21 May 2010
44. Cat's Cradle
"You tell me who told these ants how to make water."
This book was very cool. I had no idea where the story was going. Maybe because it was so illogical and unfathomable for a "normal" mind that I could not have seen the end as the Vonnegut wrote it.
This was an apocaplyptic story that was quite funny. Maybe that is called black humor? It has some interesting characters. One being an author, John, who is trying to write a book about the day the atomic bomb was detonated over Hiroshima. He is interested in what people were actually doing at that time and how it made them feel. I figured it would be an anti-nuke book at that point. I was wrong. It seemed like it was more of a futility of man's attempts to stay in control of anything.
The writer wants to interview the family and friends of Felix Hoenikker, the inventer of the bomb. He contacts them and things roll from there. One son is a midget who had a scandalous affair with a Ukrainian midget. He has an alder sister who was very tall and awkward looking, but ended up marrying a very important beautiful blue-blooded man who has nothing to do with her. Then there is another son who disappeared following the father's funeral and is presumed dead.
Well, the disappeared son is actually alive and is a General on a Caribbean island called San Lorenzo. John, the Hoenikker kids and many other very interesting folks all end up in San Lorenzo and the mayhem ensues.
This book is actually pretty sad, though it is funny. I think that is called satire. It was about our own inability to control ourselves during an international arms race. All science is used for destruction in one way or another by countries warring against each other. Ice-Nine was invented by Felix Hoenikker as an answer to a military question about how to have Marines not fight in mud. It ended up being used by people to get things they thought were important in life and then the destruction of our planet.