Vonnegut- Cat’s Cradle


The children of the man who created a scientific invention that could destroy the world are the subject of ‘John’ the journalist’s interest in this dystopian novel which I found under Science Fiction at my local library. I’m not sure that it qualifies as Sci-Fi, given that someone has already invented something as dangerous as ‘ice nine’; the atom bomb.
The children, a dwarf, a giantess and an infantile man are damaged by their life with their father and later reveal the secrets of his death and the fact that they have each a fragment of ice nine which can, and will, destroy the earth. Our journalist finds them on an island in South America where Frank is high up in government due to the possession of this fragment. All of the characters are deeply flawed, in fact weird, yet the reader can believe in these stunted 20th century monsters. This novel is a rumination on the ‘progress’ made by science, and in this it is not new. What is new is Vonnegut’s way of viewing the world. He is not afraid to tackle the larger issues of his time and this makes him required reading. He also does it with flair and characterstic light touch.

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