Breakfast of Champions
London: 1988; Cox & Wyman Ltd.
The Son of Jimmy Valentine
Kilgore Trout once wrote a short novel about the importance of the clitoris in love-making.
This was in response to a suggestion by his second wife, Darlene, that he could make a fortune
with a dirty book. She told him that the hero should understand women so well that he could
seduce anyone he wanted. So trout wrote The Son of Jimmy Valentine
Jimmy Valentine was a famous made-up person in another writer's books, just as Kilgore Trout
was a famous made-up person in my books. Jimmy Valentine in the other writer's books sandpapered
his fingertips, so they were extrasensitive. He was a safe-cracker. His sense of feel was so
delicate that he could open any safe in the world by feeling the tumblers fall.
Kilgore Trout invented a son for Jimmy Valentine, named Ralston Valentine. Ralston Valentine
also sandpapered his fingertips. But he wasn't a safe-cracker. Ralston was so good at touching
women the way they wanted to be touched, that tens of thousands of them became his willing
slaves. They abandoned their husbands or lovers for him, in Trout's story, and Ralston Valentine
became President of the United States, thanks to the votes of women.
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How You Doin'?
Trout wrote a novel one time which he called How You Doin'? and it was about national
averages for this and that. And advertising agency on another planet had a successful campaign
for the local equivalent of Earthling peanut butter. The eye-catching part of each ad was the
statement of some sort of average--the average number of children, the average size of the male
sex organ on that particular planet--which was two inches long, with an inside diameter of three
inches and an outside diameter of four and a quarter inches--and so on. The ads invited the
readers to discover whether they were superior or inferior to the majority, in this respect or
that one--whatever the respect was for that particular ad.
The ad went on to say that superior and inferior people alike ate such and such brand of
peanut butter. Except that it wasn't really peanut butter on that planet. It was Shazzbutter.
And so on.
And the peanut butter-eaters on Earth were preparing to conquer the shazzbutter-eaters
on the planet in the book by Kilgore Trout. By this time, the Earthlings hadn't just demolished
West Virginia and Southeast Asia. They had demolished everything. So they were ready to go pioneering
They studied the shazzbutter-eaters by means of electronic snooping, and determined that
they were too numerous and proud and resourceful ever to allow themselves to be pioneered.
So the Earthlings infiltrated the ad agency which had the shazzbutter account,
and they buggered the statistics in the ads. They made the average for everything so high
that everybody on the planet felt inferior to the majority in every respect.
And then the Earthling armored space ships came in and discovered the planet. Only
token resistance was offered here and there, because the natives felt so below average.
And then the pioneering began.
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Now It Can Be Told
The premise of the book was this: Life was an experiment by the Creator of the
Universe, Who wanted to test a new sort of creature He was thinking of introducing
into the Universe. It was a creature with the ability to make up its own mind.
All the other creatures were fully programmed robots.
The book was in the form of a long letter from The Creator of the Universe
to the experimental creature. The Creator congratulated the creature and apologized
for all the discomfort he had endured. The Creator invited him to a banquet in
his honor in the Empire Room of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, where
a black robot named Sammy Davis, Jr., would sing and dance.
And the experimental creature wasn't killed after the banquet. He was transferred
to a virgin planet instead. Living cells were sliced from the palms of his hands,
while he was unconscious. The operation didn't hurt at all.
And then the cells were stirred into a soupy sea on the virgin planet.
They would evolve into ever more complicated life forms as the eons went by.
Whatever shapes they assumed, they would have free will.
Trout didn't give the experimental creature a proper name. He simply called
him The Man.
On the virgin planet, The Man was Adam and the sea was Eve.
The Man often sauntered by the sea. Sometimes he waded in his Eve. Sometimes
he swam in her, but she was too soupy for an invigorating swim. She made her Adam
feel sleepy and sticky afterwards, so he would dive into an icy stream that had
just jumped off a mountain.
He screamed when he dived into the icy water, screamed again when he came up
for air. He bloodied his shins and laughed about it when he scrambled up rocks
to get out of the water.
He panted and laughed some more, and he thought of something amazing to yell.
The Creator never knew what he was going to yell, since The Creator had no control
over him. The Man himself got to decide what he was going to do next--and why.
After a dip one day, for instance, The Man yelled this: "Cheese!"
Another time he yelled, "Wouldn't you really rather drive a Buick?"
The only other big animal on the virgin planet was an angel who visited The Man
occasionally. He was a messenger and an investigator for the Creator of the Universe.
He took the form of an eight hundred pound male cinnamon bear. He was a robot, too,
and so was The Creator, according to Kilgore Trout.
The bear was attempting to get a line on why The Man did what he did. He would ask,
for instance, "Why did you yell, 'Cheese'?"
And The Man would tell him mockingly, "Because I felt like it, you stupid
Here is what The Man's tombstone on the virgin planet looked like at the
end of the book by Kilgore Trout:
"Dear sir, poor sir, brave sir: You are an experiment by the Creator of the
Universe. You are the only creature in the entire Universe who has free will.
You are the only one who has to figure out what to do next--and why.
Everybody else is a robot, a machine.Y - O - U
"Every time you went into the library, the Creator of the Universe held His breath.
With such a higgledy-piggledy cultural smorgasbord before you, what would you, with
your free will, choose?
"Some persons seem to like you, and others seem to hate you, and you must
wonder why. They are simply liking machines and hating machines.
"You are pooped and demoralized. Why wouldn't you be? Of course it's exhausting,
having to reason every time in a universe which wasn't meant to be reasonable.
"You are surrounded by loving machines, hating machines, greedy machines,
unselfish machines, brave machines, cowardly machines, truthful machines, lying
machines, funny machines, solemn machines. Their only purpose is to stir you
up in every conceivable way, so the Creator of the Universe can watch your reactions.
They can no more feel or reason than grandfather clocks.
"The Creator of the Universe would now like to apologize not only for the
capricious, jostling companionship he provided during the test, but for the trashy,
stinking condition of the planet itself. The Creator programmed robots to abuse it
for millions of years, so it would be a poisonous, festering cheese when you got
here. Also, He made sure it would be desperately crowded by programming robots,
regardless of their living conditions, to crave sexual intercourse and adore infants
more than almost anything.
"He also programmed robots to write books and magazines and newspapers for you,
and television and radio shows, and stage shows, and films. They wrote songs for
you. The Creator of the Universe had them invent hundreds of religions, so you would
have plenty to choose among. He had them kill each other by the millions, for this
purpose only: that you be amazed. They had commited every possible atrocity and
every possible kindness unfeelingly, automatically, inevitably, to get a reaction from Y-O-U."
This last word was set in extra-large type and had a line all to itself, so it looked like this:
"Your parents were fighting machines and self-pitying machines. Your mother was
programmed to bawl out your father for being a defective money-making machine, and
your father was programmed to bawl her out for being a defective housekeeping machine.
They were programmed to bawl each other out for being defective loving machines.
"Then your father was programmed to stomp out of the house and slam the door.
This automatically turned your mother into a weeping machine. And your father would
go down to a tavern where he would get drunk with some other drinking machines. Then
all the drinking machines would go to a whorehouse and rent fucking machines. And
then your father would drag himself home to become an apologizing machine. And your
mother would become a very slow forgiving machine."
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untitled - (Skid Row)
Kilgore Trout wrote a story one time about a town which decided to tell
derelicts where they were and what was about to happen to them by putting
up actual street signs like this:
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untitled - (Yeast Dialogue)
Kilgore Trout once wrote a short story which was a dialogue between two
pieces of yeast. They were discussing the possible purposes of life as they
ate sugar and suffocated in their own excrement. Because of their limited
intelligence, they never came close to guessing that they were making champagne.
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The Smart Bunny
The leading character was a rabbit who lived like all the other wild rabbits,
but who was as intelligent as Albert Einstein or William Shakespeare. It was a
female rabbit. She was the only female leading character in any novel or story
by Kilgore Trout.
She led a normal female rabbit's life, despite her ballooning intellect. She
concluded that her mind was useless, that it was a sort of tumor, that it had no
usefulness within the rabbit scheme of things.
So she went hippity-hop, hippity hop toward the city, to have the tumor removed.
But a hunter named Dudley Farrow shot and killed her before she got there. Farrow
skinned her and took out her guts, but then he and his wife Grace decided that they
had better not eat her because of her unusually large head. They thought what she had
thought when she was alive--that she must be diseased.
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The Pan-Galactic Memory Bank
In Trout's novel, The Pan-Galactic Memory Bank, the hero is on a space ship
two hundred miles long and sixty-two miles in diameter. He gets a realistic novel out of
the branch library in his neighborhood. He reads about sixty pages of it, and then he takes it back.
The librarian asks him why he doesn't like it, and he says to her, "I already know about human beings."
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Last modified: June 4, 1997
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