Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) was one of the best loved American authors of his generation, even having an asteroid named after him. The author′s most celebrated novels are Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat′s Cradle, and Breakfast of Champions. His work stretched across black comedy, science fiction and satire.
Prior to his writing career, Vonnegut - famous for his broad moustache and mop of curly hair - fought in World War II. Captured by the Germans, he was a prisoner of war and held in an underground meat locker being used as a makeshift prison. The Germans called the building Schlachthof Fünf (Slaughterhouse Five) and Vonnegut′s experiences, including seeing the devastating bombing of Dresden, became the basis for several books.
The fictional character, Kilgore Trout, was one of
Vonnegut′s literary trademarks. Often considered somewhat of an alter ego for Vonnegut, Trout is an unappreciated science fiction author who plays different roles in several of Vonnegut′s novels, from acting as a catalyst for the major characters in Breakfast of Champions, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater and Slaughterhouse-Five to being one of the main figures in Jailbird and Timequake.
When collecting Kurt Vonnegut it would be easy to spend a mint - a signed first edition of any Vonnegut classic will cost several hundred to several thousand dollars. However signed copies of later editions and lesser known books can be found for around $100.
Watch out for interesting limited editions such as Missing in Action (limited to 126 copies) which is a reprint of a May 29, 1945 letter written after his harrowing experience as a P.O.W. or the first UK edition of Player Piano (Vonnegut′s first novel). Only 3,000 copies of Player Piano were printed in the UK and it is thought many were pulped.