Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
Hey, Kurt Vonnegut fans. Did you hear?
Someone was digging around in old files and stumbled across five unpublished short stories by Mr. V. They seem to date from the early ’50s, before he had published any novels and was busy sending stories to magazines like Collier’s.
Lucky you, though. You get to read one of those five new old pieces via The Atlantic. It’s called “The Drone King.”
It wouldn’t be a spoiler to let you know that “drone” here refers to bees.
As young as he was when he wrote this story – about thirty – Vonnegut’s humor and offbeat vision shines through. Even he probably had no idea at the time that he had brilliant classics like Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions in him. Or that he would become one of America’s most beloved men of letters.
If he had known, maybe he’d have opted out. Who’s to say?
I might have mentioned a couple of years ago that I took a class in college devoted to Kurt, and the professor claimed to know him well enough to invite him to come and speak to us. Unfortunately he declined, but he wished us happiness in his note and, I think, expressed befuddlement that we’d want to study his books when we could be reading Beowulf. (I probably made that part up.)
I laughed my way through all of those books, but I still chuckle all these years later at the character, Vox Humana, who was named after an organ stop. And who can forget Vonnegut’s drawing of an asshole from Breakfast of Champions?
Yes, we do miss him. But he’s still here, in a way, and these new stories make it feel like he never left.
[Photo via Wiki Commons.]