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Titan (Gaea Trilogy #1)

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  6,166 Ratings  ·  209 Reviews
It begins with humankind's exploration of a massive satellite orbiting Saturn. It culminates in a shocking discovery: the satellite is a giant alien being. Her name is Gaea. Her awesome interior is mind-boggling—because it is a mind. A mind that calls out to explorers, transforming all who enter.
Paperback, 309 pages
Published April 15th 1987 by Ace (first published January 1st 1979)
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Altivo Overo I would recommend the book for teens, yes. One or two of the technological elements are dated, but it's still quite approachable. There is sexual…moreI would recommend the book for teens, yes. One or two of the technological elements are dated, but it's still quite approachable. There is sexual innuendo in all books of the series, but it is secondary to the story and explicit only in the sense that the rather complicated mating behaviors of the Titanides form an element of the plot. Each of them has as many as four parents.(less)

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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Christmas 2010: I realised that I had got stuck in a rut. I was re-reading old favourites again and again, waiting for a few trusted authors to release new works. Something had to be done.

On the spur of the moment I set myself a challenge, to read every book to have won the Locus Sci-Fi award. That’s 35 books, 6 of which I’d previously read, leaving 29 titles by 14 authors who were new to me.

While working through this reading list I got married, went on my honeymoon, switched career and became
Mar 07, 2012 Terence rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
While it's true that I have plenty of never-before-read fiction on the To Read shelf, I've been hankering recently to reread this series, one of my favorites.

Not only does it have one of my favorite characters - Cirocco Jones, subsequently the Wizard of Gaea - but also one of my favorite alien races - the Titanides:

(view spoiler)

(Which image I've hidden in a spoiler because some readers might find Titanide dressing conventions pornographic.)

See my review of the entire trilogy (p
Nathan Buchanan
Apr 12, 2010 Nathan Buchanan rated it it was ok
Books like this are why sci-fi rides the short bus of literary culture. It has some great ideas and is in a way a tremendous "page turner", but ultimately fails thanks to weak writing and weaker characters. This was the first time in a LONG while I've though "why the hell am I reading this" as I plowed through a book.

For the most part I love all kinds of entertainment (from RPGs to movies) with the detailed underpinnings of top notch world building. I've seen Varley's Gaea books referenced numbe
1.5 stars. An okay story but after reading Varley's Ophiuchi Hotline, this was a big let down. Definitely a product of the 70's and I found the "free love" aspect of the novel a bit tedious. I will say that the concept of Gaia was very interesting and some of the alien characters original. The problem for me was that I found all of the human characters boring.

Nominee: Hugo Award Best Science Fiction Novel (1980)
Nominee: Nebula Award Best Science Fiction Novel (1980)
Winner: Locus Award Best Scie
Mar 12, 2011 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A fantastic book that should not be judged until all three books in the trilogy have been digested. This book lays the foundation for the two to come. This epic trilogy was the first thing I thought of when I saw the previews to the movie Avatar and I was so bummed when I realized that I was not looking at the broad face of a Titanide, but another creature from another story. If this trilogy is ever put on the big screen, I hope they stay true to the tone of the books, dont remove or dumb down a ...more
1.5 stars. An okay story but after reading Varley's Ophiuchi Hotline, this was a big let down. Definitely a product of the 70's and I found the "free love" aspect of the novel a bit tedious. I will say that the concept of Gaia was very interesting and some of the alien characters original. The problem for me was that I found all of the human characters boring.

Nominee: Hugo Award Best Science Fiction Novel (1980)
Nominee: Nebula Award Best Science Fiction Novel (1980)
Winner: Locus Award Best Sc
Check out that crazy dreamy cover by someone named Freff from 1979. I guess I could have read this when it was new, if I weren't still enjoying children's books as a teen, and if my small-town library had it. Well, better late than never... hope it lives up to its reputation....
The interior illustrations are pretty cool, too. And it's not all that crazy; it's actually pretty accurate. Varley explores a lot of ideas here, about feminism, and free love, and quests, and aliens, and gods.
"A scientific expedition to the planet Saturn in 2025, aboard the ship Ringmaster, discovers a strange satellite in orbit around the planet. Commanding the ship is Cirocco Jones, a tall NASA career woman, aided by astronomer Gaby Plauget, the clone twin physicists April and August Polo, pilot Eugene Springfield, physician Calvin Greene and engineer Bill (whose last name is never given).

As they reach the satellite they realize it is a huge hollow torus habitat. Before they can report this the shi
Paul Baker
Mar 14, 2011 Paul Baker rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Spoiler Alert!

Titan, by John Varley, is an amazing science fiction book, the first one in the Gaea Trilogy, and it deserves a place among the 100 best science fiction books of all time.

John Varley has had my attention ever since I ran into The Persistence of Vision many years ago. In that collection of short stories, I was awestruck with his creativity and unique approach to science fiction. Each story was challenging, innovative and showed new ways of thinking about old problems.

Although Titan
Dec 04, 2015 Krbo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Podsjetiše me frendice da i ovo zapišem kao pročitano i posjedovano.

Kupljeno čim je izašlo no jako se slabo sjećam radnje jedino se sjećam kako je bilo neobično, ponekad zanimljivo, ponekad udav (cijela trilogija)

Nov 30, 2008 Judy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who likes sci-fi
Recommended to Judy by: sci-fi book club
This is book 1 of one of my very favorite sci-fi trilogies. Once I discovered them, in about 1980, I devoured them as quickly as possible, losing sleep so that I could keep reading. I went on to read everything else written by John Varley, and have never been disappointed. If you want a quick idea of what his writing is like without committing to a trilogy, try "The Barbie Murders" or "The Persistence of Vision" -- these are short stories.
Sep 01, 2009 Eric rated it it was ok
This is exactly the sort of book that turns new readers of science fiction away from the genre.

Is it a bad book? No, absolutely not. The issue is that it's got a relatively large number of pages devoted to the description of the rotation of a space ship and the angle of approach to a nearby object. Combining that description with sex might work for some, but I suspect that readers that don't already have a decent grounding in science fiction will turn away.

I found the characters very difficult t
Jan 10, 2012 Jam rated it liked it
It was surprisingly fun to read. I thought it would be difficulty since I had started to read it several times already, but never got past the first few pages. The beginning of the book is a bit hard to get interested, however, I finally stuck to my guns and kept on reading past the first chapter. After that, it was easier.

The book is about a world called Gaea. It was discovered by humans to be an artificial world, so they sent a spaceship to investigate it. They got more than they bargained fo
Jan 07, 2013 Abra rated it it was amazing
I read this trilogy by John Varley years ago -- I believe I read The Persistence of Vision first, during middle school, while off sick from school. In any case, I loved particularly how Varley wrote about gender. In general I prefer women authors, in any category (as will no doubt become plain over the course of this year's exercise in tracking my reading [and re-reading]), but Varley is one of the exceptions to that rule. He seems himself to be very interested in the mutability of gender as a c ...more
Spider the Doof Warrior
Sep 08, 2014 Spider the Doof Warrior rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-love-this-book
This book is GOOD! I love it. I need to read it again!

And so I did. It's still good. This book is full of strong, interesting female characters. Sex. Fascinating aliens.

The Titanides are awesome. I don't think I'd mind being one. They sing a lot and have several genitals which is pretty cool. Their names are chords. There's blimps and angels. Nothing is as you totally expect it to be. It takes a while for it to go from space ship lingo to, whoa. WTF? How interesting!

This guy goes well with Oct
3.5 stars. During an exploration expedition to the planet Saturn, Cirocco “Rocky” Jones–captain of the space vessel, Ringmaster–and her crew encounter an anomalous satellite revolving around the planet. The closer they get to the anomaly, the more they begin to realize that it’s actually a habitat of some sort. While trying to report their findings back to NASA, they are pulled into the satellite. The Ringmaster is destroyed, and Cirocco and her crew are rendered unconscious.

After spending some
Apr 12, 2011 Trayana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, owned, bg
Началото на поредицата „Гея” започва с откриването на неизвестно космическо тяло близо до един от спътниците на Сатурн. Огромният мастилено-черен тороид, останал години наред незабелязан за Земята, внезапно напада кораба „Рингмастър”, а екипажът му е погълнат от чудовищно огромното същество-спътник.

След прекараните в полусън месеци капитан Чироко Джоунс се събужда във вътрешността на тороида – сама, изцяло обезкосмена и докарана до нервен срив от времето, което е трябвало да преживее, без да изп
This BigDumbObject/Greek mythology in space mashup won the Locus Award in 1980 and was nominated for Hugo and Nebula. It is the start of a trilogy.
A scientific exploration team finds a hollow, 1000 kilometers huge, Standford torus-like BDO near Saturn. This 2001: A Space Odyssey intro changes rapidly to a more fantasy oriented narrative: The spaceship gets destroyed and the team members pass through some psychedelic scenes and find themselves within the BDO. The members' psyche was changed, sinc
Apr 16, 2013 Globalt38 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi
Read this trilogy series back shortly after it came out and loved it - I'm thinking about re-reading it now! "Titan" is the first in a trilogy (followed by "Wizard" & "Demon"). Varley transports you to a fantastical world that is actually a living sentinent being - Gaea. A mission to one of Saturn's moons discovers that it is not a moon and the crew are captured. This being has created a world inside itself populated by creatures created from myths, stories, and movies gleaned from Earth's a ...more
Apr 24, 2009 Derek rated it it was ok
This book didn't grab me: I was about 100 pages from the end and realized that I honestly didn't care what happened. Part of the problem was that I had already pigeonholed it as sort of a Rendezvous with Rama or Ringworld (exploration of a Big Dumb Object by an underprepared away team) by way of Philip José Farmer. Once it was categorized, all the magic was gone.

I didn't particularly hate it, but felt that finishing it was pointless. I was not enthralled by the characters, the exploration of the
Jason Carr
Feb 11, 2016 Jason Carr rated it really liked it
This was a nostalgia trip for me as I read this book shortly after its release in 1979. I was around ten so it was one of my first adult books.

The book has some shortcomings in that it is steeped in 70s attitudes about sexuality and drug use that are dated and seem inappropriate to the modern eye (hence, only four stars). That being said, some of the concepts and conceits of the novel are truly innovative. I never forgot this book and it was great returning to it thirty years later.

If you are
Max Bolongaita
Nov 06, 2015 Max Bolongaita rated it liked it
WELL. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK. It was a long strange trip and in the end, that's all I wanted. Pretty good but I doubt I want to read the second and third installations. Nice girl power book, lots of fun, but damn.
Feb 08, 2011 Mea rated it it was amazing
Titan, Wizard, and Demon; situated within the planet who Is a conscious being, the diety Gaea, who chooses to manifest in the flesh as a cranky, frumpy yenta.
A planet populated by seizure prone drunks, giant hermaphrodite centaurs, and all-too-human warrior women.
Heroines who battle their way for months up miles of horizontal forest on a quest to confront Gaea where She lives.

The most fascinating alternative universe ever!
Why. oh why, can't he give me another book like these three?
Nothing Varley
Dec 31, 2012 Cloudwalker rated it it was amazing
This is the first book in what is now known as "The Gaea Trilogy." For those of you who hesitate to get into multi-volume series, take heart, for "Titan" is completely self-contained. Like "The Hobbit," while it contains the seeds of what turns out to be a great rollercoaster of an adventure, it's a tremendously satisfying read on its own. Varley has done a hell of a job with this, mixing whimsically fantastic elements with straight-forward science fiction, a few shocks (both psychological and p ...more
Nov 16, 2010 Nick rated it it was amazing
That's my second favorite book. Well it's more like on first place together with Battlefield Earth. When I read the first part I was so angry that it finished. I never read the back cover - I didn't know that it's a trilogy! Then I saw Wizard and I bought it and I don't know why I did. I just saw the front cover and I said I want this book. with the first few lines I understood that it's the second book about "Gaia", but I couldn't believe it. Without these two (this and Battlefield Earth) I wou ...more
Jan 02, 2016 Markoo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read the Croatian edition with translation from Predrag Raos - a well known, if a bit controversial / eccentric author. I've had it for ages literally, having received the trilogy as a present as a young teenager, at 10-15 years ago I guess. Not liking the style of the first few pages I never bothered with the books for years. Until built-up curiosity and a day of not being able to leave the house got made me decide to start with it. Not sure of the original, but Raos' style was grinding on me a ...more
Altivo Overo
Oct 20, 2014 Altivo Overo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: science fiction fans, furry fans
This first of Varley's classic series has become a kind of cult novel, but should not be dismissed. It explores the interaction of humans with each other as much as it examines the nature of an encounter with alien intelligences. Never mind the fact that the alien races have been shaped by human culture at a distance, through their creator's exposure to our radio, television, and related emissions.

Can Captain Cirocco Jones absorb and and comprehend an alien world with multiple intelligent races
Andrew Michael Schwarz
Apr 26, 2014 Andrew Michael Schwarz rated it really liked it
I started this series because I saw the second book, Wizard, on a list hailing it as a book that will blow your mind, so I had to read the first one, to get to the second one.

Let me just say at the outset that this series is turning into a great and wonderful read for me. I am now into Wizard and loving it.

On Titan I had no idea what to expect and indeed it took me over half way into the book to really get interested. It didn't seem to be going anywhere other than exploring this weird world wi
Steve Merrick
Feb 23, 2014 Steve Merrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Gaean Trilogy.

All three of the books in this trilogy are rocket rides. roller coasters, or a perfect storm of concepts and thrilling fun. I don't like to give away plots but the concept of Gaea an insane god, even the red line (Borrowed by Galactica) are enough of a backdrop to play with. Thats before you add Ciroco Jones to the mixture. Boy oh Boy these are superb books. well drawn characters plots and ultimately the books have their own identity. (Their is deliberate as the creations becom
Joey Reed
Oct 20, 2014 Joey Reed rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I have to admit that I was enthralled by this fantastically detailed description of a biological world completely engineered.

I found the graphic details of the physical interrelations to be distracting. But the unmistakable depth of characters kept me turning pages.

I can understand why this was a huge splash in the science fiction category. For an author to have created a setting which in turn functions as character is fascinating.

Leaving aside allegories and metaphors, the simple and direct de
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Full name: John Herbert Varley.

John Varley was born in Austin, Texas. He grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, moved to Port Arthur in 1957, and graduated from Nederland High School. He went to Michigan State University.

He has written several novels and numerous short stories.He has received both the Hugo and Nebula awards.

More about John Varley...

Other Books in the Series

Gaea Trilogy (3 books)
  • Wizard (Gaea, #2)
  • Demon

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“Cirocco liked space, reading, and sex, not necessarily in that order. She had never been able to satisfactorily combine all three, but two was not bad.” 5 likes
“Bill’s tongue had started at Cirocco’s toes and was now exploring her left ear. She liked that. It had been a memorable journey.” 1 likes
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