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  • Venus on the Half-Shell is a science fiction novel by Philip José Farmer, writing pseudonymously as "Kilgore Trout", a fictional recurring character in many of the novels of Kurt Vonnegut. This book first appeared as a lengthy fictitious "excerpt"—written by Vonnegut, but attributed to Trout—in Vonnegut's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. With Vonnegut's permission, Farmer expanded the fragment into an entire standalone novel. Farmer's story was first published in two parts beginning in the December 1974 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. The plot, in which Earth is destroyed by cosmic bureaucrats doing routine maintenance and the sole human survivor goes on a quest to find the "Definitive Answer to the Ultimate Question," was paid homage by the later Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. According to Farmer's introduction in Venus on the Half-Shell and Others, Vonnegut was initially reluctant to allow the project, but finally relented. After publication, a poorly worded magazine article gave Vonnegut the impression that Farmer had planned to write the story regardless of his permission, which angered Vonnegut.

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