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Experimental  works of mystery &

The Sirens of Titan (1959)

At a low point in his career, pressed by need and
uncertainty, Vonnegut encountered his old Cornell
classmate Knox Burger, now an editor at Dell, at a
New York cocktail party.  Burger asked whether
Vonnegut had any ideas for a marketable novel....

                                             To read more, click here

Slaughterhouse-Five  (1969)

On January 12, 1944, German soldiers transported
150 American prisoners of war, including Private
Kurt Vonnegut, from Stalag IV-B in Mühlberg to
Dresden, thirty miles to the south.. In Dresden,
Vonnegut would witness first-hand the most
destructive aerial bombing of the war....
              To read more, click here
So It Goes: The Unconventional Sci-Fi of Kurt Vonnegut

by Ted Gioia

Cat's Cradle (1963)

In the early 1930s, H.G. Wells visited General
Electric's research laboratories in Schenectady, a
facility dubbed the
House of Magic by GE’s public
relations department.  Here the famous author
was hosted by Nobel Prize-winning chemist
Irving Langmuir, who suggested an idea for a
story to Wells....

                                                  To read more, click here
Here are my essays on three of Vonnegut's best-known science fiction works:  The Sirens of
Titan, Cat's Cradle and Slaughterhouse-Five.
Follow Ted Gioia on Twitter at

Conceptual Fiction:
A Reading List
(with links to reviews)

Home Page

Abbott, Edwin A.

Adams, Douglas
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Allende, Isabel
The House of the Spirits

Amis, Martin
Time's Arrow

The Golden Ass

Asimov, Isaac
The Foundation Trilogy

Asimov, Isaac
I, Robot

Atwood, Margaret
The Handmaid's Tale

Banks, Iain M.
The State of the Art

Ballard, J.G.

Ballard, J.G.
The Crystal World

Bester, Alfred
The Demolished Man

Bradbury, Ray
Dandelion Wine

Bradbury, Ray
Fahrenheit 451

Bradbury, Ray
The Illustrated Man

Bradbury, Ray
The Martian Chronicles

Bradbury, Ray
Something Wicked This Way Comes

Bulgakov, Mikhail
The Master and Margarita

Burgess, Anthony
A Clockwork Orange

Card, Orson Scott
Ender's Game

Chabon, Michael
The Yiddish Policemen's Union

Chiang, Ted
Stories of Your Life and Others

Clarke, Arthur C.
Childhood's End

Clarke, Arthur C.
A Fall of Moondust

Clarke, Arthur C.
2001: A Space Odyssey

Clarke, Susanna
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Danielewski, Mark Z.
House of Leaves

Delany, Samuel R.

Delany, Samuel R.

Delany, Samuel R.
The Einstein Intersection

Dick, Philip K.
Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said

Dick, Philip K.
The Man in the High Castle

Dick, Philip K.

Doctorow, Cory
Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

Esquivel, Laura
Like Water for Chocolate

Gaiman, Neil
American Gods

Gibson, William
Burning Chrome

Gibson, William

Grass, Günter
The Tin Drum

Haldeman, Joe
The Forever War

Hall, Steven
The Raw Shark Texts

Harrison, M. John

Heinlein, Robert
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Heinlein, Robert:
Stranger in a Strange Land

Heinlein, Robert
Time Enough for Love

Helprin, Mark
Winter's Tale

Herbert, Frank

Huxley, Aldous
Brave New World

Kundera, Milan
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

Le Guin, Ursula K.
The Lathe of Heaven

Le Guin, Ursula K.
The Left Hand of Darkness

Leiber, Fritz
The Big Time

Leiber, Fritz
Conjure Wife

Leiber, Fritz
Swords & Deviltry

Leiber, Fritz
The Wanderer

Lem, Stanislaw
His Master's Voice

Lem, Stanislaw

Lethem, Jonathan
The Fortress of Solitude

Lewis, C. S.
The Chronicles of Narnia

Link, Kelly
Magic for Beginners

Márquez, Gabriel García
100 Years of Solitude

McCarthy, Cormac
The Road

Miéville, China
Perdido Street Station

Miller, Jr., Walter M.
A Canticle for Leibowitz

Mitchell, David
Cloud Atlas

Niffenegger, Audrey
The Time Traveler's Wife

Niven, Larry

Noon, Jeff

Obreht, Téa
The Tiger's Wife

Okri, Ben
The Famished Road

Pohl, Frederik

Pynchon, Thomas
Gravity's Rainbow

Rabelais, François
Gargantua and Pantagruel

Robinson, Kim Stanley
Red Mars

Rowling, J.K.
Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone

Rushdie, Salman
Midnight's Children

Saramago, José

Shelley, Mary

Silverberg, Robert
Dying  Inside

Silverberg, Robert

Simak, Clifford

Simak, Clifford
The Trouble with Tycho

Smith, Cordwainer

Smith, Cordwainer
The Rediscovery of Man

Stephenson, Neal
Snow Crash

Stross, Charles

Sturgeon, Theodore
More Than Human

Sturgeon, Theodore
Some of Your Blood

Updike, John
The Witches of Eastwick

Van Vogt, A.E.
The World of Null A

Verne, Jules:
Around the Moon

Verne, Jules:
From the Earth to the Moon

Verne, Jules:
Journey to the Center of the Earth

Vonnegut, Kurt
Cat's Cradle

Vonnegut, Kurt
The Sirens of Titan

Vonnegut, Kurt

Wallace, David Foster
Infinite Jest

Wells, H.G.
The First Men in the Moon

Wells, H.G.
The Island of Dr. Moreau

Wells, H.G.
The Time Machine

Zelazny, Roger
Lord of Light

Special Features
Notes on Conceptual Fiction
Ray Bradbury: A Tribute
The Year of Magical Reading
Remembering Fritz Leiber
Samuel Delany's 70th birthday
The Sci-Fi of Kurt Vonnegut
Curse You, Neil Armstrong!
Robert Heinlein at 100

Links to related sites
The New Canon
Great Books Guide
Postmodern Mystery
Ted Gioia's web site

SF Site
Graeme's Fantasy Book Review
Los Angeles Review of Books
Jospeh Peschel
The Misread City
Reviews and Responses
SF Signal
True Science Fiction

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