Sunday, November 27, 2005

Slapstick

I think it's probably a bad thing that I don't remember where I bought this book. I bought several others with it, all used, each 50 cents, all at some unknown location in the last month or so. I have no idea where. It could have been a Friends of the Library thing, it could have been a yard sale. I really don't know. Where have I been in the last month? Why might I have stopped to pick up some books? This is really troubling me.

Just today, I realized that Kurt Vonnegut writes science fiction. I am not a sci-fi reader, which is probably why I didn't recognize it. But I've read several Vonnegut books, and slightly enjoyed them all, at least enough to read another. My favorites were Galapagos, which I read in 9th grade for my outside reading (required 1000 pages a semester; the other three books were romance novels and I tired of them), and Cat's Cradle, outside reading in 10th grade. After that, they just kind of got strange. They're all bizarre alternate universe stories that aren't really stories, but seem to be commentary on something, but I can't figure out what.

Slapstick is the fake autobiography of a man who grew up as one half of a genius. His twin sister, the other half, and his only companion for the first part of his life, later becomes estranged and dies in an avalanche on Mars. While together, they devise strange plans, like a solution for loneliness in the US: give everyone a random middle name, and everyone with the same middle name as you is your artificial relative. He enacts this plan when he becomes president (on exactly that platform), but in the middle of his second term, there's an economic and health crisis: everyone is dying from either the Albanian flu or a disease caused not by germs but by miniature Chinese people who infect your lungs.

I'm not sure what to say about it. I'm sure it has to be some sort of commentary on politics or the world or something, but I just can't piece it together. It certainly is funny, and extremely bizarre, but I'm not sure what the point is, and that troubles me.

Hi ho.

3 comments:

  1. Dude, you should totally read Sirens Of Titan, its one of my favorite books of all time!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ice Nine was, bar none, the most fantastic thing I'd ever read about when I was a kid.

    PS
    A book recommendation (to go with ChyLn): Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have the coolest undergrads.

    ReplyDelete