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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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4,581441,047 (3.72)38
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 (40)  French (2)  Italian (2)  All languages (44)
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
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... ( )
  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! ( )
  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 |
2.5/5

Trovo che Vonnegutt abbia scritto dei romanzi fantastici, questo suo primo lavoro, però, non raggiunge le vette toccate da Cat's Cradle etc..
L'idea: in una America del dopo guerra la società è retta dagli ingegneri che, ideando macchine di ogni genere, hanno reso facile la vita dell'uomo medio. Talmente facile che l'uomo medio non fa nulla, ci pensano le macchine. Vonnegut affronta l'aspetto sociologico di questo possibile futuro seguendo diverse figure: quella ricorrente di Paul, ingegnere senza attaccamento per il proprio lavoro, e altre, alcune sovversive, altre conservative.
L'idea è buona, però rispetto a altri romanzi dello scrittore la narrazione è sotto tono: manca l'enfatizzazione delle assurdità umane.

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I think that Vonnegut wrote amazing novels, however this one is not good as Cat's Cradle etc..
The idea is that in a post-war America society is ruled by engineers who, creating every kind of machines, allowed an easy life to the whole population. In fact people do nothing at all since the machines provide to every need. Vonnegut analyses the sociologic point of view of this setting following various characters: Paul, an engineer who does not love his work anymore, and others, some subversive, some conservative.
The idea is good, but the narration could be much better: it lacks the emphasis on human absurd behavior.
( )
  Saretta.L | Mar 31, 2013 |
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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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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)

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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)

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