This article is from the Kurt Vonnegut FAQ, by George A Cooley firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
This has been by far the most frequently asked question of the newsgroup.
The book is attributed to Kilgore Trout, a fictional author appearing in
many of Vonnegut's works. In actuality, the book was written by Philip
Jose-Farmer. There have been reports from numerous sources that this is
the case, and that Vonnegut and Jose-Farmer themselves have each
identified Jose-Farmer as the real author. No, Kurt didn't write it.
No, Kilgore Trout is not a real person. A later publication of the work
even correctly names Jose-Farmer as the author. If you're looking
for it, I'd recommend looking under both the names Trout and Jose-Farmer;
if you find it under Vonnegut, it's been misfiled.
On the subject, Chris A. Hall (chall@sutro.SFSU.EDU) writes:
In the introduction to his story "The Phantom of the Sewers" in
"Riverworld and Other Stories," Farmer talks about his occasional habit
of writing "fictional author" stories as a method of breaking writer's
block. According to him, "Venus on the Half-Shell" was the very first
of these attempts. He also says that that was him on the back cover
under all that hair (actually pieces of a wig glued to his face.)
I have not read the book, and there have been mixed reviews of it in the