HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut
Loading...

Player Piano (original 1952; edition 1980)

by Kurt Vonnegut

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,626451,030 (3.72)39
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
Tags:None

Work details

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.
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 39 mentions

English (40)  French (2)  Italian (2)  All languages (44)
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
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 |
When considering the "best" dystopian novel, a contest typically pitted between Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World, my vote goes to Player Piano. On one hand, Orwell presents a police state that is too reminiscent of Nazi Germany to seem like a plausible future - the result of a worst case scenario, perhaps, but not a viable everyday situation. Huxley presents a much more compelling dystopian society where free will has been sacrificed for a vapid psuedo happiness, an increasingly realistic situation in today's technological world, but the comparative relate-ability of Huxleyan society in juxtaposition with the Christlike savage diminishes the novel's overall effect. Vonnegut's Player Piano, on the other hand, tells the story of a mechanical society in which humanity has become secondary to progress. It has enough of the fear that Orwell evokes in order to seem threatening and enough of Huxley's plausibility to drive the fear home. Every character in Player Piano is relate-able in his or her own way. We can see ourselves on both sides of the river, which makes the dystopia seem all the more real. Early Vonnegut, but I'm impressed! ( )
1 vote juliecarlsen | Apr 17, 2014 |
This book took me a while to get into. I do like that Vonnegut never follows a traditional storyline, you never know what to expect. That being said, I have a hard time getting through his longer works. I really liked Welcome to the Monkey House, his short story collection. I might try and read more of those. ( )
  ariahfine | Jan 21, 2014 |
A very compelling read. Both sides of this conflict between "man" and "machine" are granted time represented in prose, situation, and character. I know many people consider this novel to be about dystopia resulting from the rise of machines (and that may have been the intent) but I think it is much more complicated than that. This book gives someone a lot to ponder beyond the advertised conflict; the mark of a good piece of fiction. ( )
  shawse | Dec 25, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» 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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
FOR JANE - GOD BLESS HER
First words
ILIUM, New York, is divided into three parts.
Quotations
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:53:19 -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

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.72)
0.5 2
1 9
1.5 11
2 49
2.5 21
3 246
3.5 66
4 361
4.5 42
5 177

Audible.com

3 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 94,361,707 books! | Top bar: Always visible