Book Cover of 2 B R 0 2 B

2 B R 0 2 B

by Kurt Vonnegut

In this chilling short-story by a master of the craft, Kurt Vonnegut creates a fictional world of the future where life and death are no longer matters of individual choice or destiny. The title refers to the famous quote from Hamlet, “To be or not to be....” with “0” being pronounced as “naught.” It also refers to the eternal dilemma of life and death that face every human being at some point in their lives. Written in 1962 it is set in some unspecified time in the future, when earth has become a Utopia. The population is under control, there is no poverty, suffering or even natural death. Man has conquered all. It's common for humans to live for two centuries or more. Death happens only when someone requests it. 2BR02B in the story is the telephone number that volunteers must call when they are ready for assisted suicide. It belongs to the Federal Bureau of Termination which decides that for every child born, one person must volunteer to die. However, all is not perfect in this paradise – human beings still retain a spark of humanity and yearn for freedom. When the story opens, Edward Wehling, a youngish father-to-be is waiting for his wife to give birth. What follows is both spine-chilling and eerie. It makes you introspect about the future of humankind, whether the earth can sustain itself at the pace at which population is growing and about the ethics of concepts like assisted suicide. The reader pauses to wonder whether greater common good can replace love and the individual.

Book Details

Language

English

Original Language

English

Published In

1962

Author

Kurt Vonnegut image

Kurt Vonnegut

United States

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.  was an American writer. In a career spanning over 50 years, he published 14 novels, three short story collections, five plays, and five nonfiction works, with further collectio...

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