Parents need to know that Kurt Vonnegut's classic science fiction novel Slaughterhouse-Five makes an anti-war statement that is powerful in any generation. For example, Vonnegut's irreverent description of the conditions endured by soldiers, prisoners of war, and the victims of the Dresden bombing said as much about the Vietnam War taking place when the book was published (1969) as it did about the author's real-life experience in Dresden in 1945. Billy Pilgrim, the central character of the novel, believes he's become "unstuck in time" and space, so that a mere moment on Earth equals days or weeks of time with aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. On Earth, Billy suffers from what we now recognize as PTSD; he has built a life -- with a wife, children, and career as an optometrist -- that he seems to watch from the outside, and that Vonnegut regards with bemused distance. Billy's consciousness continually changes, moving in and out of his "real" life, his time on Tralfamadore, and memories of wartime. Meanwhile, the narrator breaks character often enough for readers to know that his voice is that of Vonnegut, who actually was on the ground during the Dresden bombing. The novel includes all the brutal violence of war and then some: People and animals are shot and killed, tortured, boiled, and bombed. Corpses are unearthed and burned after the bombing because they're too numerous and difficult to extract where they lay. However, Vonnegut's narrative is also veiled in gallows humor; he always keeps the reader, and the horrors of war, at an arm's length. The book includes rude language and profanity ("s--t," "piss," "f--k," etc.), as well as nongraphic sexual content, such as the mention of men being aroused, ejaculating, and viewing pornographic photographs. Characters also drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes in the book, which is at once an inventive masterpiece of science fiction and an uncompromising depiction of the inhumanity of war.