The first chapter of Kurt Vonnegut’s “famous book about Dresden” is an author’s preface, in which Vonnegut describes his reasons for writing the book and his connection to the firebombing of Dresden that killed 135,000 civilians before lamenting that “There is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre. Everybody is supposed to be dead, to never say anything or want anything ever again. Everything is supposed to be very quiet after a massacre.” Vonnegut’s narrative is not an anti-war account, nor is it particularly visceral description of that terrible, deliberate massacre: it is the story of how a man copes with witnessing such horrors, “the interior trauma loop of a damaged man trying to recount his experience in the age of acceptable civilian losses.”
Beauty is not everything. While the interactive adaptation of John Buchan’s pacy thriller, The 39 Steps, boasts a polished aesthetic, the experience of reading (or playing?) through the app is at best an interactive descent into lethargy.