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“Cat’s Cradle” by Kurt Vonnegut
In the “Cat’s Cradle” – John, or as he prefers – Jonah, tells the story of how he once decided to write a book titled “How the World Ended”. His idea was to find out what influential Americans were doing the day Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed. His investigation takes him to the children of the (fictional) Nobel laureate in physics and inventor of the nuclear bomb – Felix Hoenikker. In Ilium, NY, John meets Felix’s midget son Newt Hoenikker. He remembers his father playing cat’s cradle that day, but for some reason he seemed so scary to him that he ran away. Later on John finds out that Newt has in fact much more to share about his dad. After he meets Felix’s supervisor and colleague at the time – Dr. Asa Breed, he learns that Felix was hired by the military for a top secret project. He worked on a substance called “ice-nine”, which is capable of changing the molecular structure of the water, making it solid at room temperature. This was supposed to help the US troops to quickly move through swampy areas, but after some time the idea got abandoned and forgotten. However Felix managed to synthesize the “ice-nine” after all, and shortly before passing away, he divided it among his three children: Newt, Angela and Franklin. Further in the book, John is sent on a freelance assignment to the island country of San Lorenzo, where Felix’s other son – Frank, has the vacant position of Major General and right hand of the insane dictator – Papa Monzano. With the ice-nine in the hands of this unpredictable and crazy regime, John is only about to find out what great danger threatens every single person on Earth.
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