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Cat's Cradle (S.F. MASTERWORKS) [Hardcover]

Kurt Vonnegut
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

20 May 2010 S.F. MASTERWORKS


Told with deadpan humour and bitter irony, Kurt Vonnegut's cult tale of global destruction preys on our deepest fears of witnessing Armageddon and, worse still, surviving it.


Dr Felix Hoenikker, one of the founding fathers of the atomic bomb, has left a deadly legacy to the world. For he is the inventor of ice-nine, a lethal chemical capable of freezing the entire planet. The search for its whereabouts leads to Hoenikker's three eccentric children, to a crazed dictator in the Caribbean, to madness. Felix Hoenikker's death-wish comes true when his last, fatal, gift to mankind brings about an end that, for all of us, is nigh.

Frequently Bought Together

Cat's Cradle (S.F. MASTERWORKS) + Childhood's End (S.F. MASTERWORKS) + Dune (S.F. Masterworks)
Price For All Three: 21.16

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (20 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575081953
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575081956
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 13.7 x 20.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 327,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kurt Vonnegut was a writer, lecturer and painter. He was born in Indianapolis in 1922 and studied biochemistry at Cornell University. During WWII, as a prisoner of war in Germany, he witnessed the destruction of Dresden by Allied bombers, an experience which inspired Slaughterhouse Five. First published in 1950, he went on to write fourteen novels, four plays, and three short story collections, in addition to countless works of short fiction and nonfiction. He died in 2007.

Product Description


One of the warmest, wisest, funniest voices to be found anywhere in fiction (Daily Telegraph)

The time to read Vonnegut is just when you begin to suspect that the world is not what it appears to be. He is not only entertaining, he is electrocuting. You read him with enormous pleasure because he makes your hair stand on end (New York Times)

Vonnegut has looked the world straight in the eye and never flinched (J. G. Ballard) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

One of America's greatest writers gives us his unique perspective on our fears of nuclear annihilation

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make sure you've read Slaughterhouse 5 first 18 Aug 2007
This is the second book of Vonnegut I've read, the first one being Vonnegut's best know novel, "Slaughterhouse 5". If it was not for "Slaughterhouse 5" I would take "A cat's cradle" as a very imaginative, weird and funny book, but probably not one that keeps me thinking for some time once finished. The tone is just too light and the story too improbable to be taken otherwise. But this is highly deceptive and once you realise that Vonnegut's war experience in Dresden has been central to his vision of life, this book appears not just as light entertainment but as a more profound reflection on the meaning of life (pretty meaningless in the author's view I gather) and, incidentally, on the role of religion and the power science gives to some very irresponsible and unbalanced people (this book was written during the cold war and the possibility of the world being completely wiped out by nuclear war was then seen as very real).

The message may be too pessimistic to make the novel completely enjoyable but it makes for an interesting and very funny read until someone presses the wrong the button.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book 23 Nov 1998
By A Customer
It's full of comic gems and cynicism. Things like the touching of feet. The islanders pronouncing Johnson as Bokonon. That he bans the religion to try to drum up interest. The way he compares himself with some head of an arms complex, (I forget exactly but something like) he looked clean and polished, I felt prickly and diseased. Worth reading for that. I read it 10 years ago and haven't seen it since, but I remember it like a favourite pop song. Buy it.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Well, that was great fun.
I first read Cat's Cradle as a 16 year old in 1973. I loved it as much as anything I had read up to that point. I re-read it very recently and tried as hard as I could to avoid the rosy glow of nostalgia colouring my impressions.
I hope I succeeded; in any case I found myself shaking my head every few seconds in wonder at the humour, the ideas and the sheer intelligence on display. I think I probably got more out of the book almost 40 years on than I did at the age of 16, but the fact that a novel, essentially of ideas rather than storyline, left such an indelible impression on my adolescent mind is pretty remarkable. I think Vonnegut is held in even greater esteem today than during his lifetime and the predictions of him going the way of Mark Twain in terms of reputation don't seem too fanciful.
So, it was a great re-connection for me and a re-discovery of something dear; then the real fun began when I read the reviews here on Amazon.
Fighting the temptation to slip into `defensive fanboy' mode I still find the content of the negative reviews published here fascinating and provocative. There seem to be a few consistent criticisms;
* The novel and it's themes are `dated' and no longer relevant
* The characters are unbelievable or `unappealing'
* The plot is weak
* There is no central point to the novel
So, is the novel `dated'? Well, it was published in 1973, so by some standards it's bound to be dated - it is nearly 50 years old and our world today is different technologically, politically and environmentally. Given all of that I'm personally astonished at how well it has aged. Yes, we are no longer preoccupied by the Cold War, but with events in Iran how safe do we really feel from the threat of nuclear war?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sci-fi mixed with philosophy 13 Dec 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Vonnegut's book is packed with irony, humor and the absurd. He invents a new religion - based on lies (very convincing). So far my favourite Vonnegut
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really doesn't get much better 16 April 2011
By Runcorn
Firstly, I'm a huge Vonnegut fan. From the pulpy sci-fi stuff to the offbeat and down-to-earth satires. For me, this is his best book. It's got all the elements that make Vonnegut great on show - funny dialogue, short chapters, repeat phrases which get more powerful each time, all within a whole new world religion he expertly creates within the story. I almost feel like I understood people better when I finished reading this the second time. It's deep, it's dark, but it's funny but it's really truthful and (I think) it made me understand how to be a better person!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the negative comments state 13 April 2011
Having read most of KV's book now I feel that this is his equal best - if not his best. Better than the supposed great of 'Slaughterhouse Five' which has too much Tralfamadore sci-fi for my tastes. This may be light and in a near first person perspective (I originally thought it was first person like Timequake), but it's great story. It reminds me of the 'Old Man and the Sea' in the way that it only uses the words required to write the story. It doesn't try to be too wordy for the sake of it.
Please read this with an open mind and let the story flow. It might be dated to some people, but I feel there are references which could be considered modern in there. The island is almost taken from 'Lost' in it's religious overtones and historical concepts (people washing up on shore and fighting for control throughout time) and the people are real with honest stories which are driven by their bare emotions (love, desire and longing for them normal life which constantly evades them). I particularly like the concept of a religion which appears to offer to tell all, but is tells nothing (a bit like every episode of Lost) and provides no more insight than a fortune cookie.
The only negative is the clumsy way the incident which causes the near-end of the world happens. It does feel like many chapters are conducted in a few pages. But that's it - apart from that it ranks along side Albert Camus 'The Insider' as one of my favourite books. I only wish 'd read Kurt's novel's when I was in my teen's.
I hope it provides the same joy to you too (time and time again)!!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Directionless and sometimes dull
I bought this because I had heard about ice-nine from a cousin since the early eighties, and while buying some other stuff, this was thrown up as a suggestion. Read more
Published 4 months ago by S. Zacharias
3.0 out of 5 stars Sleepy cradle
I liked this book a lot when I originally read it in the 1980's (in my twenties) but when I read it again in 2013 because it came up as an online "book of the month" I... Read more
Published 5 months ago by S. Morgan
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic - but I'm still not a bonkonist
Kurt Vonnegut paints a view of humanity that highlights the absurd contradictions in wealth, religion, and society. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Sarah-Emily
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic source of 'Bokononism'
Kurt Vonnegut's chilling tale of 'Ice Nine' is a classic story that all Science Fiction readers should know. Read more
Published 10 months ago by A. Harrow
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't Go Wrong with Vonnegut
Kindle is the way to go. Easy to use, it's so inexpensive, and always dependable. I can't believe I've never read this one.
Published 12 months ago by Mrs. Little
5.0 out of 5 stars Cat's Cradle
It is over twenty years since I last read this book, I knew I liked it but had forgotten most of the story. It was well worth rereading.
Published 14 months ago by Mr K S Elliott
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius
Reminds me of Bob Dylan's lyrics, Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove, so much meaning behind such a tiny book. I can't believe I've read just now that I'm 24
Published 14 months ago by Naan88
2.0 out of 5 stars mediocre
I was worried when I first got the book that it would be a difficult and involving read, but I was proved wrong. Read more
Published 14 months ago by celeocanth
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read
A relatively short but captivating book, easy to get in to and well worth reading. Explores some interesting themes while still being entertaining.
Published 14 months ago by Luke Sanders
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Classic book which I think is very understated. Really makes you think about the world and what we hold dear.
Published 14 months ago by PCJ
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