It’s hard to process the idea that Kurt Vonnegut died last night. He wasn’t immortal — at least in the “not dying” sense — but it felt like the world was a better place knowing he was still in it.
I was deeply saddened when I read Timequake, mostly because he said it was his last novel, but also because I realized that meant he would be going soon too. Then again, he had this to say about death in Slaughterhouse Five:
The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just that way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever.
Still, this means I’ll never get a chance to meet my literary hero outside of his pages.
So, have you read any of his stories? Which is your favorite?
You might want to check out his official website here, his wikipedia page here, or the Vonnegut web here. Originally posted on April 12, 2007.