I have a rather large back log of books to review and, I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been trying to squeeze them into as many bingo slots as possible. So when I went looking for author birthdays I was completely delighted when I found Kurt Vonnegut had been born on November 11th. This places him within the required time line and Cat’s Cradle fills the Birthday slot on my bingo card (and guys, I’m so close to Bingo).
So this book, like a lot of Vonnegut’s work, has been sitting kind of casually in my TBR pile as something I’d eventually get around to reading. I purchased it a while ago when it was on kindle sale, and decided to pick it up over the Fourth of July weekend. Because really, what says let’s celebrate freedom more then the end of the world? I liked it, like most of Vonnegut’s work there’s a wry, cold humor about the book, but the tale he tells is chilling.
The story is about a reporter who is trying to write a book about one of the creators of the atom bomb. While interviewing the children of this man, he discovers that the scientist had also created another terrible weapon, a configuration of the water molecule that will form at room temperature. Releasing this into the wild would cause all water to become solid, the implications for this shouldn’t take too much imagination. The scientist had three children, and when he died they split the Ice-9 into three different parts and each one of them keeps it secret and hidden. Kind of. One of them looses his to a Russian spy. The other uses his to gain power in a small Caribbean island, and because of the childish power grabbing of dictators he accidentally looses it on the world.
The book is obviously a parallel to the atom bomb, Vonnegut doesn’t really try to hide that, and the fears of 1960s Cold War Era are present in the book. However, I think it works for a modern audience as well. Despite the fear of nuclear war no longer hanging quite so heavy as it once did, the fear is still there. In addition, the danger of idiotic dictators is a lesson we should all take to heart.
This is a classic science fiction novel, I’m not really sure if I’m qualified to say I recommend it. I’m glad I read it though.