It’s always the right season to read science fiction or fantasy. Here are two important writers whose work you might want to explore.

Kurt Vonnegut in 1972
Kurt Vonnegut in 1972

Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut was an American author who made unforgettable contributions to literature (there are more than 70 dissertations related to his work). The library has quite a few books about him and his work, including correspondence, interviews, and criticism and interpretation. From his New York Times obituary, we also learn that he suffered from depression and was a pessimist, as many of his writings reflect.

What do we have about this author that is not a book? How about a “non-musical recording” — this is a recording (yes, a vinyl record) of Vonnegut reading Slaughterhouse Five, which he wrote in 1969 (and which the library has in other formats).

There is also a musical recording of the music by Bach that was part of the soundtrack to the 2004 film adaptation of Slaughterhouse Five. You can also hear Vonnegut’s reflections about the movie My Life As a Dog.

Other sources of information about Kurt Vonnegut include

In addition, there are 6 references to him in Philosopher’s Index, and 24 in the ATLA Religion Database. There are even 4 in General Science Full-text, in which we discover that the character of Dr. Felix Hoenikker in Cat’s Cradle was inspired by Dr. Irving Langmuir (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1932).

Read about Harrison Bergeron; you will never be the same (online right here, only about 3 pages). It’s also in print in Welcome to the Monkey House or in Novels and Stories, 1950-1962.


Neal Stephenson in 2008
Neal Stephenson in 2008

Neal Stephenson

The subject headings alone on this guy’s books are fascinating (here are more books), and remember that when you click on any of these, you get a list of all of our other library items that are about that topic:

From his biography in Literature Resource Center, we find that his first novel, entitled The Big U, sounds like a fun read: “[the story] revolves around the American Megaversity, a huge, modern university, funded by a radioactive waste dump… The satirical book [is] loaded with student pranks reminiscent of those in the 1978 film National Lampoon’s Animal House…”

I’m a few chapters into Reamde (which we have online and in print), but may abandon it in favor of SevenEves, about which I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews.

Who is your favorite sci fi and/or fantasy author?


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