Kurt Vonnegut died yesterday at the age of 84. Most know him for his longer works like Slaughterhouse Five, but I was introduced to him in English class with Harrison Bergeron. If you haven't read HB, I suggest you do. It's a pretty good illustration of the patriarchy, for one thing, whether or not Mr. Vonnegut intended that.
Requiescat in pace.
I posted this yesterday to the geek blog as an addendum to another post (mainly because Joel told me about it while I was still writing).
I don't really think I've done justice to how much Harrison Bergeron had an effect on me. I don't even remember whose class I read it for, or what grade I was in. What I remember is the injustice of not being allowed to be oneself, of being handicapped in order to be "normal", and as a misfit smart kid in a middling size town in Arkansas, I could completely understand *that*.
I don't remember reading anything truly science fiction before that, either. I may have done, but HB is the first science fiction I remember vividly. I mean, I'd read , but that's more fantasy (a genre I still enjoy to this day).
I think Harrison Bergeron was the first short story I truly loved.
As often happens with first loves, I find I haven't really thought about HB in quite some time. I probably haven't read it in 10 years. But now I'm thinking of it again, I might just have to go back and remember. I hope (and suspect) that it will stand up well to my grown-up, literature-analysis influenced perspective just as well as it appealed to my teenage sensibilities.