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Kilgore Trout

Those of you who are familiar with the work of Kurt Vonnegut Jr. have surely come across the name Kilgore Trout in his novels. He is one of the author’s favorite fictional characters and appears in many of his books (e.g. Slaughterhouse-Five, God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, Breakfast of Champios, Galapagos, Timequake etc.)
Kilgore Trout is an unsuccessful writer of science fiction, having few, yet loyal fans. He spends all his time writing, but he never gets a decent publisher. His stories get published only in porn magazines (such as the Black Garterbelt). The reason is simple: They cover the space between ‘wide-open-beaver’ photos and are incredibly cheap (Nobody reads them anyway). The few works that made it into a paperback edition serve as shop-window fillers.

The literary character, Kilgore Trout is said to be inspired by Theodore Sturgeon, a ‘famous’ sci-fi writer. The parallels are his style of writing and the obvious last name link. Both fish. Kurt Vonnegut admitted this in his interview with Hank Nuwer in 1987. Kurt Vonnegut answers the question with:
“Yeah. In fact, it said so in his
obituary in the New York Times…

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Sturgeon got a nice big obituary in the
Times…. I was delighted that it said in
the middle of it that he was the
inspiration for the Kurt Vonnegut
character of Kilgore Trout.”
Kilgore Trout seems to be a parody of Kurt Vonnegut himself. Not only of himself, but of all sci-fi writers. Sci-fi is considered to be trash by most publishers and so the authors have to send their work to various places in the hope of getting published. (Vonnegut’s past was like this, writing stories for various magazines etc.)


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