World War III and the second industrial revolution have come and gone. Now machines and computers perform all routine manufacturing tasks, while the ...Show synopsisWorld War III and the second industrial revolution have come and gone. Now machines and computers perform all routine manufacturing tasks, while the top scientists and technocrats run society. But underneath the surface, the impulse to rebellion seethes.Hide synopsis
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I remember being very impressed by this book when I first read it, 30 or 40 years ago. The basis of the plot is that, due to the high productivity of the industrial society, only a small number of people are needed to produce everything the society needs. This sounds ideal, but it isn't - in the book only a few benefit, and the majority are a permanent, impoverished underclass. Since we have now reached the point where the productivity of human society is high enough that Vonnegut's prescient view is close to becoming reality, I thought I should read the book again. But I'm in the middle of one that I need to finish first....
When Kurt Vonnegut speculated about an automation-dominated future, he did not foresee the feminist movement, the omnipresence of computers, and the cyber-revolution. But the human questions remain. What makes life worth living? Are productivity, efficiency, and financial security enough, or do we need to sacrifice them to make room for more meaningful goals? If we don't like the way our society is going, how do we start changing it? Can we make a difference?
Vonnegut's style is compelling, and kept me going after a relatively slow beginning. The absurdities of human nature enlivened what could have been a terminally depressing book.
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