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September 8, 2017 2:58 PM   Subscribe

"The Drone King" is a newly discovered short story by Kurt Vonnegut: While reading through Kurt Vonnegut’s papers in the Lilly Library, at Indiana University, as they worked on the first comprehensive edition of his short fiction, Vonnegut’s friend Dan Wakefield and Jerome Klinkowitz, a scholar of Vonnegut’s work, came across five previously unpublished stories. Klinkowitz dates “The Drone King,” one of those five, to the early 1950s, when Vonnegut hadn’t yet written a novel and was only beginning to publish short fiction. Complete Stories will be published this month by Seven Stories Press. Soundcloud audio version of "The Drone King" and "The Drone King:" An Animated Excerpt.
posted by mandolin conspiracy (9 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
This is an unexpected treat. Thanks!
posted by nubs at 3:07 PM on September 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

That was excellent, and delightfully daffy. And the best part is that you could replace the Millennium Club with a tech startup and Quick with a guy who calls himself a disruptor and it would be a timely and cutting satire of Silicon Valley.
posted by ejs at 3:40 PM on September 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

The Lilly Library is such a treat. I got to see On The Road in manuscript form, all one scroll of taped-together typewriter paper with no paragraph breaks. They have a Gutenberg Bible, if I remember correctly, as well as great collections of comics and early sci-fi magazines. They'll let you (yes! you!) take a look at their treasures just for curiosity's sake, which I think is beautiful. Ooh, and the Jerry Slocum puzzle collection -- the three-dimensional variety of puzzles, made of wood and metal and such. Just had to chime in about that amazing place.
posted by wires at 3:50 PM on September 8, 2017 [3 favorites]

Sincerely, thank you so much for this. In my darkest hours, Vonnegut's words always manage to save me.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:49 PM on September 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Lovely! Thank you!
posted by bendy at 9:55 PM on September 8, 2017

A weekend reading new (to me) Vonnegut is my favorite kind of weekend. Classic story!
posted by mantecol at 11:22 AM on September 9, 2017

This got me thinking of a potentially interesting experiment. Have people read a short story. When they finish, give them an hour to relax. Then give them a word processor and ask them to write the story from memory to the best of their abilities.

I don't think I'd do very well with this story. His phrasing and the order in which he introduces ideas is just so unique and works perfectly for him. One-of-a-kind writer.
posted by mantecol at 12:01 PM on September 9, 2017

Man, I *swear* I read this in an anthology or something as a kid.
posted by EarBucket at 4:09 AM on September 10, 2017

Finally had the chance to sit and read this. Between the style and the time period, and all the death, it felt a lot like Roald Dahl's short stories from around the same time period. So much so that I kept waiting for the brutal twist. This wasn't what I was expecting, but it wasn't expected at all. Am going to give it some more time and reread. It's a good story. But it doesn't mesh at all with how I feel about others of his work, and I can't quite put my finger on why.
posted by Mchelly at 8:50 AM on September 13, 2017

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