Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut, R.I.P.

I heard on the news this morning that Kurt Vonnegut had died last night, from injuries to his head, from a recent fall.

I grew up a nerd. I was one of a handful of girls in the 1970s who publicly admitted to enjoying reading science fiction. And I truly enjoyed reading most of Vonnegut's early works -- my favorites are still a handful of the short stories in Welcome to the Monkey House and the one and only Cat's Cradle. Naturally, I was required to read Slaughterhouse Five, and eventually overcame that handicap to put it on my list of favorites, too. About every six or seven years, I feel the need to review the material, to mull over the story, and let it flow over and around me again. His prose was sharp, witty, and wholly filled with a distinctive flavor I have come to recognize as stemming from his Midwestern roots. There is a reason many have compared him to Mark Twain, over the years, and it's more than the moustache.

Vonnegut challenged the reader to keep up, to think ahead, to accept nothing blindly. He did so, usually, with a distinct -- some say odd -- sense of humor. The literary community, and nerds as a whole, too, will miss him.

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