Hocus Pocus is the most...unsugarcoated? undisguised? critique I've read from Vonnegut yet. All his novels warn against mankind's hubris, but usually he layers some whimsy on top of the warning. This book is just blunt.
Ah that's the word I was looking for: blunt. As in:
Just because you can read, write and do a little math, doesn't mean that you're entitled to conquer the universe.This is the concluding sentence of the novel. The whole conclusion is the most clever.
My usual selection of quotations:
How is this for a definition of high art: "making the most of the raw materials of futility"?
The two prime movers in the Universe are Time and Luck.
Most of the company's employees were content to do what they were told and incurious as to how it was, exactly, that they had worked the miracles that somehow arrived all packed and labeled and addressed on the loading docks.
I am reminded now of dead American soldiers, teenagers mostly, all packaged and labeled and addressed on loading docks in Vietnam. How many people knew or cared how these curious artifacts were actually manufactured?
Oddly enough, the actors always turned out to be a lot more believable on the little screen than we were. Real people or in real trouble don't come across, somehow.