->''"Many people need desperately to receive this message: I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. [[YouAreNotAlone You are not alone.]]"''
-->-- from ''Timequake'', his final novel

[[Literature/SlaughterhouseFive Listen]]: Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (November 11, 1922 -- April 11, 2007) was an American science fiction writer. His work is known for its satirical, anti-authoritarian, humanist, absurdist and often [[CrapsackWorld brutally depressing worldview]]. If this worldview can be pinned down to one event, it would be the bombing of Dresden.

Despite having been an active anti-interventionist in college, Vonnegut enlisted in the US Army during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. During the Battle of the Bulge, he was captured by the enemy and brought to Dresden. Dresden was a German city known for its doll-making which, after conversion to war-production, produced light infantry equipment that was only of marginal military value. Because of those industries, and the railway lines which passed through it (and enabled German industries to continue functioning through the continued transportation of resources across the country), like all other German cities it was fire-bombed by the western Allies as part of their campaign to reduce German armaments production. [[CatchPhrase So it goes]]. This event would become a major theme in many of his books, especially the later ones.

Vonnegut is also notable because he was one of the first modern science fiction authors to get serious attention in the literary world. [[ScifiGhetto Although your literature professors (and Vonnegut himself) may try to tell you he's not actually a science fiction writer,]] the aliens and time-travel seem to disagree.

A full decade after his death, the editors of an omnibus of his work discovered five short stories from the early '50s (i.e., before any of his most famous work) that had never been published and put them in the book, first posting one online for free as a tease.

!!Vonnegut's stories with their own pages
* ''Literature/TheSirensOfTitan'' (1959)
* ''Literature/MotherNight'' (1961)
* ''Literature/CatsCradle'' (1963)
* ''Literature/SlaughterhouseFive'' (1969)
* ''Literature/BreakfastOfChampions'' (1973)
* ''Literature/{{Galapagos}}'' (1985)
!!!Short stories
* "Literature/{{EPICAC}}" (1950)
* "Literature/HarrisonBergeron" (1961)


!! Tropes common in his work:
* AuthorAvatar: Kilgore Trout, recurring {{science fiction}} author, [[SelfDeprecation sometimes described as a hack]]. Stuck deep in the SciFiGhetto. Vonnegut has also noted that Trout was somewhat based on Creator/TheodoreSturgeon as well.
* EitherOrTitle: ''God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, or Pearls Before Swine'', ''Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade'', ''Breakfast of Champions, or Goodbye Blue Monday'' and ''Slapstick, or Lonesome No More!''
* HeroOfAnotherStory: Many novels have the protagonists of other novels turning up as side characters. In addition, even genuine bit players are given complex backstories and the narrator often makes a point of explaining what the events of the novel looks like to them. In ''Literature/BreakfastOfChampions'', Vonnegut writes that he tried to use this trope as often as possible, because he suspected that ProtagonistCenteredMorality in stories made people more selfish in real life.
* HumansAreBastards
* InYourNatureToDestroyYourselves
* MechanisticAlienCulture: The Tralfamadorians, depending on the story or novel that features them, are either StarfishAliens or MechanicalLifeforms that replaced their organic ancestors (Vonnegut never makes it clear if there was a RobotWar or if this was a more benevolent [[TheSingularity Singularity-like event]]), their culture is perhaps [[UpToEleven even more]] [[BuffySpeak Starfish-y]] then their physical form (when Salo tries to explain their system of government in ''Literature/TheSirensOfTitan'', he sounds like [[TheStoner he's fraking stoned]]). So, they ''sometimes'' count as examples of this trope, depending on the story. Vonnegut's literary, AuthorAvatar, Kilgore Trout, [[ShowWithinAShow wrote several stories]] using aliens that had the stereotypical features of this trope, including a race of Car-People.
* TheVerse: Vonnegut's stories and characters have a tendency to overlap with one another. If it's one of his fictional works, expect at least a [[TheCameo cameo]] from Kilgore Trout and/or the Tralfamadorians.
** ''Literature/SlaughterhouseFive'' is a major offender of this, with Billy Pilgrim meeting several other protagonists: Eliot Rosewater ''(God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater)'' appears in the neighboring bed to Billy when he's institutionalized; Howard W. Campbell ''(Mother Night)'' is the Nazi American trying to convince the [=POWs=] to change sides; and both Kilgore Trout and the Tralfamadorians (pretty much every book) both meet Billy at some point.
* ThisIsAWorkOfFiction: He had a standard parody of this, as exemplified in ''Bagombo Snuff Box'':
-->As in my other works of fiction: All persons living and dead are purely coincidental, and should not be construed. No names have been changed in order to protect the innocent. Angels protect the innocent as a matter of Heavenly routine.
* WhiteAndGreyMorality: Despite his brutally cynical worldview, Vonnegut also wrote in the introduction to ''Welcome to the Monkey House'' that there were no villains in his stories, just people with conflicting interests. He also touches on this in the introductory chapter of ''Literature/SlaughterhouseFive''.

!!Examples of tropes from his other stories


[[folder: Short Stories ]]

* BrownNote: A radio telescope in "The Euphio Question" picks up "the music of the spheres", which gives such pleasure to listeners that they stop whatever they're doing, and only snap out of it when the playback is interrupted.
* DeathBySex: Specifically cited in "Welcome To The Monkey House" (the short story itself, not the collection that borrowed the name).
* EvolutionaryLevels
* GracefulLoser: [[spoiler: In "EPICAC", the eponymous machine's response when it is told that it would never be able to be with the woman that it and its operator are competing for? Wish the operator well and commit suicide by overtaxing itself... writing thousands of love poems for him to give to her.]]
* GravityIsOnlyATheory: In ''Slapstick'', the protagonist and his sister theorize that gravity was once variable, which is how the Pyramids in Egypt were built. This turns out to be true when their theory is used by the Chinese to change gravity back to how it used to be. From that point on it varies daily.
* HerCodeNameWasMarySue: Mercilessly {{deconstructed}} in "Shout it out from the Rooftops." The author is shunned by everyone in her town, loses her living and is on the verge of breaking up her marriage after [[DysfunctionJunction "Hypocrites' Junction"]], a book about [[NoCommunitiesWereHarmed a thinly disguised version of her town]], becomes a smash hit.
* InstantAIJustAddWater: "EPICAC", in which the old-school punch-card computer learns how to love when its operator flicks a couple of positions at random.
* LostInCharacter: "Who Am I This Time?".
* RapeAsDrama: Quite gruesomely used in "Welcome To The Monkey House". Sex is repressed and discouraged to the point where a vigilante thinks the only way to convince women to try it is to rape them. The women he does this to end up being his loyal followers, and eventually help him do it to other women. It may sound unreal, but this happens in a lot of societies and cultural subgroups.
* SadisticChoice: In "All The King's Horses," the captain at one point sees the one way he can save all but one of the remaining Americans... but he has to choose one of his twin sons to die. [[spoiler: Due to intervention from one of his adversary's concubines, the child doesn't have to die.]]
* WindsOfDestinyChange: The titular effect from "Report on the Barnhouse Effect" - anyone who thinks in just the right way can manipulate chance all around them. First manifesting as the ability to roll snake-eyes at will on two dice, it can allow its user to cause machines to fail at will around them. Horrified by the potential destructive power of the effect, Prof. Barnhouse goes into hiding and dedicates his life to [[ActualPacifist rendering all weapons inert via his power]].


[[folder: A Man Without A Country ]]

* JesusWasWayCool: Kurt writes that Christians always demand the Ten Commandments to be posted in public buildings, but never the Beatitudes.
-->"Blessed are the merciful" in a courtroom? "Blessed are the peacemakers" in the Pentagon? Give me a break!
* [[ImmuneToDrugs Immune To Cigarettes]]: Near the beginning of chapter four, Kurt writes...
-->...I am going to sue the Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company, manufacturers of Pall Mall cigarettes, for a billion bucks! Starting when I was only twelve years old, I have never chain-smoked anything but unfiltered Pall Malls. And for many years now, right on the package, Brown and Williamson have promised to kill me. But I am now eighty-two. Thanks a lot, you dirty rats. The last thing I ever wanted was to be alive when the three most powerful people on the planet were named [[UsefulNotes/GeorgeWBush Bush]], Dick and Colon.


[[folder: Deadeye Dick ]]

* ArtisticLicensePhysics: deliberately invoked; as Vonnegut points out in the preface, {{Neutron Bomb}}s do a ''lot'' more damage than is suggested in the story, where [[spoiler:a neutron bomb is dropped on Midland City and kills all its inhabitants, but leaves buildings intact.]]
* {{Asexuality}}: Rudy Waltz, the narrator, is asexual or, as he describes himself, a 'neuter'. WordOfGod states that Rudy's asexuality is supposed to represent Vonnegut's declining sexuality.
* TheAtoner: Rudy sees himself as this after he shoots Eloise Metzger. He becomes his parents' sole carer, and only when he leaves Midland City for New York does he realise that he was doing this as a way to atone for his crime.
* [[spoiler: DoomedHometown: Midland City.]]
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler: Celia Hoover]], who commits suicide by eating Drano chips, which does so much damage to her body that her coffin has to be kept closed at her funeral. Why she commits suicide is never explained; it may be a result of her descent into madness due to drug abuse.
* FoodPorn: many delicious-sounding recipes are used as a framing device (although Vonnegut explains in the preface that he has tinkered around with the recipes, which are based on recipes from various real life cookbooks, and that they will not work if tried at home). They are also a reference to Rudy's abilities as a cook, and how he feeds and cares for his family as a means of atoning for the damage he has done.
* StrangeSyntaxSpeaker: [[UsefulNotes/{{Haiti}} Haitian]] Creole is said to only have a present tense, leading to some very odd grammar. Of course, it's implied that the Haitians simply don't bother trying to teach the American proper grammar.
-->"He is dead?" he said in Creole. "He is dead," I agreed. "What does he do?" he said. "He paints," I said. "I like him," he said.
* ThoseWackyNazis: certainly, Otto Waltz seems to think so, and sees Nazi imagery as colourful and fun. He becomes friends with Adolf Hitler while 'studying' in Austria, and has a massive Nazi flag flying above his house. He even greets Felix's friends with 'heil Hitler', and they are expected to say 'heil Hitler' back. By World War II, Otto realises that being openly pro-Nazi perhaps isn't such a good idea.


[[folder: God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater ]]

* TheAlcoholic: Eliot Rosewater.
* AllLovingHero: Eliot's defining trait - he loves ''everyone,'' no matter how unlovable they are, simply because they are human and need someone to love them. Possibly deconstructed [[note]]though it could also be seen as a case of EvilCannotComprehendGood[[/note]], as Senator Rosewater bitterly notes that that makes for a raw deal for anyone who (like himself) wants to have a personal relationship to Eliot, since Eliot loves them exactly as much as he does a random person on the street. Eliot's wife also tries to be this, but it eventually causes her to have a nervous breakdown and turn into a complete sociopath for a while - essentially, she ''wore out'' her sense of empathy by trying to apply it as widely as Eliot. [[spoiler: Eliot himself also suffers a mental collapse towards the end of the novel.]]
* TheAtoner: Eliot Rosewater develops a Thing about supporting volunteer firemen after he [[spoiler: kills some of them in World War II Germany, mistaking them for soldiers.]]
* AmoralAttorney: Norman Mushari.
* BeingGoodSucks: Unusually, it's not because you get punished for doing it, but because it's simply so soul-crushingly thankless and time-consuming. Eliot, a man of immense fortune and considerable mental and physical gifts, has to devote his entire being to simply making day-to-day life in one small town a little better for its hapless inhabitants, and creating any sort of lasting improvement there or elsewhere is implied to be [[InherentInTheSystem completely impossible.]]
* ConspicuousConsumption: What rich people are supposed to do, averted by Eliot and embraced by his father.
* ConvenientlyInterruptedDocument: Fred Rosewater, a distant cousin of Mr. Rosewater reads his family history, only to discover that the most of it was eaten by maggots.
* CrapsackWorld: One which Eliot is trying to make less [[BuffySpeak crapsacky]].
* CreatorInJoke: Vonnegutt reuses the name "Diana Moon Glampers" from Literature/HarrisonBergeron, although unlike TheVerse examples discussed above, rather than being the same character, the two women are in fact polar opposites.
* HeroicBSOD: Happens to Eliot. Twice.
* {{Hypocrite}}: Fred Rosewater's wife is said to despise him for being so poor and dull, while having failed to notice that she's every bit as poor and every bit as dull as he is. [[note]]In fairness, since he's the breadwinner of their household, her being as poor as him is pretty much inevitable.[[/note]]
* InterruptedSuicide: Fred Rosewater is about to hang himself, but he's stopped by a visit from Mushari.
* ItsNotPornItsArt: To settle once and for all the question of which is which, Senator Rosewater has created a law of which he is quite proud. The law says that if it has pubic hair, it's pornography. (Note that this was before the modern custom of porn stars [[LoopholeAbuse shaving off their pubic hair]]).
* LotsAndLotsOfCharacters: The storyline wanders around both Eliot and Fred Rosewater's hometowns, detailing the lives of their various inhabitants.
* MoneyFetish: Norman Mushari.
* MoralGuardians: Senator Rosewater. He's so proud that he managed to create a law that passed muster with the Supreme Court in defining obscenity. If it has pubic hair, it's not art, it's obscene.
* NauticalKnockout: Eliot accidentally killed his mother when he took her sailing on his small boat and tacked. The boom swung across, knocked her off the boat where she sank like a stone.
* NiceJobFixingItVillain: Norman Mushari is trying to prove that Eliot is insane and that the Rosewater fortune should therefore be inherited by Fred, who is Eliot's direct heir. As part of his efforts, he drums up a startling number of fraudulent paternity suits against Eliot. When Eliot finds out, he thinks it over for a moment and then [[spoiler: formally admits paternity to every single one of his supposed illegitimate children - meaning that even if Norman manages to get Eliot declared incompetent, there are now ''over fifty people'' who stand to inherit before Fred does.]]
* RichIdiotWithNoDayJob: What Eliot Rosewater is trying to avoid. At least the idiot and no day job part.
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney: Senator Rosewater.
* ShutUpKirk: One of Eliot's friends try to call Senator Rosewater out on his open contempt for the poor, saying that an elected politician should be polite to the people he hopes will vote for him. The Senator tells him that he has spoken his mind his entire career, and everyone votes for him anyway, ''including'' the poor - because even they secretly agree that contempt is all they deserve.
* StrawmanPolitical: Senator Rosewater, although he is far more TruthInTelevision than most people will admit (even to themselves).
* TitleDrop: The title is told both to Eliot and Fred Rosewater.


[[folder: Hocus Pocus ]]

* AnachronicOrder: In this case, due to the scraps of paper from the "original artist" getting a bit mixed up.
* GoshDangItToHeck: The narrator never swears, because his grandfather told him that if he uses profanity, it's easy to dismiss what he's saying.
* NamedAfterSomebodyFamous: The narrator is named after prominent American Socialist UsefulNotes/EugeneDebs
* TakeThat: At one point the narrator receives a pamphlet titled ''The Protocols of the Elders of Tralfamador'' (with Tralfamador being an alien planet), obviously a mockery of the anti-Semitic tract ''Literature/TheProtocolsOfTheEldersOfZion''.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: The riddle at the end.


[[folder: Timequake ]]

* ARealManIsAKiller: Vonnegut told this story many times, both in speeches and in at least one book other than ''Timequake''. After he returned from UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, his Uncle Dan came up to him and clapped him on the back, proclaiming "You're a ''man'' now!" The [[UnfortunateImplications implication]] being that the only way for a boy to become a man was to kill people. Although Vonnegut had never had occasion to kill anybody during his military service, he had seen a ''lot'' of death and lived through the firebombing of Dresden, which wasn't a lot of fun. Imagine that you've just gone through the worst, most traumatic experience of your life, and before you've finished dealing with that trauma somebody comes up to you and ''[[BerserkButton congratulates you on it]].'' Yeah, [[{{Irony}} Kurt wanted to kill the guy.]]


[[folder: Armageddon In Retrospect ]]

* HypocriticalHumor: His son, Mark Vonnegut, wrote the foreward for this book and recounts this exchange from one of his last conversations with his father:
-->'''Kurt:''' How old are you, Mark?\\
'''Mark:''' I'm fifty-nine, Dad.\\
'''Kurt:''' That's old.\\
'''Mark:''' Yes it is, Dad.


So it goes.