DE Gates's memorial of memento of KV below (above?) reminds me of what I intended at first to say about him and his writings. In all the sumations of the pundits about his influence on a generation, telling uncomfortable truths, being a nihilist or a humanist or a cornpone philosopher or a cranky geezer, there really was very little about him and his work considered aesthetically, that is as art rather than commentary or propaganda or engagement or philosophy. I was least impressed by those aspects of his writing, and stopped reading it when they predominated (sometime after "Breakfast of Champions" I guess.) The artfulness of "Cat's Cradle" and "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater" and "Mother Night" could always be seen as secondary to the worldview, and go unnoticed -- ars celare artem -- but (maybe only because I was pondering the problems of a professon I hadn't yet made or joined) they seemed uppermost to me. I still insist students read "Cat's Cradle" if they want to find out how to shape a story that is in effect over when it starts -- how to arrange the elements of a story that even its narrator knows the ending of. Even more artful is how many of the elements that are part of the conclusion that is built toward -- ice-9, Bokononism -- are remote from the readers experience. There's a wonderful (nihilistic?) circularity, or ring shape, to several of the novels, a circualrity hidden in the "random" way the information in them is assembled for the reader. I don't suppose anyone would see a resemblance between his books and mine, but the way he can start up ten different threads of narrative that only gradually show themselves to be parts of the same story is something I think I tried to copy from him. And of course aesthetic circularity, "random" narrative effects, unresolvable oppositions as story engines -- all these are "statements" or suggest "worldviews" too. It was in a Vonnegut book that I first read that great humanist/atheist/dunnoist paradox I live by: The universe is a safe with a combination lock, and the combination of the lock is locked inside the safe.