Kurt Vonnegut: The Complete Novels
By Kurt Vonnegut
Kilgore Trout, a prolific author of paperback SF, is a reccurring character in Kurt Vonnegut’s writing. Though not commercially successful, Trout’s books endure hard use, turning into bundles of paper resembling “lopsided old softball[s], swaddled in different sorts of tape.”
If that describes the condition of the Kurt Vonnegut paperbacks on your bookshelf, and it probably does, you might want to treat yourself to this deluxe edition of all fourteen of his novels published by the Library of America. Every title from Player Piano (1952) to Timequake (1997) is included, along with a nice selection of stories, essays, introductions, and other material wrapped up in a four-volume box set.
Vonnegut’s attitude toward SF was ambivalent. On the one hand he was aware of how it could become a dangerous drawer for an author to be placed in, “since so many serious critics regularly mistake the drawer for a urinal.” He was, however, always drawn to SF as a form of satire, and often used it to explore aspects of our relation to consumer culture and technology that remain relevant today.