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Sucker's portfolio por Kurt Vonnegut
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Sucker's portfolio (original 2012; edición 2012)

por Kurt Vonnegut

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Available to readers for the first time, La cartera del cretino is a collection of 7 pieces from Vonnegut, one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. Sardonic and disturbing, these stories of fiction are the essence of Vonnegut, with biting satire and an infallible obscene meaning of life. Here, as in his best work, Vonnegut's writing brings us to the darkest corners of the human soul and manages to remind us of our potential to be something bigger. Disponible para los lectores por primera vez, "La cartera del cretino" es una colección de 7 piezas de Vonnegut, uno de los más grandes escritores del siglo XX. Sardónicos e inquietantes, estos seis relatos de ficción, y un pequeño ensayo, son la esencia de Vonnegut, con una sátira penetrante y un ojo infalible para la intrascendencia obscena de la vida. Estas historias trazan las vidas humanas y los deseos mundanos, que es precisamente donde la perspectiva inimitable de Vonnegut brilla con fuerza, iluminando su actitud esperanzada y, al mismo tiempo, enormemente triste. Aquí, como en sus mejores novelas, la escritura de Vonnegut nos lleva a los rincones más oscuros del alma humana y, se las arregla para recordarnos nuestro potencial para ser algo más grande. … (más)
Miembro:erohwedd
Título:Sucker's portfolio
Autores:Kurt Vonnegut
Info:Las Vegas, NV : Amazon Pub., c2012.
Colecciones:Tu biblioteca
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La cartera del cretino por Kurt Vonnegut (2012)

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This is a collection of seven previously unpublished short stories by one of America's best science fiction authors.

1. Between Timid and Timbuktu - a young painter whose wife died recently tries to find a way to be with his wife again. He discusses the possibility of time travel with the town's doctor. Later he devises an experiment that requires the doctor's intervention. But tragedy results when the doctor doesn't arrive.

2. Rome - three men and a girl rehearse a play that seems doomed to fail because of the girl's puritanical upbringing. The end is a complete surprise.

3. Eden by the River - a boy and a girl take turns at kicking a stone to the river, where they spend a few minutes. She enjoys this Eden by the river, but he is restless. She asks for a kiss, which he gives reluctantly. They return to their house where they prepare for her wedding.

4. Sucker's Portfolio - a man gets drunk in a bar and takes the hatcheck girl back to her place, where her husband turns up unexpectedly. The result is a scam.

5. Miss Snow, You're Fired - Eddie Wetzel is an engineer. A pretty young school leaver is assigned to him as his secretary, and she is quickly voted the most beautiful girl in the factory. She spends so much time away from his office that Eddie decides to fire her.

6. Paris, France - three couples at different stages of life share a train compartment on the way to Paris. They get very different experiences out of their stay.

7. The Last Tasmanian - is a rant written in 1992, when the author was 69, at the wrongs done by the white peoples of the world to the others on the planet, but particularly to the native Americans since the time of Columbus.

Appendix. Robotville and Mr Caslow - an unfinished SF story about a man who returns to his grade school to find a confrontation between the Principal and a committee run by the mayor. The robots are people who had brain implants during WW3 that were used to control them.

The stories in this collection are a mixture - some are interesting tales with good twists, while others are commentaries on events of the day. Only the first story and the appendix are SF tales. ( )
  Bruce_McNair | Dec 11, 2016 |
There's nothing like curling up with short stories by Vonnegut. Each has a unique voice, black humor, and that ever present Vonnegut wit. There are six previously unreleased short fiction stories, as well as one non-fiction piece, and one unfinished science fiction story (I must know the ending!!). It's understandable why a few of the stories went unpublished (they weren't Kurt's best) but I felt that the essay and the unfinished story were amazeballs. I ate them up! So this little collection is most definitely a win.

For fans of Kurt Vonnegut and black humor short stories. ( )
  ecataldi | Sep 14, 2014 |
Interesting short story and essay collection, with the last, unfinished story really showing signs of being a great addition to the Vonnegut library. ( )
  Kate_Ward | Nov 12, 2013 |
I enjoyed most of the stories. A few made me think about them later - which is always a sign of a great story. The essay was great and I agree that the incomplete story could have a great completion. Someone should try. ( )
  joyelett | Jul 3, 2013 |
I haven't read much Kurt Vonnegut yet, though I'm trying to rectify that. So far, I've just read Slaughterhouse-Five, though I have a bunch more of his books on the (endless) to-read list. This particular book was free to borrow on the Kindle, and who doesn't love free!

This was an interesting collection of stories. I liked most of them and thought one or two were duds, but overall they didn't blow me away.

However, the final non-fiction essay - that blew me away. It was absolutely brilliant and made me want to read more of his rants. (Do these exist?) I found myself nodding and highlighting passage after passage. I think the book is worth it for this essay alone.

I would have rated this 3 stars, but bumped up to 4 just for this essay.

Completely forgot to mention the unfinished scifi story at the end - there was definitely some great build-up and I wish we had gotten to read the entire thing!

Bunch of my favorite highlights (all from the non-fiction essay):

- We like to pretend that so many important discoveries have been made on a certain day, unexpectedly, by one person rather than by a system seeking such knowledge, I think, because we hope that life is like a lottery, where simply anyone can come up with a winning ticket. Paul of Tarsus, after all, became the leading theologian of Christianity in a flash, while on the road to Damascus, didn’t he? Newton, after being hit on the head by an apple, was able to formulate a law of gravity, wasn’t he? Darwin, while idly watching finches during a brief stopover on the Galápagos Islands during a voyage around the world, suddenly came up with a theory of evolution, didn’t he? Who knows? Tomorrow morning, some absolute nobody, maybe you or I, might fall into an open manhole, and return to street level with a concussion and a cancer cure.

- Our friend Kirkpatrick concludes in his book that Europeans came ashore “in what they dimly realized was the land of Paradise…but all they ever found was half a world of nature’s treasures and nature’s people that could be taken, and they took them, never knowing, never learning the true regenerative power there, and that opportunity was lost. Theirs was indeed a conquest of Paradise, but as is inevitable with any war against the world of nature, those who win will have lost — once again lost, and this time perhaps forever.”

- “Behind every great fortune lies a great crime,” said Balzac, alluding to European aristocrats who imagined themselves to be descended from anything other than sociopaths. Count Dracula comes to mind. Yes, and the coinage of every Western Hemisphere nation might well be stamped with Balzac’s words, to remind even the most recent arrivals here from the other half of the planet, perhaps Vietnamese, that they are legatees of maniacs like Columbus, who slit the noses of Indians, poked out their eyes, cut off their ears, burned them alive, and so on.

- Another native German Heinrich, Heinrich Böll, a great writer, and I became friends even though we had once been corporals in opposing armies. I asked him once what he believed to be the basic flaw in the character of Germans, and he replied “obedience.” When I consider the ghastly orders obeyed by underlings of Columbus, or of Aztec priests supervising human sacrifices, or of senile Chinese bureaucrats wishing to silence unarmed, peaceful protesters in Tiananmen Square only three years ago as I write, I have to wonder if obedience isn’t the basic flaw in most of humankind.

- When I was in Sicily, accepting a prize for my book Galápagos, which argued that human beings were such terrible animals because their brains were too big, everyone was suddenly talking about a story that had just appeared in the papers and on TV. It said that American troops with bulldozers had buried alive thousands of Iraqi soldiers in tunnels where they were hiding from our shells and bombs and rockets. I answered without hesitation that American soldiers could not be found who would do a thing that heartless. Wrong again.

- So the wake of North American TV is something like the wake of a bulldozer, in which everything has been made nice and neat, dead level and lifeless and featureless. But a better analogue of TV’s wake in the space-time continuum is a black hole into which even the greatest crimes and stupidities, and indeed whole continents, if need be, can be made to disappear from our consciousness.

- Let us give poor old Columbus a rest. He was a human being of his times, and aren’t we all? We are all so often bad news for somebody else.But TV is making the weapons disappear by having us look elsewhere.

- Back then, I still believed, as I do not believe nowadays, that the human condition was improving despite such heavy casualties. We are incorrigibly the nastiest of all animals, as our history attests, and that is that. ( )
  preetalina | Mar 29, 2013 |
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Available to readers for the first time, La cartera del cretino is a collection of 7 pieces from Vonnegut, one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. Sardonic and disturbing, these stories of fiction are the essence of Vonnegut, with biting satire and an infallible obscene meaning of life. Here, as in his best work, Vonnegut's writing brings us to the darkest corners of the human soul and manages to remind us of our potential to be something bigger. Disponible para los lectores por primera vez, "La cartera del cretino" es una colección de 7 piezas de Vonnegut, uno de los más grandes escritores del siglo XX. Sardónicos e inquietantes, estos seis relatos de ficción, y un pequeño ensayo, son la esencia de Vonnegut, con una sátira penetrante y un ojo infalible para la intrascendencia obscena de la vida. Estas historias trazan las vidas humanas y los deseos mundanos, que es precisamente donde la perspectiva inimitable de Vonnegut brilla con fuerza, iluminando su actitud esperanzada y, al mismo tiempo, enormemente triste. Aquí, como en sus mejores novelas, la escritura de Vonnegut nos lleva a los rincones más oscuros del alma humana y, se las arregla para recordarnos nuestro potencial para ser algo más grande. 

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