2 B R 0 2 B

( 79 )

Overview

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....

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2 B R 0 2 B

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Overview

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781490542836
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/27/2013
  • Pages: 26
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Kurt Vonnegut
2 B R 0 2 B

Biography

Born in 1922, Vonnegut grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. His architect father suffered great financial setbacks during the Depression and was unemployed for long stretches of time. His mother suffered from mental illness and eventually committed suicide in 1944, a trauma that haunted Vonnegut all his life. He attended Cornell in the early 1940s, but quit in order to enlist in the Army during WWII.

Vonnegut was shipped to Europe, fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and was captured behind enemy lines and incarcerated in a German prison camp. As a POW, he witnessed the firebombing of Dresden by Allied forces, an event of devastating magnitude that left an indelible impression on the young soldier.

After the war, Vonnegut returned home and married his high school sweetheart. In addition to two daughters and a son of their own, he and his first wife adopted three children orphaned in 1958 by the death of Vonnegut's sister Alice. (He and his second wife adopted another daughter.) The family lived in Chicago and Schenectady before settling in Cape Cod, where Vonnegut began to concentrate seriously on his writing. His first novel, the darkly dystopian Player Piano, was published in 1952 and met with moderate success. Three additional novels followed (including the critically acclaimed Cat's Cradle), but it was not until the publication of 1969's Slaughterhouse Five that Vonnegut achieved true literary stardom. Based on the author's wartime experiences in Dresden, the novel resonated powerfully in the social upheaval of the Vietnam era.

Although he is best known for his novels (a genre-blending mix of social satire, science fiction, surrealism, and black comedy), Vonnegut also wrote short fiction, essays, and plays (the best known of which was Happy Birthday, Wanda June). In addition, he was a talented graphic artist who illustrated many of his books and exhibited sporadically during his literary career. He died on April 11, 2007, after suffering irreversible brain injuries as a result of a fall.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Kurt Vonnegut
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 11, 1922
    2. Place of Birth:
      Indianapolis, Indiana
    1. Date of Death:
      April 11, 2007
    2. Place of Death:
      New York, New York

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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 79 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(36)

4 Star

(18)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(20)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 79 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 10, 2011

    Makes you think

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 2, 2011

    Quick, thought provoking read

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2014

    Imperator K

    Pads in.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2014

    Tito Stygian 璗

    The tom padded in, looking around.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2014

    &oplus

    &otimes

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2014

    Nitro

    *Drinking beer*

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2014

    Priest meowfacer

    Because i dont know evrything there is

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2014

    Jakie sarah and talia

    Walk in wearing blue dresses. They sit in one pew silently

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2014

    Priest meowfacer

    Ok lets get this started well do this the easy way ok

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2014

    Beats

    Uh hy?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2014

    Beats

    Walks in

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2014

    Beats

    No its today now

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2014

    Blue lightning

    Sat. o3o

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2014

    Skylash

    "All right! Let's get this party started!" She flies in, nearly hitting the ceiling.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2014

    AL @ Flowerfilly

    NHU! DATS MAI JAWB!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2014

    Silverdream

    The silvery unicorn flips her short mane (which is difficult) and lifts up the rest if her friends with magicl

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2014

    Mipoeni

    "O-okay then..."

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2014

    Sugarheart

    "Whee!" She happily bounces in.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2014

    Blue lightning

    Stood of the the side, drinking a glass of cherry flavored ice water.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2014

    Blazin

    Where is the prep

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 79 Customer Reviews

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