Sunday, November 8, 2015

Electric Literature: Engineering A Writing Career

Kurt Vonnegut’s Inspired Years Among the Scientists at General Electric

In 1973, Kurt Vonnegut was asked by an interviewer why he started writing science fiction. “I was working for General Electric at the time,” he replied, “right after World War II, and I saw a milling machine for cutting the rotors on jet engines, gas turbines.”

The machine was computer-operated, and it inspired Vonnegut to write a novel, Player Piano, about a future society in which industry has become completely automated, at enormous human cost.

“There was no avoiding [writing science fiction],” he told his interviewer, “since the General Electric Company was science fiction.”

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