October 31, 2016

EP. 149 — Cracked Book Club: Kurt Vonnegut’s Little-Known First Novel

You’re probably familiar with Kurt Vonnegut’s required reading, or rather the Kurt Vonnegut books your high school English teacher required you to read. ‘Slaughterhouse-Five,’ ‘Cat’s Cradle,’ and maybe ‘Breakfast of Champions’ were rays of satirical sunlight in your curriculum between long stretches of Jane Austen and Herman Melville (both great authors, but booooooring). But what about his other 12 novels and the dozens of short stories and other works you’re not familiar with?

The Cracked Podcast is going to mix it up this week with an introduction to our new Vonnegut book club, a brand new podcast with Alex Schmidt and Michael Swaim, the Kurt Vonneguys. Once a month, Alex and Michael will work through the Vonnegut library, dissecting the recurring themes and characters, highlighting some amazing Kurt-isms and providing a general overview of Kurt’s work as the connective tissue to modern sci-fi.

In this week’s episode, Alex and Michael cover Vonnegut’s overlooked first novel, ‘Player Piano,’ a satirical ‘1984’-esque warning about the horrors of automation. When you’re through, you can check out episode two of Kurt Vonneguys here (https://goo.gl/dtD9Qz), where they look at Vonnegut’s masterwork, ‘The Sirens of Titan.’ And if you’re interested in following future episodes of Kurt Vonneguys, be sure to subscribe here (https://goo.gl/yjfNTM).

Recommended Reading:

“The Silver Corridor” and “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said The Ticktockman” — Harlan Ellison : https://goo.gl/7NK9Pu

“Knox” — Harlan Ellison : https://goo.gl/NlwI03

“The Veldt” — Ray Bradbury: https://goo.gl/ihH8r9

” The Caves Of Steel “  — Isaac Asimov : https://goo.gl/8uA6TQ

This episode is brought to you by Indochino and MVMT Watches.

Recent Episodes

January 26, 2020

Freedom sucks…and that is why we have to defend it. Because our democracy involves doing a lot of stuff that takes energy, takes time, and lacks that Michael Bay Quality that only a surprise missile launch can provide. So on this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt and special guest Jason Pargin (who writes for Cracked as David Wong) are exploring the ways being afraid of everything (an easy action) can stop us from being free. Discover the decades-long tradition of some Americans wanting to give up everything in exchange for not needing to think, the centuries-long tradition of people inciting fake panics, and the reasonable ways you can help change things for the better.

Footnotes: https://www.cracked.com/podcast/why-fear-based-democracies-arenE28099t-free-with-jason-pargin/

January 19, 2020

How’s your local shopping mall doing? Have you checked on it lately? Swing by sometime, because its department store might’ve turned into a call center or a hospital or a go-kart track. On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by the one and only Kai Ryssdal (Marketplace, Make Me Smart) for a look at surprising, strange, and shocking stories from all over the U.S. economy. Discover an international pig flu, a 26-word statement that built the modern Internet, and more amazing ways cash is ruling everything around you. By the way, if you’re an American listener, you spent the past few years funding an astonishingly huge bailout. Surprise! Listen for details!

Footnotes: https://www.cracked.com/podcast/5-parts-u.s.-economy-that-are-stranger-than-you-think

January 12, 2020

Movies, TV, gaming: three things that are theoretically a waste of time. Oh sure, they deliver value in the art sense, and comfort in the goofing-off sense. But what if they’re more valuable than that? What if consuming shows and playing video games (accidentally) turns people into real-life heroes? On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by comedians/writers Caitlin Gill and Alex Watt for a look at the surprising number of times that exact thing happened. They’ll explore stories of regular people who saved a life thanks to skills gained randomly from cartoons, sitcoms, ‘World Of Warcraft’, and more silly entertainment.

Footnotes: https://www.cracked.com/podcast/9-times-pop-culture-accidentally-taught-people-to-save-lives/