Worlds collide in this true story of weather control in the Cold War era and the making of Kurt Vonnegut.
In the mid-1950s, Kurt Vonnegut takes a job in the PR department at General Electric in Schenectady, where his older brother, Bernard, is a leading scientist in its research lab--or "House of Magic." Kurt has ambitions as a novelist, and Bernard is working on a series of cutting-edge weather-control experiments meant to make deserts bloom and farmers flourish. While Kurt writes zippy press releases, Bernard builds silver-iodide generators and attacks clouds with dry ice. His experiments attract the attention of the government; weather proved a decisive factor in World War II, and if the military can control the clouds, fog, and snow, they can fly more bombing missions. Maybe weather will even be--as a headline in American Magazine calls it--"The New Super Weapon." But when the army takes charge of his cloudseeding project (dubbed Project Cirrus), Bernard begins to have misgivings about the use of his inventions for harm, not to mention the evidence that they are causing alarming changes in the atmosphere.
Ginger Strand is the author of three books: Flight, a novel, Inventing Niagara, the untold story of America's waterfall, and Killer on the Road, a history of the interstate highway system told through the stories of the killers who have haunted it. She has published essays and fiction in many places, including Harper's, The Believer, The Iowa Review, The New England Review and the New York Times, as well as This Land and Orion, where she is a contributing editor. A former fellow in the Behrman Center for the Humanities at Princeton, she has received grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Mellon Foundation, the Eisenhower Foundation, and the American Antiquarian Society, as well as residency grants from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the Center for Land Use Interpretation, the MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo. Author Image: Oriana Riley