2

Most online searches for the phrase "and so it goes" lead to Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut published in 1969.

However it is used a few times in 'Repent Harlequin said the Tick-tock man' by Harlan Ellison and that was published in 1965.

My question is simply:- Which sci fi writer is the one who came up with the phrase?

6

The expression, "So it goes," was a standard one well before the 1960s dates of either of the science fiction works you mention. Although Google Ngrams results must be taken with a grain of salt (the makeup of the corpus is not consistent over time, and many scanned documents are misdated), a simple search indicates that the popularity of "so it goes" may have peaked in the 1940s.

Ellison's usage just seems to be everyday use of a normal idiomatic expression. On the other hand, Vonnegut uses, "So it goes," as repeated motif in Slaughterhouse Five; the quote is repeated after each death that occurs in the story. So, to the extent that the phrase is widely recognized in science fiction, that is probably Vonnegut's influence.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.