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2BR02B

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  12,473 Ratings  ·  805 Reviews
Regarded by critics and fans alike as one of the most accomplished and witty social commentators of the twentieth century, all of Kurt Vonnegut's unique strengths as a writer shine in the short fiction piece 2BR02B. The title is a clever take on Hamlet's famous rhetorical question, To be or not to be? In this brave new world, it's the phone number one calls to schedule an ...more
ebook, 16 pages
Published May 14th 2014 by Not Avail (first published January 1962)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Stephanie
3.5 stars for short and eerie classic dystopian tale!

To be or "naught" to be.... is what 2BR02B stands for. I have to admit that while I was aware of this book, I never "got" the title before!!

This story by Kurt Vonnegut is set in a Chicago hospital sometime in the future.

“The population of the United States was stabilized at forty-million souls.”

Aging has been "cured" and people have indefinite lifespans.

Strict population control measures have been put in place.

The premise is that for anyo
...more
Petra Eggs
Rather mundane story of a future where population balance is all - for every child born, one person has to die, now that anything but voluntary mortality is a thing of the past. In my view, the reality of such a situation would be that there would always be a contentious third world and there would always be aggressive young men and there will always be an arms industry and small wars will be encouraged.

I do see that medical cures and ways of extending life, perhaps more or less indefinitely, mi
...more
Scribble Orca
Dec 04, 2012 Scribble Orca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Vonnegut neophytes

So, I...uh...had a deal with spenke I was supposed to be knifing open the satsuma plum of my Vonnegut chastity belt with Breakfast of Champions. But, you know, patience hasn't been coded into my DNA, let alone cultivated as one of my virtues (sic).

In 1999, Kurt Vonnegut was asked to write an an epitaph for the 20th century. His response?

"I have written it: The good Earth — we could have saved it, but we were too damn cheap and lazy."

2 B R 0 2 B (RIP Shakespeare) is a flash fiction he wrote in 19
...more
Jokoloyo
A dark humor short story that offers some thinking about a utopia.
Duane
In Vonnegut's fictional future they have found a cure for aging. So naturally the government has to institute a program called "population control". Will never happen you say. Maybe not finding a cure for aging, but medical advancement will certainly extend lifespan. Wars, epidemics, accidents, all will curb growth. Gun violence and starvation deaths will be on the increase in the future if societal trends don't change. Vonnegut wasn't interested in how we get there, but how we react when we do. ...more
Althea Ann
I've never been a big fan of Vonnegut, though I've tried. I had mixed feelings about this one, as well.

In a near future, the Earth's overpopulation problem has been solved by strict laws. Aging has been "cured" and people can live youthfully indefinitely - but the necessary corollary is that births must be limited. Voluntary euthanasia is encouraged.

In his trademark darkly humorous style, Vonnegut portrays this situation as grotesque and inhumane. I actually disagree, so I couldn't really whole
...more
Ron
Oct 05, 2016 Ron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an dystopian thinker of short story that takes all of about 15 minutes to read, even if you’re slow like me. Writing more than a couple sentences would almost surely spoil it, so I’ll say almost nothing beyond this: future, population control & ethical suicide studios. Does that peak your interest or make you cringe? For me it was both.
Flannery
Man, this was bleak. It is set in a future world where aging can be halted and the average age is somewhere around 130. Because people are living much longer and the planet's resources are depleted, the government keeps the US population at 40 million. The Federal Bureau of Termination provides several ways for people to die if they'd like to give up their life for a newborn. One man is at the hospital waiting for his wife to give birth to triplets, but he doesn't have enough volunteers to die s ...more
Mia (Parentheses Enthusiast)
While the concept was interesting, this story is proof that concept in and of itself is simply not enough to sustain a story, even one as short as this. The tension that would've made it interesting was nonexistent, and the way Vonnegut shamelessly info-dumped via stilted dialogue was positively criminal. This could've potentially been very thought-provoking, but the writing just makes it all so... insular. It feels like a story, like a fiction, it feels contrived, and so divorced from logic tha ...more
Lit Bug
6/5

Yes, that's right. It's a 6/5 rating. 5/5 seems so... unfair.

Kurt Vonnegut is perhaps the most under-rated author of our literary history. This tiny short story (only 12 pages) is filled with so much satire, angst and anger that one tends to forget it is sci-fi. Although, this is the first story where the SF aspect is so well forgotten as the story develops, that even those repelled by SF would love this.

The title 2 B R 0 T B is an acronym for the eternal conflict in humanity - To Be Or Not T
...more
Andreea Daia
Quick and dirty reading notes and (i)relevant thoughts
✐ It's quite amusing that not earlier than yesterday, I wrote a "review" for First Meetings in Ender's Universe, a collection of short stories that addresses the exact opposite topic from 2BR02B (link to review). In there, Orson Scott Card advocates people's right to have as many children as they desire, while in 2BR02B, for a newborn to be allowed to live, one of the existing people has to die. And of course, as any extreme, none of them i
...more
Ona
Jul 19, 2017 Ona rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017reads
My first read by Vonnegut.

Vonnegut presents a dark vision of the future. This is a short story about population control and the dilemma that a father of newborn have to face with.
Stephen
4.0 stars. Dark, satirical look at a future United States where people can now live indefinitely and the population is kept at a constant forty million. This population (without natural death) is achieved through a combination of infanticide and government-assisted suicide. For someone to be born, someone else must die.


Books, Vertigo and Tea (Danielle)
Okay, so I am pretty sure this is the shortest short story I have ever encountered. I debated just leaving a rating on GoodReads and calling it done. But this little gem deserves a mention, no matter how brief.

Imagine a world where the human lifespan has become indefinite thanks to the advancements of science and healthcare. Of course this miraculous cure also can pose the great risk of overpopulation. 2BR02B takes place in a Chicago hospital where we are introduced to the very means that are be
...more
James
A short interlude while waiting for the next George R.R. Martin book, a short story downloaded from the Gutenberg Project. An even shorter interlude than expected as it turns out; the second half of the book turns out to be the Gutenberg licence which considerably shortens the read.

But, while the story is short (and it is really short) it's a clever allegory set in the future where ageing has been conquered and consequently population growth must be tightly controlled. One in equals one out. In
...more
Lyn
Jun 27, 2012 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Only Kurt Vonnegut, or a very good facsimile could come up with the Federal Bureau of Termination. That is a treasured institution in 2BR02B by Kurt Vonnegut, his scathing satire on population control. Humans are living to be fantastically healthy and long lived, and enjoying life on a rich, bountiful … and roomy Earth thanks to some extreme measures. A fun read, but like most of Vonnegut’s work, one that leaves the reader thinking.
Josh
Jan 16, 2017 Josh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short Dystopian story about the implications of population control. This reminded me of the type of material you would see as an episode of The Twilight Zone or something similar. It was enjoyable, even though it wasn't groundbreaking.
Chichipio
Aug 28, 2011 Chichipio rated it really liked it
Shelves: dystopia
For something so short, it does a great job when it comes to delivering its message. It leaves you thinking for much, much longer than the five minutes it takes to read it, though I admit that the subject is not something I like to think about very often. Gloomy? Yes, but very effective.
Alatea
Jan 08, 2017 Alatea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, this one was good! It's so short that it literally takes 10 minutes to read and it's still very strong and capturing. And the title!!! Love it! <3
diba
Jan 17, 2017 diba rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-author
1962 / American
rate 3.5/5

cerita pendek,
"ketika kematian divolunteer-kan seseorang kepada newborn/bayi baru lahir untuk mengontrol populasi planet"

Dikisahkan keluarga Wehling hendak menyambut kelahiran anaknya, yang kemudian diketahui kembar 3. Mr. Wehler kalang kabut mencari akal siapa yang akan menjadi volunteer untuk 2 anaknya, 1 anak direncanakan akan divolunteer oleh kakek Mr. Wehler yang siap mati demi memberi ruang kehidupan pada cicitnya.

Di satu sisi diceritakan seorang pelukis sinis yan
...more
Krina Satra (BooksAndBookmarks)
More like 3.5 stars.
The title 2 B R 0 T B is an acronym for the eternal conflict in humanity - To Be Or Not To Be.
Its the line people call when they want to die in this futuristic sci-fi classic.
This seemed like a legit story that could be possible what with the human nature and due to the pace at which our population is growing.
Ah the satire! The depression! The angst!
Definitely going to check out more of Kurt Vonnegut's works in the near future.
Vaishali
(Pronounced "To be or 'naught' to be") Humorous at times, but flattened by a protagonist more sour than Holden Caulfield. My second - and last - Vonnegut book, where human depravity is the order of the day. Unfortunate, because a topic like overpopulation deserves far more care.
Jim
Vonnegut has a real talent at taking a utopia & depressing the hell out of me. Good & short, though.
Prashant
Mar 25, 2012 Prashant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book


Years back when I read Orwell’s 1984 I felt a magic that can happen only from a beautiful world being woven by a great writer. Orwell tried to present to us the picture of a world where a “big brother” watches our very move. Then came Bradbury with Fahrenheit 451 and here was a world where the thoughts are again held arrested by the government.

Not to sound too presumptuous but there is one another work. The Valley of Masks by Tarun Tejpal gave us a glimpse of people being ransomed for the dream
...more
Kandice
I'm so glad I saw this on a friends feed. I thought I had read all Vonnegut had to offer, but I had somehow overlooked this little gem.

Vonnegut always manages to be so incredibly cynical, especially when his stories are about the future when we have supposedly figured it all out.

This is set in the distant future when people can expect to live pretty much forever. There's a price. For a baby to be born, someone needs to give up their life. We begin our tale with a father anxiously awaiting the b
...more
JoJoTheModern
Nov 16, 2012 JoJoTheModern rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The man has a point.

In a utopia of perfect days, in which everything from disease to aging has been arrested, there will be no more deaths resulting from natural causes or tragedy. Everyone gets to be immortal. But there has been an exchange of entitlements. As the story's doctor says, people left to themselves insist on reproducing while insisting on living forever. That won't work. Can't work.

This isn't a story about government control.

This is a story that tells us we will never be free of pai
...more
Adina
Mar 18, 2016 Adina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I missed Kurt Vonnegut.

I am my father's book adviser and while he was waiting for me to finish The Man in the High Castle I recommended The Cat Cradle to him, with the disclaimer that it is a bit strange and he might not like it. In case you were wondering, I needn't have worried as he sent me a message two minutes ago (great timing) to tell me he finished it and loved it very, very much.

While talking to my father about Cat Cradle I got the sudden urge to open the first Vonnegut book I could f
...more
Ariya
May 25, 2016 Ariya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I appreciate more and more in Sci-Fi genre, since living in the adult world, hardly the resourceful creativity had been found. We have the future world where population numbers are reduced into the balance between living and death. When someone's born, as no one is currently in the cremation, one person has to commit the suicide for the sake of the enriching future. The fallacy here is, why do people give birth in such a despairing world at the first place? The answer might be found in the allus ...more
Jennuineglass
May 21, 2014 Jennuineglass rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a mere 9 pages. It is free on Kindle. It is Kurt Vonnegut. 'Nough said. Read it and let me know what you think.

I would love to have a literary dinner party where everyone reads this and this discusses...a great jumping off point for a lively debate of actual and hypothetical "what if"s about aging and populations control.

Happy Reading!
Sean O
Mar 26, 2016 Sean O rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very short satiric story about a society where the country's population has been fixed to 40 million people, and the day one family has triplets.

This is basically "What if Kurt Vonnegut wrote Soylent Green but only had a dozen pages to do it."
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Which Vonnegut to read next? 3 43 Jul 29, 2014 09:14AM  
Dystopia Land: 2br02b by Kurt VONNEGUT 20 48 Jan 20, 2014 06:29AM  
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Kurt Vonnegut, Junior was an American novelist, satirist, and most recently, graphic artist. He was recognized as New York State Author for 2001-2003.

He was born in Indianapolis, later the setting for many of his novels. He attended Cornell University from 1941 to 1943, where he wrote a column for the student newspaper, the Cornell Daily Sun. Vonnegut trained as a chemist and worked as a journali
...more
More about Kurt Vonnegut Jr....

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“The painter pondered the mournful puzzle of life demanding to be born and, once born, demanding to be fruitful ... to multiply and to live as long as possible—to do all that on a very small planet that would have to last forever.” 6 likes
“Thank you, sir," said the hostess. "Your city thanks you; your country thanks you; your planet thanks you. But the deepest thanks of all is from future generations.” 5 likes
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