Thursday, April 12, 2007
Kurt Vonnegut, who passed yesterday at the age of eighty four, lived through the fire bombing of Dresden in WWII. He saw the brutality of war and what it did to a people. He understood that while politicians beat their chests and sing of glory and victory, that there can be no victory in the humiliation and destruction of a people. Through his writing, Vonnegut has tried to compel us to see war in human terms, to understand the cost.
An outspoken critic of the illegal war in Vietnam, Vonnegut also spoke out against the oil war in Iraq. Even before the U.S. started bombing Baghdad, Vonnegut was criticizing Bush's policies.
Somebody will ask why this political posting is being made on a blog dedicated to science fiction and fantasy? It's because Vonnegut was an important writer in the genre and his writing was decidedly political and antiwar in nature. His works "Slaughterhouse Five", "Cat's Cradle" and "Mother Night" are important works of literature, working as both speculative fiction and as political statements that the military industrial complex would just as well have us turn a blind eye to. While science fiction and fantasy is wonderful escapist literature, it works best when it is making a true statement about human nature and our position in the world around us.
With his passing, how can one better honor this man than by taking up mantle of peace activist? Here's to you, Mr. Vonnegut. So it Goes. Get us out of Iraq now.
Posted by Stewart Sternberg at 4/12/2007