“Better to be nothing than a blind doorman at the head of civilization’s parade.”
Vonnegut’s earliest novel “Player Piano”, published in 1952, expresses a fear of a technologically-dominated society in which the basic mechanisms of life are mediated by calculated machinery. All but the most educated of men, the engineers and managers, are left with little to do, they’re basic sense of pride and purpose stripped by society at large. Albeit, this automated America provides levels of luxury and domestic comfort previously unattainable by the majority prior to the war which the premise of this book proceeds. Here Vonnegut presents the interesting problems present in times of peace, where the existential dilemma that is faced by many of his characters is one of normalcy and boredom and how to create change regardless of whether it is for the better.
As with nearly all of Vonnegut’s work, this was a pleasure to read. Showcasing the authors attraction to all things apocalyptic and his bittersweet, optimistic dread, it’s an intriguing window into the development of Vonnegut’s trademark brand of sardonic, humanistic science-fiction.