Kurt Vonnegut Is a Laughing Prophet of Doom

Kurt Vonnegut? Larry L. King? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: The quotations and misquotations discussed on this website have typically been attributed to famous people. My inquiry is different. I would like you to explore a ubiquitous quotation describing a famous person. The prominent satirist and science fiction author Kurt Vonnegut has been called a laughing prophet of doom. I’ve seen this assessment emblazoned on several of Vonnegut’s books. What do you think?

Quote Investigator: In 1968 “The New York Times” published a review of a collection of short stories and essays by Kurt Vonnegut titled “Welcome to the Monkey House”. The reviewer was Larry L. King, a journalist, novelist, and playwright who later became well-known for co-creating the musical “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”. King was unimpressed with Vonnegut’s current effort, but he complimented the author’s previous work, Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

There are only brief glimpses of the hilarious, uproarious Vonnegut whose black-logic extensions of today’s absurdities into an imagined society of tomorrow at once gives us something to laugh at and much to fear.

At his wildest best (as in his earlier “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater” or in “Cat’s Cradle”) Kurt Vonnegut is a laughing prophet of doom. Too much of this book—Vonnegut’s seventh—is slick, slapdash prose lifted from the pages of magazines of limited distinction.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Kurt Vonnegut Is a Laughing Prophet of Doom

Notes:

  1. 1968 September 1, The New York Times, Section: The New York Times Book Review, Old Soup by Larry L. King (Book review of “Welcome to the Monkey House” by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.), Quote Page BR4 and BR5, New York. (The original text misspelled “extensions” as “extentions”) (ProQuest)