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Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut
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Player Piano (original 1952; edition 1980)

by Kurt Vonnegut

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4,72747995 (3.72)40
Member:mike_frank
Title:Player Piano
Authors:Kurt Vonnegut
Info:Dell (1980), Mass Market Paperback, 295 pages
Collections:Your library, Use for Recommendations
Rating:**1/2
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Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut (1952)

  1. 62
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (Anonymous user)
  2. 00
    R.U.R. by Karel Čapek (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Exploring societal implications of replacing humans with artificial labor.
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English (43)  French (2)  Italian (2)  All languages (47)
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
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 |
Dr. Paul Proteus is an esteemed position in an alternate reality 1950s America and on the line for a potential promotion when he starts to question whether the society he and his father helped to form - one increasingly reliant on machines for all labor - is not detrimental to humanity.

Player Piano is Kurt Vonnegut's first novel and a great first one at that. While his writing isn't quite as sharp and succinct as it is Cat's Cradle (the only other Vonnegut I've read), he still shines with a great deal of wit and wisdom. In particular, I found the scenes between the American ambassador and his guests to be cruelly funny as he attempts to explain American grandeur and innovation to foreigners who "mistake" many of these triumphs. Vonnegut's characters are incredibly vivid - I found myself becoming deeply invested even minor characters who only appear for one scene. While some of these characterizations were perhaps a little bit of caricatures, the overall effect was of compelling, well-rounded people who I was interested in reading more about.

Vonnegut is particularly visionary in this novel - while the actual mechanics may be somewhat different, his prediction of a world run by machines with displaced people trying to find their place in society is eerily on the nose. Of course, in his world, the government provides for those people whose labor is replaced by machinery by finding them albeit incredibly menial jobs, whereas in our world we end up with places like Detroit. This is definitely a novel, that while incredibly readable and fast paced enough, gives the reader plenty to chew over in their thoughts during and after reading it. I highly recommend it. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | Nov 23, 2014 |
My admiration for Vonnegut holds no bounds: how could he write this book in the early 1950's? It is almost 65 years later and the scenario which he paints is just coming to pass. I feel that I am doing well to have a vague grasp on what is happening now!

I will not spoil the story by explaining it in detail, suffice to say that Kurt Vonnegut uses his tale to look at the way in which machines, far from bringing a halcyon future of happiness and egalitarianism for all, lead to a two state society between those people that have a function and those that are merely tolerated.

It is always interesting in these futuristic pieces to see what has been predicted and what missed. Vonnegut's future has missed the explosion of media devices that keep us informed of the prescribed view and tracks our every movement, but does understand that the poor will not be eradicated, either by raising their living standards, or by social engineering as many have proposed. He also has the understanding of human nature to grasp that many of the oppressed will cling to the safe world that they know, rather than risking a 'brave new world', even though the new one offers them so much more.

We have seen Vonnegut's prophesy come true and the really big question now, is the next stage: artificial intelligence is almost ready to take, not just the labouring jobs, but now, the intellectual careers away from humans... ( )
1 vote the.ken.petersen | Aug 3, 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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FOR JANE - GOD BLESS HER
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ILIUM, New York, is divided into three parts.
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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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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