Dashiell Hammett Alexander Hamilton Ulysses S. Grant Robert Frost Benjamin Franklin Scott F. Fitzgerald William Faulkner James T. Farrell Ralph Waldo Emerson W.E.B Du Bois Theodore Dreiser Fredrick Douglas
American Literature by American Writers.
Sign up for E-Mail View CartMy Account
Vonnegut, Kurt - Novels & Stories 1950–1962

Kurt Vonnegut

Novels & Stories 1950–1962

Player PianoThe Sirens of TitanMother Night • stories

Together in one volume, Kurt Vonnegut’s first three brilliant novels, along with six classic science fiction stories
Overview  |  Table of Contents

Read an interview with volume editor Sidney Offit on Reader's Almanac, the Library of America blog

Kurt Vonnegut’s signature qualities as a writer—what John Updike called “his free flow of invention, the surreal beauty of his imagery, and a colloquial American style justly ranked with Mark Twain’s”—are everywhere on display in this authoritative collection of his early fiction. So too are his abiding themes: the madness of war, the vanity of human striving, and the social costs of technological innovation.

Vonnegut’s first novel, Player Piano (1952), is the story of Dr. Paul Proteus, chief engineer at the Ilium Works, an electronics company in upstate New York. Ill at ease with himself and his changing times, Proteus must choose sides in a looming civil war that threatens the brave new world he has helped to create. A kind of postwar Metropolis, Player Piano is at once a witty satire on the culture of General Electric headquarters, where Vonnegut once worked as a publicist, and a profound meditation on the dignity and necessity of work.

Set on Earth, Mars, Mercury, and the moons of Saturn, The Sirens of Titan (1959) is a vertiginous ride down a funnel in space-time with a trio of stuffed shirts spoiling for their pratfalls: Winston Niles Rumfoord, a patrician New Englander and paragon of style; his beautiful touch-me-not wife, Beatrice; and Malachi Constant, the world’s luckiest, wealthiest man. Are they really what they imagine themselves to be, the perfected products of a benevolent universe? Or does somebody up there despise them? Only Salo, the gentleman-robot from the planet Tralfamadore, knows for sure.

In 1961 a German American named Howard W. Campbell, Jr.—the Tokyo Rose of the Third Reich—is discovered in Manhattan by a team of Nazi hunters and brought to Jerusalem to stand trial. Mother Night (1962) presents Campbell’s prison-cell confessions, revealing him to be a double agent who infiltrated the highest echelons of the Nazi propaganda ministry in order to broadcast intelligence to the Allies. But as he awaits his date with justice, Campbell faces an even more rigorous trial in the court of his own conscience.

Rounding out the volume are six of Vonnegut’s best science fiction stories, including “Report on the Barnhouse Effect,” “EPICAC,” “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow,” and “Harrison Bergeron,” the fantasy that skewered “political correctness” before there was a name for it.

Sidney Offit, editor, has written novels, books for young readers, and memoirs including, most recently, Friends, Writers, and Other Countrymen. He was senior editor of Intellectual Digest, book editor of Politics Today, and contributing editor of Baseball Magazine. He wrote the foreword to Look at the Birdie, a collection of Kurt Vonnegut’s unpublished short fiction.

Also by Kurt Vonnegut:
Novels & Stories 1963–1973
Novels 1976–1985

Also of Interest:
American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from Poe to Now (boxed set)
The Philip K. Dick Collection (3-book boxed set)
Shirley Jackson: Novels and Stories

Copyright 1995–2011 Literary Classics of the United States, Inc.
Contact Us | Privacy and Security

LOA Web Store
List price: $35.00
Web store price: $31.50
Free shipping in the U.S.
Phone orders: 1-800-964-5778
Request product #202418
Subscription Account Holders: Buy the cream-slipcased edition at the Customer Service Center.
Booksellers/Libraries: LOA books are distributed worldwide by the Penguin Random House.
ISBN: 978-1-59853-150-3
834 pages
More purchasing options
Barnes and Noble
Other options

Make a tax-deductible gift of volumes to a library of your choice.