True Review
Current Issue Number 77 Vol.20  March 2011


ARMAGEDDON IN RETROSPECT, by Kurt Vonnegut. G.P. Putnam (, 2008, 234 pp., $24.95. ISBN 978-0-399-15508-6

You’d be hard-pressed not to find yourself enjoying the rants and raves from the Master Ranter and Raver.

Compiled in ARMAGEDDON IN RETROSPECT are anti-war stories and essays, launched by Kurt’s son, Mark, who provides brief glimpses into his dad’s struggles and doubts.

ARMAGEDDON doesn’t start out all that rosy, either, with an opening salvo of Kurt’s capture by Germans in a letter written to his father in his hometown of Indianapolis.

Kurt gave a graduation speech at Clowes Hall in Indianapolis back in April 2007.

Kurt goes on a long diatribe about the horrors of war (a redundant use of words if ever there was one) in his “Wailing Shall Be in All Streets” that recounts the Dresden, Germany firebombing during World War II. The air attack essentially decapitated a very peaceful, artful, un-warlike city (100,000 innocent civilians killed, the worst loss of life in Germany at one time during the war).

“Brighten Up” is about prisoners of war forced to deal with work details, a recollection perhaps of Vonnegut’s experience as a POW after the Dresden firebombing, about the things done to barter for cigarettes and survival.

“Unknown Soldier.” A couple living in New York City have the first “millennium baby,” signaling hope for the next thousand years. They are feted by the media. When the baby dies of sudden infant death syndrome, there is no report of THAT in the press.

“Spoils.” Paul, an American soldier, remembers a story of loot taken from enemy houses – including one item that haunts him terribly in the present.

“Just You and Me, Sammy.” This story looks at the Bund soldiers, German-Americans who, early on, joined Hitler’s deranged war. The story explores the end of the war, when loyalties are exchanged like crank Halloween treats.

“The Commandant’s Desk.” This tale may prove that conquering armies, occupying armies, are the same. Corrupted by power, the armies force some, including cabinet makers, into slave work. But the resistance remains – in this case, when the U.S. successfully takes over Czechoslovakia and occupies the town of Beda.

Andrew M. Andrews

In This Issue

Soft Apocalpyse Nebula Awards Showcase 2011 Click on the Book Cover for Review Best Sci-Fi of the Year Oscar Wilde & Vampire Murders

Dawn to Dusk Brave New Worlds All Clear Zombie Autopsies Best of Kim Stanley Robinson

Nightmare at 20,000 Feet Griftopia Sleight of Hand Immaculate Deception Pump Six

Sympathy for the Devil Atlantis & Othe Places Darkness Holiday Nano Comes to Clifford

Game Changers Armageddon In Retrospect   The Fall of the House of Usher Realms of Fantasy

Next Time In True Review


FLAMING ZEPPELINS: The Adventures of Ned the Seal, by Joe R. Lansdale. Tachyon Publications (, 2010, 285 pp., $14.95. ISBN 978-1-61696-002-5

FLAMING ZEPPELINS is a combination of two short novels, ZEPPELINS WEST (Subterranean Press, 2001) and FLAMING LONDON (Subterranean, 2005). The love of westerns and pulp fiction, comic books and Texas weirdness, come into play. The best campy fiction in all of America? Probably.

Andrew M. Andrews


THE COLLECTED FANTASIES VOL. 5, THE LAST HIEROGLYPH, by Clark Ashton Smith, ed. by Scott Connors and Ron Hilger. Night Shade Books (, 2010, 370 pp., $39.99. ISBN 978-1-59780-032-7

THE COLLECTED FANTASIES is the last of five volumes to collect all of Smith’s tales. Included are works ranging from “The Dark Age” (April 1938) to “The Dart of Rasasfa” (July 1961).

Andrew M. Andrews