According to US Playboy, September 2009 issue, this is a never before published story of Vonnegut, making its first appearance in this magazine now. Story, however, was written early in the carrier of Vonnegut.
Story summary.Bowers - Henry, his wife Ellen, daughter Susan (7), & son Paul (8) - have been leading a happy contented middle class life.
Now Henry - a "tinker, maker, & mender who had a touch close to magic with materials & machines" - has invented a gadget that promises to make them super rich. A tiny device that you keep in your pocket, connect it to earpiece with wire - like a modern pocket MP3 player. Only it's way beyond even our modern devices.
What does the gadget - dubbed "Confido" by Ellen - do? It helps you gossip with someone - someone mysterious, someone who's neither a god nor a man. When the device is switched on, this someone has access to your thoughts & can sense your environment; & it can speak to you - speech that is picked up by a tiny mike set in earpiece which plays back the sound.
When testing the device in the family, the family will discover something very ugly about the "voice"...
- Kurt Vonnegut's Look at the Birdie (coll), due out November 2009 from Delacorte Press.
Fact sheet.First published: US Playboy, September 2009.
Added to my "best of the year 2009" list.
Related: Stories of Kurt Vonnegut; Stories from 2009 issues of Playboy.