Killian Killian's Comments (member since Jan 22, 2012)


Killian's comments from the Classics for Beginners group.

(showing 1-7 of 7)

41817 Joanne wrote: "I think my favorite story was "The Speckled Band""

This was also my favorite. It seemed like most of the mysteries and their revelations of human behavior do no more than amuse Sherlock (I speak only of my impression of this collection of stories as I have never read any other Sherlock stories). In Speckled Band, he was genuinely angry with the perpetrator, the motives, and the methods. Not being the narrator we seem to miss a lot of Sherlocks emotion a times. Party due to the narrator being Watson, but also since these are in short story form and all of the details in the cases have to be covered in a set number of pages.
Feb 19, 2012 10:17PM

41817 @Carl: Yes, I think that was my biggest issue with seeing this as science fiction (ie the aliens truly existing, etc) vs Billy coping with PTSD, or the like. If he "lived" these events many times, and reacted in the same way in each instance, it seems more like he is a passive observer than an active participant. To me, this makes me lean towards the "jumping" being his way of coping with the events during the war. I would suppose that the alien idea of time being static (everything that has happened has always happened, is happening now, etc) was another coping mechanism that helped justify his jumping around in time without changing events.

I've also entertained the idea that he didn't actually "snap" per se until his wife's death, as opposed to in the fields of WW2. This was where he was abducted, this new idea of how time worked was first introduced to him, and from what I remember the events post-abduction are vague. We don't really see much besides his daughter's reaction to him running off and doing the radio show, and the conference at the end. I might be willing to argue that at the point of the abduction he convinced himself that he had been jumping through time all his life, began reliving past events in his mind, and this began his new reality. He re-wrote his past and this became his new truth. The most defining and traumatic moments of his life were wrapped up in the war (he says himself that his life otherwise was very dull) so it was a natural place to begin his "jumping" around in time.

Or I might just be looking into it all entirely too deeply. All this timey-wimey talk has made me want to go watch some Dr. Who...
Feb 18, 2012 06:46AM

41817 @Carl: Wait, I missed the Oz reference. Not sure that I ever saw it as anything other than omnipresent, but I'd like to know where you saw this.

As for the concept of time and Billy skipping around through his life... As I was reading I had the thought that if he was actually skipping around in time, it must be quite difficult to, well... live ones life. If you are always seeing different points of time, how do you know what you were just doing in order to continue forward (walking through a door, in a hospital, at the conference at the end). I'm sure the idea has to do with time *always* having happened, but I couldn't stop channeling Quantum Leap and thinking how Sam had to adjust to the new time each time he was transported.
Feb 13, 2012 07:41PM

41817 Jimmy wrote: "I don't know how to classify it, Science fiction or war novel. In some ways it is more of a black comedy, as it reminded me of Catch-22 too. "

So maybe that answers why this book is considered such a hard-core classic? Genre melding? Still looking for the answer and I feel no closer to it, especially not after reading everyone's individual reactions to the book...
Feb 06, 2012 09:31PM

41817 I really don't have any problem with the choppy writing. I suppose I've read several books laid out in this way though so it almost seems a familiar style.

This is one of those books that even if you haven't read it, you have heard of it. My problem is coming more from not understanding what catapulted this book to the "classic" category. I'm honestly left with no ideas here.. Anyone care to help me out?
Feb 05, 2012 07:41PM

41817 Melissa wrote: "Ok, so since I had time this weekend, I finished Slaughterhouse Five. At least, I think I did. Unless there was more and my copy had the last part ripped out. ;)

So, is Kurt Vonnegut always this s..."


Slight Spoilers

The following is from Sparknotes. I had those same questions so as soon as I finished I went out and looked for more info on Vonnegut:

"The novel is based on Kurt Vonnegut’s own experience in World War II. In the novel, a prisoner of war witnesses and survives the Allied forces’ firebombing of Dresden. Vonnegut, like his pro-tagonist Billy Pilgrim, emerged from a meat locker beneath a slaughter-house into the moonscape of burned-out Dresden. His surviving captors put him to work finding, burying, and burning bodies. His task continued until the Russians came and the war ended. Vonnegut survived by chance, confined as a prisoner of war (POW) in a well-insulated meat locker, and so missed the cataclysmic moment of attack, emerging the day after into the charred ruins of a once-beautiful cityscape. Vonnegut has said that he always intended to write about the experience but found himself incapable of doing so for more than twenty years. Although he attempted to describe in simple terms what happened and to create a linear narrative, this strategy never worked for him. Billy Pilgrim’s unhinged time—shifting, a mechanism for dealing with the unfathomable aggression and mass destruction he witnesses, is Vonnegut’s solution to the problem of telling an untellable tale."
Feb 02, 2012 10:18PM

41817 I just joined recently, so this is the first book I've read for this bookclub. I've always meant to read Slaughterhouse Five, but never got around to it which I hope will be a familiar theme here :)

I finished two days ago and I'm still not sure what to make of it. For some reason I always thought it was a dystopic, in the line of 1984 and Brave New World. So the WW2 theme was surprising. In fact... there wasn't much about this book that wasn't surprising. Like I said, still internalizing. I'll be back with more in depth thoughts after I've read the Sparknotes. It seems that there is a lot of background information I need to truly understand the setting and Billy's story (esp the aliens. that came out of left field for me!)


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