Missing Kurt Vonnegut


Kurt is up in heaven now.

My first book report was on the Cat’s Cradle. A novelty read for a student in rural high school. “Why don’t you just read To Kill a Mockingbird?” my teacher asked. I was hooked and proceeded to spend what little money I had on any used copy of a Vonnegut book I could find. I couldn’t afford new. I may have shed a tear the first time I purchased a first edition of Slaughter House Five and this morning when I heard of Kurt’s passing. I defended him to my adviser once who equated him with King. Heresy. Vonnegut was and is a master of satire and prediction. Making me openly laugh at atrocity. The next time I am at a book store and the clerk asks me what I am looking for, I will respond “Something like Vonnegut.” The amazing thing about Vonnegut is that he said, more humorously and sharp than the rest of, what we all thought. He was a sort of mental doppleganger for us all. I finish this farewell with a quote from Vonnegut himself.

As for being a midwesterner, he recalls his roots in nearby Indianapolis, a heartland town, the next one west of here. “I’m a fresh water person. When I swim in the ocean, I feel like I’m swimming in chicken soup. Who wants to swim in flavored water?”

Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

4 Replies to “Missing Kurt Vonnegut”

  1. I defended him to my adviser once who equated him with King.

    Martin Luther, or Stephen?

  2. “Cat’s Cradle” was the first summer reading assignment I actually enjoyed in high school (and one of the only). It hooked me on Vonnegut and I have read many, many of his books – I still don’t understand why “Player Piano” isn’t considered more important (maybe it is and I just don’t know it).

  3. I, too, will miss him and his writings. One thing I remember is that at the age of 84, he had contributed to the literary world, maybe not as some would like, but to some of us, a different take or look at things.

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