Kurt Vonnegut Quotes (displaying: 31 - 40 of 938 quotes)
Did that really happen?" said Maggie White. She was a dull person, but a sensational invitation to make babies. Men looked at her and wanted to fill her up with babies right away. She had?t had even one baby yet. She used birth control. "Of course it happened," Trout told her. "If I wrote something that hadn't really happened, and I tried to sell it, I could go to jail. Tha?s fraud."Maggie believed him. "I'd never thought about that before.""Think about it now.""I?s like advertising. You have to tell the truth in advertising, or you get in trouble.""Exactly. The same body of law applies.""Do you think you might put us in a book sometime?""I put everything that happens to me in books.""I guess I better be careful what I say.""Tha?s right. And I'm not the only one who's listening. God is listening, too. And on Judgment Day he's going to tell you all the things you said and did. If it turns out they're bad things instead of good things, tha?s too bad for you, because you'll burn forever and ever. The burning never stops hurting."Poor Maggie turned gray. She believed that, too, and was petrified. Kilgore Trout laughed uproariously. A salmon egg flew out of his mouth and landed in Maggie's cleavage.
I became a so-called science fiction writer when someone decreed that I was a science fiction writer. I did not want to be classified as one, so I wondered in what way I'd offended that I would not get credit for being a serious writer. I decided that it was because I wrote about technology, and most fine American writers know nothing about technology. I got classified as a science fiction writer simply because I wrote about Schenectady, New York. My first book, Player Piano, was about Schenectady. There are huge factories in Schenectady and nothing else. I and my associates were engineers, physicists, chemists, and mathematicians. And when I wrote about the General Electric Company and Schenectady, it seemed a fantasy of the future to critics who had never seen the place.
Young Castle called me "Scoop." "Good Morning, Scoop. What's new in the word game?"I might ask the same of you," I replied. I'm thinking of calling a general strike of all writers until mankind finally comes to its senses. Would you support it?"Do writers have a right to strike? That would be like the police or the firemen walking out."Or the college professors."Or the college professors," I agreed. I shook my head. "No, I don't think my conscience would let me support a strike like that. When a man becomes a writer, I think he takes a sacred obligation to produce beauty and enlightenment and comfort at top speed."I just can't help thinking what a real shake up it would give people if, all of a sudden, there were no new books, new plays, new histories, new poems..."And how proud would you be when people started dying like flies?" I demanded. They'd die more like mad dogs, I think--snarling & snapping at each other & biting their own tails."I turned to Castle the elder. "Sir, how does a man die when he's deprived of the consolation of literature?"In one of two ways," he said, "petrescence of the heart or atrophy of the nervous system."Neither one very pleasant, I expect," I suggested. No," said Castle the elder. "For the love of God, both of you, please keep writing!
The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again.There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said -and calendars.
...simply moderate giftedness has been made worthless by the printing press and radio and television and satellites and all that. A moderately gifted person who would have been a community treasure a thousand years ago has to give up, has to go into some other line of work, since modern communications put him or her into daily competition with nothing but world's champions.... A moderately gifted person has to keep his or her gifts all bottled up until, in a manner of speaking, he or she gets drunk at a wedding and tap-dances on the coffee table like Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers. We have a name for him or her. We call him or her an "exhibitionist." How do we reward such an exhibitionist? We say to him or her the next morning, "Wow! Were you ever drunk last night!