So It Goes


Last week, Amazon announced plans to publish Vonnegut-inspired fan fiction. Matthew Kahn parses the ironies of the enterprise:

In case you were wondering, here are the rules for the Vonnegut fan fiction project. Pretty much anything the man ever wrote would be prohibited under these rules. One rule is: “We don’t accept offensive content, including but not limited to racial slurs, excessively graphic or violent material, or excessive use of foul language.” This is a man who has a story called “The Big Space Fuck.” … Vonnegut’s books have been burned because people have found the content offensive! His novels frequently end with the protagonist committing suicide! He routinely draws assholes in his books! And what counts as offensive content? He writes about World War 2. One of his novel’s main characters is a Nazi propagandist. Try that without risking offending anybody.

Rob Bricken adds:

In theory, the idea is solid, and as I mentioned when Amazon first announced the service, it’s a great way to bring fans and a franchise together and make everybody a bit of money at the same time. But Kurt Vonnegut? FUCK AND NO. The man is one of America’s literary icons. To allow fan fiction based on his work is a disgrace to it, because while someone might write a Vampire Diaries story as good as the original Vampire Diaries author, there is no goddamned way anyone is going to write a story starring Kurt Vonnegut’s characters as well as Vonnegut did.

(Photo from Breakfast of Champions by David Press)