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Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut

Player Piano (1952)

by Kurt Vonnegut

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    CGlanovsky: Exploring societal implications of replacing humans with artificial labor.

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» See also 43 mentions

English (45)  French (2)  Italian (2)  All languages (49)
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
This dystopian novel takes place in Ilium New York in an age where most of the jobs people used to do are being done by machines. This creates two distinct social classes: the upper class of engineers who maintain the machines and the lower class of people who have nothing to do because the machines have made them obsolete. Our protagonist is Dr. Paul Proteus, a successful engineer who begins to question the quality of life after his occasional trips across the river to where the other half lives.

Vonnegut’s fiction is like a roller coaster ride for me. I go from liking the book, to not liking it, to liking it again, etc. every fifty pages or so. By the time I got to the end of this one, I was back to liking it, but it wasn’t an easy read. One of the things I liked most about Player Piano is that I can see how Vonnegut has extended some of the ideas from one of my favorite books, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Overall, it was worth reading, and I think I even liked it better than Slaughterhouse-Five. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
It is a good exercise to revert to 1950's Science Fiction occasionally, in that its prolific nature can be especially close to our current society. "Player Piano" is no exception: fully automated factories, cars that start with the push of a button, and riots for individuality. The book's structure supports the allegories and symbolism present without feeling too overt. A good instructive piece for a contemporary Science Fiction enthusiast who is not well versed in the classics. ( )
  Meghanista | Aug 31, 2015 |
Kurt Vonnegut's first novel. We are in a future world when world war three has happened and the second industrial revolution has been and gone. The world is mechanised and the engineer is the most important person. People who do not have the IQ to be an engineer either join the army or the Reeks and Recs, who clean up, repair roads and other jobs.
Paul, the main character, has a responsible position at Ilium works. Anita his wife is very ambitious for him. The narrative around Paul and Anita takes some time to settle down but once it does this is a good story.
Other chapters take us to an important Arab visitor to the US who is being shown around by a diplomat and has an interpreter with him. The mis-understandings of this group are very funny and they are also a way for the reader to learn more about how society works in this mechanised age when machines do almost everything.
Of course, reading it today is interesting. Kurt Vonnegut didn't foresee the age of computers and computer scientists but machines that do everything for us feels somewhat familiar. This is a mechanical, rather than a micro-chipped world.
A good read from an excellent author. ( )
1 vote Tifi | May 18, 2015 |
Wow! This book is well-told and predictive of many of the struggles with mechanized life that have occurred in the half century since it was written. He nails many things right on the head, even home decorating fads a la Etsy, HGTV, etc. Great book. ( )
  Brian.Gunderson | Dec 27, 2014 |
Sähköpiano kertoo tulevaisuuden maailmasta, jossa ihmiset on korvattu koneilla, eikä töitä heru muille kuin riittävän hyvän älykkyyden omaaville insinööreille. Kirja kritisoi terävästi Yhdysvaltojen yhteiskuntaa ja on dystopian tavoin melko pessimistinen. Tyylilleen uskollisesti kirjailija on saanut mukaan myös hersyvää huumoria. Todella hyvä kirja. Suosittelen. ( )
  Kuosmanen | Dec 16, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kurt Vonnegutprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bacon, C.W.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Binger, CharlesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Briemen, Reindert vanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Charles, MiltonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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ILIUM, New York, is divided into three parts.
This silly playlet seemed to satisfy them completely as a picture of what they were doing, why they were doing it, and who was against them, and why some people were against them. It was a beautifully simple picture these procession leaders had. It was a though a navigator, in order to free his mind of worries, had erased all the reefs from the maps.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440170370, Mass Market Paperback)

Vonnegut's spins the chilling tale of  engineer Paul Proteus, who must find a way to live  in a world dominated by a supercomputer and run  completely by machines.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:24 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Vonnegut's first novel spins the chilling tale of engineer Paul Proteus, who must find a way to live in a world dominated by a super computer and run completely by machines. His rebellion is a wildly funny, darkly satirical look at modern society.

» see all 2 descriptions

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