quinta-feira, 9 de outubro de 2014

Kurt Vonnegut Capas


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VONNEGUT, KURT (1922-2007), USA

Kurt Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis in 1922 and served in the US Army during the Second World War. He was captured by the Germans and incarcerated as a prisoner of war in Dresden. Vonnegut survived the saturation bombing of the city and the appalling firestorm that followed, and returned to the USA on his release from captivity. During the 1950s he began his writing career.

As an author, Vonnegut has, perfectly reasonably, distanced himself from categorization as an SFauthor. His work is undoubtedly LITERARY and often surreal, and it was with a succession of more mainstreamorientated novels that he made his name. Nevertheless, his SF remains important to the genre: it can bask in the reflected glory of the satirical content, dry, humane wit and insightful genius of Vonnegut's work.

Vonnegut's first novel, Player Piano (1952) portrays an encroaching DYSTOPIA as the human race hands over first business and manufacture, and then political decision-making to computers, prototypical ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCES. As in much of Vonnegut's fiction to come, the novel views the human race with a kind of amused but compassionate disbelief.

His next novel, The Sirens of Titan (1959), depicted the human race casually raised from animal ignornaceto sentience by an indifferent ALIEN race that wishes only for humanity to build them a spare part for a probe that has been stuck out on Titan for fifty thousand years. The novel is, among other things, a fine example of COMIC SF.

Slaughterhouse-Five (1969) tackles Vonnegut's personal response to the Dresden firestorm. The novel is simultaneously bitter, hilarious, and harrowing. Its anti-war message is all the more effective for being subtly delivered. The protagonist, Billy Pilgrim, is whisked away to an alien PLANET (which happens to be the home world of the aliens that feature in The Sirens of Titan) where he learns that time is not necessarily moving in a linear fashion. He gladly sacrifices his life as a member of the human race, a race of which he is growing tired, to travel through various moments of TIME and SPACE with the aliens. Slaughterhouse-Five was the novel with which Vonnegut achieved wide recognition as one of the most important post-war American writers.

Other important Vonnegut titles include Cat's Cradle (1963), which describes the creation of Ice-Nine, a chemical construct that ultimately brings about an ECOLOGICAL disaster for the planet, and Galapagos (1985), which features, among other delights, a society of devolved seallike humans.

Many of Vonnegut's other novels exist on the borders of genre fiction, and some of them feature the fictional character Kilgore Trout, a science fiction writer who is said to have been modelled on THEODORE STURGEON.

Vonnegut's best short fiction is collected in Canary in a Cat House (1961) and Welcome to the Monkey House (1968).

MANN, George. The Mammoth Encyclopedia of SCIENCE FICTION. 2001.

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