Kurt 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 supercomputer and run completely by machines. Paul's rebellion is vintage Vonnegut - wildly funny, deadly serious, and terrifyingly close to reality.
As an added bonus, when you purchase our Audible Modern Vanguard production of Kurt Vonnegut's book, you'll also receive an exclusive Jim Atlas interview. This interview - where James Atlas interviews Gay Talese about the life and work of Kurt Vonnegut - begins as soon as the audiobook ends.
©1980 Kurt Vonnegut (P)2008 Audible, Inc.
"Mr. Vonnegut is a sharp-eyed satirist." (The New York Times)
"One of the best living American writers." (Graham Greene)
I love Vonnegut's world view and style; his irreverence towards authority and satirical perspective. What makes him a superior satirist is how he doesn't need to resort to the hysterical. He's measured. His worlds, however inventive, are believable extrapolations of the real one.
I also think his irreverence is particularly mature. In this story which critiques thoughtless, directionless automation of industry in the name of unqualified "progress", he's very aware of the negative consequences of a luddite approach to technology. He's not so irresponsible to say "smash the system" and then walk away without any solutions. He also asks "and then what?" I'm not even sure he's on the side of his heroes who hope to smash the machines and return control to the people. My take home from this is we're damned if we do, damned if we don't when it comes to the use of tech. The best we can do is exploit tech in service of the sort of society we want, and not just for efficiency's sake, choosing carefully what we implement and what we don't for everyone's benefit.
As someone working in AI and concerned about the social and political ramifications of it, I can't believe Vonnegut was so "on it" over 50 years ago. We live in a prepubescent version of the tech utopia/nightmare he predicts. He's one of those writers who can look around him at our madness and synthesize it into a coherent criticism, show us common sense and suggest the humane thing to do.
One of my top ten novels.
Despite being full of technical stuff dated in the 50s, the issues and ideas are still relevant and the story telling is timeless. Very well read, with good voice acting across the range of characters. A funny and thought provoking book.
"Not Vonnegut's best effort."
I read this a long time ago and bought the A-B. There are some interesting insights in this book that have some application in todays "outsourced" economy. Funy in parts tiresome in others, the ending seems J-V was trying to meet a deadline.
It is hard for me to write a review of a Kurt Vonnegut book, I am clearly not a literary critic, but for me he is the most under appreciated writer in the American literary tradition. This book, his first, is just fantastic.
Within the Vonnegut library I would say Sirens of Titan, another early book with big ideas.
It is interesting that all the Vonnegut books on Audible have been done by different narrator's and all of them have done a great, great job. Rummel handled the material so well I cannot imagine any else doing it better. Just great.
Paul Proteus probably but Kroger and Finnerty really cracked me up....sometimes it is hard to tell (when really Vonnegut) if you are imagining his characters or the subsequent one's that recent writers ripped off from him. These are archetypal characters at times and it is difficult not to love all of them.
Thanks Audible, well done.
"As relevant now as ever"
This is one of my favorite books. Vonnegut or otherwise. It's a great audio book copy too. Very clear and the narrator does a great job!
""He doesn't waste words""
Cutting, beautiful prose. One of the greatest Americans.
The narrator does a very good job.
"Great anti-mechanization novel!"
Thanks for all the laughs and the philosophy. Another classic Vonnegut novel. Must read for V fans.
This is particularly relevant given the rise of AI and references to vacuum tubes can easily be replaced with transistors without batting an eye. Like most Vonnegut he creates the engine, gets it running, takes a short drive and abruptly abandons it.
Vonnegut's first book holds up incredibly well 63 years after publication. His imagination of the post WWlll society has many parallels today and many of societies' dilemmas still exist. Also excellent performance of the book.
Da bessssssss. But really, Kurt is a genius voice of a generation. We are all his sons and daughters.
Vonnegut will always rank highly regardless of the medium.
The disillusioned kid who Paul meets at the Meadows...or the Shah.
Not that I know of. Chris did well. I was able to follow along easily, and his pace and inflection was not jarring or distracting.
Humans: Please replace us.
READ ALL THE VONNEGUT!
"Definitely not Vonnegut's best work, but ok"
I have been going through Vonnegut's catalog (slowly) and got to this one. I'm glad I read other things he had written before this, or I might have falsely concluded that "I don't like Vonnegut." As it happens, I read Slaughterhouse before this (like most readers, I'd imagine) and so I was more disposed to enjoy this.
I thought it was kinda weak and didn't live up to the premise.
Yes, but again, I'd say check out other things by Vonnegut if you are new to him.
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