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Before winning international fame with Cat’s Cradle
, Kurt Vonnegut was a master of the drugstore paperback and the popular short story. This authoritative collection of his brilliant early work opens with Player Piano
(1952), a Metropolis
-like parable of breakneck technological innovation and its effect on those it robs of their livelihoods. The Sirens of Titan
(1959), the interplanetary adventures of the world’s wealthiest and most despised man, is both a pulp-fiction space opera and a satire on the vanity of human striving. The confessions of a German-American double agent well placed among the Nazi elite, Mother Night
(1962) is a cautionary tale with a famous moral: “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” Here too are six of Vonnegut’s best short stories, gems that display his matchless talent for hilarious invention and caustic social criticism.
A companion volume, Kurt Vonnegut: Novels & Stories 1963–1973, collects Cat’s Cradle; God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater; Slaughterhouse-Five; Breakfast of Champions; and three short stories, including “Welcome to the Monkey House.”
LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.