Book Review: Armageddon In Retrospect


Kurt Vonnegut’s straightforwardness in story-making is refreshing to read. His sarcasm is fun to read and to think about just like his opinion about the use of semi-colons:

My advice to writers just starting out? Don’t use semi-colons! They are transvestite hermaphrodites, representing exactly nothing. All they do is suggest you might have gone to college.

Hell, I frequently use semi-colons because my English professor told me to use it to separate clauses. But here is Vonnegut denouncing the use of semi-colons, like what the heck is he implying. I guess what Vonnegut is telling his audience is to make every sentence construction simple. Reminds me of the KISS (Keep It Short and Simple) rule that until now I try to apply in my write-ups and I admit writing is one skill that I need to improve.

So back to the book, it’s a compilation of essays and short stories posthumously published a year after his death with a foreword from his son. It’s an interesting read because it’s my first time to read Vonnegut’s short stories. Funny thing is that war seems to be the universal topic on Vonnegut’s short stories probably owing to his first hand experience at war.

Kurt does not fail to entertain his readers even if the topic is about war, he knows how to lighten up war issues without demoting it’s seriousness. Clearly, writing is his forte as what his son Mark Vonnegut says in the first sentence of his introduction for this book,

“Writing was a spiritual exercise for my father, the only thing he really believed in.”

And I agree.

Maybe it’s through writing that Kurt can freely express his demons and I like that. I wish I was like that but I’m such a procrastinator and I don’t have focus. Armageddon In Retrospect is the 13th short story in this book and I don’t have any idea as to why they chose to use it as the title for this book. That story by the way is an odd one, it’s about a doctor who wanted to prove the existence of the devil and ironically he became one (sorry for revealing the “twist”). Read this book, you’ll love Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.




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