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2 B R 0 2 B
     

2 B R 0 2 B

4.4 61
by Kurt Vonnegut
 

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A science fiction short story

2 B R 0 2 B

by Kurt Vonnegut

2BR02B is a science fiction short story by Kurt Vonnegut, originally published in the digest magazine Worlds of If Science Fiction, January 1962, and collected in Vonnegut's Bagombo Snuff Box (1999).

The title is pronounced "2

Overview

A science fiction short story

2 B R 0 2 B

by Kurt Vonnegut

2BR02B is a science fiction short story by Kurt Vonnegut, originally published in the digest magazine Worlds of If Science Fiction, January 1962, and collected in Vonnegut's Bagombo Snuff Box (1999).

The title is pronounced "2 B R naught 2 B", referencing the famous phrase "to be, or not to be" from William Shakespeare's Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.

In this story, the title refers to the telephone number one dials to schedule an assisted suicide with the Federal Bureau of Termination. Vonnegut's 1965 novel God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater describes a story by this name, attributing it to his recurring character Kilgore Trout, although the plot summary given is closer in nature to the eponymous tale from the short-story collection Welcome to the Monkey House.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (November 11, 1922 – April 11, 2007) was an American writer. His works, such as Cat's Cradle, Slaughterhouse-Five, and Breakfast of Champions, blend satire, gallows humor, and science fiction. As a citizen he was a lifelong supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union and a pacifist intellectual, who often was critical of the society that he lived in. He was known for his humanist beliefs and was honorary president of the American Humanist Association.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781105892509
Publisher:
Lulu.com
Publication date:
08/30/2012
Sold by:
LULU PRESS
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
697,200
File size:
475 KB

Read an Excerpt

Everything was perfectly swell.

There were no prisons, no slums, no insane asylums, no cripples, no poverty, no wars.

All diseases were conquered. So was old age.

Death, barring accidents, was an adventure for volunteers.

The population of the United States was stabilized at forty-million souls.

One bright morning in the Chicago Lying-in Hospital, a man named Edward K. Wehling, Jr., waited for his wife to give birth. He was the only man waiting. Not many people were born a day any more.

Wehling was fifty-six, a mere stripling in a population whose average age was one hundred and twenty-nine.

X-rays had revealed that his wife was going to have triplets. The children would be his first.

Young Wehling was hunched in his chair, his head in his hand. He was so rumpled, so still and colorless as to be virtually invisible. His camouflage was perfect, since the waiting room had a disorderly and demoralized air, too. Chairs and ashtrays had been moved away from the walls. The floor was paved with spattered dropcloths.

The room was being redecorated. It was being redecorated as a memorial to a man who had volunteered to die.

A sardonic old man, about two hundred years old, sat on a stepladder, painting a mural he did not like. Back in the days when people aged visibly, his age would have been guessed at thirty-five or so. Aging had touched him that much before the cure for aging was found.

The mural he was working on depicted a very neat garden. Men and women in white, doctors and nurses, turned the soil, planted seedlings, sprayed bugs, spread fertilizer.

Men and women in purple uniforms pulled up weeds, cut down plants that were oldand sickly, raked leaves, carried refuse to trash-burners.

Never, never, never--not even in medieval Holland nor old Japan--had a garden been more formal, been better tended. Every plant had all the loam, light, water, air and nourishment it could use.

A hospital orderly came down the corridor, singing under his breath a popular song:

* * * *

If you don't like my kisses, honey,

Here's what I will do:

I'll go see a girl in purple,

Kiss this sad world toodle-oo.

If you don't want my lovin',

Why should I take up all this space?

I'll get off this old planet,

Let some sweet baby have my place.

* * * *

The orderly looked in at the mural and the muralist. "Looks so real," he said, "I can practically imagine I'm standing in the middle of it."

"What makes you think you're not in it?" said the painter. He gave a satiric smile. "It's called 'The Happy Garden of Life,' you know."

"That's good of Dr. Hitz," said the orderly.

Meet the Author

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (November 11, 1922 - April 11, 2007) was an American writer. His works, such as Cat's Cradle, Slaughterhouse-Five, and Breakfast of Champions, blend satire, gallows humor, and science fiction. As a citizen he was a lifelong supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union and a pacifist intellectual, who often was critical of the society that he lived in. He was known for his humanist beliefs and was honorary president of the American Humanist Association.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
November 11, 1922
Date of Death:
April 11, 2007
Place of Birth:
Indianapolis, Indiana
Place of Death:
New York, New York
Education:
Cornell University, 1940-42; Carnegie-Mellon University, 1943; University of Chicago, 1945-47; M.A., 1971

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2BR02B 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 61 reviews.
Kay2001 More than 1 year ago
I have to say this was interesting. It was my first read by Vonnegut and I do understand now why my son loves him. It's a short story about population control. For every child born that is going to live, a volunteer must die. Imagine what goes through a father's head when his wife is about to have triplets! I enjoyed it and it really makes me stop and think. I didn't think I would enjoy it and I was pleasantly surprised. I think I will give something else by this author a try.
Gryyphyn More than 1 year ago
It's a short journey through the mind of three men and one government some may see as idealized. 10-15 minutes takes you through the thoughts of a new father, an artist, a doctor and the government they reside in. If you're not thinking by the end of this then you're either a) dead or b) too narrow minded to see the possibilities beyond your own beliefs.
Aquarius55 More than 1 year ago
Typical Kurt Vonnegut short story. If you read all of his books you will enjoy reading this. Thought provocative.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wish this was a novel. Interesting concept and the imagery is fantastic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thought provoking to say the least. Very short, but I enjoyed the bio of Kurt's life at the end... explained a lot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an awesome short about population control. A masterpiece really.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Says this is gay and to stop spamming
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Miss u merry christmaz and shivering is pregnant
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She padded in. "I'm Firestar leader of Thistleclan. Shadowcat had a typo. It's ThistleClan not Thrushclan. I need to talk to Shadowcat. NOW."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wrestles aound in grass
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For once, she had her back to the camp. She wept bitterly, for all the cats of her clan abandoned her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Looked at him with sincere, lavender eyes. "Thank you. It just means so much." She kindly licked him behind the ears.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The tom padded in, looking around.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pads in.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
&otimes
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*Drinking beer*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"O-okay then..."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stood of the the side, drinking a glass of cherry flavored ice water.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Where is the prep
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this story, and the question of mortality that Kurt so wondrously created
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DO NOT BUY THIS E-BOOK The story is great, definitely check it out, but do not pay even $.95, it's only eight pages long! The rest is padded out with Vonnegut's bio and stuff. It's available on the internet for free in numerous locations, it will take you five minutes to read, tops. It's a very neat, thought-provoking little piece, I'm glad I read it and you should too, but I feel scammed.