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Player Piano: A Novel [Kindle eBook] [Paperback]

Kurt Vonnegut
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 17.00
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Book Description

Jan. 12 1999

Kurt Vonnegut’s first novel spins the chilling tale of engineer Paul Proteus, who must find a way to live in a world dominated by a supercomputer and run completely by machines. Paul’s rebellion is vintage Vonnegut—wildly funny, deadly serious, and terrifyingly close to reality.


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Review

“A funny, savage appraisal of a totally automated American society of the future.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“An exuberant, crackling style . . . Vonnegut is a black humorist, fantasist and satirist, a man disposed to deep and comic reflection on the human dilemma.”—Life

“His black logic . . . gives us something to laugh about and much to fear.”—The New York Times Book Review

From the Publisher

Vonnegut's spins the chilling tale of engineer Paul Proteus, who must find a way to live in a world dominated by a supercomputer and run completely by machines. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Novel!! Dec 27 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is Kurt Vonneguts 1st novel..the pre curser to many to come and one of my favorites...Its kind of 1984 or Brave New World in the sarcastic and witty Vonnegut style..
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars top 2 Jan. 9 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is one of my two favorite Vonnegut books (along with Galapagos), but I disagree with those who have posted the opinion that the true value of the book is Vonnegut's earily prophetic vision of social dinamics in post-industrial America. I believe that Vonnegut's intent was to convey his opinion of what constitutes fundamental human dignity (usefullness to others, in Vonnegut's opinion). Read in such a way, this book flawlesly illuminates the indignity of social welfare and mechanization.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vonnegut's first a good indication for later Aug. 2 1997
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A lot of people, even Vonnegut fans, probably haven't heard of this book, for whatever reasons. Vonnegut really doesn't discuss it that much, mostly because he dislikes the label of science-fiction, which this book, along with The Sirens of Titan and even Slaughterhouse-Five, clearly is.

Still, this book is a must for Vonnegut fans or even those interested in old science-fiction in the style of Orwell or Huxley. Those looking for Vonnegut's classic deadpan black humorist style won't find it here. The beginnings of it are here, however and Vonnegut's tale of Paul Proteus' rebellion against the oppressive government is still as entertaining and fascinating as it was years ago. Read with the aforementioned 1984 and Brave New World, this book provides a slight contrast by using a different tone and more humor, but the message is still the same, that technology will ruin us all and bring about our ultimate downfall.

Fortunately this book has been reissued so that fans can see how Vonnegut started out, and fortunately, unlike most writers' first novels, Vonnegut's initial effort is just as readable as his later works
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2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing Vonnegut adventure Feb. 6 2011
By SBuckle
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I feel bad for writing this, but I was disappointed with Player Piano. I say this because Vonnegut is, hands down, my favorite writer and one of the first writers I truly took cues from. This was his first book which wasn't initially published. Given that, it's a bit unfair to hold it to the standards of a Breakfast of Champions or Slaughterhouse Five. Player Piano does not hold the same Vonnegut character developed in his latter books - it's very linear, doesn't have the quirky Vonnegutian wordsmithing and his black satire is less developed. It's more attuned to Orwell's 1984 and carries themes of post-war industrial America but without the same bite.
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1.0 out of 5 stars A disappointingly dull book April 29 2004
Format:Paperback
As a fan of Vonnegut's writing, I was extremely disappointed with this book. It has a good story premise but it doesn't really go anywhere. The basics of this story: Vonnegut depicts America as a land run by machines. All the humans must have a doctorate in order to be considered qualified for any jobs because machines have been built that efficiently replace lower workers. There is very little mention of children, but the few that are brought up merely point out the struggles of trying to pass tests for degrees and then fighting 500 others for the one job opening available. The protagonist, Dr. Paul Proteus, gets fed up with his machine dominated environment but doesn't have the will to commit himself to opposition until he is forced into it. There is a second story line with a diplomat from another country touring America as his host tries to convince him of the need to replace humans with machines in his own country. The host fails in his mission as things fall apart in the end.
Basically, I thought there were too many strings left hanging in this book. Vonnegut would start off on a tangent, with such extreme description, but then there was no real resolution. Like, what happened to the farm? I was especially disappointed in the ending, expecting more out of Dr. Proteus than was given. So many things were left unexplained that I felt like I was wasting my time reading this book. I would become interested in one aspect only to find myself filled with more questions left unanswered.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One to add to my collection Aug. 11 2003
Format:Paperback
Some books I can plow through in an afternoon, regardless of the number of pages. However, every time I read something by Vonnegut, it becomes so deeply philosophical and thought-provoking that I can only take it in small bites.
It's about the future of America. It was written in 1952, as his first novel. In the book, a computer takes over the U.S. and most of mans' work has been taken by machines. Citizens are split into two groups: the ones who have high IQs and the ones who don't. In an almost communist society (where the government takes certain steps to ensure a person's well-being through provisions), a few people decide to call for a revolution against the machines, with surprising twists and an ironic ending.
It made me consider how much of my life seems automated--wake up, go to work, go home, repeat--and how much more I need to be less mechanized and more human.
This is a book that I think I'll buy so I can re-read it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars one to add to my collection Aug. 11 2003
Format:Paperback
Some books I can plow through in an afternoon, regardless of the number of pages. However, every time I read something by Vonnegut, it becomes so deeply philosophical and thought-provoking that I can only take it in small bites.
It's about the future of America. It was written in 1952, as his first novel. In the book, a computer takes over the U.S. and most of mans' work has been taken by machines. Citizens are split into two groups: the ones who have high IQs and the ones who don't. In an almost communist society (where the government takes certain steps to ensure a person's well-being through provisions), a few people decide to call for a revolution against the machines, with surprising twists and an ironic ending.
It made me consider how much of my life seems automated--wake up, go to work, go home, repeat--and how much more I need to be less mechanized and more human.
This is a book that I think I'll buy so I can re-read it.
Was this review helpful to you?
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Price - Great Condition.
Book arrived much faster than advertised. Started reading right away. I found it a little difficult to get into, but great idea nonetheless and I look forward to finishing it. Read more
Published 11 months ago by David Schwartz
3.0 out of 5 stars Still relevant in 2004?
The scenario of Player Piano is just a little unrealistic, when compared to today's reality: yes, computers seem to be taking over much of the work formerly done by humans (or... Read more
Published on April 14 2004 by Kris
3.0 out of 5 stars A Too-Successful Revolution
Player Piano is the story of an unlikely uprising against an over-industrialized society, which proved to be too successful and reminds the reader to "be careful what you wish... Read more
Published on May 19 2003 by buddyhead
4.0 out of 5 stars Vonnegut's First Novel
His writing style was not fully developed, and the series of events went in order, but for his first novel, Player Piano is a great book about a totalitarian soicety, a revolt... Read more
Published on April 23 2003 by K. Bentley
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a good read after many years.
This book offers an interesting view of social politics as they were in the 50's, and still are. This book tells us what we are all rather blind to see, which is that we really do... Read more
Published on March 25 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars Out of line
I'm slowly working my way throught the Vonnegut library; I've read about 12 books so far. Player Piano is far, far below the rest. Read more
Published on Feb. 12 2003 by Michael D. Fleetwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Golden Satire
I agree with a professor of mine when he told me that Slaughterhouse Five is better written, but Player Piano is more entertaining. Read more
Published on Jan. 14 2003 by "j_kane"
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