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The Grand Social Experiment | Van Kooten on God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

Rick Van Kooten   Following the bleak nihilism of Cat’s Cradle, the next novel written by Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, presents a more optimistic side of Vonnegut’s philosophy, even as it is presented as a blistering satire as in Cat’s Cradle. In many ways, Vonnegut’s body of work up to this point could be considered not only a literary project …

Freedom, Purpose and Morality in The Sirens of Titan | Shapshay on The Sirens of Titan

The Sirens of Titan is a novel of ideas that takes the reader on an imaginative romp through the solar system. Three timeless philosophical questions are explored in the course of Malachi Constant’s space odyssey: the metaphysical question of whether free will is an illusion; the moral question of whether good ends can justify evil means; and, most prominently, the existential question of the meaning of life—that is, the question of whether an individual human life has a purpose, and, if so, what that purpose is.

The Sirens of Titan: Playfully Toying with Time | Van Kooten on The Sirens of Titan

Rick Van Kooten   As an undergraduate student, our friend Kurt Vonnegut studied mechanical engineering, chemistry, and biology, and subsequently worked as a publicist for General Electric in New York. He clearly enjoyed animated conversations with his brother, Bernard, an atmospheric scientist working at a GE research laboratory and credited with discovering that silver iodide could be used effectively in cloud seeding to produce snow and …