Kilgore Trout is a fictional character who crops up in many of Kurt Vonnegut's novels and stories, as either a major or a minor character. Trout is a fictionalized version of another author, or maybe of Vonnegut himself, or maybe both. He has had two predicted death dates that I know of, and he may have committed suicide by drinking Drano in 2004 (well, the 2004 in the Vonnegut universe).

The Wikipedia entry has a nice overview of all of the events that have been recounted in Trout's life over the course of his appearances in Vonnegut writings, but it is sort of jumbled and confusing. I am wondering if anyone can provide a timeline of his life as it's recounted in Vonnegut books in order.

It's kind of a tall order, but I'm willing to bet that there are folks on here that are much more readily familiar with Vonnegut's canon than I am... so it's worth a shot!

  • Excellent question!
    – DForck42
    Commented Oct 28, 2011 at 17:40
  • 1
    Having read and enjoyed Slaughterhouse-Five, I'm really looking forward to an answer to this great question.
    – Purmou
    Commented Oct 29, 2011 at 7:03

2 Answers 2


Well, perhaps not the most canonical, but amongst some other bits and pieces, The Vonnegut Web has a "Biographical Sketch from Venus on the Half-Shell", a list of "The Known Works of Kilgore Trout Titled Tales (Excluding Timequake)" and tells us:

Kilgore Trout in the Vonnegutian Canon

Kilgore Trout makes his first appearance in God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. He is featured in Slaughterhouse-Five before becoming the central character in Breakfast of Champions and Timequake. He is mentioned in Jailbird and his son Leon narrates Galapagos.

The Shmoop website also gives a Character Analysis and rundown of the works of Kilgore Trout.

  • 1
    Looks like Vonnegut Web didn't maintain itself (leads to an irrelevant site).
    – Dronz
    Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 0:23
  • 1
    @Dronz Thanks, I've linked to the IA backup of the page.
    – Hugo
    Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 11:00

Kilgore Trout has a slightly different life between Vonnegut's different books, as the books are not all in the same fictional world/timeline as each other, and in times outside the books where Vonnegut has mentioned Trout.

So there would only be a canon Kilgore Trout for each world/timeline, as Trout and the world/timelines are different in each. The Kilgore Trout Wikipedia page summary is sketchy but good as it is now (3 1/2 years after this question was asked), but don't try to read it as if Trout is all one person with a consistent life between stories.

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