Jam's Reviews > Titan

Titan by John Varley
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's review
Jan 10, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: science-fiction, fantasy, ya, funny
Read in January, 2012

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 for, because Gaea wasn't only a world, but also a mind. At this point, that I was reminded me of the planet, Pandora, in the movie "Avatar". Pandora, too, had some semblance of a sentient mind. The main difference between Gaea and Pandora, however, is that while Pandora is a subtle goddess who hides in the background, Gaea, (as written by John Varley), has the personality of a Greek god. She meddles, creates knew species, creates wars, and does showy, flashy magic.

It was in these parts of the story, where I finally got sucked in and began to be interested in finishing the book. You see, the first few chapters talk about life on the ship, and it can get a bit technical. Except for all the talk about how interesting it is to have sex in null gee, it was pretty dull. It was only after they got pulled in and crashed by the planet, Gaea, that all the interesting enigmas started appearing, such as the world inside the black shell of Gaea, the centaurs and angels, and all the fairly fantastical elements of the story which I find easier to digest.

Of course, no one would call Titan "heavy reading". The book has a sort of adventure/fantasy feel to it. There are no difficult and emotionally jarring ideas being delved into. It's something kids would enjoy. The world is similar enough to Earth, to be easy to imagine, and creatures such as centaurs, angels, and airborne whales that act as dirigibles, are amusing. There is nothing really "alien" about the story. Even Gaea, the planet mind, is very human in her personality.

Overall, I give it 3 stars. It's a good book, but I wouldn't be itching to read it again.
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