Kurt Vonnegut Quotes (displaying: 31 - 60 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!
(Socialist Powers Hapgood)...had become an official in the CIO. There had been some sort of dust-up on a picket line, and he was testifying about it in court, and the judge stops everything and asks him, "Mr. Hapgwood, here you are, you're a graduate of Harvard. why would anyone with your advantages choose the life than you have?" Hapgood answered the judge: "Why, because of the Sermon on the Mount, sir.
Dwayne Hoover, incidentally, had an unusually large penis, and did?t even know it. The few women he had had anything to do with were?t sufficiently experienced to know whether he was average or not. The world average was five and seven-eighths inches long, and one and one-half inches in diameter when engorged with blood. Dwayn?s was seven inches long and two and one-eighth inches in diameter when engorged with blood. Dwayn?s son Bunny had a penis that was exactly average. Kilgore Trout had a penis seven inches long, but only one and one-quarter inches in diameter...Harry LeSabre, Dwayn?s sales manager, had a penis five inches long and two and one-eighth inches in diameter. Cyprian Ukwende, the black physician from Nigeria, had a penis six and seven-eighths inches long and one and three-quarters inches in diameter. Don Breedlove, the gas-conversion unit installer who raped Patty Keene, had a penis five and seven-eighths inches long and one and seven-eighths inches in diameter. Patty Keene had thirty-four-inch hips, a twenty-six-inch waist, and a thirty-four-inch bosom. Dwayn?s late wife had thirty-six-inch hips, a twenty-eight-inch waist, and a thirty-eight-inch bosom when he married her. She had thirty- nine-inch hips, a thirty-one-inch waist, and a thirty-eight-inch bosom when she ate D?no. His mistress and secretary, Francine Pefko, had thirty-seven-inch hips, a thirty-inch waist, and a thirty-nine-inch bosom. His stepmother at the time of her death had thirty-four-inch hips, a twenty-four-inch waist, and a thirty-three-inch bosom.
All these people talk so eloquently about getting back to good old-fashioned values. Well, as an old poop I can remember back to when we had those old-fashioned values, and I say let's get back to the good old-fashioned First Amendment of the good old-fashioned Constitution of the United States -- and to hell with the censors! Give me knowledge or give me death!
People took such awful chances with chemicals and their bodies because they wanted the quality of their lives to improve. They lived in ugly places where there were only ugly things to do. They didn't own doodley-squat, so they couldn't improve their surroundings. so they did their best to make their insides beautiful instead.
And I propose to you that if we are to pay our sincere respects to the hundred lost children of San Lorenzo, that we might best spend the day despising what killed them; which is to say, the stupidity and viciousness of all mankind."Perhaps, when we remember wars, we should take off our clothes and paint ourselves blue and go on all fours all day long and grunt like pigs. That would surely be more appropriate than noble oratory and shows of flags and well-oiled guns.
The most important thing I learnt on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present, and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just the way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever. When and Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinkgs is that the dead person is in a bad condition in a particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments.