Humorous Novels
I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around
- Kurt Vonnegut


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Player Piano
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (1952)


Self-described socialist hits us with another dose of wry social commentary. Vonnegut's hilarious first novel has been rediscovered in the wake of his current cult-icon status. Society is run by the few people who have real jobs... the top scientists and technocrats. The rest of us are 'Reeks & Wrecks' just waiting for the revolution. Inspired by Vonnegut's time working for General Electric.





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The Space Merchants
by Frederik Pohl & C.M. Kornbluth (1952)


A good old-fashioned leftist attack on the shortcomings of capitalism. Giant advertising agencies dominate the world, go to war with each other, and use drugs and ad-propaganda to turn us into mindless pulp. A copywriter is assigned to convince volunteers to colonise the hellhole that is Venus. Kornbluth died before his time, but for a while was the crackling wit behind Pohlís leftism.





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The Sirens of Titan
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (1959)


Jam-packed with many of Vonnegut's trademark devices - like mock religions, multi-temporal viewpoints and the manipulative Tralfamadorians. The richest, most depraved man on Earth is offered a chance to take a space journey to distant worlds with a beautiful woman at his side. He survives flying into a chrono-synclastic infundibulum and founds the Church of God the Utterly Indifferent.





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The Stainless Steel Rat [S1]
by Harry Harrison (1961)


The first of a much-loved sequence, Slippery Jim diGriz is the Galaxy's smoothest con-man... until he gets caught. The obvious thing to do with a man of such immense talent is to make him a cop. He goes about conning humans, aliens and mechs, while taking on a sinister woman who is building the ultimate battleship. Not exactly intellectual fare, but absolutely loads of fun.





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Cat's Cradle
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (1963)


Vonnegut takes aim at science and religion in this side-splitting satire. A scientist invents 'ice-nine' because a general is tired of soldiers' boots getting muddy. Unfortunately, it is a chemical capable of freezing the entire planet. An array of misfits take us through some typical Vonnegut mayhem. The book preys on our deepest fears of witnessing Armageddon and, worse still, surviving it.





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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy [S1]
by Douglas Adams (1979)


Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' who, for the last 15 years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor. Arthur is soon to become the last human left alive, so he is just going to have to make the best of things.





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The Restaurant at the End of the Universe [S2]
by Douglas Adams (1980)


Facing annihilation at the hands of the Vogons is a curious time to have a displaced Arthur Dent and his comrades desperately in search of a place to eat. Arthur and Ford Prefect, a contributor to the 'The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy', are joined by Zaphod Beeblebrox, ex-president of the galaxy; Tricia McMilan, a fellow Earth refugee; and the neurotic robot Marvin. Don't panic!





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Life, the Universe and Everything [S3]
by Douglas Adams (1982)


The final book in the original Hitchhiker's Guide trilogy finds our heroes facing a serious threat to their health. The unhappy inhabitants of planet Krikkit are sick of looking at the night sky above their heads, so they plan to destroy it. The universe, that is. The books in the series that followed are still funny, but somehow they lack the sheer audacious vibrancy of their predecessors.





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Galapagos
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (1985)


A humorous take on the evolution of the human brain and saving our somewhat mad world. Going back one million years, to A.D. 1986, a simple vacation cruise suddenly becomes an evolutionary journey. Thanks to an apocalypse, a small group of survivors stranded on the Galápagos Islands are about to become the progenitors of a brave, new, and totally different human race.


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