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Welcome to the Monkey House (1968)

by Kurt Vonnegut

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6,291571,108 (4)107
A collection of twenty-five short works by the American author written between 1950 and 1968 and originally printed in a wide range of publications including "The Atlantic Monthly," "Esquire," and "Ladies' Home Journal."
  1. 00
    CivilWarLand in Bad Decline by George Saunders (KafkaMaze)
    KafkaMaze: Very strong mix of satire and science fiction, much like Vonnegut. Mixes in some magical realism as well. Saunders cites Vonnegut as one of his two major influences.
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» See also 107 mentions

English (54)  Romanian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (56)
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
Oh. ( )
  SethBowman | Jul 31, 2020 |
"Harrison Bergeron" (1961): 9
- Leave it to Vonnegut to complicate the classic, easily replicable libertarian anti-communalism sf of postwar America. In many ways, I'm sympathetic to complaints that we're reading too much into certain tropes -- esp. as they appear in the work of those producing for pulp-like environments -- of genre fiction, and especially so when it comes to near-future stories like these: both the premise of "equality" and the "logical" steps towards the (intentional or not) misapplication of that principle are just too easy for the on-the-clock writer to bypass. They're readymade for dystopia. The piece here: future world enforces equality (interestingly, it's not explicitly material [although, I'm sure if we were to extrapolate this world outwards, that would be implied], but instead focused on intelligence and personal advantage [strength, beauty, talent, etc.]) through intrusive measures (masks on the beautiful, brain blocks on the smart, etc.), until one Exquisite boy one day escapes and uses his advantages for himself, eventually being murdered for it, all while his parents watch on the television, not really sure of what they're watching in their enforced stupidity (although, funnily, I think the mother is introduced as just being this actually stupid?! haha come on). The story works, however, (in addition to just the prosaic beauty of V.'s prose) because Vonnegut out-thinks his template. He takes a chock-a-block script -- one that's simply begging for both an individualized ending and ideology -- and he underscores the ferocity of both systems at play here--at the excesses of the handicapped and the handicapper. What the Handicapper General is disrupting is not the natural human flowering and bonhomie and care for the commonweal inherent to any individualized flowering, but actually the drive to possess and dominate. AND, to complicate things even more, humanity's more benign, beautiful impulses are also contained within those very totalitarian impulses (as in Harrison's urge to dance, love, and make music). Good stuff. Oh, and that he happened to make him both 7 feet tall and 14 is just hilarious.

"Where I Live" (1964): 7.25
- An ambling, digressive little story, in which V. likely overestimates the ability of his plain-spoken queerness to push one past the nonthingness otherwise on display. And he probably sees the lapse from narrative into that nothingness as a clever little litfictional sleight of hand, whereas it’s actually unremarkable on account of the bland description it’s couched within.

"Who Am I This Time" (1961): 6.5
- Very minor. Little V.ness on display here, and what there is does little to salvage the rest.
  Ebenmaessiger | Oct 6, 2019 |
Kurt V. gives us a bunch of short stories - humorous, cutting, with a moralistic point to most that's hard to miss! ( )
  addunn3 | Sep 5, 2019 |
This is an excellent collection. My personal favorite story here is 'The Euphio Question'. ( )
  smlawson | Aug 26, 2019 |
A brilliant collection of short stories. ( )
  DanielSTJ | May 5, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Vonnegut, Kurtprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Greif, GeneCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sumner, Gregory D.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
"Beware of all enterprises
that require new clothes."—Thoreau
Dedication
For
Knox Burger
—Ten days older than I am.
He has been a very good
father to me.
First words
Here it is, a retrospective exhibition of the shorter works of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.—and Vonnegut is still very much with us, and I am still very much Vonnegut.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please do not combine this work with the Dutch works entitled "Welkom op de apenrots" and "Lange wandeling naar de eeuwigheid". The Dutch works comprise only selections of the stories in the English original.
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A collection of twenty-five short works by the American author written between 1950 and 1968 and originally printed in a wide range of publications including "The Atlantic Monthly," "Esquire," and "Ladies' Home Journal."

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