2 Reviews: Slaughterhouse-Five and Peace in Amber

A classic sci-fi-“ish” novel and the post 9/11 short story it inspired.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt VonnegutSlaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
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My Rating4 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars 
First Published: 1969
Read from: Jan. 24 to Jan. 28, 2016

I read Kurt Vonnegut‘s Slaughterhouse-Five at least once a long time ago. I remember that I liked it, but that it effected me in a negative way and left me of two minds on the experience: I liked the book but hated what it described and made me feel. It not so much described, as allowed you to experience and feel some thing that by nature we resist discussing, describing and by all means feeling if we can avoid it.

I reread the book this time around as there was a short story, Peace in Amber: The World of Kurt Vonnegut by Hugh Howey, that I wanted to read that was basically Howey’s tribute to, commentary on, and his literary attempt at describing and moving past some of the same issues exposed in Slaughterhouse-Five. Knowing this I wanted Vonnegut’s work to be fresh in my ever-more-forgetful mind. I’m glad I did, as the novel and short-story compliment each other. And I discovered in the middle of Howey’s story, he described his experience with reading Slaughterhouse-Five and in doing so described far better than I could what Vonnegut’s book did to me. Read the Reviews

Short Story: Diary of Forget-Me-Nots

Diary of Forget-Me-Nots CoverDiary of Forget-Me-Nots by Jeffrey Beaty

I wrote this “Twilight Zone”-like short story about a war diary handed down from soldier to soldier in 1989. This was shortly before I actually joined the military, so it’s attempt to communicate a soldier’s life is pretty much a product of my imagination and watching too many war movies. The very brief story and my inexperience may have made the characters some what shallow stereotypes, but my later experiences in the US Navy during the Gulf War and its aftermath make me think none of those stereotypes are too far off the mark.

As far as the writing goes… I had very little writing experience when I wrote it, but I had written enough at this point to make a fairly good job of it. That and the fact that the story cites two very powerful poems by actual soldier poets from World War I and World War II make it into one of the few bits of my writing that I am not completely embarrassed by sharing. I had gotten the original idea in a college poetry class probably back in 1987, and it had sat around in my notebook and in my imagination for a year or 2 before I actually attempted to write it.

You can download the story in an Adobe PDF document that you should be able to read on most computers, mobile devices and e-readers with the appropriate app. In the near future I hope to add epub and kindle formats too.

To download the ebook, right-click the link below and select, “Save Link As”, or simply click on the link to open the ebook in your computer’s Adobe Reader app.

Adobe Reader PDF iconDownload Diary of Forget-Me-Nots
203KB Adobe PDF, 11 pages, about 3900 words.