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The Sirens of Titan

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  54,507 ratings  ·  2,094 reviews
When Winston Niles Rumfoord flies his spaceship into a chrono-synclastic infundibulum he is converted into pure energy & only materializes when his waveforms intercept Earth or some other planet. As a result, he only gets home to Newport, RI, once every fifty-nine days & then only for an hour. But at least, as a consolation, he now knows everything that has ever ha...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published 1975 by Coronet Books (first published 1959)
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Stephen
5 THINGS I KNOW I learned from reading Sirens of Titan

1. Kurt Vonnegut was a brilliantly insightful GENIUS whose brain waves were ever so slightly out of phase with our universe making complete comprehension of his work by the rest of us impossible;
2. In the hands of a master, literature can be both incredibly entertaining and soul-piercingly deep;
3. Vonnegut had a rock hard MAD on the size of a Dyson Sphere against Organized Religion;
4. Winston Niles Rumfoord is a Gigantanormous, Hobbit-blowin...more
Manny
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
Kedar
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...more
Algernon
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...more
Geoff
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
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...more
Madeleine
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...more
Jim
I read this many years ago, but am rereading with "The Evolution of Science Fiction" group.
https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

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...more
Danger
Mar 27, 2011 Danger rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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.
Robert Farwell
I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all...

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 constantly bubbling with that 'da Fu?' lo...more
Jeff St.onge
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
Rod
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
Lori (Hellian)
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...more
Taylor K.
Jul 22, 2014 Taylor K. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Nicholas
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nick
I avoided this one for a while, because I thought his earlier work might be less developed, less inventive, and because I wanted to avoid the overtly science-fiction work and read his ideas about humanism, humanity and inhumanity.

Now that I've read it, I see what all the fuss is about. I knew Vonnegut had been an influence on Douglas Adams, but I didn't realise just how much until I'd read this book.

Many of the elements in Hitchhiker's Guide appear in here first: the hapless Earthling unintentio...more
David
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.
D. J.
This book, more than any other perhaps, sparked a revolution in my thought. It is almost a cliche for any avid reader to namecheck Vonnegut as a huge influence. That said, "The Sirens of Titan" was and remains essential because it took satire and extended it into the outer reaches of the cosmos. Voltaire certainly paved the way with Micromegas, and Mark Twain was adept at combining satire with what later became Science Fiction; but, it was Vonnegut who fully realized the latent potential of such...more
Kathryn
Cat's Cradle is still my favorite Vonnegut. That book will always be a favorite and I wonder if any of his books will ever surpass it. All of Vonnegut's books have a similar feel and style so part of me wonders if books such as Slaughter-Five and The Sirens of Titan come in second place simply because they will never be my first taste of Vonnegut, that extra oomph of special discovery I will always associate with Cradle is missing, the only thing I can complain about with Slaughter and Sirens.

I...more
Anastasia
Se vi piace la serie di Douglas Adams, "Guida galattica per autostoppisti" & co, c'è una grossa probabilità che voi facciate sì con la testa anche a questo bel libro. Oddio, i due fanno a gara a chi è più surreale fra situazioni paradossali e assurde, topi che governano l'umanità in Adams e in Vonnegut gentiluomo e cane annesso che si materializzano di qua e di là (per via dell'infundibolo cronosinclastico, solo a scriverlo ci ho speso come minimo tre neuroni tutti assieme; non vi dico che c...more
rmn
I had not read a Vonnegut book in about 15 years until I read this and I found something strangely familiar and inviting in his writing (and to be honest, I may have actually read this book before, so that could be part of it). Vonnegut's genius is in the simplicity of his language and the originality and accessibility of his stories which seek to convey his bitingly cynical and anti-establishment/anti-religion beliefs in the nicest way possible. He likes to tell you how everything sucks with a...more
Arun Divakar
If I were to traverse the topography of my reading mind right now, I am sure I will come across one landmark. It would in all probability be a wooded grove with a lush carpet of grass, a stream that gurgles along and a symphony of the avian kind. Right outside the grove would be a board that reads Reserved for Kurt Vonnegut . I have this habit post reading a book to imagine what the book made me feel & in my limited power of articulation, above is what this book made me feel. The tale is un...more
Drew
I read a bit of Vonnegut in high school: Cat's Cradle, which I liked a lot; Slapstick, which I did like but thought was a bit too weird for me; Slaughterhouse-Five, which was surprisingly unmemorable; and Breakfast of Champions, which I didn't like at the time, read again last year, and still didn't like.

Among the things I don't like about Vonnegut's work in general: his tendency to write as if he were explaining a basic philosophical concept to a small child; his tendency to set certain lines...more
Mrs. McGregor

Vonnegut takes the reader through an emotional space-coaster ride as he convinces us life is full of good and bad luck, life is meaningless, God is indifferent, we are pawns in mundane tasks for other worlds, and finally, the reason that we are all here (I won't give it away, though).

He was able to create characters that we sympathized with while we disliked them. In fact, I don't think there is anyone in this book you will outrightly like. But the closest you will come is feeling very sorry for...more
Bill
The first read on my new Kindle!

Probably the most stunning thing about The Sirens of Titan is that it
was written over 50 years ago.
Vonnegut's observances on humanity, religion, well, just about everything, rings as poignant as if it was written yesterday. What an amazing writer this guy was to have such lasting appeal, and I'm sure will continue to have appeal for another 50 years at least.
And there's a lot to like about this book. There are some BIG ideas, there is satire on just about everythi...more
Matt
May 08, 2010 Matt rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Interested in Vonnegut but leaning sci-fi rather than politics
Shelves: science-fiction
If I told you that there was a writer out there that blended the witty satirical edge of the American legend Mark Twain with science fiction elements such as foreign worlds and strange alien beings, you should probably be excited. You should also probably all ready know that Kurt Vonnegut is that man.

Although I would say that "The Sirens of Titan" is thus far my least favorite of the Vonnegut novels, which I have read about a third of, that is not to say its bad. It is still a very good and fun...more
Lee
I am firmly on the fence with this book. I really can't make up my mind whether I liked it or not. It is certainly one of those stories that has its moments and you find yourself going along for the ride, then boom! A seemingly uncalled for show off period of space time travel of theory of light speed, that shows how clever the author is, but doesn't add to the story.
The basis of the story is down right ridiculous, but funny and interesting in its audacity. The main plot of the story is that som...more
Lyn
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...more
☽ Moon Rose ☯
The polemic often hilarious narrative of Kurt Vonnegut moves towards the dense unstability of Time , tapping the unobtrusive forces in the Universe, as he tries to unravel the mysteries surrounding existence in relation to its COSMOLOGICAL VESSEL , the Unknown Vastness of Space that despotically envelopes it in absolute rule, merging the magical realism of science fiction and the breadth of human philosophy with sheer comical wit, as he creatively distorts the established known logic of the Cosm...more
Tim
In his early career, Vonnegut was billed as a Science Fiction writer, a title that often annoyed and amused him. Of course, it was books like The Sirens of Titan that gave him this reputation.

Even though the novel deals with a greater diversity of themes than a simple space opera romp, the story is still largely pinned to the imaginative world of speculative fantasy. In fact, Vonnegut frequently approached the science fiction elements of his books with an obvious sense of its utter implausibili...more
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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
More about Kurt Vonnegut...
Slaughterhouse-Five Cat's Cradle Breakfast of Champions Mother Night Galápagos

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