In his second novel, from 1959, Kurt Vonnegut revealed his true gifts as a science fiction writer. "The spareness hits you first," wrote William Deresiewicz in a 2012 retrospective on Vonnegut. "The first page contains 14 paragraphs, none of them longer than two sentences, some of them as short as five words. It's like he's placing pieces on a game board—so, and so, and so." Vonnegut gives us the bizarre, entangled lives of Malachi Constant, the richest man in 22nd-century America; Winston Niles Rumfoord, a now-disembodied human who knows everything that has happened or will happen; and a robot from Trafalmadore, millions of years old, who needs a spare part for his flying saucer.