What does Hollywood Boulevard have to do with the Atomic Bomb and systemic racism? Well, all three topics of conversation get woven into our discussion with Miles Klee (@MilesKlee) on Kurt Vonnegut's classic sci-fi and sociology novel, CAT'S CRADLE. We wanted to know: does the book still work like it did when we were teens, before we realized it was satire?
Summary of CAT'S CRADLE
John, the narrator, is looking to write a book about the history of the Atomic bomb and becomes obsessed with the children of a (fictional) scientist named Felix Hoenekker, who was instrumental in the breakthrough of nuclear weapons. John follows the children– Frank, the eldest son; Nate, the youngest son who is also a little person; and daughter Angela– to the poverty-stricken island nation of San Lorenzo, where John discovers that the most beautiful woman in the world, Mona, is engaged to Frank despite that John has decided he must have her. On San Lorenzo, John is also introduced to the fake religion Bokononism, which has been worshipped and vilified by the government, in order to control the populace. While on San Lorenzo, John discovers that the mythical ice-nine, a chemical that can turn all of the water it touches into solid ice, was indeed invented by Felix Hoenekker, and that each of his children have a grain. Thanks to the nation of San Lorenzo's careless war-games, the grains of ice-nine hit the ocean and cause an cataclysmic event. John and Mona survive, and emerge to the earth's surface to find most of humanity dead.