A giant in the world of literature, some of it science-fiction, has just passed away. Kurt Vonnegut Jr., whose works include Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat’s Cradle, Breakfast of Champtions, and many others. I attended a lecture by Vonnegut a number of years ago (in Stratford, Ontario). In trying to explain what he (and other writers) did for a living, he pointed to another legend, Robertson Davies, who was sitting just a few seats from the front. How cool is that, I thought. Sitting in the same room with Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and Robertson Davies.
Smoking is not what killed Vonnegut, but I remember him explaining why he believed people smoke. “It was,” he said, “one of the few socially acceptable ways to commit suicide.” I remember thinking how sad a statement that was, coming from such a human being. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was 84. CBC News has coverage here.