On the strength of his first published work of short fiction, "Report on the Barnhouse Effect," Kurt Vonnegut left his position in General Electric's public-relations department in 1951 and began writing full time. Now, a comprehensive collection of short stories from then through the author's 2007 death will be published by indie imprint Seven Stories Press later this month—appropriately titled Complete Stories.
The collection, which comes out September 26, includes a total of 97 different works from the Slaughterhouse-Five author, including five never-before-seen short stories discovered by Vonnegut's friend Dan Wakefield and scholar Jerome Klinkowitz. Each story is sorted into various themes like "War," Women," and "Worth Ethic v. Fame and Fortune," and the new tales rub shoulders with well-loved classics like the sex-numbed dystopia of "Welcome to the Monkey House" and the artificial intelligence-driven dystopia "EPICAC."
The Atlantic recently published one of Vonnegut's unearthed stories called "The Drone King," which he wrote in the early 1950s. After it was rejected by a magazine, his agent reportedly told him to wait to publish it and several other stories until "someday when you become famous. Which may take a little time." The story follows an investment consultant's encounter with a formerly wealthy eccentric who wants to rebuild his fortune on the backs of bees.
Acclaimed novelist and artist Dave Eggers has already hyped Vonnegut's writing in the book's foreword, saying, "This collection pulses with relevance... and provides an almost shameful amount of unadulterated reading pleasure. The prose is clean and the pace always brisk, and the satisfaction we draw from seeing some moral clarity, some linear order brought to a knotted world, is impossible to overstate."
You can pre-order Kurt Vonnegut's Complete Stories from Seven Stories Press here before it's released on September 26.