Kurt Vonnegut's "Armageddon in Retrospect"

Just finished reading this volume, issued (I guess) as a kind of memorial to Kurt Vonnegut, who died a year ago. Most of Vonnegut's writing near the end of his life took the form of political essays, so it's perhaps the presence of short stories that makes this book so poignant. The familiar names of some of the characters make us feel like we finally know the fates of some of the people he was writing about decades earlier, and show that even though Vonnegut had stopped publishing fiction he was still capable of writing it as he always had.

To me, the most interesting inclusion is a facsimile (not a transcription, but an actual photographic facsimile) of a letter sent by Vonnegut in 1945 to his parents upon the occasion of his being recovered from Germany at the end of the war. Any fan of Vonnegut know that he's told this story in print a dozen times, but fictionalized and factually, in the 60+ years since, but this document represents the very first time.

I have updated my Kurt Vonnegut Booklist to include this book, with flags for compilation, stories, misc writings, SF, and pictures.

2008.04.22 at 8:00am EDT