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3.95  ·  Rating details ·  16,539 ratings  ·  1,117 reviews
Kindle Edition, 9 pages
Published (first published September 1968)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  16,539 ratings  ·  1,117 reviews

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2BRO2B: Where utopia and dystopia coalesce.
Petra X $200 for an exhaust leak! Daylight robbery
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
Scribble Orca
Dec 04, 2012 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
Jun 27, 2012 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.

Kevin Kuhn
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
A brutally effective allegory.
A dark humor short story that offers some thinking about a utopia.
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
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
Oct 05, 2016 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.
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
That ending!

This novel became available to me and I finally, finally read it. I am such a mood reader and it just came to me at the right time.

What can I say, if you read the synopsis, you know exactly what is going on! Peculiarly, with the current situation, I read this two weeks ago before any "quarantine" was issued where I live, but I was still strangely touched by the message and the unspoken, implied action of the characters.

The opening scene describes a father, waiting for his triplets
Lit Bug

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
This is my idea of a great short story--Dystopian in nature, with a twist ending. I wish I could say it sounded impossible, but I’m sorry to say it sounded like the future we might be headed for. Human life seems to have less and less worth to us as a society, and we seem to be happy to be less and less in control of our own destinies.

Richard Derus
Apr 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindled
56 years ago this was edgy stuff, now it's a big ol' marshmallow fluff and creamy peanut butter on bargain white bread sammy.

There's a name for those things. Anyone remember what it is? Anyway. Unless you're a Vonnegutterian and completist, this needn't take up your RAM or induce your REM.
Connie G
In Vonnegut's imagined future, aging has been cured. The government controls overpopulation by mandating that each new birth must be accompanied by the accidental death or voluntary suicide of another person. A man is in a hospital waiting room where his wife has given birth to triplets. The story sets up a moral dilemma where there is no good possible outcome to the situation.

Some characters think they live in a perfect world because they will never age, but their world has a dark, dystopian si
Nadin Adel

To be or not to be. The dystopia of the utopia!

Watch an adaptation here:
Jun 05, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, short-stories
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
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
Jenny Baker
A powerful and intelligent allegory from a gifted writer.
Vonnegut writes a story of a Utopian society where there is no poverty or disease, where ageing and even death have been vanquished. Strict population controls are in place; capped at 40 million.

In a world where death is no longer a natural inevitability, for every birth, a voluntary death must take place. 2BR02B, - to be or not to be - the hotline number for the Federal Bureau of Termination.

This was excellent. Like all good short stories, this one had the capacity to expand to a full book, and
Mar 18, 2016 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
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, short-story, free
Man, this one really made me think. Is this something that our planet will come to? With the possible upcoming enhanced identification laws, will we be forced into a future of a controlled population? I've read several articles about how the latest generation to go into adulthood may never have to die like those in this story. Will they also have to make a choice like the father did? I honestly wouldn't want to have to ask or pick who has to die in order for another to live.

Anyways, I really enj
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A dark and witty satire on population control. Loved the sarcasm in the dialogue.
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
Jul 19, 2017 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.
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.

Danielle N
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: satire, dystopian
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
Lilly  Minasyan
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Imagine a world where every birth and death is controlled and monitored, sounds scary... but there were interesting parts like the fact that human beings want to reproduce without thinking of consequences.
Though I wouldn’t want anyone to control both birth and death.
This is my first book from Vonnegut, and I think I really like his way of writing.

“The law said that no newborn child could survive unless the parents of the child could find someone who would volunteer to die. Triplets, i
Jan 08, 2017 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 ...more
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this would be a gr8 black mirror episode tbh
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nihilists
Vonnegut employs expert, minimalist precision in 2BR02B. He gets the point across succinctly as his short fiction is honed like a well-maintained bathtub razor. Set in a futuristic "utopian" society the themes of life and death present themselves, well, death mainly.

The title alludes to Shakespeare's Hamlet, for the 'zero' in 2BR02b is referred to in Vonnegut's short story as 'not'. Anyone who is a Shakespeare enthusiast, or well, really anyone who has gone through the public school system, kno
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Which Vonnegut to read next? 3 43 Jul 29, 2014 09:14AM  
Dystopia Land: 2br02b by Kurt VONNEGUT 20 66 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

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