1953 first novel by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

A highly satirical picture of the future. He paints a world where production is so automated that only people with Master's degrees or better actually work. Everyone else is on welfare.

Something of a dystopia, this book deals with the issues of automation displacing workers, rendering them obsolete and leaving them with no role to play in society. In a world where everything is provided, there exists little challenge and the characters end up questioning their own value. It also deals with the fallacy of making work, how people use their free time and with privacy issues.

Some of his other novels are:

Sources: Vonnegut, Kurt "Player Piano", Delta Paperbacks, 1952 Last updated 05.21.03
Actually, the hero was Paul Proteus and I believe he was actually being promoted not fired. He questioned the system by stepping outside the box, so to speak, and evaluating how a man measures his own self worth. He is exposed to the elements of the base, lower class society and was left cold by it.
There was, however, a character in the novel that developed a machine that did his job better than he did and was laid off.
It's interesting to note that Vonnegut wrote this while they still used vacuum tubes in computers. The master supercomputer that he describes in the book takes up acres upon acres of space. Still, the irony of his prophetical message is not lost in nostalgia as we very nearly live in the world that Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. envisioned. A world run by machines.

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