Armageddon in Retrospect is an interesting collection of stories and articles about war and conquest and the like. The audio book of Kurt Vonnegut’s Armageddon in Retrospect is read by Rip Torn, the gravel voiced actor from Men in Black. This is a clear case of a well known film actor getting a bit of Voice Over work when almost anyone else on Earth would have been a better choice. Rip Torn has an extremely unpleasant voice and not surprisingly, he has a hard time doing voices for women and children.
The stories are standard issue Kurt Vonnegut. Great stuff. Little tales that show that war sucks and nothing good ever comes from destruction-well, sort of. There is one story about Robert The Horrible which uses violence for the forces of good. It’s a cute story, but I can’t help but wonder if Kurt might have had second thoughts about it. The basic story is that a trap meant to catch one thing catches something else instead. This is the problem with land mines, you don’t know who will be wandering by to step on them.
Rip Torn really shouldn’t read audio books. Like a lot of people I tend to get Rip Torn mixed up with confetti tossing silly man Rip Taylor. Rip Torn is a puny name-silly at a basic level, a perfect name for a comic. Not so perfect for a gritty tough guy. Rip Torn is not a great audio book reader, but Kurt Vonnegut is a great writer and Armageddon in Restrospect is a great collection of his writings.
There is a lot of talk about the bombing of Dresden and what a nasty bit of business it was all the way around. This was the subject of Kurt Vonnegut’s greatest book, Slaughterhouse 5. It is griping stuff and these little snippets of war horror are still powerful and thought provoking. Vonnegut’s style is loud and in your face, so it almost makes sense that Rip Torn was chosen to do the audio book. Almost.