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|Genre||Semi-autobiographical novel; Fiction|
|Publisher||Putnam Publishing Group|
|September 22, 1997|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover & Paperback)|
|LC Class||PS3572.O5 T56 1997|
Timequake is a semi-autobiographical work by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. published in 1997. Marketed as a novel, the book was described as a "stew" by Vonnegut, in which he summarizes a novel he had been struggling with for a number of years.
Vonnegut uses the premise of a timequake (or repetition of actions) in which there is no free will. The idea of determinism is explored—as it is in many of his previous works—to assert that people really have no free will. Kilgore Trout serves again as the main character, who the author declares as having died in 2001, at the fictitious Xanadu retreat in Rhode Island. Vonnegut explains in the beginning of the book that he was not satisfied with the original version of Timequake he wrote (or Timequake One). Taking parts of Timequake One and combining it with personal thoughts and anecdotes produced the finished product, so-called Timequake Two. Many of the anecdotes deal with Vonnegut's family, the death of loved ones, and people's last words.
The plot, while centered on Trout, is also a sort of ramble in which Vonnegut relays tangents to the plot and comes back dozens of pages later: the timequake has thrust citizens of the year 2001 back in time to 1991 to repeat every action they undertook during that time.
Most of the small stories in the book expound on the depression and sadness wrought by watching oneself make bad choices: people watch their parents die again, drive drunk or cause accidents that severely injure others. At the end of the timequake, when people resume control, they are depressed and gripped by ennui. Kilgore Trout is the only one not affected by the apathy, and thus helps revive others by telling them, "You were sick, but now you're well, and there's work to do."
In the conclusion of this book, a fictionalized Vonnegut (who has inserted himself into the text, something he also did in Breakfast of Champions and, to a lesser degree, in Slaughterhouse-Five ) meets other authors for a celebration of Trout. The celebration, described as a "clambake," is heavily foreshadowed throughout the novel's previous chapters.
The novel is divided into 63 chapters, seemingly arbitrarily. A new chapter rarely offers any sort of "break" with a previous one; in most cases a thought which was being discussed at the conclusion of the previous chapter continues uninterrupted in the next; chapter breaks are thus used no differently from paragraph breaks.
Timequake, like many Vonnegut works, features a large number of double-spaced paragraph breaks and triple asterisks within each chapter, creating a constant sense of the author pausing between paragraphs.
Though his tone is largely cynical throughout Timequake, Vonnegut frequently makes use of various light-hearted sayings, such as "Hold on to your hats!" or "Get a load of this!" when segueing between ideas. Several phrases are likewise continually repeated, such as "ting-a-ling" and "he's up in heaven now."
The Art Brut song "Late Sunday Evening" uses Trout's mantra "You were sick, but now you're well again, and there's work to do" as its refrain. The band I Would Set Myself on Fire for You uses a passage from Timequake at the beginning of their song, "The First Word That Comes To Mind"".
Philip K. Dick's short story "Breakfast at Twilight", which was written in 1953, refers to a "time quake" having occurred, which has propelled a family seven years into the future.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was an American writer known for his satirical and darkly humorous novels. In a career spanning over 50 years, he published 14 novels, 3 short-story collections, 5 plays, and 5 nonfiction works; further collections have been published after his death.
Philip José Farmer was an American author known for his science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories.
Slaughterhouse-Five, or, The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death is a 1969 semi-autobiographic science fiction-infused anti-war novel by Kurt Vonnegut. It follows the life and experiences of Billy Pilgrim, from his early years, to his time as an American soldier and chaplain's assistant during World War II, to the post-war years, with Billy occasionally traveling through time. The text centers on Billy's capture by the German Army and his survival of the Allied firebombing of Dresden as a prisoner of war, an experience which Vonnegut himself lived through as an American serviceman. The work has been called an example of "unmatched moral clarity" and "one of the most enduring anti-war novels of all time".
Breakfast of Champions, or Goodbye Blue Monday is a 1973 novel by the American author Kurt Vonnegut. His seventh novel, it is set predominantly in the fictional town of Midland City, Ohio, and focuses on two characters: Dwayne Hoover, a Midland resident, Pontiac dealer and affluent figure in the city, and Kilgore Trout, a widely published but mostly unknown science fiction author. Breakfast of Champions deals with themes of free will, suicide, and race relations, among others. The novel is full of drawings by the author, substituting descriptive language with depictions requiring no translation.
The Sirens of Titan is a comic science fiction novel by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., first published in 1959. His second novel, it involves issues of free will, omniscience, and the overall purpose of human history. Much of the story revolves around a Martian invasion of Earth.
Player Piano is the first novel by American writer Kurt Vonnegut Jr., published in 1952. The novel depicts a dystopia of automation partly inspired by the author's time working at General Electric, describing the negative impact technology can have on quality of life. The story takes place in a near-future society that is almost totally mechanized, eliminating the need for human laborers. The widespread mechanization creates conflict between the wealthy upper class, the engineers and managers, who keep society running, and the lower class, whose skills and purpose in society have been replaced by machines. The book uses irony and sentimentality, which were to become hallmarks developed further in Vonnegut's later works.
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, or Pearls Before Swine, Kurt Vonnegut's fifth novel, was published in 1965 by Holt, Rinehart and Winstonand as a Dell mass-market paperback in 1970. A piece of postmodern satire, it gave context to Vonnegut's following novel, Slaughterhouse-Five and shared in its success.
Tralfamadore is the name of several fictional planets in the novels of Kurt Vonnegut. Details of the corresponding indigenous alien race, the Tralfamadorians, vary from novel to novel:
God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian, by Kurt Vonnegut, is a collection of short fictional interviews written by Vonnegut and first broadcast on WNYC. The title parodies that of Vonnegut's 1965 novel God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. It was published in book form in 1999.
Kilgore Trout is a fictional character created by author Kurt Vonnegut. In Vonnegut's work, Trout is a notably unsuccessful author of paperback science fiction novels.
Jailbird is a novel by Kurt Vonnegut, published in 1979. The book is regarded as Kurt Vonnegut's "Watergate novel."
Galápagos (1985) is the eleventh novel published by American author Kurt Vonnegut. Set in the Galápagos Islands after a global financial disaster, the novel questions the merit of the human brain from an evolutionary perspective. The title is both a reference to the islands on which part of the story plays out, and a tribute to Charles Darwin, on whose theory Vonnegut relies to reach his own conclusions. It was published by Delacorte Press.
Ilium is a fictional town in eastern New York state, used as a setting for many of Kurt Vonnegut's novels and stories, including Player Piano, Cat's Cradle, Slaughterhouse-Five, and the stories "Deer in the Works" and "Poor Little Rich Town". The town is dominated by its major industry leader, the Ilium Works, which produces scientific marvels to assist, or possibly harm, human life. The Ilium Works is Vonnegut's symbol for the "impersonal corporate giant" with the power to alter humankind's destiny. The town has been compared to Zenith, the fictional setting in Sinclair Lewis' 1922 novel Babbitt.
Eliot Rosewater is a recurring character in the novels of American author Kurt Vonnegut. He appears throughout various novels as an alcoholic, and a philanthropist who claims to be a volunteer fireman. He runs the Rosewater Foundation, an organization created to keep the family's money in the family. He is among the few fans of the novels of Kilgore Trout.
Deadeye Dick is a novel by Kurt Vonnegut originally published in 1982.
Venus on the Half-Shell is a science fiction novel by American writer Philip José Farmer, writing pseudonymously as "Kilgore Trout", a fictional recurring character in many of the novels of Kurt Vonnegut. This book first appeared as a lengthy fictitious "excerpt"—attributed to Trout —in Vonnegut's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1965). With Vonnegut's permission, Farmer expanded the fragment into an entire standalone novel. Farmer's story was first published in two parts beginning in the December 1974 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. The plot, in which Earth is destroyed by cosmic bureaucrats doing routine maintenance and the sole human survivor goes on a quest to find the "Definitive Answer to the Ultimate Question", was an inspiration for the plot of the later Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series.
Breakfast of Champions is a 1999 American satirical black comedy film adapted and directed by Alan Rudolph, from Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.'s 1973 novel of the same name. Though the producers entered it into the 49th Berlin International Film Festival, the film was panned by critics and was a box office bomb that was withdrawn from theatres before going into wide release. It has not yet been given a digital release.
Fiction writing is the composition of non-factual prose texts. Fictional writing often is produced as a story meant to entertain or convey an author's point of view. The result of this may be a short story, novel, novella, screenplay, or drama, which are all types of fictional writing styles. Different types of authors practice fictional writing, including novelists, playwrights, short story writers, radio dramatists and screenwriters.
Kilgore is an American heavy metal band formed in Providence, Rhode Island in 1991. The band is named after the character Kilgore Trout in the Kurt Vonnegut classic Breakfast of Champions. Through a number of band name and line-up changes, Kilgore released two albums, Blue Collar Solitude (1995) and A Search for Reason (1998). The band landed a slot on the 1998 Ozzfest. They followed with a 1998 national tour with Slayer and Fear Factory and a 1998 European tour with Fear Factory and Spineshank.
Loree Rackstraw was an American literary critic and memoirist. She taught English at the University of Northern Iowa from 1966–1996, and she was the author of Love As Always, Kurt: Vonnegut As I Knew Him (2009).