Sad news from scifi.com: SF Author Vonnegut Is Dead SF author Kurt Vonnegut, best known for such classic novels as Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat's Cradle, died in New York on April 10 at the age of 84, The New York Times reported. Vonnegut suffered brain injuries as a result of a fall several weeks ago, the newspaper reported. Vonnegut's 14 novels became classics of the American counterculture and dealt with vivid SF scenarios, religions and races. He was a literary idol particularly to students in the 1960s and 1970s, the Times reported. Vonnegut, born in Indianapolis in 1922, also wrote plays, essays and short fiction. The defining moment of Vonnegut's life was the firebombing of Dresden, Germany, by Allied forces in 1945, an event he witnessed as a young prisoner of war. That experience was the basis for Slaughterhouse-Five, which was published in 1969 against the backdrop of war in Vietnam, racial unrest and cultural and social upheaval. Vonnegut became a cult hero when the novel reached number one on best-seller lists, and some schools and libraries banned the book because of its sexual content, rough language and depictions of violence. After the book was published, Vonnegut went into severe depression and vowed never to write another novel. In 1984, he tried to take his life with sleeping pills and alcohol, the newspaper reported. Cat's Cradle was published in 1963, and although it initially sold only about 500 copies, it is widely read today in high school English classes. Vonnegut's last book, published in 2005, was a collection of biographical essays, A Man Without a Country. It, too, was a best-seller. Vonnegut, a fourth-generation German-American, is survived by his wife, photographer Jill Krementz; their daughter; and his six other children. I'll never forget the phrase, "And so it goes". He used it "whenever death or dying is mentioned (be it that of a man, an animal, or the bubbles in champagne), serves to downplay mortality, making it routine and even humorous" He was always encouraging people to look at things through a different lens to gain new perspectives.