You know, it has been a most interesting week for me in the way of words. One of my articles on MoviePilot has gone viral and even gained the attention of a prominent actor, my first batch of new books arrived early and I’m already almost a third of the way through one of them, Stephen King’s On Writing.
Stephen King was the first of several authors I chose in order to brush up on the craft of writing, but he is one of many. The second author I found myself gravitating towards was Kurt Vonnegut.
Even though I’ve never read Vonnegut’s work, I had seen many of his lectures. He has a very fascinating way of speaking about stories, such as this wonderful lecture he did during his days as a teacher, talking about the shapes of stories. He not only unearthed the simplicity of narrative structure, but he did it with great and engaging humor.
After watching this and many of his other interviews and lectures, I deduced that I could learn much from this man and his skills in The Craft. His most well known book, Slaughterhouse Five, was high on my list of must reads, but as I trudge along to save up the money for my first collection of Vonnegut’s works, I just couldn’t wait. There had to be something out there for me to read right here, right now.
I found it in what may be the most brilliantly conceived short story ever written. It is a poignant and moving tale of intimate love and humanity’s last desperate reach to touch the stars.
The name of this story, The Big Space Fuck.
In this future where giant man eating lampreys have taken over the world, humanity isn’t doing so well. Children can sue their parents for bad parenting and the government gives you extravagant gifts for getting abortions. Knowing that the Earth will soon be unable to bear them, humanity fills a massive rocket with sperm and shoots it into the Andromeda galaxy in hopes it will hit something and allow their life to spring anew.
The story is told from the point of view of a couple being sued by their daughter who watch the proceedings on TV, watching politicians speak of this wonderful event while wearing rocket shaped cod pieces to celebrate The Big Space Fuck. They hope watching this event shall rekindle their hope, but are sadly eaten by one of those giant flesh eating lampreys just before the rocket launches.
I swear this is true, and it really was written by Vonnegut. I do offer my highest compliments to this story with complete honesty. It really is brilliant. From the first line to the last, the story tears one belly laugh out of you after another. The humor here is beyond relentless. Everything in here is a joke, right down to the world building, and every joke pays off in the final few paragraphs of the story.
Vonnegut is smart. He keeps this little apocalyptic/pornographic farce short and sweet, probably to avoid having the reader smother to death on their own laughter. Vonnegut, you are a dirty man, and I love ya for it.
I eagerly await reading more of this man’s work, though He will be hard pressed to top something as genius and sticky as The Big Space Fuck.