RIP Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut died 🙁 I’d only just discovered that guy. I bought Timequake at a Torquay second-hand-bookshop in March and read it over the next week. It describes a quake in time, sending the universe back a decade during which everybody is forced to repeat themselves, but by the time free will kicks in again everybody is too used to coasting along without a care. As you may guess, it’s something of a metaphor 🙂 I enjoyed the mixture of wisdom, wry observation and crazy story, and was looking forward to reading Slaughterhouse-Five etc.. I’ll probably get around to them sooner, now. I’m aware he was at times anti-science, despite being a humanist, and it’ll be interesting to see how this is argued.

Chapter 57 of Timequake sees the author waiting in a post office queue:

I put the waiting time to good use. I learn about stupid bosses and jobs I will never have, and about parts of the world I will never see, and about diseases I hope I will never have, and about different kinds of dogs people have owned, and so on. By means of a computer? No. I do it by means of the lost art of…

I thought ‘eavesdropping’. It said ‘conversation’. I was abashed. A paragraph later:

I go home. I have had one heck of a good time. Listen: We are here on Earth to fart around. Don’t let anybody tell you any different.

Not a bad motto.

Later: Cory Doctorow has a lovely tribute on BoingBoing.

Later still: P.Z. Myers points out a quote I should have remembered.