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336 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1959
Mankind flung its advance agents ever outward, ever outward. Eventually it flung them out into space, into the colorless, tasteless, weightless sea of outwardness without end.
It flung them like stones.
These unhappy agents found what had already been found in abundance on Earth – a nightmare of meaninglessness without end. The bounties of space, of infinite outwardness, were three: empty heroics, low comedy, and pointless death.
Winston Niles Rumfoord vanished slowly, beginning with the ends of his fingers, and ending with his grin. The grin remained some time after the rest of him had gone.
“O Lord Most High, what a glorious weapon is Thy Apathy, for we have unsheathed it, have thrust and slashed mightily with it, and the claptrap that has so often enslaved us or driven us into the madhouse lies slain!”
“there is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil. the triumph of anything is a matter of organization. if there are such things as angels, i hope that they are organized along the lines of the mafia.”
“sometimes i think it is a great mistake to have matter that can think and feel. it complains so. by the same token, though, i suppose that boulders and mountains and moons could be accused of being a little too phlegmatic.”and even though the premise seems so simple -- billionaire who loses everything seeks fortune in space aided by all-seeing man with dog -- i’m pretty sure you could write 40+ page essays attempting to analyze the amount of literary stuff that vonnegut slipped in there.
“the big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart.”organized religion gets a huge kick to the curb in this discussion as well. “the church of god the utterly indifferent” had me in stitches. divine providence will not save you in vonnegut’s book, no matter how hard you may wish it were so.
“salo didn't think he could stand that because he loved winston niles rumfoord. there was nothing offensive in this love. that is to say, it wasn't homosexual.”hey, 1959? ursula k. le guin is calling from 1969. the left hand of darkness just dropped. any comments?