The Wikipedia page on Cat’s Cradle has this to say about Vonnegut’s classic novel:
Many of Vonnegut’s recurring themes are prevalent in Cat’s Cradle, most notably the issues of free will and man’s relation to technology
Well, if there are any two topics that are right up my interest alley, free will and man’s relation to technology are them. Cat’s Cradle, then, was a joy for me to read. I love satire, sarcasm, and humor designed to make people think. Which is strange because when I was in college I just avoided anything Vonnegut like the plague. I just didn’t get it, and I didn’t dig it. I’ve heard a lot of people say the same thing. Maybe Vonnegut is something you only really “get” once you’ve gone around the sun enough times to have some historical context. But when I finally read Cat’s Cradle as a middle-aged man, I loved it. So, as you can imagine, I jumped at the chance when I was asked by Amazon to write the first (and only) commissioned sequel to Cat’s Cradle.
Wait! Someone wrote an officially sanctioned and commissioned sequel to Cat’s Cradle?
Amazon had received the rights from the Vonnegut estate through it’s Kindle Worlds entity to permit and sell derivative works (fan fiction) in Vonnegut’s worlds. Those fan fiction pieces through Kindle Worlds are not commissioned, they are just permitted. Which is to say that anyone can write one, which is kind of cool. My project, although it was necessarily licensed through KW (because it had to be,) was commissioned through Kindle Serials as a Serialized novel. “Commissioned” means they paid me a nice advance check to write the book officially. This made the book both licensed and commissioned, which is one of the coolest things that’s ever happened to me.
Writing a sequel to Cat’s Cradle is, on its face, a difficult prospect. Not only are you writing in a universe created by one of the greatest American writers ever… but this particular world was (spoiler alert) ended in the finale of Vonnegut’s original masterpiece. There was no “after” to write about. In the book, Ice-9 destroyed the world. How do you write a sequel when the world is apocalypsed in the first book?
But Mr. Vonnegut had left me an edge, a ragged corner to pick at that would enable the whole thing to be peeled back. The answer was in the book. Not words from the book particularly, but the fact that the book Cat’s Cradle existed, that… that was the edge Vonnegut left me. The fact that the “hero” of the book had told the story at all, even if it ended with his own implied death by Ice-9, meant that, well, something else must have happened other than what was implied. Something after the end. The book ends (another spoiler alert) with our hero finding Bokonon himself, seated by the side of the road, beginning to be frozen by Ice-9, coming up with the final words for his Books of Bokonon. Of course he says something silly and wise and full of satire, but the end does indeed come. The easy way out would be to have our hero-writer saved somehow, but that scenario doesn’t solve the problem. Even if our hero-writer survives, the rest of the world did not. But I was continually troubled by this idea of someone penning a first-hand account of the end of the world. There is the inescapable fact evident in the scenario that something else happened! Or how and why would the book ever be read?
How do you write a sequel to a book that ended the world?
Well, it is Vonnegut, so you slip in some time travel, some comedy, some mischievous monkeying wtih timelines, and a heavy dose of satire and irony. That’s how you do it.
And I had my edge… my beginning question. Something happened after the end of the end, and that something is the book I meant to write.
Welcome to Osage Two Diamonds!
The problem is that it is an end that only four people remember, an end that occurred in 1961 and brought about by Ice-nine, a supposedly fictional substance. Hot on the trail of the truth, Sam finds himself on a journey no one would ever believe. He’ll fight a giant, marry a woman who has been dead for years, and set out on an adventure with a crazy time-traveling elevator operator named Rayford, who zips him through time and space as they seek to solve the mystery of the apocalypse that once—and never—was.
Osage Two Diamonds is a humorous and satirical parable set in the world of Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle that asks, What if it were all true? What if Vonnegut wrote a fictionalized account of real events and the world really did end in 1961, but someone subsequently un-ended it?
This book was initially released in episodes as a Kindle Serial. All episodes are now available for immediate download as a complete book.
Osage Two Diamonds is on sale as a Kindle E-book for only $1.99 through the end of December. You should pick it up now while it’s cheap.