This first collection of Vonnegut’s short stories ranges from epic war tales to science fiction thrillers that present fascinating ideas about human nature and the society of his time. Written with Vonnegut’s distinctive sense of irony and edge, it offers such classics as "Welcome to the Monkey House," "Long Walk to Forever," and "All the King’s Horses."
This short-story collection Welcome to the Monkey House (1968) incorporates almost completely Vonnegut’s 1961 "Canary in a Cathouse," which appeared within a few months of Slaughterhouse-Five and capitalized upon that breakthrough novel and the enormous attention it suddenly brought.
Drawn from both specialized science fiction magazines and the big-circulation general magazines (Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, etc.) which Vonnegut had been one of the few science writers to sell, the collection includes some of his most accomplished work. The title story may be his most famous--a diabolical government asserts control through compulsory technology removing orgasm from sex--but Vonnegut’s bitterness and wit, not in his earlier work as poisonous or unshielded as it later became, is well demonstrated.
Two early stories from Galaxy science fiction magazine and one from Fantasy & Science Fiction(the famous "Harrison Bergeron") show Vonnegut’s careful command of a genre about which he was always ambivalent, stories like "More Stately Mansions" or "The Foster Portfolio" the confines and formula of a popular fiction of which he was always suspicious. Vonnegut’s affection for humanity and bewilderment as its corruption are manifest in these early works.
Several of these stories (those which appeared in Collier’s) were commissioned by Vonnegut’s Cornell classmate and great supporter Knox Burger, also born in 1922.
Kurt Vonnegut is a unique voice in the American canon-a writer whose works are hard to categorize, often straddling the space between literature and science fiction, and filled with cutting satire and dark humor. Like Mark Twain before him, Vonnegut's reputation and impact on American writing and reading will continue to grow steadily and increase in relevance as new insights are made.Vonnegut was born in 1922 in Indianapolis, and studied at the University of Chicago and the University of Tennessee. In the Second World War, he became a German prisoner of war and was present during the bombing of Dresden. This experience provided inspiration for his most successful and influential novel, Slaughterhouse-Five. Vonnegut-admired as much for his views and his "Vonnegutisms" as for his publications-wrote extensively in many forms, including novels, short stories, essays, plays, articles, speeches, and correspondence, some of which was published posthumously.
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