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Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

 

Cat’s Cradle (1963) is Vonnegut's most ambitious novel, which put into the language terms like "wampeter", "kerass" and "granfalloon" as well as a structured religion, Boskonism and was submitted in partial fulfillment of requirements for a Master's Degree in anthropology, and in its sprawling compass and almost uncontrolled (and uncontrollable) invention, may be Vonnegut's best novel.

Written contemporaneously with the Cuban missile crisis and countenancing a version of a world in the grasp of magnified human stupidity, the novel is centered on Felix Hoenikker, a chemical scientist reminiscent of Robert Oppenheimer… except that Oppenheimer was destroyed by his conscience and Hoenikker, delighting in the disastrous chemicals he has invented, has no conscience at all. Hoenikker's "Ice 9" has the potential to convert all liquid to inert ice and thus destroy human existence; he is exiled to a remote island where Boskonism has enlisted all of its inhabitants and where religion and technology collaborate, with the help of a large cast of characters, to destroy civilization.

Vonnegut's compassion and despair are expressed here through his grotesque elaboration of character and situation and also through his created religion which like Flannery O'Connor's "Church Without Christ" (in Wise Blood) acts to serve its adherents by removing them from individual responsibility. Vonnegut had always been taken seriously by science fiction readers and critics (a reception which indeed made him uncomfortable) but it was with Cat’s Cradle that he began to be found and appreciated by a more general audience. His own ambivalence toward science, science fiction, religion and religious comfort comes through in every scene of this novel.

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Looks like I am not going to make it after all, darn it.

    August 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry guys! I have a school commitment that night. Books was interesting though. Sad I'm not going to be there to discuss it!

    August 17, 2013

    • Trisha

      School comes first says the mom ;)

      August 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    This is more of a maybe. Currently in Ohio on the way home. No sure I'm going to make it.

    August 19, 2013

    • Trisha

      Hope you make it, but after all that fun we'll understand if you don't!

      August 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry I'm missing it! I have family in town until tomorrow. See you next month!

    August 19, 2013

    • Trisha

      We'll miss you see you next month!

      August 19, 2013

  • suzan

    looking firward to it

    June 18, 2013

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