Cover image for Timequake
Title:
Timequake
Author:
Vonnegut, Kurt.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : [Penguin Group], 1997.
Physical Description:
[xiv, 219] pages ; 24 cm
Summary:
A timequake throws the universe backwards and everyone has to relive the years 1991 to 2001, including the hero, a science fiction writer. By and large, people are not pleased by the development.
General Note:
Publisher imprint and paging varies.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780399137372

9780425164341
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

After the universe decides to back up ten years and all humans must live through the 1990s again, author Kurt Vonnegut finds himself trying to write a book called Timequake, which he knows he will never finish since he already did not finish it.


Author Notes

The appeal of Kurt Vonnegut, especially to bright younger readers of the past few decades, may be attributed partly to the fact that he is one of the few writers who have successfully straddled the imaginary line between science-fiction/fantasy and "real literature." He was born in Indianapolis and attended Cornell University, but his college education was interrupted by World War II. Captured during the Battle of the Bulge and imprisoned in Dresden, he received a Purple Heart for what he calls a "ludicrously negligible wound." After the war he returned to Cornell and then earned his M.A. at the University of Chicago.He worked as a police reporter and in public relations before placing several short stories in the popular magazines and beginning his career as a novelist.

His first novel, Player Piano (1952), is a highly credible account of a future mechanistic society in which people count for little and machines for much. The Sirens of Titan (1959), is the story of a playboy whisked off to Mars and outer space in order to learn some humbling lessons about Earth's modest function in the total scheme of things. Mother Night (1962) satirizes the Nazi mentality in its narrative about an American writer who broadcasts propaganda in Germany during the war as an Allied agent. Cat's Cradle (1963) makes use of some of Vonnegut's experiences in General Electric laboratories in its story about the discovery of a special kind of ice that destroys the world. God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1965) satirizes a benevolent foundation set up to foster the salvation of the world through love, an endeavor with, of course, disastrous results. Slaughterhouse-Five; or The Children's Crusade (1969) is the book that marked a turning point in Vonnegut's career. Based on his experiences in Dresden, it is the story of another Vonnegut surrogate named Billy Pilgrim who travels back and forth in time and becomes a kind of modern-day Everyman. The novel was something of a cult book during the Vietnam era for its antiwar sentiments. Breakfast of Champions (1973), the story of a Pontiac dealer who goes crazy after reading a science fiction novel by "Kilgore Trout," received generally unfavorable reviews but was a commercial success. Slapstick (1976), dedicated to the memory of Laurel and Hardy, is the somewhat wacky memoir of a 100-year-old ex-president who thinks he can solve society's problems by giving everyone a new middle name. In addition to his fiction, Vonnegut has published nonfiction on social problems and other topics, some of which is collected in Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons (1974).

He died from head injuries sustained in a fall on April 11, 2007.

(Bowker Author Biography) Kurt Vonnegut is among the few grandmasters of 20th century American letters. He was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on November 11, 1922. Vonnegut lives in New York City.

(Publisher Provided)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Someone, maybe Emerson, predicted that novels would become frankly autobiographical in the twentieth century, and, sure enough, Henry Miller wrote the classic autobiographical novel Tropic of Cancer, Philip Roth and Norman Mailer starred themselves in ostensible novels, and, vice versa, Kenneth Rexroth called his actual life story (another classic) An Autobiographical Novel. Now Vonnegut, who has barged into several previous novels, erases the line between fact and fancy to mostly gabble on like the funny old geezer he is. He tells great jokes, relays more family history than anything else, suggests several new amendments to the Constitution, tosses out a fistful of his trademark tag lines (the best one is "ting-a-ling," although it probably won't supplant Slaughterhouse Five's "so it goes" as Vonnegutians' favorite), and does his mournful, baggy-pants philosopher-clown routine one more time. Oh, there is some indisputable fiction here. Vonnegut has salvaged bits of a 1996 novel, which he aborted at the last minute, based on the premise that a bump in the space-time continuum--a "time-quake" --throws the universe 10 years backward, from 2001 to 1991, and also includes Vonnegut's most famous recurring character (outstanding in God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater), perpetually unsuccessful science-fiction writer Kilgore Trout. This new book's premise is the proposition that most people hate living, with good reason; mixed with the '96 stuff, it spices an utterly Vonnegutian sweet-and-sour stew deliciously. --Ray Olson


Publisher's Weekly Review

Its publisher calls this Vonnegut's "first full-length work of fiction in seven years" (since the novel Hocus Pocus), which seems like a polite way to avoid claiming it as a novel. It's certainly not that, nor is it, strictly speaking, a collection of stories. It is, rather, a good-natured and delightful ramble around the problem of not being able to get a book to work. Using his science-fictional alter ego Kilgore Trout, Vonnegut talks about a recalcitrant book of Trout's whose premise would have been that "a sudden glitch in the space-time continuum'' occurs, creating a 10-year hitch in time in which everyone is forced to live that period of their lives over again, every word and action exactly repeated, from 1991 until 2001, at which point their lives move forward once more. It is a nice conceit, and Vonnegut and Trout have some fun with it, all interwoven with anecdotes about the Vonnegut family, how it feels to be an aging author and suchlike. There are plenty of Vonnegut gems for the taking (he and William Styron agree at one point that only 17% of people in the world have lives worth living), but the effect of the book is more like a relaxed, jokey conversation than anything else. Call it a patchwork of brief, semi-fictional essays; no matter, Vonnegut is always good company. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Delayed over a year, Vonnegut's latest finally arrives, with alter ego Kilgore Trout facing millennial catastrophe. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.