I think the statement "technically science fiction" is suspect - basically it seems to be saying that science fiction doesn't cover characters or social themes. Good science fiction often does. Also "sci-fi" is a loaded phrase. This seems to be a repeat of the old mantra "this is literature, so it can't be science fiction, because that's trash"... Notinasnaid 07:24, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)
There is now a link from the protagonist's name, Paul Proteus. It doesn't seem likely there will be an entry on him, so I propose removing the linking. Notinasnaid 09:35, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)
In my opinion, Player Piano is one of Vonnegut's best
novels. On Amazon, the editorial reviewer essentially dismisses it as "sci fi." The review sounds as if he or she never read it. But the customer reviewers laud it and seem to have read it carefully. I propose a link to the Player Piano page on Amazon to get people more excited about the novel and help the cross fertilization of ideas. -Richard Peterson
- Glad to hear you like the book; I sure did too. However, I don't think linking to the Amazon page will pass muster. It would be an endorsement of a specific online retailer, which in this community is generally a no-no. (We provide the ISBN number, which lets readers check for themselves if they're motivated enough to click the mouse a few times.) Anville 14:41, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
A couple edits needed about the characters?
A couple observations on the character bios which might need editing: Anita: "However, she can not bear children which hinders Paul from continuing his family's success and prestige through a child." Is this reasoning about hindering Paul ever mentioned explicitly in the novel? I agree that it may be implied, but I think it's probably the least important of the issues coming from Anita's inability to have children. From my perspective, this was related mostly to the fact that she thought she was pregnant (when she just had some disorder related to her barrenness), which ultimately led Paul to decide to marry her. This causes a resentment (more about the forced marriage than the lack of children) that shows up in the story. Also, the lack of children allows Paul to ignore many of the problems of having children (IQ testing in particular) until the time of the story, when he suddenly is confronted by a number of stories from parents distressed about their children, allowing the problems with the system to become more apparent to him.
Also, Kroner: "...and he even refers to his wife as "mother" when speaking of her to Paul. He's overtly sexist..." Actually _everyone_ calls Mrs. Kroner "Mom" (not "Mother"), and she refers to everyone as her "children" as well. Everyone uses the term freely when they speak to her (to her face), and she encourages it; it's not a sexist title to her. And Kroner is not anymore sexist than any of the other characters of the story. This was written in the 50s -- they go on an all-male company retreat (with "the women and children" in a separate facility), all the business talk is among men, etc. The society may be sexist, as is clear anytime the role of women in society is mentioned at all, but Kroner is not exceptional in this respect. Just my opinion.... Jzmckay 05:39, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
I agree w/Jzmckay & took out the stuff about the family's "success and prestige" and instead said her apparent pregnancy caused their quick marriage.Rich 00:41, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
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Prophetic world backdrop of Player Piano
It's been fourty years since I read this, but I seem to remember that many of the "Ghosts" were unemployed returning veterans of the American war in Afghanistan, who had been replaced on the battlefield by remote control fighting positions and battlefield drones. Listening to the news today, well, what can I say.
I believe that the reference to Kroner's "overt sexism" can be supported by at least one incident: Kroner's polite (could this also be interpreted as condescending?) refusal to show Anita his guns when she expressed an interest in them. Vonnegut mentions Kroner's use of the "let's go look at my guns" excuse to separate his male guests from the female guests. That this might be construed as an act reflecting an underlying sexist attitude is confirmed, for me, when Kroner dismisses Anita's request to see his guns by claiming that his guns "weren't the kind women liked." Since I can't think of any obvious taxonomy of guns that would explain why women like certain types and men like certain others, this response seems like a good indicator of sexism. I don't whether it passes the threshold of "overt" sexism, but it certainly seems like a response designed to put that woman who wanted to discuss manly things in her place.
I'm pretty new at this stuff so I don't know how to add the needed citations for this. The incident occurs on pg. 125 of the Della Trade Paperbacks/Random House (NY, NY) 1980 edition.
I think the idea is not that Kronor is dismissing Anita's desire to see guns or discuss manly things but that he uses the guns explicitly as an excuse to talk shop with his employees in an intimate setting. His response of the guns not being "the kind women liked" is humorous because it is nonsensical, letting on that the guns are only a pretense and his aim is actually to speak privately with Paul about his career. Again, this echoes some of the arguments above that Kronor's sexism is no more egregious than the society of the book's in general. The motivation behind the segregation at Kronor's house is occupational, but happens to fall along gender lines, as in this world there are no female manager or engineers.
Deleting Repeated Text
I have deleted the following text from the introduction as it is repeated later in the section titled Science Fiction Branding. "This satirical take on industrialization and the rhetoric of General Electric and the big corporations, which discussed arguments very topical in the post-war capitalist United States, was instead advertised by the publisher with the more innocuous and marketable label of "science fiction", a genre that was booming in mass popular culture in the 1950s." SpencerCollins (talk) 04:35, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
Added "The" to "Illium Works".
Characterization as "Rich vs Poor" Is Misleading
In the description of Anita's character, the editor hash chosen "rich side" and "poor side" to describe the two groups of people. I think that the novel presents few, if any, such distinctions.
Remember that the people are not generally want of material needs. The way I read it, everything is provided without monetary cost.
The difference between the two sides is more subtle and along the lines of societal status. The people on Anita's side of the river have a society-defined purpose while the people on the other side do not. If this novel were, in fact, about "rich vs poor," it would be far less interesting.
Issue with plot summary
"During a 6 month rebellion, the Ghost Shirt Society began to use force, as was necessary, to overthrow the government. However, the citizens of Ilium, ignorant due to abundant propaganda, began to rebuild the machines, and alerted the authorities."
The rebellion, as far as I can tell, only lasts about 24 hours before the four principal leaders turn themselves in. Additionally, the citizens of Ilium never alert the authorities and it is never suggested that they're decision to begin rebuilding machines is the result of propaganda rather than an innate human desire to create and tinker (supported by Bud and the man who earlier had fixed Paul's car being some of the first to take up this impulse).
This section stood out to me in particular, but as a whole the summary seems weak and perhaps written by someone who did not fully read the book.
"Reeks and Recks"
The novel makes quite a bit of the governmental "make-work" program for those displaced by technology, euphemistically called the Reconstruction and Reclamation Corps, and colloquially by the engineers the "Reeks and (W)recks". It is apparently organized on paramilitary lines (much like the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s New Deal) but is not regarded as a temporary response to an economic crisis but as a way of keeping those would otherwise be unemployed both occupied and too tired to form a truly credible threat to the system, which is an important plot point, since there is no longer a military necessity to have truly large armed forces in this world, and also it requires a bachelor's degree to be a even a noncommissioned officer and a doctorate to be a commissioned officer, thus closing off a typical avenue formerly used by "common people" to get ahead in life. 2600:1004:B10D:5840:0:1B:D740:9701 (talk) 14:32, 27 January 2022 (UTC)