Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels discussion

Cat's Cradle
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Monthly Reading: Discussion > April 2019 "Cat's Cradle" <Caution! Spoilers May Be Present!>

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message 1: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kateblue | 3778 comments Mod
Group Read #30


message 2: by Bryan, Village Idiot (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan | 481 comments Mod
After finishing Cat's Cradly, I have a different view of the whole experience. The whole time I wasn't overly impressed, but the ending of the world freezing over...I started to see how the pieces fell together and now I'm like it.


message 3: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3712 comments Mod
Bearing in mind that in the first chapter he stated that:

When I was a much younger man, I began to collect material for a book to be called The Day the World Ended.

it creates after the reading understanding of the earlier parts


message 4: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 3 stars

Art | 2551 comments Mod
I may be mistaken, at least according to my ex's I often am, but I think this was nominated becaus evoters already knew who Vonnegut was, his other novel having won a few years back. I fail to see any significance in this book, besides the witty style and few quirks, anything that changed the game for any past of future sci-fi fans and writers. It's not a bad book, it's not a bad nomination, but I am pretty sure if some Johnny McNobodyheardof wrote it we would not be here discussing its merits.

I am posting every comment with all the love and affection I can muster, so please ignore my being such a buzzkill. I am not trying to change anyone's mind by trashing a book I don't like, I'm just too pationate about the books which won either of the world-class awards.


Allan Phillips | 2081 comments Mod
I'm pretty much with you. I read it several months ago and yes, I know it's a classic, but it didn't do much for me. The freeze was an interesting idea but that was about it.


message 6: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3712 comments Mod
I agree that not not only this, but many other nominees and winners are supported not as much by their own strength, as by previous works of the author


message 7: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kateblue | 3778 comments Mod
Not sure I like it much at 1/3 in.

I did go look to see if 4918 N. Meridian Street (where the sister and the midget supposedly live) actually existed because I used to drive down Meridian every day on my way to work. Not a real address.


message 8: by Yvonne (new)

Yvonne | 6 comments I don’t think I understand satire, it was quite interesting though not very science fictionary until almost the end. I found it mildly amusing in parts but if it had been longer I don’t think I would have finished it.


message 9: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (last edited Apr 14, 2019 09:24AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kateblue | 3778 comments Mod
Well, my old (lack of) memories of Vonnegut are reinforced. NOT for ME! I always wanted to like the hometown boy, but I just don't (I think I have read Breakfast of Champions, Player Piano, and God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, but I don't remember a thing about them.)

My major thought after reading Cat's Cradle is . . . Wha? ? ? ? ?

My second thought is . . . I am a reader who just wants someone to tell me a story. (Yes, I know, not very sophisticated.) Reading allegorical tomes written on 2 or 3 levels will just never be for me. I guess I will never be an intellectual.

And, of course, my husband loves this guy :-)

I'm glad Vonnegut only has three books on The List

Side question: Does anyone know which Vonnegut book has Kilgore Trout in it?


message 10: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 3 stars

Art | 2551 comments Mod
Kate, I don't think it's a matter of getting the book. Even if you read the most flattering reviews of supposedly established book critics, Cat's Cradle is pretty easy to decipher. All its allegory and satire is rather apparent, the references to other literary works (e.g. Moby Dick's famous "Call me Ishmael") are straightforward and hardly awe-inspiring.

It's a book he probably enjoyed writing, but labeling it as "classics" or "intellectual" is overkill in my opinion. Even considering Vonnegut's personal experiences during the war.


message 11: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kateblue | 3778 comments Mod
Art, I know you are trying to be polite, and I know that sometimes that's hard for you. Thank for for that. But please understand, Vonnegut's just not for me.

I'm just saying I'M not an intellectual, not that the book is. Even if the allegory and satire is apparent (which I agree it is) I just didn't enjoy the book. And I think it was Allan who called it a "classic"

Here's the weird thing, I gave it two stars, but you didn't like it that much either. You only gave it three, and said you didn't think that the book had much significance. Plus Allan gave it four stars, but he said the only thing interesting about it was the concept of the freeze.

Maybe I just try to be too clever in describing my experience with a book. I'm just not too sure why we seem to be disagreeing about this book when you didn't like it that much either.


message 12: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (last edited Apr 14, 2019 11:10PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Art | 2551 comments Mod
Kateblue wrote: "Art, I know you are trying to be polite, and I know that sometimes that's hard for you. Thank for for that. But please understand, Vonnegut's just not for me.

I'm just saying I'M not an intellect..."


We are not disagreeing, Kate. In fact I'm on your side. That was my whole point, as sci-fi the book is pretty much poo, don't sell yourself short by saying "I'm not an intellectual".

Entirely on your side, though I gave it 3* because I enjoyed reading it up to a point.


message 13: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3712 comments Mod
I agree that as a SF it was weak, and I cannot say it is very intellectual (unless I'm too dumb to see it, which is possible). But just like Art i enjoyed it while reading - it flows quite easily, gives a few chuckles here and there...


message 14: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kateblue | 3778 comments Mod
Eh, well, I guess the difference is, I didn't feel it was really going anywhere, so, from about 1/3 of the way in, I just wanted it to be over.


message 15: by Dan (last edited Apr 18, 2019 11:48AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Dan I was compelled to read this for my high school English class junior year back in 1980-81. I liked some of the Welcome to the Monkey House stories we had read in class and looked forward to this book.

Man, was I disappointed! The clever plotting and sense of humor was gone. The story seemed to wander everywhere without ever making a worthwhile point. At sixteen, I didn't care about politics, and I remember the book seemed mostly a criticism of that. Something about the pointlessness of military actions. Does anyone still care about whatever political points a 1960s book could or would make? I mean, aren't we well beyond that?

Did anyone in this group actually like this book?


message 16: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kateblue | 3778 comments Mod
I so agree that Cat's Cradle was wandering and didn't make a worthwhile point


message 17: by Dan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Dan So, with Hugos and Nebulas I think we can take as a given that the award is being conferred to an author not for the work being named, but in belated recognition for a work that came out a few years previously. If this is the case for Vonnegut, which book that he wrote is the award really for?


message 18: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 3 stars

Art | 2551 comments Mod
Dan wrote: "So, with Hugos and Nebulas I think we can take as a given that the award is being conferred to an author not for the work being named, but in belated recognition for a work that came out a few year..."

Probably Player Piano was big and the other Hugo nominee, Whatchamacallit of the Titans, but then again I know very little of what he was truly famous for besides Slaughterhouse-Five that he wrote about a decade later.


message 19: by Dan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Dan I wonder if it wasn't maybe for The Sirens of Titan.


message 20: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 689 comments Maybe it was really for "Cat's Cradle". It was pretty popular at the time.

And it was making reference to world destruction, which was in the air with the "Cuban missile crisis".

According to IMDB, a TV movie is in pre-production, written by Noah Hawley.

So, is this group an example of a "granfalloon" ?


message 21: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 3 stars

Art | 2551 comments Mod
Ed wrote: "So, is this group an example of a "granfalloon" ?..."

More like a "karass" with a couple of "sin-wat"s thrown into the mix.


Antti Värtö (andekn) | 801 comments Dan wrote: "Did anyone in this group actually like this book?"

I liked it fine. I especially enjoyed the extremely-short-chapters format, which made the book easy to read and also underlined the books main theme: seemingly random things combining to create a meaningful purpose.

This was not a deep book, but then again our theme was "humorous and light SF", so this was exactly what the doctor ordered. I like Vonnegut's dry and quirky humor.


message 23: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3712 comments Mod
Ed wrote: "So, is this group an example of a "granfalloon" ? "

No way! Ranfalloons aren't voluntary gathering of like-minded individuals. Are we a karass? Hard to say, it implies an interwoven fate... only future will tell


Allan Phillips | 2081 comments Mod
A few months ago, my sister-in-law was cleaning out her books and gave me several Vonnegut novels. I had read Slaughterhouse Five and the Sirens of Titan 20-ish years ago, and I know I liked them, though I don't recall details. However, reading Cat's Cradle and Mother Night more recently, I can't be sure what it was I liked. I do have Player Piano and Timequake, and I'll probably read them at some point, but I'm in no hurry.


message 25: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3712 comments Mod
For me Vonnergut is a mix of SF and contemporary prose (quite a broad term, I know) and people are disappointed if they expected a pure SF. What do you think?


message 26: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 3 stars

Art | 2551 comments Mod
Oleksandr wrote: "For me Vonnergut is a mix of SF and contemporary prose (quite a broad term, I know) and people are disappointed if they expected a pure SF. What do you think?"

I enjoy when different styles and genres are mixed, the thing that I did not particularly care for about Cat's Cradle was the simplicity of satire and prose itself. Someone mentioned that it was the month of Humorous and Light SF, so let us just say "mission accomplished".


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