Many of you are familiar with the hero in Kurt Vonnegut’s famous novel, “Slaughterhouse Five.” An ex-prisoner of war, he was an eyewitness to one of history’s most devastating fire-bombings. Understandably, he cannot come to terms with the real memory of the enormous human suffering caused by the massive air-raid. And so he fantasizes. He envisions a similar episode as a movie-run backward. Bombers full of holes and corpses and wounded men take off backward toward the target area. Enemy fighter-planes appear on the scene-flying backward. Bullets begin to be sucked out of the crewmen and their planes. Finally, still flying backward, the bombers hover over the bombed area, which is a large city. The bomb-bay doors are opened and exert a miraculous magnetism which shrinks the raging fires below, lifts the bomb fragments out of the debris and back into the planes’ bellies where they are reassembled. Then, in backward flight, they are transported to their place of origin and there they are dismantled.…
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