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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
93
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 2 July 2005
The first time I read this book I thought it was good, six years on I read it again and thought it was great, another six years and I've just finished it again and think it may be the greatest book I've ever read.
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on 14 January 2016
First Vonnnegut I've read. Why did no one tell me about him before? Funny clever succinct prose. Good dialogue, imagery 'my soul seeming foul as smoke from burning cat fur' being my favourite. Dystopia is scary but edifying. It is a 'science needs to be responsle' book an idea which never goes out of date and can't be said enough times. Engaging, really readable, darkly funny and deadly serious. A grown up novel which feels like it's written by someone who has looked over the edge - which he has.
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on 17 September 2001
A nice short read, this is vonnegut on good form and therefore recommended. Not as inventive or thrilling as Sirens of titan (read this book!) but great all the same. Funny characters, and a pop at religion, and the idea of 'ice-nine' was nice. I would have taken it further, and had the soviets developing crystal poisons to combat ice-nine in a fun cold-war type of scenario. But then I must remember I don't write books.
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on 29 July 2014
I read Slaughterhouse 5 after the author featured heavily in another book I read, enjoyed it immensely, and have now read this one. This came before Slaughterhouse 5, but the author's background, world view, and the politics of the time all show through the slightly bizarre and strange story line. It's compulsive reading, and thought provoking, even after the 'end' of the cold war. The advance of science, which is a strong part of the background to the book, is of particular interest, touching on the motives, desires, and ethics of all those involved. The book is also both kind and damning of religion. In my late 40's now, I'm disappointed I'd not come across the author before, but heartened that I now have, and this was another brilliant book, making me want to read more of his, and also to understand more about him and his history.
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on 3 July 2014
This was the first book by Kurt Vonnegut that I read as a teenager and it had an enormous impact on me because of it's originality. But possibly more important in all the years since many of his ideas including this one have been reused very skillfully to produce excellent science fiction. Which is something I think the author would encourage. He was a giant and future authors in this genre will stand on his shoulders.
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on 20 July 2016
pooled ink Reviews:

Kurt Vonnegut’s intriguing novel CAT'S CRADLE is a poignant satire on modern man and the madness of them all. Humorous, sharp, and bursting with imagination, its pages contain words that have caused rivulets of contrasting reactions amongst readers since its publication in the twentieth century.

Read my FULL review here: [...]
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VINE VOICEon 23 January 2011
Short, clever, confusing, irritating, intelligent, funny. Parts of it are total genius. Parts of it seems dated. And parts are infuriating.

What I can say without equivocation is that it contains more ideas in its short length than most writers can muster in their entire career.

The narrator (John) is researching a book about what Americans were doing on the day the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. In the course of his research he meets the children of Felix Hoenikker, one of the men who invented the bomb. He learns about Hoenikker's legacy, Ice 9, a substance that was invented so that troops wouldn't have to deal with mud on battlefields. Ice 9 is an alternative version of water, solid crystals at room temperature, but once it comes into contact with water it causes the water to also change to Ice 9. John eventually ends up on the Caribbean island of San Moreno, birth place of the religion Bokononism and as events conspire it becomes obvious that Ice 9 will be the proponent of the apocalypse that started with the invention of the Atom bomb.

There is some amazing work here, Bokonism is worth reading the book for on it's own; a religion based around the idea that all religions are lies, but if the lies make you live a better life then they are worth following. And built around the idea that each person is tied to a group of people, who will work together to complete one important action - in this case bring about the end of the world. Bokonism is a religion I could follow.

The book is full of Vonnegut's characteristic humour and his voice is strong throughout. There are some really, really funny set pieces and some thought provoking ideas about human nature, our self-destructivenss, our need for faith and our reliance on technology.

The main problem with Cats Cradle is that taps into fears which aren't really there as much in our society nowadays. We no longer have the Cold War to worry about and whilst the threat of nuclear war is still very real it is no longer the pervading fear for the general populace. We look inwards now for the threat to our nations and so what would have seemed urgent and frightening at the time of writing now feels somewhat dated.
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on 4 November 2016
A dreamlike narrative of bizarre goings-on in a dystopian world. Other reviews claim the books to be humorous, but certainly not in a laugh-out-loud way (for me, anyway). And it's always of the dark kind. You may need to understand a little about the 60s to really make sense of this.
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on 8 May 2014
This novel turned me from being a Slaughterhouse 5 fan into a Vonnegut fan. It's a crystalline gem of irony and pessimistic fatalism but, unlike later works where he had become truly despondent, there is a lifeline of humanist optimism in the most magnificent part of the book — the invented religion of Bokononism.
Like a previous reviewer, I find criticisms that the book is dated or far-fetched to be odd. The book most certainly is not dated: the Cold War may be over, but man has not stopped his quest for the most efficient technological route to total annihilation. To me it's got a fairly universal theme (one similar to Dr Strangelove, which the book very much resembles in its savagely ironic tone): that technological destruction is ultimately wielded by individuals, and that individuals are far too often weak and idiotic to be entrusted with such power.
If you only read one Vonnegut book, make it this one. And then, if you have any sense, become a Bokononist too.
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on 8 April 2015
It's an excellent, interesting and a classic read. Its is funny, weird, dark and full of wisdom oat the same time.

The book is a really good size and fits in your hand easily, its a great feeling holding a book rather then a e-reader
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