Kilgore Trout is a "cult" (i.e. "bad") author, celebrated in various works by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. His fans, amongst which are numbered Philip José Farmer, admired him for the breadth of his imagination, to which unfortunately neither his talent as an author nor any kind of business sense were ever able to live up to. Most of his books were used by publishers as padding for works of a pornographic nature.

His most famous work is the science-fiction novel Venus on the Half-Shell, most commonly available in a version edited (more probably largely-rewritten) by Philip José Farmer. This was ultimately an unhappy enterprise for those concerned, but at least we have the book to enjoy.

Farmer was also responsible for a brief biography of Trout, "The Obscure Life and Hard Times of Kilgore Trout", and discusses his membership of the Wold Newton Family in Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life. Possibly as an indirect result of the Venus on the Half-Shell affair, Vonnegut's novel Timequake presents contradictory information about Trout's family and life.

In recent years, with Cordwainer Bird's Final Menacing Glimpses finally having reached print, it has become apparent that Trout may not have been so naive with regard to his career as hitherto thought. Mr. Bird has revealed that Trout had a (perhaps lucrative) sideline as ghost writer for Ellery Queen. Trout's contribution to Bird's anthology is a bit off-the-wall, though.

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