Self has no idea why she decided to get started on Vonnegut at this late stage in her reading life.
Oh, she knows why! It’s because her New York nephew, Chris, wants to be a writer, and when she asked him who his favorite writers were, one of the first names that popped out of his mouth was Kurt Vonnegut.
REALLY? self gaped.
Since it’s been decades and decades since self read Vonnegut, she decided to try Player Piano. Not only because she’s on a piano binge lately, reading everything piano-related, but because it’s supposed to be science fiction. Though it reads like the present. Even the dialogue is very present. In fact, let’s just say if this is science fiction, self will eat her hat. Not that she has any hats to eat. She’s just saying.
The other improbable thing is that the main characters are engineers. They manage something called the Ilium Works (a petrol plant?). Oh, if only this petrol-fueled story had the antic depravity of Mad Max! But there isn’t a wild man in the whole bunch. In fact, they go to clubs and cocktails so much, it’s beginning to remind her of the 50s. Not that she knows anything about the 50s. She had read John Cheever, though. Her Dear Departed Dad had two favorite authors: John Cheever and John Updike. Therefore, when self was growing up in Manila, she had at her elbow the entire collection of Rabbit Angstrom books to read. And, Holy Cow, did Dearest Dad know that self was reading about wife-swapping when she was barely in her teens? After all, she worshiped her Dad. So any book HE was reading was fair game. Self still remembers some really racy scene where —
But, she digresses.
Anyhoo, husbands and wives, a cocktail party, here is what transpires:
Kroner, in fact, had a poor record as an engineer and had surprised Paul from time to time with his ignorance or misunderstanding of technical matters; but he had the priceless quality of believing in the system, and of making others believe in it, too, and do as they were told.
The two were inseparable, though their personalities met at almost no point. Together, they made an approximately whole man.
And, in another section that strikes self as so 50s (so Cheever, in other words): “Doctor Shepherd, his neck blazing red above his stiff collar, moved quietly away from the bar toward the French doors that opened onto the golf course.”
They play golf in the future?
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.