Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Venus on the Half-shell

Kilgore Trout is the fictional alter-ego that Kurt Vonnegut has used as a plot device in several of his novels. Trout is one of the few characters who are smart enough to figure out that he may be the product of another man's imagination. As an unappreciated science fiction writer whose works are used only as filler material in pornographic magazines, his work crops up in Vonnegut's work to illustrate various points. In "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater" Trout's book "Venus on the Half-shell" is mentioned, and subsequently inspired Philip José Farmer to create an actual work under Trout's name.

The book deals with the last human, Simon, who has escaped the destruction of the Earth, and now travels the galaxy in an overtly phallic Chinese spacecraft in a search for the meaning of Life.

While this is a similar premise as The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, the story more closely resembles Voltaire's Candide wherein the characters encounter various philosophies on life, none of which completely answer Simon's questions.

I love my copy, and was very lucky to have found a copy in a local bookstore. Although it is not actually a Kurt Vonnegut work, and the assumption that Kurt wrote the work did piss off Mr. Vonnegut, I include it on my "Kurt" shelf.

1 comment:

FoxmanFX said...

I've had my copy for a number of years now - that reminds me - I want to read it again...