Monday, April 21, 2014

Trout's unachievable slew of stories

Every time Kilgore Trout appears in Breakfast of Champions I feel conflicted.

Trout's a fine character. Who couldn't enjoy the observations and musings of an old writer who's at peace with the world as it is. But he (for the purposes of the all too aware man behind the curtain, Vonnegut) gives away ideas like candy on Halloween.

There are so many short story synopses in this book it seems that Trout's written a story about nearly every grand political or cultural issue.

And they all sound compelling.

Even stories like This Year's Masterpiece, about a world in which the value of artworks is determined by the annual spinning of a game show-style wheel. For this story and the rest we're given the sort of synopsis an editor might find in a query letter. Were I that editor I'd express definite interest.

What bothers me about these stories, though, is that Vonnegut's just throwing them all away. There's no way that he could turn around and write them all out. And that's a shame. Because, satirical take on science fiction writers aside, I'd really like to see Trout's stories fleshed out.

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