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1922 - 2007. Kurt Vonnegut was one of the most influential writers of his generation. Known for his dark humor, pessimism and sharp edge, he was the author of 14 novels - notably Cat's Cradle, Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions - and other works of fiction and nonfiction.
His stories of human folly and cruelty have been assigned reading for at least two decades in college literature classes around the world! Most readers interested in the fantastic in literature are familiar with Kurt Vonnegut, particularly for his uses of science fiction. Many of his early short stories were wholly in the science fiction mode, and while its degree has varied, science fiction has never lost its place in his novels.
Trout was inspired by author Theodore Sturgeon (Vonnegut's colleague in the genre of science fiction—Vonnegut was amused by the notion of a person with the name of a fish, Sturgeon, hence Trout), although Trout's consistent presence in Vonnegut's works has also led critics to view him as the author's own alter ego. Neither Sturgeon nor Vonnegut was yet a successful writer when the two became friends.
In an homage to Vonnegut, Kilgore Trout is also the titular author of the novel Venus on the Half-Shell, written pseudonymously by Philip José Farmer.
About "TROUT" and "TROUT'S TOMB"
Vonnegut revised Trout's biography on several occasions. In Breakfast of Champions, he is born in 1907 and dies in 1981. In Timequake, he lives from 1917 to 2001. Both death dates are set in the future as of the time the novels were written. More recently, in an article for In These Times Vonnegut "reports" that Kilgore Trout commits suicide by drinking Drāno. Trout "dies" at midnight on October 15, 2004, in Cohoes following his consultation with a psychic, who informs him that George W. Bush would once again win the U. S. Presidential election by a vote of 5-to-4 in the Supreme Court. The epitaph on his tombstone reads, "Life is no way to treat an animal."