But it was a bonafide weirdo (and bonafide genius) named Kurt Vonnegut who first brought the idea of being "unstuck in time," or seeing your whole life before you—birth, death, the whole shebang—to the American masses.
We have all occasionally found existence meaningless or hard to get through, and we find various ways (like, say, reality TV or ) to cope. Sometimes we just need a way to chill out, remove ourselves from the situation at hand, and find necessary to sit back and say, "So it goes."
Billy Pilgrim, the main character of Slaughterhouse-Five, has way more proof than we do of how crummy life can be. He is, after all, a prisoner of war and witness to one of the most horrible massacres in history. Who can blame Billy for escaping into cheesy science fiction whenever life gets to be a bit much? In fact, his pain is so deep and goes so far beyond our day-to-day relationship and family troubles that he really starts to lose himself—literally—in fiction.
Slaughterhouse-Five is a book about war, but even more than that, it's about what comes after war, when someone who has lived through it has to rebuild his sense of self. Billy's trips to the alien planet Tralfamadore and are way more extreme than our weekly Top Model catharsis. But it's a difference of degree rather than kind.
high school bans "Slaughterhouse-Five" CBS/AP ..
Slaughterhouse-Five finally came out in 1969. And that, as it turned out, was massively good timing from a publicity perspective. Slaughterhouse-Five expressed the popular horror at the idea of war— when it comes to describing the sheer absurdity and terror that war brings. Literary history was made: Slaughterhouse-Five remains one of the great anti-war novels.