I can’t believe I’ve made it this long without ever hearing this audio, described as Vonnegut’s “first public reading of the classic Breakfast of Champions, three years before it was published, on May 4, 1970 at the 92nd Street Y.”
Sounds just terrific in the air:
This is a world premiere of a book called, Breakfast of Champions. Not even my wife has seen it — I’ve simply passed the rumor around that it exists. So, here we go. It…uh…it’s a novel.
My name is Dwayne Hoover and I am an experiment by the creator of the universe. I am the only creature in the entire universe who has free will. I am the only creature who has to figure out what to do next and why. Everybody else is a robot.
I am pooped. I wish I were a robot too. It is perfectly exhausting having to reason all the time in a universe I never made.
When you hear Kurt Vonnegut reading this aloud you appreciate the necessity of science fiction; it’s a way we crazy people have of talking about the world without talking about the world. I didn’t always get that, but now I really think I do.
Listen to the whole thing. It’s poetry.