“I am committing suicide by cigarette.” – A humorous, yet truthful response stated by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. – barely touches the quirky nature and strange perspective of the author. Hailing from Indianapolis, Indiana – Vonnegut has been writing for over 30 years. Though dated, his stories still entertain even the youth of today. Kurt explores more than just Science Fiction topics – and finds unique insight to everyday occurrences. He delves deep into the innermost regions of the human psyche and brings forth examples of our most deviant of behaviors.
Imagine a future where no one ever dies – thanks to the invention of ‘anti-gerasone’. No more aging – a simple daily dose and one can live forever. Sounds great – but think of the implications. Population would swell beyond capacity. Families would be forced to live in homes owned by the eldest members. There’d be no moving out upon marriage – simply finding a place within the family home to make your bed. Imagine being confined to one space, with your entire family – how would you react? Surely there is someplace family members can find some solace, here in this future world. In ‘Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow’ – that place for solace can be somewhat shocking.
We all know Thomas Edison created the light bulb – but have we ever heard of his ‘Intelligence Analyzer’? It is a secret, kept by Edison and the little neighbor boy. Such a fantastic invention – whatever could keep these two from revealing all its wonders? ‘Man’s Best Friend’ – Edison’s shaggy dog – that’s why. It’s just a dog – they eat, sleep, and play – they’re harmless – what do they know? More than you can imagine.
‘Unready to Wear’ is a world where humans have learned to become amphibious. No longer needing an actual body to live and to communicate – no more worries of aging or ailments. But just for entertainment – there still are a few bodies kept at a storage center – so one could still go and walk about in a body. Money is no longer an issue either – so it is only natural for humans to evolve beyond this delicate shell of a body. However, as always, there are those against this evolution. Humans should remain in their skin – that is how they were born – that is how they should stay. Somehow the two groups will have to find a way to allow each to live their lives in whatever form they decide.
“War can be hell” – especially when a Colonel on his way out of battle – with his family and a few enlisted men, crash into enemy territory. In ‘All the King’s Horses’, Colonel Kelly finds he must play a game of Chess – and win – in order to gain freedom for them all. Of course there is a twist – he, his family, and the men – will all be the actual pieces on a room-sized chess board. He must be quick and smart with all moves he makes – for any ‘pieces’ captured by his enemy – will instantly be removed from the chess board – and removed from existence. As always – in Chess – some sacrifices must be made – hopefully, he’ll make the correct ones.
All these stories can be found in a collection titled Welcome to the Monkey House. A total of twenty-five short stories, written by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., are collected from various magazines, over the years. Each story is a new tale within itself – and though short, each will provoke deep thoughts for hours after it is read. For a person that has never read any of Vonnegut’s works – this is a good book to begin with. He is known as one of America’s greatest living author’s – and is sure to please any age. Don’t be afraid to explore new thoughts and ideas – ‘Welcome to the monkey house’…