His novels — 14 in all — were alternate universes, filled with topsy-turvy images and populated by races of his own creation, like the Tralfamadorians and the Mercurian Harmoniums. He invented phenomena like chrono-synclastic infundibula (places in the universe where all truths fit neatly together) as well as religions, like the Church of God the Utterly Indifferent and Bokononism (based on the books of a black British Episcopalian from Tobago “filled with bittersweet lies,” a narrator says).What Kurt Vonnegut book meant the most to you? To me it's "Cat's Cradle," which is the book they had us all read before we showed up as freshman at the Residential College (at the University of Michigan) in 1969. When we got there, we sat on the floor and talked about it, and, on the instruction of our professors, tried to Boku-Maru.
I wrote a post about him, back in '04, when he was ranting about a lot of things, including his own will to live:
But, when you stop to think about it, only a nut case would want to be a human being, if he or she had a choice. Such treacherous, untrustworthy, lying and greedy animals we are.I said:
I sometimes like to think that we were given a choice whether to be born, that there was a beforelife (we like to think there's an afterlife) in which the range of possibilities in a human life were fully explained and we could say yes or no, just like you can look at a rollercoaster and decide if you want to take the ride. So all of us here are the ones who decided to take the ride. I like to speculate about what percentage of beforelife dwellers decide to say yes. I imagine Vonnegut's suggestion is correct: the percentage would be small. The downside risks are too horrible. But we're the brave souls--we're Vonnegut's nuts--who once found the idea of being human so appealing.Vonnegut had quoted Camus--“There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide”--and said: "All great literature is about what a bummer it is to be a human being," and "I am of course notoriously hooked on cigarettes. I keep hoping the things will kill me."
Was he sorry to still be alive when he said that? I couldn't believe it, maybe only because I wasn't sorry he was alive.