One of the great literary science fiction writers of all time has passed on: Kurt Vonnegut has died at the age of 84. I am hardly qualified to say much on the matter, especially when so many more eloquent, informed, and important folk have laid out such fine words on the subject, and the man:

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John Kovalic

“Moving away from me for a moment: Kurt Vonnegut is dead from brain injuries from a fall. This is why, when I turn 70, I’m moving to a single level house. I don’t have too much to say about his passing, other than that the man was brilliant and despite that, I enjoyed many of his books. Funny how being brilliant doesn’t always equate to creating books that are good reads. This wasn’t much of a problem for Vonnegut. Something for other brilliant authors to note and learn, hopefully.”
John Scalzi

“I have writer’s disease with Vonnegut: Was always afraid that if I read too much of him, I’d end up sounding like him. Like Thompson, his deceptively relaxed, rhythmic colloquial style is too appealing to me. Lots of news stories are using a quote from ‘God Bless You, Mr Rosewater,’ and its bitter music is completely seductive.”
Warren Ellis (quoted from his Bad Signal newsletter)

“My first Vonnegut was Breakfast of Champions. I’d never read anything like it. It was a novel that was so easy, everything just happening, one thing after another. The book almost read itself. That was his gift, I think: to tell you things that were hard to hear, without you even noticing it. Like a nurse who can slide a needle into your vein without making you wince.

“Vonnegut has haunted me, delighted me, and made me sad. I still think of the world in terms of Wampeters, Foma, and Karasses, the Boknonism ideas set out in Cat’s Cradle. I still think that ‘Listen: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time,’ may be the best opening line of any novel — and that the novel, Slaughterhouse 5 lives up to that line.”
Cory Doctorow

“Vonnegut’s lessons are the lessons that I think all teenagers should be required to absorb. They’re the lessons that saved me from completely withdrawing into my shell or going Columbine on my classmates.”
David Louis Edelman

“Damn, I wish Kurt was around and writing. He’d be sure to have something to say about all this.”
Charles Stross

Meanwhile, SFSignal has compiled from Youtube a video documentary on the life and work of Vonnegut

And for those of us vain enough to try an emulate his genius, TV writer Jane Espenson has reprinted Vonnegut’s 8 rules for writing fiction.