Slaughterhouse 5

An interesting book. I was not expecting the SF element to this at all. Vonnegut opens the book in a pleasant, direct manner explaining that he has been trying to write about his experiences in Dresden during the firebombing all his life, but he has been unable to, and then presents a rather odd story of another man, Billy, who was there with him. Vonnegut presents the whole episode as rather ridiculous, yet utterly scarring to those who survived it. Billy’s trips to Tralfamadore are part flashback and part escapism on the part of the character and of the author. These journeys into space are interesting, even if the Tralfamadorians concept of time is slightly wrong (whether this is an error on the part of Vonnegut due to ignorance, theory not being that evolved at time of writing, or pure authorial license I leave to someone else to work out). The book is also an interesting comment on the flights of fancy that SF can take a reader upon.
Also, when writing about ‘The Sirens of Titan’ I mentioned that it was an odd SF and should perhaps be read in the context of Vonneguts other works. I was very right. Many themes, people and places crop up in ‘Slaughterhouse’ that also appear in ‘Titans’. It would perhaps be interesting to make a study of Vonneguts body of work and try and analyse some of these recurring images and motifs.


~ by Snake Oil on September 3, 2009.

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