November 9, 2002
11:23 AM   Subscribe

enjoy the collected fictions of Kilgore Trout. or alternately, write some yourself.
posted by gravelshoes (17 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A few years ago, I came across a book by Kilgore Trout at a used book stall. Its existence blew my mind. Now I finally looked it up. Huh.
posted by skryche at 1:04 PM on November 9, 2002

I found this site about a year ago, while doing some research on Vonnegut... I found it entertaining, and had forgotten all about it. Thanks, gravelshoes.

Worthy of mention, Sometime around 1992, I went by the name Kilgore Trout for 6 months, while waiting tables in Dallas Texas. (Don't ask, sometimes people on heroin do strange things.) All that time, and only a handful of people actually knew what my name was a reference to.

silly earthlings.
posted by bradth27 at 1:47 PM on November 9, 2002

Some of those passages from the first link read quite a bit like Douglas Adams. Very nice.
posted by hippugeek at 2:17 PM on November 9, 2002

No, you have that wrong. Some Douglas Adams passages read quite a bit like Vonnegut.
posted by bradth27 at 2:44 PM on November 9, 2002

Wait, I thought PJ Farmer was Cordwainer Bird was Harlan / Ellison (who is also Arland Hellisunk) was a character in Ellison's New York Review of Bird (what a great old story!).
Now I'm all confused. I do, however, have a couple of 1970s paperback copies of Venus on the Halfshell, "for the first time without lurid covers!" (lucky me). Someday maybe I'll give one away as a party favor.
posted by Shane at 3:16 PM on November 9, 2002

Shane, I would love to have one of those copies.... really. Really. How much?
I had one long ago, but lost it somewhere.... under the bed...
Vonnegut, or so I have read, wasn't too happy with Farmer when he took the name Trout and put VOTHS out... wasn't there a lawsuit?
posted by bradth27 at 3:26 PM on November 9, 2002

Since we are discussing imaginary books and authors who exist only within the pages of another author's books... I'll provide a link tothis site ... a nice little site dedicated to just that.
posted by bradth27 at 3:53 PM on November 9, 2002


I Googled something here, but the website came up for me with the font color the same as the background color. So I had to highlight the text to read it, which feels strangely like navigating through a cave with a cheap flashlight and half-dead batteries. Anyway, it said Farmer, during a period of writer's block, wrote Venus with Vonnegut's permission. Afterwards Vonnegut regretted giving the go-ahead, and claimed that Farmer did not reveal himself as the author as quickly as he should have (which somehow might have hurt Vonnegut's reputation, perhaps because people attributed Venus to him rather than Farmer). Minor snafu, really.

You're welcome to the book, Brad--just Email me direct and I'll send you a copy ("Please allow 4 to 5 days--for me to dig it out of the closet.") Time was I saw a copy or two of Venus in every Ohio used book store I visited.
posted by Shane at 4:01 PM on November 9, 2002

Some of Vonnegut's comments on Farmer are right in the Kilgore Trout link in the post, also, but they don't indicate that Vonnegut gave his permission to Farmer.

Farmer loved to do things like this. A complete list of the fictional authors he used as pseudonyms is in the link I posted above. Farmer even wrote a book under the name of an author character out of Venus on the Half Shell, which of course was written by him under the name of fictional author Trout! He also wrote serious "biographies" of fictional characters, such as Tarzan and Doc Savage.
posted by Shane at 4:19 PM on November 9, 2002

Touche, bradth27.
posted by hippugeek at 4:32 PM on November 9, 2002

A flying saucer creature named Zog arrived on Earth to explain how wars could be prevented and how cancer could be cured. He brought the information from Margo, a planet where the natives conversed by means of farts and tap dancing.
Zog landed at night in Connectitut. He had no sooner touched down than he saw a house on fire. He rushed into the house, farting and tap dancing, warning the people about the terrible danger they were in. The head of the house brained Zog with a golf club.

When I was in high school, I wanted to be able to write like Raymond Carver. Ten years later, and I want to be able to write like this. Kind of sad, in a way.
posted by Samsonov14 at 5:21 PM on November 9, 2002


Don't be so hard on yourself. That's pretty damn funny stuff. Breakfast of Champions had some of the best Trout fiction ever, and I have always told myself If I ever write a book, it's gonna have something to say about wide open beaver.
posted by bradth27 at 5:26 PM on November 9, 2002

A great resource gravelshoes! Thanks for posting it.
posted by condour75 at 6:32 PM on November 9, 2002

I would give pretty much anything to be able to make a living writing as the bastard offspring of Vonnegut and Carver about wide open beaver.

and while we're nostalgilizing Vonnegut, don't let's forget this also
posted by gravelshoes at 7:04 PM on November 9, 2002

I just finished Farmer's "Venus On The Half Shell" last week. Very amusing! I must admit that I've not read enough Vonnegut to know how much of the writing style was merely borrowed by Farmer, but in any case it is quite a fun read.

Bradith27 has it right. After finishing the novel, I flipped to the date of publication to see how long after Hitchhiker's Guide it was released since the similarities were blatant. 1975. Wow! Three years before the Adams' BBC series!
posted by Voivod at 8:46 PM on November 9, 2002

Ever wondered what Kilgore Trout looks like? Here's Vonnegut's portrait of him. (More Vonnegut art.)
posted by taz at 3:40 AM on November 11, 2002

I saw Vonnegut speak in Toronto in some old church. He was great. He attributed Kilgore Trout to laziness. He said whenever he had a nearly-good idea for a story that he wished some other person had have written, he just attributed it to Trout. That way the story kind of existed, but he didn't have to go through the pain of actually making it good.
posted by Fabulon7 at 6:17 AM on November 11, 2002

« Older Pentagon Plans a Computer System That Would Peek...   |   If this isn't a sign of the apocalypse, Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments