Cat's Cradle is a novel that satirizes science, politics, the military and human folly. John learns of a substance called "ice-nine", which freezes any water it touches at room temperature. John meets the Hoenikkers, the children of ice-nine's discoverer, and they eventually end up on the fictional island of San Lorenzo, ruled by a dictator called Papa. John becomes dictator after Papa kills himself with ice-nine. During John's inauguration, a plane crashes into the palace and Papa's body flies into the sea, causing all of the world's water to freeze.