Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Sirens of Titan” as Want to Read:
The Sirens of Titan
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Sirens of Titan

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  80,173 Ratings  ·  3,085 Reviews
The Sirens of Titan (1959) is Vonnegut's second novel and was on the Hugo ballot with Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers but lost in what Harlan Ellison has called a monumental injustice. Sirens of Titan is a picaresque novel which almost defies being synposized; it is an interplanetary Candide (lacking perhaps Voltaire's utter bitterness), the book follows lead character ...more
Kindle Edition, Kurt Vonnegut Series, 336 pages
Published July 1st 2010 by RosettaBooks (first published 1959)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

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

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Sirens of Titan, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Sirens of Titan

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I'll start with a roundabout introduction. Garry Kasparov was not just one of the best chessplayers of all time, he was also one of the best analysts. Even as a teenager, he was always coming up with the most amazing ideas. Chessplayers often prefer to hoard their ideas; it can be worth a lot to surprise your opponent in a critical game, and there are many stories about grandmasters keeping a new move in the freezer for years, or even decades. Kasparov asked his trainer if he should be hoarding ...more
May 25, 2013 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somebody up there likes me.

One of my favorite film directors is Wes Anderson. I’m not sure if he is a fan of Kurt Vonnegut, but he should be and he should produce and direct the film adaption of Kurt Vonnegut’s novel, Sirens of Titan. Sirens of Titan, Vonnegut’s second published novel, was released in 1959. Some aspects of his brilliant short story Harrison Bergeron, which was published in 1961, are revealed in the pages of Sirens. Other aspects of this novel are fairly representative of the la
Do you read a Vonnegut book, or does the book read you? Does it expose your thoughts to the most detailed analysis of humanity, human behavior, and human mind and then tells you to not give a damn? Except that it also seizes the phrase 'to not give a damn' from your control. Leaves you hanging midair. Questioning.

So what to do? What is to be done? Apart from whatever has already been done?

You go beyond the story. See Unk staring at you pointedly with a hazy gaze. Figure out if he thinks whether
Mar 27, 2011 Danger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: aliens, robots, human beings and blow-up sex dolls
This is my favorite Vonnegut book, and I've read them all, except for one, which I am afraid to read because he is dead now and once I read that last book there won't be any more to read and my life will be meaningless.
Jul 08, 2011 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aere-perennius, 2014
“I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan


One of my favorite Vonnegut. Top-shelf. Snug and warm next to Cat's Cradle, Slaughterhouse-Five, Breakfast of Champions, & Mother Night. The magic of Vonnegut is he develops an idea to the point where -- just as you start believing it :: just as you are comfortable in his absuridty -- he kicks you down another Martian rabbit hole.

He doesn't want you sitting and enjoying yourself. He wants you const
Mar 09, 2014 Algernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
It's a thankless job, telling people it's a hard, hard Universe they're in!

But somebody's got to do it, and that's the job Kurt Vonnegut embarks on here, through the voice of his character Winston Niles Rumford, an impromptu deux-et-machina who plays with humanity like a fickle overlord with his toy soldiers, hoping to lure us, push us, force us, enchant us, frighten us into growing up, into freeing our minds of the shackles of political games, money grubbing, religious intransigence or epicur
Oct 20, 2015 Apatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, pre-80s-sf
“Rented a tent, a tent, a tent; Rented a tent, a tent, a tent. Rented a tent! Rented a tent! Rented a, rented a tent.”
— Snare Drum on Mars”

That is funny until it suddenly becomes creepy, to tell you why would be a spoiler though.

The Sirens of Titan is great stuff, this should come as no surprise to you if you are a Kurt Vonnegut fan, but it surprised the hell out of me. You see, I didn't like Cat’s Cradle, one of his most celebrated books and, if I remember correctly, I didn't like Slaughterh
Sep 24, 2013 Geoff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One exercise is to attempt to try to flex your memory and remember back before the point you were born… for instance I was born in July of 1977 but can I recollect February of that year or August of 1976? What you are met with then is a solid nothing; blankness and blackness and not even sense at all; and this is probably what death is like. However if one is to take something positive from this exercise it’s the implication that death can also be something “before” and not something always and ...more
MJ Nicholls
Sep 27, 2010 MJ Nicholls rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, merkins
Wow. I'd forgotten quite how amazing a writer is Mr. Kurt Vonnegut. The Sirens of Titan is his second novel, and already his voice is developed to its peak: the irony, the cynicism, the repetition, the bleakness, the heartbreaking.

This book moved me more than his other works. Something about these sad, lonely and powerless characters fighting their fates in a dark, unfeeling cosmos. It is a bleak, emotionally resonant work, far more moving than Slaughterhouse 5 or Breakfast of Champions.

You can
Since discovering that I love me some Vonnegut a few years ago after a humorless eighth-grade English teacher nearly kept me from ever giving him another go, I've read a not immediately dismissive number of his works. And they've all left me in various degrees of speechless. It can't be helped. He delights me in the way that only a favorite writer can.

Reading Vonnegut makes me realize that there's nothing I can say that he hadn't already said better and more cleverly. And that's not really a ba
Dec 15, 2016 Γκέλλυ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Το θέμα της ελεύθερης βούλησης σε συνδυασμό με το ειρωνικό, καυστικό χιούμορ του Βονεγκατ. Το καταευχαριστήθηκα.
The Sirens of Titan: An early Vonnegut classic about the randomness of life
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
This is a tough book to review. And it’s not really SF at all though it adopts the trappings of the genre. The thing about Kurt Vonnegut’s books is that they are so deceptively simple. The prose is spare, humorous, ironic, and to the point. And yet the story is very ambitious, as it seeks to provide answers to some very basic questions. Why do we exist? What is the universe for? Do w
Sep 19, 2008 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, 2fiction, 1paper
I read this many years ago, but am rereading with "The Evolution of Science Fiction" group.

I remember liking this more back when I first read it in the 70's. I think both the times & my age had a lot to do with that. It never captivated me. Vonnegut made each character a caricature of some ideal of our society & then used that achievement & their flaws to destroy them so that when I didn't actively dislike them, I pitied them. It wasn't subtly
Aug 17, 2007 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
The Sirens of Titan is a rare masterwork, a novel with broad and varied powers. It is an elusive book that seeks you out, a panorama of arresting images, a cosmic drama played out across the galaxy and set in the devices of the future but capturing eternal beauty as though in indestructible stone. At its simplest, it is the story of Malachi Constant, who despite his egotistical intentions, endures mental and physical suffering, isolation, and the loss of his own identity in order to be reunited ...more
Nov 10, 2013 Gavin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
"Every passing hour brings the Solar System forty-three thousand miles closer to Globular Cluster M13 in Hercules — and still there are some misfits who insist that there is no such thing as progress."


This fantastic quote from the fictional character Ransom K. Fern greets the reader before the story even starts and sets the tone for the many more that follow. The story is billed as a tale from the Nightmare Ages. An age that falls roughly between the Second World War and the Third
May 23, 2007 Taylor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, especially people interested in politics.
I was wary of picking up Vonnegut for a long time, because even though he's such a well regarded author, his plots are so science fiction based, and I have little to no interest in science fiction. After asking for book recommendations for my trip to Europe, my friend Amanda recommended this to me and I trust her taste, so I figured it was time for me and Vonnegut to get together. And I am so glad that we did.

As anticipated, yes, the plot was a bit ridiculous and very science fiction based, but
Apr 01, 2009 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Eh. Vonnegut thinks life is a bitch, and so has bitch-slapped some odd characters. Neither absurd nor insightful enough to be great. Indeed, there's something lazy about this book. And I can't be bothered to pin it down.
Miss Ravi
Nov 08, 2016 Miss Ravi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
ونهگات از بامزهترین نویسندههای روی کرهی زمین به شمار میآد و به همون اندازه آدم باهوشیه.
David Sarkies
Jan 21, 2014 David Sarkies rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Piercing the Veil on Religion
27 January 2014

I'll start of by saying that I have read a number of Kurt Vonnegut books (five to be precise) and have a another one on my too read list (Player Piano) and of the five, three of them I have read twice (including this one) and of the remaining two, one I them I intend on reading again (Slaughterhouse Five). As a writer, a satirist, and post-modern thinker, I quite like Vonnegut's work, but for some reason the second time around I found that I simply co
Ben Babcock
Some books are better if just don’t expect them to make sense. The Sirens of Titan actually surprised me in how accessible it was for a Vonnegut novel. For the first few chapters, everything was pretty mundane. Weird, yes—but I followed everything that was going on. It’s not until about Chapter Four, when Malachi ends up on Mars, that everything gets super-strange. From there it’s just deeper down the rabbithole as Vonnegut spins layer upon layer of story.

Malachi Constant isn’t a nice man. He is
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Sirens of Titan, Kurt Vonnegut
عنوان: افسونگران تایتان؛ نویسنده: کورت ونه گات؛ مترجم: علی اصغر بهرامی؛ تهران، نیلوفر، 1390، در 376 ص؛ موضوع: داستانهای کوتاه نویسندگان امریکایی - قرن 20 م
مردی با سفینه اش وارد چاله های فضایی شده و اکنون بیرون از زمان است و در زمان مسافرت میکند. او فهمیده زنش و یکی از هنرپیشه های هالیوود توسط مریخیها دزدیده شده و با هم بچه دار میشوند و ....؛ ونه گات باورهای روز دنیای غرب را در این اثر به رشته ی نگارش درآورده؛ از عصر روشنگری تا نظریه های فیزیک کوانتوم؛ خوانش و در
This is the first one I read by Vonnegut and as it seems there will be a hell of a lot to come. Let me declare this one thing. I am no sci-fi buff. In fact, I don't really like that particular genre. I saw all the high praises about this along with an interesting plot description and I thought "A journey from Earth to Mars to Mercury to Titan. What the hell? Sounds interesting!" Little did I know! I was bound to find out this novel is a whole lot more than that.

It certainly can be read as a fun,
Ivan Lutz
Dec 21, 2016 Ivan Lutz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Likovima iz romana iščupane su duše, zavrnute, okrenute, bačene na vruću tavicu, pa onda takve zagorene vraćene u tijela da završe priču koju su započeli. Vonnegut je brutalan sa svojim likovima i, praveći od njih ljušture vođenje životinjskim porivima, pleše na oštrici britve između čiste i zlokobne mizantropije i prekrasnog ljudskog bića kojemu je ljubav jedina vodilja, sloboda jedina vjera, a čovjek i priroda jedino blago koje treba poštivati.
Daleko je ovo od znanstvene fantastike. Daleko je
This, Vonnegut's second novel and a science-fiction classic, had me worried for the first 50 pages or so—I was actually rather underwhelmed. I didn't care very much for the protagonist, Malachi Constant, who is the richest, most impossibly lucky man on Earth, and a degenerate wastrel. The other main character—another very wealthy man named Winston Niles Rumfoord—has become caught in a space anomaly that makes him materialize at various points in the solar system at regular intervals, and also al ...more
Chris Dietzel
Jul 04, 2015 Chris Dietzel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is Vonnegut at his best. Ever since reading Slaughterhouse-Five I've been looking for something that could compare to it. While Vonnegut's other books are also great, they didn't combine the same blend of science fiction, humor, and grand moral tale that his masterpiece did. The Sirens of Titan is worthy of being held in the same light and is truly great science fiction. This book makes me remember why I fell in love with Vonnegut in the first place.
Roy Lotz
It’s a bit of a shame to use a star system in evaluating literature. Such a system makes perfect sense when judging kitchen appliances, electronics, or furniture—where the customer can judge the product based on how well it performs its obvious function. But the purpose of a book is not obvious. In fact, the onus lies almost entirely upon readers to figure out how a book best fits into their lives. It can be anything from filler for conversation to a roadmap to happiness, from a table-decoration ...more
Sep 14, 2011 Lori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vonnegut is my new God. I can't believe I haven't read anything else by him after reading Galapagos back in 85. For real? I do remember really liking it, being quite enthused, but it seemed like his other big book was Slaughterhouse Five, which I didn't want to read. Isn't it about a prison camp for captured soldiers? Or something like that? I don't like reading stories like that, there's enough horror in real life.

But what was I thinking? I guess at the time I was too busy trying to become some
Megan Baxter
Oct 31, 2014 Megan Baxter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ah, Kurt Vonnegut. I wouldn't say this one is his best, but I do enjoy his work. It's hard not to feel wry and comfortable in his company. Human nature, he seems to say, is well and truly messed up. The universe doesn't give a rat's ass about us. But instead of that making us bitter, it means we need to love each other more, be kinder, be connected. It's hard not to be affected by that.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You ca
Aug 18, 2008 Nicholas rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, comedy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Victoria BC scien...: Discussion of The Sirens of Titan 7 46 Dec 24, 2014 09:07AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: #122 - The Sirens of Titan 1 2 Dec 10, 2014 05:00PM  
Science Fiction A...: * November 2014 Themed Read - The Sirens of Titan 28 54 Dec 06, 2014 06:38AM  
  • Emphyrio
  • Dark Benediction
  • Now Wait for Last Year
  • The Complete Roderick
  • The Rediscovery of Man
  • Downward to the Earth
  • Jem
  • The Fifth Head of Cerberus
  • Odd John
  • Cities in Flight (Cities in Flight, #1-4)
  • Babel-17
  • Behold the Man
  • The Demolished Man
  • The Child Garden
  • Non-Stop
  • Venus on the Half-Shell
Kurt Vonnegut, Junior was an American novelist, satirist, and most recently, graphic artist. He was recognized as New York State Author for 2001-2003.

He was born in Indianapolis, later the setting for many of his novels. He attended Cornell University from 1941 to 1943, where he wrote a column for the student newspaper, the Cornell Daily Sun. Vonnegut trained as a chemist and worked as a journali
More about Kurt Vonnegut...

Share This Book

“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.” 2812 likes
“I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all.” 904 likes
More quotes…