Science Fiction Short Story Review: "The Big Trip Up Yonder" by Kurt Vonnegut
This is another in the series of “It Came from the Pulps!” where I review science fiction short stories that were originally published in the pulp magazines of mid-20th century. Many of these have become available in electronic form as free downloads, particularly from Project Gutenberg, or for a low price.
In 2185 AD, a drug called anti-gerasone guarantees that humans live well past 100 without aging. Gramps Ford was about 70 when the drug came out. He’s not aged happily in the last 102 years. And now, there’s a population increase and a housing shortage. Four generations of Gramps Ford’s family live with him. He brooks no argument. Anyone who displeases him is written out of the will against the day when he takes “the big trip up yonder.”
Gramps is an unpleasant old tyrant. His family—children, their spouses, grandchildren—are crammed into an apartment where they must sleep in the hallways. Punishment is meted out by means of ever increasingly miserable sleeping assignments, favor shown by slightly less miserable sleeping places, and these to grown, sometimes married, adults.
This was an unpleasant story without comic relief. It just saddened and did little but underscore the pettiness human beings are capable of.
Author Kurt Vonnegut, a World War II veteran, was best known for his novels such as Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat’s Cradle. These often combined dark humor with a realistic world and, at times, elements of science fiction.
Title: “The Big Trip Up Yonder” first published in the magazine Galaxy Science Fiction , Jan. 1954.
Author: Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)
©2015 Denise Longrie
This review first appeared on another site. I has since been removed from that site and is no longer visible there or anywhere else. It has been updated and expanded for its inclusion in PP.
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