for his own observations on society and the human condition.

"Slapstick": The last president of the United States (and King of Manhattan) Dr. Wilbur Daffodil-11 Swain pens his memoirs as his country is in the last throes of death from disease and war.

"Jailbird": Walter F. Starbuck, one time communist and Nixon co-conspirator, is an inadvertent recidivist as he is released from prison only to be sent back after gaining some measure of respectability.

"Deadeye Dick": Rudy Waltz, son of a gun safety specialist, becomes an accidental double murderer at the age of twelve. His father's ideas about Hitler, child rearing, and what Rudy should do with the rest of his life send him far off track until he can become what he really wants to be: a cook in a Haitian restaurant run by his brother and a man who raises the dead.

"Galapagos": A small group of apocalypse survivors stranded on Darwin's Galapagos Islands provides the gene pool for an entirely different human race. This story is told by the ghost of Leon Trout.

"Bluebeard": This is the fictional autobiography of wealthy, aging artist Rabo Karabekian, written as he is under siege by a widowed novelist who writes for teenagers.

"Hocus Pocus": Eugene Debs Hartke is a former physics teacher at a college for dyslexics and a Vietnam veteran. After losing his job, he is arrested on suspicion of having masterminded a prison outbreak that caused 10,000 inmates to overflow the town of Scipio and the school where he formerly taught.

"Timequake": A timequake in the space-time continuum has caused everyone to relive the previous decade. Since history can't be changed, the same things happen all over again exactly the same as they did before. After the 10 years are up and no longer knowing what the future holds, most people begin to suffer from post-timequake apathy, and Kilgore Trout must become an unlikely hero.

"God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian": The author makes a deal with Dr. Kevorkian to allow him to travel to heaven, interview some famous dead people, and return to tell about it.


"Canary in a Cat House": All stories in this volume are reprinted in "Welcome to the Monkey House" with the exception of Hal Irwin's Magic Lamp, which is included in "Bagombo Snuff Box."

"Welcome to the Monkey House"

"Bagombo Snuff Box"


"Happy Birthday, Wanda June"

"Between Time and Timbuktu"




"Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons"

"Palm Sunday"

"Fates Worse than Death"