Recent Reads: Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut.

Finally! I finished!

To be honest… I was apprehensive. Because I was so-o-o-o disappointed by Cat’s Cradle. Vonnegut is supposed to be the epitome of black humor and satire from the Science Fiction perspective…. And… I found Cat’s Cradle lame and vapid….

But… I did find some parts of this novel entertaining. A lot of it was repetitive. Which is fine. I really didn’t find much Science. At least Douglas Adams comes up with some interesting Science bits that are intellectually interesting enough to be entertaining….

Vonnegut offers some teasers, but rarely ever gets around to explaining anything in detail. Such as… if the entire city of Dresden was in ruins, how were they so easily able to get the door of the Slaughterhouse basement open? That seems rather mysterious… and even magical… or miraculous….

Deedlee-balls. Had to look that up. Didn’t know what they were.

He does a very good job with names. But… this is a satire… so meaningful names is OK.

Lot of mockery of the American Ideal. Social Satire. Historical perspective.

Most of the humor in the Vonnegut (and Adams) that I’ve read so far… seems to be aimed at justifying the superiority of his religious and political philosophies. Over Christianity. Over Conservatism. Of Peace at all costs… over War at any cost….

I get that the humor is supposed to be very intellectual: atheism is superior, and therefore mocking and ridiculing Christianity is always funny and entertaining…. Progressive Liberals are smarter than Conservatives… because… well… because the writer believes he is smarter than anyone who may disagree….

As I have stated before… I am Southern, Christian and Conservative…. I’m not offended…. Because… I can’t get to the point where I’m capable of suspending disbelief.

My issue is simply this: I cannot suspend disbelief. When the writer goes to so much trouble to make his attacks on Christianity so clear… and his mocking ridicule of Christianity so clear… his belief in the superiority of Atheism or Secular Humanism so clear… the humor escapes me… when he so clearly injects Straw Man arguments. When he so clearly doesn’t understand his subject of ridicule.

As for War… maybe allowing Hitler to control Europe would have been a better idea. Maybe allowing Stalin… and Putin… unfettered control of the Northern Hemisphere would have been a better idea. Maybe allowing Saddam Hussein to slaughter Kurds and Shi’ites at will would have been a better idea. Maybe allowing the Alewites to slaughter the Christians and Sunni is the right thing to do. Maybe allowing the Chinese to control Asia and Iran to destroy Israel is the best way for the world to move forward… safely….

And… maybe not.

But… mischaracterizing something that I understand well… and ridiculing things you don’t know about… don’t lead me to believe you are intellectually superior…. Just proves to me that you’re a blind bigot….

Maybe some of these Science Fiction Satirists would do a better job… and even be funnier… if they were capable of criticizing things they know… rather than ridiculing what they cannot comprehend… because they think it’s low hanging fruit….

Vonnegut’s writing is rather sparse. Terse, I suppose. Leaves a lot to the imagination.

Vonnegut is not constrained by convention: he does a lot of things that the writing books say that authors shouldn’t do. Like skipping around in time. All over the place. That is essentially a synopsis of the plot.

He also writes in the third person omnipotent perspective… inserts the author into the text at various points… but never explains how the author comes to his omnipotence…. Unless… perhaps… he time-travels, too. As perhaps the other novelist he created in the book, Kilgore Trout, seems to do. Seems like a parody of himself. And one of the more interesting parts of the story. As is his liaison with Montana Wildhack, the XXX movie actress, in the Human Zoo on Tralfamadore. Every man’s dream. A reality. Somewhere in Space-Time. Unfortunately for me… I had already anticipated what kind of actress she was… so the reveal lost its thunder.

Same with the death of his morbidly obese wife, Valencia, whom he married for money. And… like I say… I was distracted by some of the details he missed: people who die of carbon monoxide poisoning are pink, not blue…. I understand the color symbolism: blue and ivory. Purple. But… details are details. Inaccurate details make it difficult for people who know the truth to suspend disbelief.

Interesting that he compares himself to Jesus Christ. Then explains that he did. Adds a different dimension to the symbolism…. Again… he does it through the plot of a Kilgore Trout novel.

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One thought on “Recent Reads: Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut.

  1. Pingback: Recent Reads: Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. | Wright-Wang Extreme Mystery, Inc.

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