The Passing of Literary Greats: Vonnegut, Crichton

There are very few literary giants striding among us anymore. True, there are many novelists, but so many are actors/ politicians/ millionaires/ rock stars/ playboy floozies/ singers that they don’t really count as writers, just bored multi-taskers trying and failing to conquer another dimension of life. No, true literary greats are few and far between. Our generation has been blessed with its share and sadly, they are leaving our world, bowing out in shrugs and silence. The quiet nature of literary creativity pales in comparison to the drug riddled and innuendo laden glitz of rock stars and stars of the silver screen, so we rarely give these artists the attention and send off they deserve. Well, it’s not the one they deserve, but at least it’s heartfelt.

Kurt Vonnegut was the first author who truly captured my attention. Books, of course, had owned my imagination since I was of a capricious age. But Vonnegut was the man who made me curious about the people behind the words. Slaughterhouse 5 was like a dream the first time I read it; floating through space and war and mundane life simultaneously left me enraptured. A voice emerged from the pages and lulled me. I searched for his name of bookstore shelves and was never left thirsting after closing the pages of his creations. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. died April 11, 2007 after 84 years on our tired, confused and wilting planet. So it goes.

Michael Crichton is the author who I can pick up even when I don’t want to read. His books are a guaranteed good read and can alight the desire even when it feels completely extinguished. He’s accessible to all levels of readers, even though he could easily write in lofty prose and condescending scientific jargon. His intelligence is clear and his imagination is always backed by strong scientific data. All of the sudden, you’re in a impossible place with sound reasons for being there, with characters you empathize with and grow quickly attached to, and soon find yourself fighting to put the book down. He was brilliant and left a legacy of literature that hopefully many after me will be enthralled by. Michael Crichton died on Nov 4, 2008 in Los Angeles at the age of 66, after a private battle with cancer. He will be greatly missed.

There it is: my word of thanks to two men who strongly shaped my life. They will be missed, even if society withheld the send-off they deserved.

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