Slaughterhouse-Five is a science fiction novel by Kurt Vonnegut. The novel tells the story of a wayward soldier, Billy Pilgrim, and his experiences with time travel. The novel has had some influence on the storyline of Lost.


Billy Pilgrim, a wayward soldier, becomes "unstuck in time" for an unknown reason during World War II. The book then chronicles his jumping from different eras of his life, from his first marriage, to the war, to his kidnapping by a race of aliens known as Tralfamadorians, and finally to his death.

In Lost

  • There are startling similarities between Desmond Hume's time traveling and Billy Pilgrim's time traveling. Daniel Faraday even goes so far to call it being "unstuck in time," the exact terminology which Vonnegut used to describe Billy Pilgrim's experiences. During his time travel, like Billy, Desmond is in the military and becomes shunned by his squadmates. One of Desmond's squadmates is named Billy, a possible reference to Billy Pilgrim. ("The Constant")
  • The novel (and its author) are a question asked on a game show watched by Michael Dawson shortly before his third attempted suicide. ("Meet Kevin Johnson")
  • When Billy first becomes unstuck in time he sees a bright violet light. After this he is thrust back into time. The light seen by the survivors who stayed on the island, when they travel through time, could be a reference to the light seen by Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse-Five. ("Because You Left")
  • Billy meets aliens in the book who can perceive the past, present and future all at once. They know the universe will end accidentally with the push of a button; when he asks them why they don't prevent it, they reply:

'He has always pressed it, and he always will. We always let him and we always will let him. The moment is structured that way.

This is the same theory of time travel which Lost uses and which Miles attempts to explain to Hurley (in other words, what happened happened). ("Whatever Happened, Happened") The button on Lost may be a reference to the aforementioned button that would end the world.