2BR02B – A Vonnegut Story on Project Gutenberg

I just saw via Boing Boing that one of Kurt Vonnegut’s stories, 2BR02B, has been posted on the Project Gutenberg site. You can read 2BR02B here. The title seems confusing, at least to me, until you read it out loud, . When I read it, I think it translates to “To Be Or Not To Be”. The zero in the title I think can be translated to “not” (think binary). Anyhow, here are the first few lines:

Everything was perfectly swell.

There were no prisons, no slums, no insane asylums, no cripples, no
poverty, no wars.

All diseases were conquered. So was old age.

Death, barring accidents, was an adventure for volunteers.

The population of the United States was stabilized at forty-million

Talk about an interesting beginning. At first glance, this sounds like a pretty neat place to live, especially the no poverty, no wars part. Obviously, things aren’t as “swell” as they seem, otherwise it would be a pretty boring story. I know a bunch of you all are Vonnegut fans, so I thought you would like this.


Wow, I’m on Page 6 and just read the following:

“Triplets!” she said. She was exclaiming over the legal implications of

The law said that no newborn child could survive unless the parents of
the child could find someone who would volunteer to die. Triplets, if
they were all to live, called for three volunteers.

“Do the parents have three volunteers?” said Leora Duncan.

“Last I heard,” said Dr. Hitz, “they had one, and were trying to scrape
another two up.”


Just a couple quick reminders to get you day going. First, there is a writing contest with prizes going on over at The Moon Topples. The last day for submissions is Monday (11:00 PM CST), so you have plenty of time to enter. He doesn’t have a lot of entries, yet, so start writing.

Secondly, tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day! Head on over to your local comic book store tomorrow and get your free comics and while you’re there, why not buy something too. Might I suggest Fables?