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Archive Sci-fi/Fantasy Reads > 2018 December -- 2BRO2B by Kurt Vonnegut

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message 1: by Patrick, From USA Sci-fi/Fantasy & Horror (last edited Dec 02, 2018 09:32PM) (new)

Patrick | 651 comments Mod
"2 B R 0 2 B" is a science fiction short story by Kurt Vonnegut, originally published in the digest magazine Worlds of If Science Fiction, January 1962. The title is pronounced "2 B R naught 2 B", referencing the famous phrase "to be, or not to be" from William Shakespeare's Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.

The setting is a society in which aging has been cured, individuals have indefinite lifespans, and population control is used to limit the population of the United States to forty million. This is maintained through a combination of infanticide and government-assisted suicide - in short, in order for someone to be born, someone must first volunteer to die. As a result, births are few and far between, and deaths occur primarily by accident...

Enjoy!


message 2: by Neva (new)

Neva (nevanescence) | 1 comments This short story was wild.. Very short, yet a lot to unpack. I've never read Kurt Vonnegut before and I'm curious how this short story compares to his longer works, if they're all equally as grim. The world building is strong, and he immediately places us in this strange dys/utopian society. He describes different viewpoints towards death, from the euthanasia nurse to the desperate father, and the cynical painter. Is this how society would actually react to aging being stopped and population control? The only similar real life scenario I can think of is the old "one child" rule that China used to have in place. Although I agree populations need to be controlled so we don't have shortages of resources in the future, I think there are other ways to go about it. It feels like people my age are choosing not to have children until later in life, if at all. This could lead to the population increasing at a less drastic rate, if this is a real trend and not just my own observation.


message 3: by Donna (new)

Donna Krebs | 23 comments I've never heard of this. I'll have to look for it. THANKS!


message 4: by Patrick, From USA Sci-fi/Fantasy & Horror (new)

Patrick | 651 comments Mod
It’s a very good story!


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