Not science fiction
by ninthchord on August 17, 2010This was my introduction to Vonnegut, and I plan to read more. He certainly has an ironic, offhanded way of describing the bombing of Dresden. Early on he says that writing a book about ending war would be like writing a book about stopping glaciers. The point is that there will always be war, although in present day glaciers may be disappearing. So, he writes about war without glorifying it or condemning it; he responds to each death with the straightforward: "So it goes."
This book is usually classified as science fiction because of the appearance of an alien race, but I think this is an error. Vonnegut leaves clues in the book that the Aliens are all in Billy Pilgrim's head. Pilgrim doesn't experience his life in a linear order due to the alien abduction, but there are hints that he may be experiencing flashbacks or flashforwards. Vonnegut even reveals that the aliens were characters in Trout's sci-fi books, which Pilgrim read while at war. I don't think the book specifically presents the existence of these aliens or of Pilgrim's physical time leaps as facts.
I would classify the book as metafiction.
Mr. Trout was quite a character!
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