Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five Is Coming to TV

Image: Dial Press
Image: Dial Press

One of the minds behind Syfy’s brain-bending comics adaptation Happy! Is bringing another weird tale to television: Kurt Vonnegut’s iconic, time-twisting satire Slaughterhouse-Five.


Patrick Macmanus will write and executive produce Universal Cable’s adaptation of Vonnegut’s mishmash of scifi, dark comedy, and war stories. The book follows the non-linear life of Billy Pilgrim, a young soldier haunted by surviving the bombing of Dresden in World War II, who finds himself unstuck from time and experiencing his life out of order (and, on top of all that an alien abduction).

But in press releases announcing the series, Macmanus said the Slaughterhouse-Five show will not just follow Billy’s jumbled-up life but expand upon and explore the world of Vonnegut’s novel, padding out the relatively brisk story into the scope of a TV series:

There are no lines that Vonnegut ever throws away. But there are certain lines within the book that allude to a much larger world. I’m not just talking about going off into outer space. He alludes to the Balkanization of the United States and to the hydrogen bombing of the United States. I feel like today’s TV is the only way to tell this story. Even though it’s only approximately 275 pages, I think that it’s ripe to be expanded upon exponentially.

So if anything, it seems like Billy’s journey could be more like a framing device, or a window into the worlds the TV series will explore, rather than necessarily the sole driving force of the story. Slaughterhouse-Five has yet to find a home at either a network or a streaming service, but we’ll keep you updated on it as and when we learn more.


James is a News Editor at io9, where you can find him delivering your morning spoilers, writing about superheroes, and having many feelings about Star Wars. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!


There’s a pretty good movie released in 1972. It was directed by George Roy Hill.