Donald Trump and Kurt Vonnegut’s Man in the Hole Narrative

If you're at all like me, you spent a good hour or so yesterday trying to follow Donald Trump's rambling press conference. While we can certainly debate the merits or lack thereof of his arguments against the media and his own assessment of his first month in office, one thing that struck me as I…Read more Donald Trump and Kurt Vonnegut’s Man in the Hole Narrative

So… Handmines! (Doctor Who, Daleks, & Slaughterhouse Five)

I just watched the season premiere of Doctor Who and was struck by the thing that probably struck all fans of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaugherhouse Five: The Handmines are suspiciously similar to the Tralfamadorians. In case you haven't seen the episode, Handmines are like landmines, but instead of blowing people up, they reach up from underground…Read more So… Handmines! (Doctor Who, Daleks, & Slaughterhouse Five)

More Sketchy Thoughts on Slaughterhouse Five

A while back, I posted some thoughts on whether or not Billy Pilgrim is hallucinating when he's visited by aliens in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five. I'm teaching the novel again this week, an my thoughts have turned to the issue of free will in the novel. The reason this came up is that a student…Read more More Sketchy Thoughts on Slaughterhouse Five

Is Billy Pilgrim Crazy?

A student of mine recently asked whether Billy Pilgrim, the protagonist (for lack of a better word) of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, has, within the context of the narrative (such as it is) really experienced a close encounter with aliens or simply lost his mind. The question is certainly valid. When I first read the…Read more Is Billy Pilgrim Crazy?