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How did Kurt Vonnegut feel about e-books?

5 January 2016

From Chris Meadows via TeleRead:

Today I went to visit the IUPUI Barnes & Noble, as I had never yet been there. On the way back, I happened to pass near the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library. Vonnegut was a lifelong resident of Indianapolis and a local literary hero, and if you ever pass through Circle City I strongly recommend you drop by and take the tour.

As I was passing, a question struck me, and since I was right there, I stopped in to ask the curator: How did Kurt Vonnegut feel about e-books?

. . . .

The Vonnegut Library curator, Chris LaFave, didn’t know, but was intrigued by my question. He suspected Vonnegut might have been against them, given that he had certain anti-technological leanings and tended to have similar views to his friend Bradbury. LaFave checked with another local Vonnegut expert, an IUPUI professor, via Facebook. The professor wrote back that if Vonnegut had been opposed to seeing his work released as e-books, he would have stopped it—as he did when he prevented the use of his image in cigarette advertisements.

. . . .

So, either Vonnegut granted permission while he was alive, or else he didn’t have the power to stop his publisher from making the deal—and the latter alternative seems unlikely given Vonnegut’s standing. Ray Bradbury was able to prevent his own works from being released as e-books until just a few months before he died.

Link to the rest at TeleRead


8 Comments to “How did Kurt Vonnegut feel about e-books?”

  1. How did Kurt Vonnegut feel about e-books?

    Does anyone care?

  2. Bradbury and Vonnegut held similar views? Politically, I think they were quite different.

  3. I dont know the status of Kurt’s contracts, that would be up to whatever he left to his wife and then on down.

    However, Kurt, well, was my friend. I hate to see anyone be flip about a man who suffered so re Dresden and other hideous things he lived, and came back from war writing literally to give respect to human life in whatever ways he could. He was a gentle giant, who also had wit, tired of the jaded, the sarcastic, the wanna be’s. I think because most of what any pomp might say or do or proclaim might fall so flat in comparison to the bloodshed and suffering he was eye witness/heart witness to.

    Kurt created in his works, a world in space and time not seen before… and he was in wondor over things magical, wanting very much to try new things, but not forsaking the old that still worked well, and for certain not forsaking all he had seen in life that still had no healing. I doubt he would have scorned out of hand anything that might bring his vision that was not based on mere fantasy, but bloodloss, to more readers. He had a great shaggy lion’s head of wavy wild hair. I think he would listen, ask questions, say we ought go feast and think about it.

    • Vonnegut was one of my writing heroes. I’d never read anything like most of his books, and he opened my eyes to a whole other way to tell stories. CAT’S CRADLE and his short story collection WELCOME TO THE MONKEY HOUSE were two of my first exposures to his writing, but everything was great.

      I sorta feel like his heir (at least stylistically) might be Christopher Moore. (YMMV) As far as what he would have thought about ebooks, my guess is he would have adapted.

    • Vonnegut was a huge influence on a lot of people. You were lucky to be his friend.

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