Titan (Gaea, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Titan (The Gaea Trilogy #1)

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  4,390 ratings  ·  147 reviews
Twenty years ago, the Gaean Trilogy dazzled critics and readers. Now a new generation will discover that brilliant world--beginning with Titan.

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...more
Paperback, 309 pages
Published April 15th 1987 by Ace (first published January 1st 1979)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details

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
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...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 Scie...more
Nathan Buchanan
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...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...more
"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...more
Paul Baker
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...more
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
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...more
Nov 30, 2008 Judy rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
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...more
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...more
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
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
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...more
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...more
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
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
Andrew Michael Schwarz
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...more
Steve Merrick
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...more
Mar 03, 2011 Donna rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who wants light mindless reading
Good premise, interesting ideas. Sketchy characters who don't seem to have anything behind their decisions. I read the whole trilogy in about 2 days. It was a holiday and my family was elsewhere. I don't call this a great sci fi book, but to race through like so much candy and popcorn, like say on the beach, or in the doctors office, it is fine, and preferable to something that would actually make you think. Think of it as an alternative to TV.
Rachael Gressitt
I didn't hate reading this, but I had some major problems with it. I don't feel like going in to major detail about the ins and outs of what worked for me and what didn't. Overall, the story was a good idea but poorly executed. There were random love triangles and uncomfortably written sexual themes that had no place in the story an completely took me out of the environment. It felt as if free love was just thrown in because it made the authors own personal mental penis hard. The descriptions we...more
Ugh. Not worth reading. Didn't like the characters, had problems with the plot and the 'drawings', well, weren't much better.
Just a little too weird for me. More fantasy than sci-fi.
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...more
Ben Arispe
I read this one on a chance find. I actually started the second book when I found it at a book fair at my local library. I was instantly hooked. So hooked that I had to find out how they got to that point in the second book. Now having said that, this book is like nothing I've ever read. I don't have anything else to compare it to. On the cover it's recommended by Tom Clancy and Roger Zelazny. The interior of the cover has the author compared to Heinlien. I've read a fair amount of work by all t...more
many, many years since i read this as teen, probably was 15, but my memory of it is mostly accurate. i read this just when i was beginning to read big books of lit and classics like 1984- but when i look at it now, read it now, i pick up more of his references to, allusions to, outright thefts from other sf works... and maybe a better understanding of his gender conflicts...

this is good, for, as the man says, it is not where you take things from but where you take them to. this is sentimental fa...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mike Franklin
3/5 stars

Titan by John Varley

Despite only giving it 3 stars this is really a very good story; well paced, interesting idea(s), sympathetic main characters and nicely finished off. What let it down for me was poor research, some incorrect (or at least very poorly expressed) science and, most tellingly for me, it is heavily hung-over with the free lovin’ attitudes of the sixties and seventies:

There were three men aboard Ringmaster, and Cirocco had made love to them all. So had Gaby Plauget. It was...more
Guillaume Jay
La trilogie de Gaïa raconte sur trois volumes et une centaine d'année les aventures d'un groupe de terriens (et notamment de deux d'entre eux) sur un planétoïde intelligent situé près de Saturne. L'intelligence de ce planétoïde se manifestant par son incarnation, Gaïa, qui s'ennuie un peu après tune existence de trois millions d'années, même si la vie sur terre la divertit pas mal, d'autant plus depuis l'invention de la radio et de la télévision.
Ainsi donc, quand un vaisseau spatial terrestre pa...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The Integral Trees
  • On Wings of Song
  • The Stochastic Man
  • The Snow Queen (The Snow Queen Cycle, #1)
  • The Many-Coloured Land (Saga of Pliocene Exile, #1)
  • The Year of the Quiet Sun
  • Heart of the Comet
  • A Million Open Doors (Giraut #1)
  • Venus Plus X
  • Starplex
  • Rite of Passage
  • Jem
  • Cosmonaut Keep (Engines Of Light, #1)
  • Mission of Gravity (Mesklin, #1)
  • Queen of Angels (Queen of Angels, #1)
  • Dragon's Egg
  • Bones of the Earth
  • Schismatrix
Full name: John Herbert Varley
More about John Varley...
Wizard (Gaea, #2) Demon (Gaea, #3) Steel Beach The Ophiuchi Hotline Millennium

Share This Book

“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.” 1 likes
More quotes…