Fates Worse Than Death

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Fates Worse Than Death
First edition
Author Kurt Vonnegut
Country United States
Language English
Publisher G. P. Putnam's Sons
Publication date
1991 (1st edition),
September 1, 1992 (Reprint)
Media type Print (Hardcover, Paperback)
Pages 240
ISBN 0-399-13633-9
OCLC 26523103
Preceded by Hocus Pocus

Fates Worse than Death, subtitled An Autobiographical Collage of the 1980s, is a 1991 collection of essays, speeches, and other previously uncollected writings by author Kurt Vonnegut Jr.. In the introduction to the book, Vonnegut acknowledges that the book is similar to an earlier book, Palm Sunday. In it he discusses his attempted suicide.

This book also includes a "humanist requiem" that Vonnegut wrote as a reaction to the Roman Catholic Requiem, which he had heard in Andrew Lloyd Webber's setting and whose text he found "terrible and sadistic".[1] Vonnegut's own text was then set as a "Cosmos Cantata" by the composer Seymour Barab, of whom Vonnegut said, "Barab's music is full of magic. He proved to an atheist that God exists. What an honor to have worked with him."[2]

The ending of this text is as follows:

"Let not eternal light disturb our sleep, O Cosmos, for Thou art merciful. Deliver me, O Cosmos, from everlasting wakefulness. On that dread day when the heavens and earth shall quake, when we shall dissolve the world into glowing ashes in the name of gods unknowable, I am seized with trembling and I am afraid until that day of reckoning shall arrive. Hence I pray, Deliver me, O Cosmos, from everlasting wakefulness on that day of wrath, calamity and misery. Rest grant us, O Cosmos, and let not light perpetual disturb our sleep."[3]


Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.'s original sermon "Fates Worse Than Death" delivered at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, May 23, 1982.