Skip to:ContentBottom
Cover image for The brothers Vonnegut : science and fiction in the house of magic
The brothers Vonnegut : science and fiction in the house of magic
The brothers Vonnegut : science and fiction in the house of magic
First edition.
Physical Description:
305 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Autumn fog -- Precipitating events -- Head in the clouds -- Bolt of lightning -- Eye of the storm -- Watersheds -- Rainmakers -- Out of the blue -- Cold fronts -- Shifting winds -- Epilogue: rainbow's end.
In the late 1940s. Kurt Vonnegut is home after surviving the firebombing of Dresden. He has ambitions to be a novelist but dares to share them only with his new wife. Kurt struggles to complete college and write while working nights at a newspaper. Soon there's a child on the way. Anxious about supporting his family, Kurt quits school and takes a job in the PR department of General Electric, where his older brother, Bernard, is a leading scientist in what's called the "House of Magic"--GE's Research Lab. Unlike Kurt's, with its stops and starts, Bernard's life had always gone according to plan. With a Ph. D. from MIT, Bernie worked for the military during World War II and afterward joined "the nation's oldest and most renowned industrial research lab." By the time Kurt arrives at GE, Bernie is piling up patents on a series of cutting-edge weather-control technologies meant to make deserts bloom. While Kurt writes press releases by day and labors over short stories by night, Bernard builds silver iodide generators and sends planes to bomb cloud banks with dry ice. These experiments, dubbed Project Cirrus, soon attract the attention of military men--maybe weather will even become "the new super-weapon." But as evidence mounts that Project Cirrus is causing alarming changes in the atmosphere, Bernard begins to have misgivings about the harmful uses of his inventions, and Kurt starts writing a new kind of story depicting scientists grappling with moral questions and with fantastic inventions gone awry. Set against a backdrop of atomic anxiety and the dawn of the digital age, The Brothers Vonnegut is a wild collision of science and literature. Melding biography and cultural history, Ginger Strand uses letters, manuscripts, lab notebooks, and interviews to chronicle how the brothers navigated a world where the possibilities of science seemed infinite--a fascinating story of two ambitious men wrestling with the ethical dilemmas of their age, revealing how the desire to control the natural world shaped one of our most inventive novelists.--Adapted from book jacket.