PLAYER PIANO Mass Market Paperback – Mar 15 1974
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“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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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
Previous to reading Player Piano, I had read 1984 by George Orwell. Player Piano seemed to be struggling to be 1984, but didn't come to the same level. 1984 was a fast-paced book with a spectacular ending that made it's point by being subtle. Player Piano pretty much hits you over the head with its point from page one.
If you are interested in this kind of thing, buy 1984 and forget this one.
"The machines are to practically everybody what the white men were to the Indians. People are finding that, because of the way the machines are changing the world, more and more of their old values don't apply any more. People have no choice but to become second-rate machines themselves, or wards of the machines."
Proteus' rebellion against his industrialized world starts quietly enough, with the acquisition of a farm and the conscious sabotage of a promotion he deserved. However, he eventually crosses paths with radicals who saw fit to not only stem the tides of mass-production, but to destroy all of the machines in the process.
Interesting enough story-line, right? Yes, but the story's potential is better than its execution. Many great ideas are left unpolished. Besides Dr. Proteus, there are no sympathetic characters in this tale, which made it difficult to root for the revolution's failure or success. Plus, things spiraled so badly out of control that you don't even know if success was achieved by anyone's measure. This book was one giant crescendo, and the actual revolution occurs in about five pages at the end, hastily described and leaving way too much to the imagination.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Classic Vonnegut. You can never go wrong when choosing from his writing.Published 15 months ago by aholman
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..Published on Dec 27 2013 by David R. Arden
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 morePublished on April 29 2013 by David Schwartz
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... Read morePublished on Feb. 6 2011 by SBuckle
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 morePublished on April 14 2004 by Kris
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... Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2004
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... Read morePublished on Aug. 11 2003 by Tom Roberts
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... Read morePublished on Aug. 11 2003 by Barbara Reynoso
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 morePublished on April 22 2003 by K. Bentley