“Nice going, God.”

Kurt Vonnegut Jr died on Wednesday, obituary here, and you can glimpse some of the impact of the man and his work in the eulogies and memories from writers and fans in the numerous articles that have been published since. The NY Times also reprints its 1969 review of Slaughterhouse-Five. And this article which begins with a quote from Cat’s Cradle More Links and an interview And, in the comments zone, Susan points to an excellent interview from 1977.

“God made mud. God got lonesome. So God said to some of the mud, “Sit up!” “See all I’ve made,” said God, “the hills, the sea, the sky, the stars.” And I was some of the mud that got to sit up and look around. Lucky me, lucky mud. I, mud, sat up and saw what a nice job God had done. Nice going, God. Nobody but you could have done it, God! I certainly couldn’t have. I feel very unimportant compared to You. The only way I can feel the least bit important is to think of all the mud that didn’t even get to sit up and look around. I got so much, and most mud got so little. Thank you for the honor! Now mud lies down again and goes to sleep. What memories for mud to have! What interesting other kinds of sitting-up mud I met! I loved everything I saw! Good night.”

, ,

  • Gum

    Loved his line on the US and its commitment to ‘the truth’: he said he had considered being a scientist because of its search for truth, then “we dropped scientific truth on Hiroshima”.

  • wonderful writer.

    I read Slaughterhouse 5 when I was 17/18-it had a lasting effect on me.

    RIP kurt

  • circles

    All mud has to lie down – but this was a good bit.
    Bokononism has helped me through a lot of the smelly mud that hits the fan.
    Good night mud

  • Bill

    Really enjoyed Breakfast of Champions.

    Also enjoyed the film version. (Me liking a Bruce Willis film how unusual.)

  • Greenflag

    Pete,

    Thanks for the thread 🙂 America’s 20th century Mark Twain in a way. He admitted he was’nt too happy to be alive at a time when the USA was ruled by a Bush , a Dick and a Colon – the C Plus crowd as he termed them .

  • SlugFest

    Damn shame.

    Deadeye Dick was my first Vonnegut book — no one wrote like him. No one ever will.

    Follow the link below for a wonderful anecdote about Vonnegut and John Irving (‘world according to garp,’ ‘ciderhouse rules’, etc.) vonnegut was irving’s teacher in iowa, and they remainded close friends throughout their lives. the story told in the link is absolutely true, as i saw irving relay it in detail to john stewart on the ‘daily show’.

    http://www.contactmusic.com/new/xmlfeed.nsf/mndwebpages/irving%20straddled%20choking%20vonnegut

  • Roisin

    Never heard tell of him before.

  • Pete Baker

    Who, Roisin? God?

  • Roisin

    No, I’ve heard of God, his son Lucifer mentioned him to me in passing one day.

  • The Third Policeman

    A great man and a great author. Slaughterhouse 5 is definately up there with Catch 22 as the defining anti war novels of our time.

    So it goes…

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Thanks for posting the thread Pete. I’m glad Slugger is marking the passing of the greatest writer, and one of the finest, wisest, sanest human beings in the galaxy.

    “We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane.

    We are human only to the extent that our ideas remain humane.”

    As he was the long-time honorary chairman of the American Humanist Society, one can only say that undoubtedly, Kurt is up in heaven now…..

  • Obscure Reference

    The man used fantasy as a way to demand respect for reality.

    I loved that bit in Slaughterhouse Five where he ends up in a POW camp and they have a little enclave of Brits they put the Americans in with, and the Brits are all bluff, hale mustachioed fellows, like Michael Palin in “Ripping Yarns”, who spend their time doing calisthenics, singing songs and staging theatrical productions. And the German love them, they’re like mascots, they make war seem exciting and fun. All the time this oasis of noble camaraderie is surrounded by a million starving Russians, all freezing to death and being ravaged by disease.

    And the lads who look like toilet plungers who experience time as a singularity so you see them as they were when born and as they will be when old blurred together in the same individual.

  • Pete Baker

    Billy P

    The writer of one of my all-time favourite novels deserves to be noted in his passing.

    So it goes.

    Indeed.

  • Slartibuckfast

    I thought he was an actor. Great piece of writing about mud though. Might check him out. See, dying can be a great career move.

  • Yoda

    Ah, shite.

  • susan

    The Independent has a great re-print of what they claim is an interview “conducted over ten years” (?) and first published in The Paris Review in 1977:

    http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/books/features/article2445103.ece

    Just please read it; you’ll be glad you did.

    I read “Slaughterhouse Five” and “Breakfast of Champions” in my early teens, which was probably a mistake as no doubt I’d have gotten even more out of them later. But I remember the descriptions of the firebombing of Dresden in “Breakfast of Champions” made such an impression on me, I recall the uncomfortableness of the chair and theslant of light through the library windows as I was reading it. If you knew how much crucial information I manage to forget in the course of a single day, you’d know that’s a —-ing miracle.

  • Pete Baker

    Susan

    Thank you. :o)

    I’d seen a reference to that ‘interview’ elsewhere but hadn’t spotted it in the Independent.

  • susan

    You are warmly welcome, Pete.

    I loved that single image in that first link of yours. It was well-chosen.

  • Greenflag

    Susan,

    Thanks also for that Independent link. Much appreciated 🙂

    Slartibuckfast,

    ‘See, dying can be a great career move.’

    Also the final one . Mud in your eye etc 🙂

  • Winkerton Sneet

    Twerps are fantastic hahahaha

    Ballymena is bound to have twerp brotherhoods.

    thanks for the Independent link.

  • Doctor Who

    Slaughterhouse 5 remains one of my all time reads. I think it´s a better book than it´s more popular cousin Catch22 by Joseph Hellier.

    Kurt was a literary heavyweight and a great humanist, he will be sorely missed.

    Roisin

    I thoroughly recomend him.

  • susan

    Alright. One more, because you’re being such angels:

    “I still believe that peace and plenty and happiness can be worked out some way. I am a fool.”–Kurt Vonnegut, Jailbird