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Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  8,520 Ratings  ·  313 Reviews
This is vintage Vonnegut: short stories never-before collected or published in book form. They are from the era of the Golden Age of magazines: a pre-television time when publications such as The Saturday Evening Post, Collier's, Argosy, and others reigned supreme as Americans' entertainment choice.

Before that Golden Age drew to a close half a century ago, a young PR man a
Audio CD, 4 pages
Published August 1st 1999 by Highbridge Audio (first published 1999)
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Jun 20, 2012 Melki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I guess Vonnegut is known mostly for his novels, but I've always been a big fan of his short fiction. No one else seems to pack such vitality into so few pages, and this collection really highlights his versatility.

Some of the stories are humorous - a realtor learns a thing or two from some prospective buyers, a town comes to regret embracing an efficiency expert, and a mob Santa Claus receives a special present.

And some are bittersweet - a man attempts to pawn a wartime souvenir, a school ba
Dec 10, 2009 Patdmac7 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Creative Writing 101:
1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
4. Every sentence must do one of two things-reveal character or advance the action.
5. Start as close to the end as possible.
6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them-in ord
Hrishabh Chaudhary
What a surely, purely, coincidentally, appropriate title!

I say this, because this book is nothing short of a snuff box for a Vonnegut fan and that is how I have been using it for past 2 weeks. One or two stories a day to make my troubles drop away.

The book contains 23 wonderful stories, accompanied by a brilliant preface by Peter Reed ( author of at least 4 books on Vonnegut and his works) and an introduction by Kurt Vonnegut himself, which contains his eight rules for creative writing, out of w
MJ Nicholls
A collection of Vonnegut's earliest work for '50s/60s periodicals.

As the Master himself points out in the marvellous introduction, these are embryonic stories, stylistically clumsy and written purely for financial gain.

This doesn't make the work any less playful and Vonnegutian, though the bulk of these stories have a more moralistic feel to them, and only shades of the postmodern hilarity he would become known for is evident throughout.

Thanasphere and 2BRO2B are the only sci-fi entries. The r
Mar 18, 2007 Oriana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't care if you ever read this book, and in fact, though I know I did (and apparently gave it three stars several years ago), I don't remember anything from it except for the intro. Please allow me to reproduce a small chunk of that here:

Kurt Vonnegut's Creative Writing 101:
1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
3. Every character should want something, even if it is o
This book is a collection of some of Vonnegut's earliest short stories, written for weekly and monthly magazines. They're interesting as a perspective on this era, when "serious" literary authors, or at least burgeoning ones, wrote for magazines, as well as writing full-length novels. They're also an interesting look into Vonnegut's earliest writing style (although he admits in a postscript that he could not help editing the ending of many of the chapters). That being said, they're not as enjoya ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Bagombo Snuff box: uncollected short fiction, Kurt Vonnegut
عنوان: انفیهدان باگومبو؛ نویسنده: کورت ونه گات؛ مترجمها: روحی افسر؛ شهرزاد مهدوی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، کلاغ سفید، 1386، در 422 ص، شابک: 9789649165417؛ موضوع: داستانهای کوتاه نویسندگان امریکایی قرن 20 م

Olga Godim
Dec 22, 2013 Olga Godim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mainstream
Although this book was compiled in 1999, it contains the author’s early short stories, published in magazines in the 1950s and ’60s. It was not an easy or a fast book to read but it was powerful and it made an impression. I won’t re-read it; it didn’t give me much pleasure, which is why 4 stars instead of 5 stars, but I’ll remember it.
The stories are all about a small man in America. A couple stories have a scifi slant, but their speculative flavor is unimportant. The spotlight in all the stori
Landon Beeson
This is a collection of short stories that are all kind of... well... boring except for one, which is absolutely incredible. That story is called 2BRO2B. This story is a crazy futuristic dystopian society that turns out so creepy it rocks! You could probably find this story without buying the whole book. It would be worth your time to skip the others. They are okay, but nothing special.

Mar 19, 2016 Vishal rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting and varied - if at times a bit dry - collection of Vonnegut's stories, where he sets out to do his favourite thing; get the reader to reset their moral compass, take off the mask of pretension and find themselves.

As he describes himself, writing is the process of making one's soul grow and that aim comes through here.
Erik Graff
May 07, 2010 Erik Graff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Vonnegut fans
Recommended to Erik by: Lawrence Santoro
Shelves: literature
Larry Santoro, a GoodReads author, gave this book as a Christmas present during the period when I and others would go to his home almost weekly to watch videos from his enormous movie collection. It is early Vonnegut and definitely not his best, but if you like the man as the writer he became, then it's probably worth reading.
Lull Wain
Oct 16, 2012 Lull Wain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vonnegut is the master of short forms. Short stories can have a greatness, if they're short enough and great enough in their shortness.
"Bagombo Snuff Box" is an assortment of short stories written by Kurt Vonnegut. All of them was initially published in the 1950-60s, but they didn't appear in Vonnegut's previous collection, "Welcome to the Monkey House". I was really glad to see this new anthology.
In the foreword, author says: "While I am reading [a short story], my pulse and breathing slow do
Jul 18, 2016 Alex rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 25, 2011 Hamid rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
تو دهه پنجاه و اوایل دهه شصت میلادی، وونهگات برای مجلات و روزنامهها داستان کوتاه مینوشته. بعد از شهرتی که به واسطه رمانهاش به دست میاره، سراغ داستانهای اون دورهش میرند و یه منتخبی از اون داستانها رو تو کتاب به خانه میمون خوش آمدید چاپ میکنند. داستانهایی که تو این کتاب اومده، باقی داستان کوتاههای وونهگاته که تو به خانه میمون خوش آمدید چاپ نشدند. داستانهایی که به قول خود وونهگات اگه شهرت رمانهاش نبود، هیچوقت کسی سراغشون نمیرفت.
داستانها در کل ضعیفند. خیلی از داستانها رسما رو پایهی نتیجه اخلاقی بنا
Alan Perry
Aug 31, 2007 Alan Perry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I picked this book up at the beginning of the year. Having read Timequake a while back, I thought it was about time I read some more of Vonneguts work, this seemed to be a good place to start. A great collection of all his early short stories which had been published in various American literary magazines over the years, it's a wonderful insight into his beginnings of a novelist. The detail of emotion and feeling which he puts into the many personalities in the book leaves you with no doubt that ...more
Aug 17, 2016 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of Vonnegut short stories is always a treasure. His stories were modest and homey, but they always have a simple message and are easy to read. The stories collected here were the bread and butter of his early writing years: literally, they put food on his family in a time when he could sell three stories a year and support a family.

He was also learning his craft here. There are some classic stories here and a few that needed a little more polish. But each is a reminder of the simpl
Nov 03, 2007 Amy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
maybe i'm really not a short story person and then again maybe vonnegut's a better novelist than a short story writer but it took me months to get through this collection and there were few stories that i found myself really wanting to finish except to get on to the next one. i was consistently disappointed and found myself on an 8 hour flight where i'd rather watch something called "wildhogs" than read vonnegut. i didn't even think that was possible.
This is another Vonnegut short story collection. My guess is that these are the Welcome to the Monkey House rejects. There are a couple of good stories (Thanosphere, 2BR02B) and a few that are decent, but most of them are just "meh".
Beka Adamashvili
დაძაბულ და სიტყვისმღვრელ ბრძოლაში მთარგმნელი დამარცხდა და დიდი მცდელობის მიუხედავად, მაინც ვერ შეძლო შემდეგი მოთხრობების გაფუჭება:

- სუვენირი
- სათუთუნე ბაგომბოდან
- 2BR02B
- მნემონიკა

და რამდენიმე სხვასაც არა უშავდა.
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Pre-science-fiction Vonnegut. From the days when he was a nobody and sold stories to periodicals just to keep food on the table. "Souvenir" is probably the best one in the bunch.
Jun 28, 2015 caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, own
3.5 stars
Calvin Boyer
Mar 29, 2013 Calvin Boyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vonnegut is funny, clever, sad--from page to page one never can be sure what is next other than a good read in each story!
Alan Chen
Jan 11, 2017 Alan Chen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Many would discount these earlier short stories that were published in various magazines in the 50s and 60s as lesser Vonnegut works but they shouldn't be so quick to dismiss them. It's notoriously difficult to write a short story, let alone good ones, but Vonnegut can and he manages to pack a punch with each of them. This collection is a bit of hodge podge of science fiction, slice of life (especially with veterans) and family dramas, they have more of a moralistic bent than his novels but he's ...more
Charles Kato
Jul 04, 2010 Charles Kato rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erin Britton
May 21, 2017 Erin Britton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful collection of previously unpublished Vonnegut short stories from the 1950s and 1960s. Although, sadly, Kilgore Trout does not make an appearance, the stories contained in this collection are vintage Vonnegut - quirky, thoughtful and downright hilarious.
The Powder Blue Dragon
A Present for Big Saint Nick

Plenty of questionable content in here.
Jan 15, 2008 Santi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
[Quoted from this book:]

The wooden doors opened with a shriek of rusty hinges. A snappy autumn gust showered the band with leaves. Plummer stood in the great opening, winded and perspiring, harnessed to a drum as big as a harvest moon!

“I know this isn’t challenge day,” said Plummer, “but I thought you might make an exception in my case.”

He walked in with splendid dignity, the huge apparatus grumbling along behind him.

Mr. Helmholtz rushed to meet him. He crushed Plummer’s right hand between
Hilary G
Jan 12, 2013 Hilary G rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't given this book 4 stars because the stories are among the best written stories I have ever read, or have fantastic plots, or are sophisticated, scintillating and stimulating. In fact, Vonnegut, in a coda to the collection, declares the denouements of three of the stories to be so asinine that they have been completely rewritten and so are "fakes on the order of the Piltdown Man". I have given this book 4 stars because the voice in these stories is so unmistakably Kurt Vonnegut that I w ...more
Tom Ruffles
These stories by Kurt Vonnegut were produced in his early days as a writer, as he was learning his craft. Though, as you would expect from tyro work, the quality is variable, generally they demonstrate a deftness of characterisation and tight narrative structure. Written during the 1950s and early ‘60s, mostly for wide-circulation magazines, they were not included in the earlier collection Welcome to the Monkey House, but have lain neglected in the publications’ files since their first appearanc ...more
Radu Vasilache
Oct 14, 2016 Radu Vasilache rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In a nutshell: I love Vonnegut's books. All of them. He is the only author I found who can be, all in the same time, so pessimistic and yet remain an optimist and so comic and yet so sad.
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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 about Kurt Vonnegut Jr....

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“Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.” 104 likes
“Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.” 101 likes
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