It was sixty-five years ago this month that Kurt Vonnegut published his first short story, “Report on the Barnhouse Effect,” which appeared in the February 1950 issue of Collier’s magazine. Vonnegut received $750 for the story, the equivalent of two month’s salary. According to Charles Shields’ Vonnegut biography And So It Goes, Vonnegut wrote the following to his father: “I think I’m on my way. I’ve deposited my first check in a savings account and, if I sell more, will continue to do so until I have the equivalent of one year’s pay at GE. Four more stories will do it nicely…I will then quit this goddamn nightmare job, and never take another one so long as I live, so help me God.”
“Report on the Barnhouse Effect” is available in the Welcome to the Monkey House collection. In his book The Short Fiction of Kurt Vonnegut, author Peter J. Reed calls the story “one of Vonnegut’s best.”
Vonnegut was on his way, indeed!