serious

Kurt Vonnegut, 1922-2007.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/625991.stm covers a fire that left him critically ill from smoke inhalation a few months ago. I don't remember hearing about it at the time, and http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/6547399.stm covers his death, apparently following a fall.

I first read Vonnegut in my teens - The Sirens of Titan, certainly, and possibly some others. Later, my friend Keith prompted me to read Breakfast of Champions, which I quickly followed with Player Piano, Slaughterhouse 5 and Galapagos. Cat's Cradle, of course, is not only an excellent book but also appears on every decent bibliography on the subject of spongiform brain diseases - indeed, I can't think of any other novel I've seen cited in a scientific paper more than once. I've bored more than one of you recently with my description of Mother Night, its key point being that "you should be careful what you pretend to be, because in the end you are what you pretend to be." I think the most recent Vonnegut I've read is God Bless You Dr Kevorkian, a series of purported interviews performed at the pearly gates after being half-executed and then revived. Obviously it was just an excuse to put his words into other people's mouths, but it works beautifully. He's known for his satire and black comedy, but I've always found him a consistently humane writer, however bad the situations he created. He was often downbeat, but not misanthropic. And there's a recent collecion of essays, A Man Without a Country, which I'll have to get soon too. At least I haven't exhausted his writings yet.
Oh my god! I read a fair amount of Vonnegut when I was younger, and whilst I'm not a huge fan I do recognise his...well, his importance and...christ, this is really sad :/
You notice the NY Times couldn't resist the chance to sneer at SF in Vonnegut's obit?

"Some critics said he had invented a new literary type, infusing the science-fiction form with humor and moral relevance and elevating it to serious literature."

Because everybody knows science fiction never did anything serious like that before or since, and that he would have been more worthy of respect if he'd written mimetic novels about the internal angst of middle-aged white male professors in some Northeastern university town.

Damn it, couldn't they at least resist the yearning to p*ss on the poor bastard in his GRAVE?
I saw your post, yes. Some people just can't resist the urge to be snide. That obit will probably crop up in the next Ansible.