In "EPICAC," what was Kurt Vonnegut like?

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"EPICAC" is a science fiction story written by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. It is told from the point of view of a first-person narrator, but the narrator is a character in the story, not the author himself. In telling the story of his relationship with EPICAC, the largest computer in the world, the narrator reveals quite a lot about himself.

He is a mathematician who loves Pat Kilgallen, the girl he works with, but he has difficulty expressing emotion. He asks Pat again and again to marry him (he isn't shy), but he finds it impossible to be very romantic. Ironically, EPICAC turns out to be far more romantic than he is.

The narrator is a good man who feels responsible for EPICAC's "death." (He had left the computer running all night.) He is filled with sorrow when the computer is ruined, "too overcome with emotion for small talk."

He remembers EPICAC with fondness. He begins the story by saying that EPICAC was "[t]he best friend I ever had, God rest his soul." He feels a sense of loyalty to EPICAC, wanting the world to know that the computer was not a failure:

I want to vindicate EPICAC. Maybe he didn't do what the Brass wanted him to, but that doesn't mean he wasn't noble and great and brilliant. He was all of those things.

Considering all of these  traits, the narrator in the story is an appealing and admirable character.

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EPICAC

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