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Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut


After lively and heated discussion at work over the NPR Readers’ Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy booklist, I find myself with stacks of sci-fi and fantasy books to read, so the blog may be a little heavy on that genre for a while. That said, I have been waiting to read this particular book for several years — ten to be exact. In 2001, I was in my first year of community college, and my English professor mentioned the plot of a book in which someone created a substance that would turn liquid water into a solid at normal temperature. That description stuck with me, but in the early days of Wikipedia, a casual Google search didn’t provide any results, and though I was intrigued by the story, I filed it away for future examination. The plot has stuck in the back of my head for the past ten years, and earlier this month I ran across a blog called “Better Book Titles,” and this post. And here we are.

The story is narrated in short chapters by a young aspiring author named John, who is conducting research for a book called “The Day the World Ended.” His investigations lead him to try and find the three children of Felix Hoenikker, a physicist who worked on the atomic bomb. John also meets scientists who had worked with Dr. Hoenikker, including one very odd fellow named Dr. Breed, who rambles on about different types of ice. Eventually he finds the eldest son, Franklin Hoenikker, on the island of San Lorenzo, serving as their minister of science and progress, and engaged to the dictator’s adopted daughter, Mona. John sets off to San Lorenzo, where he is immersed in the local culture and peoples.

I must admit to being a little ambivalent about this book. Part of this may be due to the fact that I had been envisioning it as a more serious science fiction novel, instead of the satirical, ironic story that it is. Still, this is a quick, easy read, and I can certainly see the appeal.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 2011/08/16 21:25

    I LOVED this sci-fi novel — sadly, I couldn’t gather the “courage” (or perhaps I’m lazy) to review the work. Yes, it has a satirical streak — but, hmm…. Perhaps it’s just Vonnegut’s voice — but then again, I haven’t read very many of his other works.

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