Kurt Vonnegut is Dead

Kurt Vonnegut, Counterculture’s Novelist, Dies NY Times

Dammit. I'm as sad about this as I guess I can be about somebody who I never met. Like a lot of his fans, Vonnegut's work meant a lot to me. More than most writers, even ones whose work I also love. I did feel like I knew him at least a little bit, based on how much of him was in his work. I started reading his work because I'd heard he was a science fiction writer, during the period when I was young (probably no older than 12) when I read only science fiction. Of course his work ended up being much, much more than just sf, without the nose-in-the-air refutation of the genre you get from people like Margaret Atwood. He always said he was glad when his work was finally removed from the science fiction drawer since people tend to mistake that one for a toilet. Slaughterhouse 5 was his best book, but I always loved Breakfast of Champions. BoC was a fun book, as dark as it is in some parts. The part near the end when Vonnegut, in the book as a character, remembers that the other character is supposed to be a speed reader and quickly makes him have taken a speed reading course so he can speed read the book he's holding just blew my writer's mind when I was younger. The sheer audacity of that impressed the hell out of me.

One of the things that makes me even more sad about his death is that he had to die during the Bush administration. Those people made him so angry and just confirmed his worst feelings about the darkness of humanity that I'm sad he never got to see their consignment to the scrapheap of history. I hope he did see things turning around though, as I think they are.

Luckily for us, we still have his heart, spread around through the characters and books he created. Even still, I'll miss having him around.

So it goes.

EDIT: Jessica at Indexed (one of my favorite new sites) has such a great memorial to Kurt Vonnegut I have to share it. She nailed him completely.

Indexed Vonnegut tribute