Communion Of Dreams


“So it goes.”

Kurt Vonnegut died yesterday, age 84.

There have been many authors who had a great influence on me. Among these was Vonnegut. I can no longer say which of his books I read first, but there’s a fair chance that it was The Sirens of Titan, which had a sufficient impact on me that it was one of the reasons I choose that moon for the setting of Communion of Dreams.

What can you say about him? The man was brilliant in so many ways – with a biting wit and a perspective borne of really living, unlike so many writers who think they have something to say because they were once turned down for a date or didn’t get the promotion they thought they deserved. With his background at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, he was taken seriously even outside of the genre of science fiction. If you haven’t read his work, do. None of the movie adaptations of his books comes close to capturing the power and black humor of his writing.

Fittingly, he was also a huge fan of Mark Twain’s, and if there is any justice in the world, he will now be considered in death to be in the same league as Twain (I cannot offer higher praise to an author), though of course he would never have thought this possible himself. His use of humor and wry observations on the human condition echoed Twain, his writing style emulated Twains, and he even held a certain resemblence to him. He thought so much of Twain that he named his son after him.

I do not believe in heaven. I do not believe in the afterlife. But I hold a small, quiet hope that the Tralfamadorians have granted Kurt the grace to be caught in the happiest moment of his life, whatever that may be.

Kurt Vonnegut died yesterday, age 84.

So it goes.

Jim Downey

(Cross posted to UTI.)


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