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The Sirens of Titan (1959), Vonnegut’s second novel, was on the Hugo final ballot along with Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers and lost in what Harlan Ellison called a monumental injustice. Malachi Constant is a feckless but ultimately good-hearted millionaire who, in this incondensable interplanetary Candide (lacking perhaps Voltaire’s utter bitterness), searches the solar system for the ultimate meaning of existence.

Constant is aided by another tycoon, Winston Rumfoord, who, with the help of aliens, has discovered the fundamental meaning of life. With the help of Salo - an alien robot overseeing the alien race, the Tralmafordians (who also feature in Slaughterhouse-Five) - Constant attempts to find some cosmic sense and order in the face of universal malevolence. Constant and Rumfoord deal with the metaphysics of “chrono-synclastic infundibula” and the interference of the Tralmafadorians. The novel is pervaded by a goofy, episodic charm which barely shields the readers (or the characters) from the fact of what seems to be a large and indifferent universe.

All of Vonnegut’s themes and obsessions, further developed or recycled in later work, are evident here in a novel slightly more hopeful than most of his canon. It is suggested that ultimately Constant learns only that it is impossible to learn, that fate (and the Tralmafadorians) are impenetrable. On the basis of this novel, Vonnegut was wholly claimed by the science fiction community (as the Hugo nomination demonstrated) but he did not reciprocate, feeling from the outset that to be identified as a science fiction writer would limit his audience and trivialize his themes. His recurring character, the hack science fiction writer Kilgore Trout (prominent in Slaughterhouse-Five) was for Vonnegut a worst case version of the writer he did not wish to become.

Topics: Metafiction, Adventurous, Black Humor, Playful, Satirical, Futuristic, Cynical, Aliens, Space, Space Travel, Postmodern, Funny, Unreliable Narrator, 20th Century, American Author, and Episodic

Published: RosettaBooks on
ISBN: 9780795311994
List price: $8.99
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I'm 66, I read this in the seventies. It's maybe funnier now. There's a wisdom, an understanding of how things really work , that can only be conveyed in parables. Vonnegut does that.more
You have to "get" Vonnegut to enjoy his books. This is the first book of his that I actually finished, so now I see this and I think I'm starting to get him. And I like it. A lot. He has a distinct vision of humanity, one that challenges everything. And I like a challenge - oh yes, I do. This is not light reading. Don't expect to take it to the beach, or read it on the subway. You have to devote your entire being, heart, mind, and soul. But if you're up for the challenge, you'll be glad you made the sacrifice.more
I enjoyed this. It was sad and hopeful.

I'm in love with this book. I'm in hate with it. i felt pulled in so many directions the entire way through.

Was the kindness bestowed upon Constant really a kindness? For me it was an example that constant had little control in even his final act. This made me sad. However, he chose to get happiness from it. this made me happy.

A great worthwhile read. more
,,,! Ę, r. I have a plan to use a little ę u u can get a chance to y the world is more
Absolutely spell-binding and thought-provoking.more
The concepts behind it could have been interesting. I wanted to like Vonnegut because people kept telling me he was brilliant. I just... wasn't that interested. I didn't care about the characters, and I wasn't even sure there was a story. Perhaps it's just that I'm much more of a characters person than anything else.more
I only read this because someone recommended it to me. This was my first Vonnegut book, and, simply put, I didn't like it. That's what the 1-star rating says when I mouse over it, and so that's what I have rated it.

I'm not a big fan of sci-fi in general, but religious satire sci-fi? No thanks.

Do yourself a favor and read the last few lines of the book. Yeah, that's the end. A joke on a statement said in one of the first chapters.

Ha. Ha.

more
Pretty typical Vonnegut, though the plot seems more like something he would have attributed to Kilgore Trout in his later books. He adds on "religion sucks" on top of his normal "war sucks" theme. Douglas Adams claimed that he loved Sirens of Titan and that he learned a lot about writing from how it was constructed. I can definitely see some resemblances from aliens manipulating human society for their own means right down to the hero wandering around space in a dirty bathrobe.more
The richest man on Earth is sent on a harrowing journey around the Solar System, but under whose influence? "The only controls available to those on board were two push-buttons on the center post of the cabin - one labeled on and one labeled off. The on button simply started a flight from Mars. The off button was connected to nothing. It was installed at the insistence of Martian mental-health experts, who said that human beings were always happier with machinery they thought they could turn off." His description of Mercury's life forms, the harmoniums, is achingly beautiful. I didn't all out love this book - it may be because some of the ideas that would have blown me away, I've read before (particularly in Ray Bradbury - not sure who wrote first).more
Another step in my Kurt Vonnegut odyssey. And another home run.Again, I could vaguely remember some characters and snippets of the plot. But nothing near enough to have any idea of what was going to happen on the next page.Very good read. And yet another Vonnegut take on an alternative religion.more
This was my first experience with Vonnegut, and I'd definitely like to read more, because this was a terribly amusing, expectation-defying book. Which is not to say that it was a comfortable read, and nor was it a laugh-out-loud experience; the author wields humour like a scalpel, and from the profound to the mundane, the essential *stupidity* of humankind is sharply, often bleakly, delineated (my god, could this be the novelistic precursor to "The Office"? For me, it engendered the same kind of embarrassed-yet-fascinated squirming...).more
It feels like it took me forever to finish The Sirens of Titan. That feeling has more to do with my reaction to the material than the difficulty, though, because Sirens is an easy read. In general, whenever something happens that would take a long time to narrate, Vonnegut saves himself the trouble by simply summarizing the action. In this way, Vonnegut packs the eventful seventy-four years of Malachi Constant's life into 320 trade paperback pages. This time-saving summarization hit a nerve for me, though, because it illuminated even more clearly the primary characteristic of this novel's plot, one of my least favorite characteristics of any bad plot, which is when they don't grow organically, but serve only as an infrastructure for the author to make snarky remarks about whatever suits his fancy. And indeed, for snark, Vonnegut can hardly be topped. Few aspects of human civilization go unridiculed, and Vonnegut's ridicule is just and mordant...however, I only found it amusing for awhile. Then it began to grow tiresome. I'm at a period of my life now where I'm trying to learn not to hate people so much, trying to see the good in the world rather than endless hopelessness. So while I can see the quality here, and I can see why people love Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan just wasn't for me, right now.more
The novel presents a very entertaining tale that offers quirky and insightful angles into different aspects of human culture. Sirens of Titan might not be quite as sharp as some of Vonnegut's later work, but there's a lot to like here, and many surprising events for a novel that explains its basic plot structure right in the beginning. Each section of the book also has an unique atmosphere and style - starting from a bit chaotic and ending in contemplative, while exploring everything else in between. Considering that, the plot holds together remarkably well too, and is easy to follow.more
An excellent Vonnegut book. If you are a fan of his writing or of anything good then I highly recommend it. It is a histerical look into the future that include the classic aliens from Tralfalmadore. It is an interesting look at human nature whether they live on Earth, Mars, Titan, or a space traveling man and his dog that control the future. It is very enjoyable.more
A great exploration of religion and militarism, done with classic Vonnegut humor. As ever, I'm in awe of the author's ability to infuse his frequently bleak tales with such wit and humanity.more
this book took me a while to get into, but once it got going i liked it well enough. it was a bit disjointed which was annoying, but it had some really nice moments in it and some wonderful things about religion which i enjoyed.more
I couldn't quite get into this one. I read it soon after Mother Night, which I liked a great deal, but it seemed very inferior. The first quarter of the novel I found exceedingly dull. I thought it took twenty or thirty pages too long to get going. Thereafter things pick up and the Martian section is probably the best part of the book. Everything after that is decent but... lacking any real heart. Vonnegut's views and the points he puts across are good but there seemed, to me, too little invested in the characters to really draw me in.Mother Night by comparison moved at a much swifter pace and also made me care a bit more about the characters involved. It's not like Mother Night is War and Peace in terms of characterization but it just had that little bit extra that really pulled me in. Still, Vonnegut's humanity shines through in the end - "It took us that long to realise that a purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.". It's just a shame that The Sirens of Titan makes good points whilst feeling sadly empty. As a result, I didn't enjoy it as much as I was hoping to.more
Okay, I've modified my original [two-star:] rating of this book. I actually rated it when I hadn't completely finished it, but hey! When I did finish it, I liked it more than I thought I would. I just don't think I'm a Vonnegut person. I've tried reading Slaughterhouse Five and Cat's Cradle, but with no luck. This was when I was a bit younger, so I'll have another go at it. I really enjoyed the sardonic and biting societal commentaries Vonnegut made, but the sci-fi/high tech/futuristic aspect didn't interest me. However, as a classic author....I feel like I should give him another chance!more
It's epic and will blow your mind. If you seek the meaning of life read this book and be enlightened.more
Iffy at times, but saved by the ending.more
I have to admit that the main reason I was aware of Vonnegut’s second novel, written in 1959 right after the launch of the space age, was the trivia night nugget that Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead owned the movie rights for years and had actually worked up a script with SNL alum Tom Davis. After discovering what an amazing feat of imagination this book is, I can see why self-styled hippie intellectuals like Garcia and Davis were drawn to it. It was quite unlike any other novel, even other Vonnegut books, I have read. At no time while devouring The Sirens of Titan could I ever say to myself, “Oh, I know where this is going.”Vonnegut sends up the whims of capitalism with the main character Malachi Constant, the richest man in the world. Constant is a playboy/bon vivant who, for reasons to be revealed, was born with the luck to maintain his lifestyle with very little effort on his part. At the beginning of the novel, he is summoned to the mansion of Winston Niles Rumfoord, the first man to fly a private rocket to Mars. Rumfoord is also, or so it’s understood, one of the last—having unwittingly flown into a chrono-synclastic infundibulum, which effectively spread his (and his dog’s) existence throughout sort of a wormhole between the Sun and Betelgeuse. (Now you can start to imagine the types of conversations Garcia and Davis must have had.)When Earth happens to transect the glitch, once every 59 days, Rumfoord and his dog materialize at the mansion for a short period of time where he alienates his wife, predicts the future (since he happens to actually be everywhere and when), and generally makes everyone uncomfortable. Vonnegut’s description of the first meeting of the two men is a good example of his wonderful use of language in this novel: “Winston Niles Rumfoord’s smile and handshake dismantled Constant’s high opinion of himself as efficiently as carnival roustabouts might dismantle a Ferris wheel.”Granted, this all takes place within the first 20 pages or so. Rumfoord (and I couldn’t stop substituting Rumsfeld, especially when we begin to find out how his motives, while being altruistic from his viewpoint, are seriously fucked up) goes on to tell Constant that he will end up traveling to Mars, Mercury, Titan, and end up having a son with Mrs. Rumfoord. Awkward.Vonnegut’s savaging of organized religion at the back end of this novel counterbalances his having peeled back the curtain hiding the machinations of the free market in the front. Along the way, Mars attacks, a shipwrecked alien manipulates all of human history in an attempt to get a part, and … just read it. I know I’ll be revisiting this one again and again.more
What can I say about this book that hasn't already been said? I love Vonnegut's style and philosophy of religion. As Asimov said when Dick Cavett asked him if he would ever find god, "God is alot smarter than I am. I'll Let him find me."more
Vonnegut has an interesting satire that draws you in and makes it quite pleasurable to listen to his thoughts on the meaning of life, free will, and what form a novel should take. I remember seeing him speak at NCSU, back in the late 80's, and still remember his analysis of the three story forms (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, or life which has highs and lows, but no real beginning or end). This story definitely takes the last emphasis.I strongly suggest reading The Watchmen if you like this. Alan Moore must have had this in mind when writing it (or should have).more
Sorry but no. I'm so disappointed with this one! In a way it's a relief because every other time I've read a Vonnegut I've been sort of embarrassed by how much I loved it. But this was definitely not for me. The adventures meandered and the people were dull. I found the tone far too uncanny to enjoy. The fictive religion had no heart. And since the satiric philosophies of his other books have all stayed with me and made me want to relate them to my life afterward, I know this one is simply off for me.It also wears its age poorly. Race and gender are insulted offhand without due attention. (Specifically, I didn't like the black dialect dialogue or the, you know, rape?) He even squeezes in a gay joke way at the end. It's weird! Because I know Vonnegut's work is above that, but I think the downside of his sharp vernacular grasp is that some of it goes sour decades later. It's ok with me if they're not all perfect, but I kind of hated spending my time on it.more
The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. begs the question of just how will Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. be remembered. In fact, will he be remembered at all? I found the book to be well in step with his early novels. There is a time travelling man and dog who appear regularly appear on Earth wondering about the house where the man's disgruntled wife spends her days fighting off tourists and religious fanatics who want to see the space man. There is the richest man in the world who loses his fortune and finds himself on a rocket ship bound for Jupiter. There is an alien from Tralfamador, marooned on Titan, one of Jupiter's moon's, waiting through the centuries for the replacement part his rocket needs to arrive. And there is the suicidal Martian invasion of Earth that ends in the creation of a new religion, The Church of God the Utterly Indifferent.It's all in good fun with a dash or two of metaphysics thrown in. Maybe a splash of social criticism here and there for good measure. I enjoyed it, but I also found it very 60's. I've been reading Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. most of my life, probably for the last 30 years. Now that I've finished this one, I think I've read all of his published work, so you can count me as a fan. But I wonder if anyone will be reading him two or three generations from now. If they are, I suspect they'll be reading Slaughterhouse Five. Maybe a few graduate students will still be reading the rest of his novels, but I'm not sure. It feels natural to wonder about this regarding Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. since so many of his books, The Sirens of Titan included, deal with the issue of time and the notion that all time exists simultaneously. Everything that will happen has already happened. The time travelling man and dog in The Sirens of Titan are like Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse Five, unstuck in time and space. They travel to the future and back, from planet to planet, experiencing it all as happening at once. Billy Pilgrim could choose which parts of his life he could visit. I hope Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. can, too. That seems like a fitting heaven for him, a paradise he might want to visit now and then. Actually, it doesn't sound that bad to me, either.more
How do you reconcile the Grandfather Paradox, Free Will and the meaning of life? You ridicule them.Vonnegut's powerful novel leaves his mark on the rest of science fiction.Douglas Adams grossly plagiarized from this book.great read but not as funny as other Vonnegut books.Pulled an allnighter to finish itmore
I honestly never believed I would read another Vonnegut novel I would love more than God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. Upon finishing The Sirens Of Titan, I stand corrected. I liken Vonnegut's answer to the meaning of life nearly as clear and simple and hidden as "TURN SHIP UPSIDE DOWN". It would have been as plain as day if only we'd stopped and thought about it a little harder.more
Read all 43 reviews

Reviews

I'm 66, I read this in the seventies. It's maybe funnier now. There's a wisdom, an understanding of how things really work , that can only be conveyed in parables. Vonnegut does that.more
You have to "get" Vonnegut to enjoy his books. This is the first book of his that I actually finished, so now I see this and I think I'm starting to get him. And I like it. A lot. He has a distinct vision of humanity, one that challenges everything. And I like a challenge - oh yes, I do. This is not light reading. Don't expect to take it to the beach, or read it on the subway. You have to devote your entire being, heart, mind, and soul. But if you're up for the challenge, you'll be glad you made the sacrifice.more
I enjoyed this. It was sad and hopeful.

I'm in love with this book. I'm in hate with it. i felt pulled in so many directions the entire way through.

Was the kindness bestowed upon Constant really a kindness? For me it was an example that constant had little control in even his final act. This made me sad. However, he chose to get happiness from it. this made me happy.

A great worthwhile read. more
,,,! Ę, r. I have a plan to use a little ę u u can get a chance to y the world is more
Absolutely spell-binding and thought-provoking.more
The concepts behind it could have been interesting. I wanted to like Vonnegut because people kept telling me he was brilliant. I just... wasn't that interested. I didn't care about the characters, and I wasn't even sure there was a story. Perhaps it's just that I'm much more of a characters person than anything else.more
I only read this because someone recommended it to me. This was my first Vonnegut book, and, simply put, I didn't like it. That's what the 1-star rating says when I mouse over it, and so that's what I have rated it.

I'm not a big fan of sci-fi in general, but religious satire sci-fi? No thanks.

Do yourself a favor and read the last few lines of the book. Yeah, that's the end. A joke on a statement said in one of the first chapters.

Ha. Ha.

more
Pretty typical Vonnegut, though the plot seems more like something he would have attributed to Kilgore Trout in his later books. He adds on "religion sucks" on top of his normal "war sucks" theme. Douglas Adams claimed that he loved Sirens of Titan and that he learned a lot about writing from how it was constructed. I can definitely see some resemblances from aliens manipulating human society for their own means right down to the hero wandering around space in a dirty bathrobe.more
The richest man on Earth is sent on a harrowing journey around the Solar System, but under whose influence? "The only controls available to those on board were two push-buttons on the center post of the cabin - one labeled on and one labeled off. The on button simply started a flight from Mars. The off button was connected to nothing. It was installed at the insistence of Martian mental-health experts, who said that human beings were always happier with machinery they thought they could turn off." His description of Mercury's life forms, the harmoniums, is achingly beautiful. I didn't all out love this book - it may be because some of the ideas that would have blown me away, I've read before (particularly in Ray Bradbury - not sure who wrote first).more
Another step in my Kurt Vonnegut odyssey. And another home run.Again, I could vaguely remember some characters and snippets of the plot. But nothing near enough to have any idea of what was going to happen on the next page.Very good read. And yet another Vonnegut take on an alternative religion.more
This was my first experience with Vonnegut, and I'd definitely like to read more, because this was a terribly amusing, expectation-defying book. Which is not to say that it was a comfortable read, and nor was it a laugh-out-loud experience; the author wields humour like a scalpel, and from the profound to the mundane, the essential *stupidity* of humankind is sharply, often bleakly, delineated (my god, could this be the novelistic precursor to "The Office"? For me, it engendered the same kind of embarrassed-yet-fascinated squirming...).more
It feels like it took me forever to finish The Sirens of Titan. That feeling has more to do with my reaction to the material than the difficulty, though, because Sirens is an easy read. In general, whenever something happens that would take a long time to narrate, Vonnegut saves himself the trouble by simply summarizing the action. In this way, Vonnegut packs the eventful seventy-four years of Malachi Constant's life into 320 trade paperback pages. This time-saving summarization hit a nerve for me, though, because it illuminated even more clearly the primary characteristic of this novel's plot, one of my least favorite characteristics of any bad plot, which is when they don't grow organically, but serve only as an infrastructure for the author to make snarky remarks about whatever suits his fancy. And indeed, for snark, Vonnegut can hardly be topped. Few aspects of human civilization go unridiculed, and Vonnegut's ridicule is just and mordant...however, I only found it amusing for awhile. Then it began to grow tiresome. I'm at a period of my life now where I'm trying to learn not to hate people so much, trying to see the good in the world rather than endless hopelessness. So while I can see the quality here, and I can see why people love Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan just wasn't for me, right now.more
The novel presents a very entertaining tale that offers quirky and insightful angles into different aspects of human culture. Sirens of Titan might not be quite as sharp as some of Vonnegut's later work, but there's a lot to like here, and many surprising events for a novel that explains its basic plot structure right in the beginning. Each section of the book also has an unique atmosphere and style - starting from a bit chaotic and ending in contemplative, while exploring everything else in between. Considering that, the plot holds together remarkably well too, and is easy to follow.more
An excellent Vonnegut book. If you are a fan of his writing or of anything good then I highly recommend it. It is a histerical look into the future that include the classic aliens from Tralfalmadore. It is an interesting look at human nature whether they live on Earth, Mars, Titan, or a space traveling man and his dog that control the future. It is very enjoyable.more
A great exploration of religion and militarism, done with classic Vonnegut humor. As ever, I'm in awe of the author's ability to infuse his frequently bleak tales with such wit and humanity.more
this book took me a while to get into, but once it got going i liked it well enough. it was a bit disjointed which was annoying, but it had some really nice moments in it and some wonderful things about religion which i enjoyed.more
I couldn't quite get into this one. I read it soon after Mother Night, which I liked a great deal, but it seemed very inferior. The first quarter of the novel I found exceedingly dull. I thought it took twenty or thirty pages too long to get going. Thereafter things pick up and the Martian section is probably the best part of the book. Everything after that is decent but... lacking any real heart. Vonnegut's views and the points he puts across are good but there seemed, to me, too little invested in the characters to really draw me in.Mother Night by comparison moved at a much swifter pace and also made me care a bit more about the characters involved. It's not like Mother Night is War and Peace in terms of characterization but it just had that little bit extra that really pulled me in. Still, Vonnegut's humanity shines through in the end - "It took us that long to realise that a purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.". It's just a shame that The Sirens of Titan makes good points whilst feeling sadly empty. As a result, I didn't enjoy it as much as I was hoping to.more
Okay, I've modified my original [two-star:] rating of this book. I actually rated it when I hadn't completely finished it, but hey! When I did finish it, I liked it more than I thought I would. I just don't think I'm a Vonnegut person. I've tried reading Slaughterhouse Five and Cat's Cradle, but with no luck. This was when I was a bit younger, so I'll have another go at it. I really enjoyed the sardonic and biting societal commentaries Vonnegut made, but the sci-fi/high tech/futuristic aspect didn't interest me. However, as a classic author....I feel like I should give him another chance!more
It's epic and will blow your mind. If you seek the meaning of life read this book and be enlightened.more
Iffy at times, but saved by the ending.more
I have to admit that the main reason I was aware of Vonnegut’s second novel, written in 1959 right after the launch of the space age, was the trivia night nugget that Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead owned the movie rights for years and had actually worked up a script with SNL alum Tom Davis. After discovering what an amazing feat of imagination this book is, I can see why self-styled hippie intellectuals like Garcia and Davis were drawn to it. It was quite unlike any other novel, even other Vonnegut books, I have read. At no time while devouring The Sirens of Titan could I ever say to myself, “Oh, I know where this is going.”Vonnegut sends up the whims of capitalism with the main character Malachi Constant, the richest man in the world. Constant is a playboy/bon vivant who, for reasons to be revealed, was born with the luck to maintain his lifestyle with very little effort on his part. At the beginning of the novel, he is summoned to the mansion of Winston Niles Rumfoord, the first man to fly a private rocket to Mars. Rumfoord is also, or so it’s understood, one of the last—having unwittingly flown into a chrono-synclastic infundibulum, which effectively spread his (and his dog’s) existence throughout sort of a wormhole between the Sun and Betelgeuse. (Now you can start to imagine the types of conversations Garcia and Davis must have had.)When Earth happens to transect the glitch, once every 59 days, Rumfoord and his dog materialize at the mansion for a short period of time where he alienates his wife, predicts the future (since he happens to actually be everywhere and when), and generally makes everyone uncomfortable. Vonnegut’s description of the first meeting of the two men is a good example of his wonderful use of language in this novel: “Winston Niles Rumfoord’s smile and handshake dismantled Constant’s high opinion of himself as efficiently as carnival roustabouts might dismantle a Ferris wheel.”Granted, this all takes place within the first 20 pages or so. Rumfoord (and I couldn’t stop substituting Rumsfeld, especially when we begin to find out how his motives, while being altruistic from his viewpoint, are seriously fucked up) goes on to tell Constant that he will end up traveling to Mars, Mercury, Titan, and end up having a son with Mrs. Rumfoord. Awkward.Vonnegut’s savaging of organized religion at the back end of this novel counterbalances his having peeled back the curtain hiding the machinations of the free market in the front. Along the way, Mars attacks, a shipwrecked alien manipulates all of human history in an attempt to get a part, and … just read it. I know I’ll be revisiting this one again and again.more
What can I say about this book that hasn't already been said? I love Vonnegut's style and philosophy of religion. As Asimov said when Dick Cavett asked him if he would ever find god, "God is alot smarter than I am. I'll Let him find me."more
Vonnegut has an interesting satire that draws you in and makes it quite pleasurable to listen to his thoughts on the meaning of life, free will, and what form a novel should take. I remember seeing him speak at NCSU, back in the late 80's, and still remember his analysis of the three story forms (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, or life which has highs and lows, but no real beginning or end). This story definitely takes the last emphasis.I strongly suggest reading The Watchmen if you like this. Alan Moore must have had this in mind when writing it (or should have).more
Sorry but no. I'm so disappointed with this one! In a way it's a relief because every other time I've read a Vonnegut I've been sort of embarrassed by how much I loved it. But this was definitely not for me. The adventures meandered and the people were dull. I found the tone far too uncanny to enjoy. The fictive religion had no heart. And since the satiric philosophies of his other books have all stayed with me and made me want to relate them to my life afterward, I know this one is simply off for me.It also wears its age poorly. Race and gender are insulted offhand without due attention. (Specifically, I didn't like the black dialect dialogue or the, you know, rape?) He even squeezes in a gay joke way at the end. It's weird! Because I know Vonnegut's work is above that, but I think the downside of his sharp vernacular grasp is that some of it goes sour decades later. It's ok with me if they're not all perfect, but I kind of hated spending my time on it.more
The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. begs the question of just how will Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. be remembered. In fact, will he be remembered at all? I found the book to be well in step with his early novels. There is a time travelling man and dog who appear regularly appear on Earth wondering about the house where the man's disgruntled wife spends her days fighting off tourists and religious fanatics who want to see the space man. There is the richest man in the world who loses his fortune and finds himself on a rocket ship bound for Jupiter. There is an alien from Tralfamador, marooned on Titan, one of Jupiter's moon's, waiting through the centuries for the replacement part his rocket needs to arrive. And there is the suicidal Martian invasion of Earth that ends in the creation of a new religion, The Church of God the Utterly Indifferent.It's all in good fun with a dash or two of metaphysics thrown in. Maybe a splash of social criticism here and there for good measure. I enjoyed it, but I also found it very 60's. I've been reading Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. most of my life, probably for the last 30 years. Now that I've finished this one, I think I've read all of his published work, so you can count me as a fan. But I wonder if anyone will be reading him two or three generations from now. If they are, I suspect they'll be reading Slaughterhouse Five. Maybe a few graduate students will still be reading the rest of his novels, but I'm not sure. It feels natural to wonder about this regarding Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. since so many of his books, The Sirens of Titan included, deal with the issue of time and the notion that all time exists simultaneously. Everything that will happen has already happened. The time travelling man and dog in The Sirens of Titan are like Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse Five, unstuck in time and space. They travel to the future and back, from planet to planet, experiencing it all as happening at once. Billy Pilgrim could choose which parts of his life he could visit. I hope Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. can, too. That seems like a fitting heaven for him, a paradise he might want to visit now and then. Actually, it doesn't sound that bad to me, either.more
How do you reconcile the Grandfather Paradox, Free Will and the meaning of life? You ridicule them.Vonnegut's powerful novel leaves his mark on the rest of science fiction.Douglas Adams grossly plagiarized from this book.great read but not as funny as other Vonnegut books.Pulled an allnighter to finish itmore
I honestly never believed I would read another Vonnegut novel I would love more than God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. Upon finishing The Sirens Of Titan, I stand corrected. I liken Vonnegut's answer to the meaning of life nearly as clear and simple and hidden as "TURN SHIP UPSIDE DOWN". It would have been as plain as day if only we'd stopped and thought about it a little harder.more
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