Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
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Vonnegut's first novel spins the chilling tale of engineer Paul Proteus, who must find a way to live in a world dominated by a super computer and run completely by machines. His rebellion is a wildly funny, darkly satirical look at modern society.
people of liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Paul twisted his head, and saw that the needle pointed at T. “The witness will keep his head to the front,” said the Judge sternly. “His concern is with telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The indicator will take care of itself.” The prosecutor turned his back to Paul, as though finished with him, and suddenly wheeled to shake a finger at him. “You are a patriot, are you, Doctor?” “I try to be.” “Your chief wish is
out on tape from the whatchamacallits. You can’t just talk to it.” A doubt crossed his fine face. “I mean, you can’t, can you?” “No sir,” said the chief engineer of the project. “As you say, not without the thingamajigs and whatchamacallits.” “What’d he say?” said Lynn, catching Khashdrahr’s sleeve. “An ancient riddle,” said Khashdrahr, and it was plain that he didn’t want to go on, that something sacred was involved. But he was also a polite man, and the inquiring eyes of the crowd demanded
old man. “Paul, I want you to tell me what’s on your mind.” The hands on his knees tightened. Paul struggled resentfully against the urge to pour his heart out to this merciful, wise, gentle father. But his sullenness decayed. Paul began to talk. His formless misgivings and disquiet of a week before, he realized, had shape now. The raw material of his discontent was now cast in another man’s molds. He was saying what Lasher had said the night before, talking about the spiritual disaster across
themselves much better.” “Aha!” said the Shah, after Khashdrahr had translated. “Less waste, much better products, cheaper products with automatic control.” “Aha!” “And any man who cannot support himself by doing a job better than a machine is employed by the government, either in the Army or the Reconstruction and Reclamation Corps.” “Aha! Khabu bonanza-pak?” “Eh?” “He says, ‘Where does the money come from to pay them?’ ” said Khashdrahr. “Oh. From taxes on the machines, and taxes on
sand. He was understanding now that no man could live without roots—roots in a patch of desert, a red clay field, a mountain slope, a rocky coast, a city street. In black loam, in mud or sand or rock or asphalt or carpet, every man had his roots down deep—in home. A lump grew in his throat, and he couldn’t do anything about it. Doctor Paul Proteus was saying goodbye forever to home. “So long,” he said. And then, in spite of himself, “So long, gang.” A laggard group, genuinely inebriated, was