Attention authors: please stop dying

Ransom Riggs

I could handle it -- just barely -- when we lost B.C. creator Johnny Hart earlier this week. But this is where I draw the line: yesterday, Kurt Vonnegut died at the age of 84. Far from feeling meh about it, I feel a floss-style eulogy is in order:

Things you didn't know about towering literary figures Part V, dead guy edition: Kurt Vonnegut

  • The asteroid 25399 Vonnegut is named in his honor
  • Vonnegut played himself in a cameo in 1986's Back To School, in which he is hired by Rodney Dangerfield's Thornton Melon to write a paper on the topic of the novels of Kurt Vonnegut. Recognizing the work as not Melon's own, Professor Turner tells him, "Whoever did write this doesn't know the first thing about Kurt Vonnegut."
  • In fashioning "instructions" for writing short stories, Vonnegut said "Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia."
  • In 1945, Vonnegut was awarded a Purple Heart for what he called a "ludicrously negligible wound."
  • After leaving the army, he reported for Chicago's City News bureau, then joined the public relations department of General Electric - a job he loathed.
  • On May 14, 1944, Mothers' Day, his mother, Edith Lieber Vonnegut, committed suicide.
  • In the novel Timequake, Vonnegut writes that his alter-ego, Kilgore Trout, (also) dies at the age of eighty-four.