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Recent Reading: Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut

20 April 2010

Cat's Cradle Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I first read this book 35 years ago, and quite enjoyed it. It was about a man who invented the atomic bomb also inventing Ice-9, an isotope of ice that froze at 114 degrees Fahrenheit, and would convert any water it touched into ice, and would thus bring about the end of the world if it got loose. The oceans would freeze, and with no evaporation there would be no rain. When he died his three children each took a small piece of it, and converged on the Caribbean island of San Lorenzo, whose inhabitants were influenced by the religion of Bokononism.

I was moved to read it again by learning that the strips of braid attached to church vestments are called galloons, which reminded me of a granfalloon: in the Bokononist religion in the book, a group of people who had a special purpose together was called a karass, and one that was deluded into thinking it had such a purpose (like all the nations of the world) was a granfalloon.

So I’ve just finished reading it for the second time, and since it was a long time since I’d previously read it, and all I could remember was a few scenes, it was worth reading again. I suppose one could call it an “end of civilization” novel. It’s not the best of the genre, but quite entertaining nevertheless.

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