"2 B R 0 2 B" is a 1962 science fiction short story by Kurt Vonnegut. It is about a frustrated father-to-be who lives in a population controlled Earth.
Regular Childbirth is Stressful Enough
I remember when my first child was born – it was both an exciting and stressful time. However I didn’t have any of the pressure that the father in this story has – and I can’t imagine what it would be like to have to make the horrible decision he did. Let’s just consider ourselves lucky shall we?
Edward K. Wehling Jr. is waiting for his wife to deliver their first child. You’d think he would be excited and happy right? But no, he is rather worried and anxious. Why? Because they live in a future Earth where the population is tightly controlled and permanently set at 40 million people. That means when a child is born someone else has to… um, voluntarily give up their spot. And now Edward has received some unexpected bad news – his wife is having triplets, and he has to pick which one gets to live. That doesn’t sound fun at all. Under all this pressure Edward comes up with a unique solution to the problem – but not everyone will like his answer.
Some Interesting Tidbits
- Word count: 2,505 (6 pages)
- You can learn all kinds of stuff about Kurt Vonnegut by reading the bio on his official web site.
- Special thanks to Variety SF for pointing me towards this great little story.
Where To Find 2 B R 0 2 B
- This story was first published in the January 1962 issue of If.
- You can read "2 B R 0 2 B" online for free at Project Gutenberg.
- It is also included in Kurt Vonnegut’s short fiction anthology Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction.
Craving More SF Stories Like This One?
If you liked "2 B R 0 2 B" then you may enjoy “Harrison Bergeron” also by Kurt Vonnegut – about a future society in which talented and gifted people are forced to wear handicapping equipment to make them more normal.