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Eliot Rosewater is a captain in World War II. He winds up in the same veteran's hospital Billy checks himself into when he has his nervous breakdown before marrying Valencia. They both have had terrible experiences during the war that have left them not enjoying life very much. Rosewater also has a serious drinking problem. He finds it necessary to read a lot of science fiction, in which authors try to reinvent the universe.
He introduces Billy to sci-fi, specifically the works of author Kilgore Trout.