New York, NY
Image: Kilgore Trout
Kurt Vonnegut has typically used science fiction to characterize the world and the nature of existence as he experiences them. His chaotic fictional universe abounds in wonder, coincidence, randomness and irrationality. Science fiction helps lend form to the presentation of this worldview without imposing a falsifying causality upon it.
In his vision, the fantastic offers perception into the quotidian, rather than escape from it. Science fiction is also technically useful, he has said, in providing a distance perspective, "moving the camera out into space," as it were. Unusually for this form, Vonnegut's science fiction is frequently comic, not just in the "black humor" mode with which he has been tagged so often, but in being simply funny. Less generally familiar than the fiction, however, are Vonnegut's creations in the graphic arts. These reveal the same postmodern heterogeneity of mode and subject found in the fiction-realism and abstraction, the fantastic and the mundane, sentiment and irony, humor and melancholy.