Monday, November 16, 2009

“2 B R 0 2 B” by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Kurt Vonnegut is a huge name in the worlds of modern literature, as master satirist, black comedian, and thoughtful novelist. From his first novel, Player Piano, to classics such as Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse-Five, to his later works, such as Hocus Pocus, Timequake, and Armageddon in Retrospect (which will be reviewed here sooner rather than later), he has put out one classic after another. However, his start was much humbler, selling short stories to magazines such as Worlds of If, including his sadly overlooked classic, “2 B R 0 2 B,” out in a very small paperback (pamphlet, almost) from Wildside Press.

“2 B R 0 2 B” is a brief glimpse into a utopian-esque future, where a peaceful planet is happily beyond the necessity of death, and population control helps everyone have the space they need. Yet, one father-to-be is about to have triplets, and his stay in the waiting room is fraught with anguish, because his children will die if he can’t find three volunteers to die in their place.

Vonnegut shows his powerful writing skills in this brief story of a utopia that may not be. The length is diminutive, but for the very small cover charge, this is a very good pick-up for a short burst of thought-provoking science fiction from a literary master.

[NOTE: Luke Reviews doesn’t give short stories individual ratings. “2 B R 0 2 B” is a short story, and thus receives no numerical rating.]

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