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The Sirens of Titan

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4.16  ·  Rating details ·  85,575 Ratings  ·  3,342 Reviews
The Sirens of Titan is an outrageous romp through space, time, and morality. The richest, most depraved man on Earth, Malachi Constant, is offered a chance to take a space journey to distant worlds with a beautiful woman at his side. Of course there's a catch to the invitation - and a prophetic vision about the purpose of human life that only Vonnegut has the courage to te ...more
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Published June 1st 2011 by Audio Holdings (first published 1959)
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Stephen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Lyn
May 25, 2013 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
...more
Danger
Mar 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: aliens, robots, human beings and blow-up sex dolls
3RD READ-THROUGH 4/18/17: Since I was about 19, I’ve been referring to this novel as my “favorite book.” I don’t know if *quite* holds that distinction still, having read a lot more in the succeeding 15 years, but it is STILL, without question one of the best! This book might be the “plottiest” of all of Vonnegut’s novels, while I enjoy the voice later Vonnegut much more (The Sirens of Titan was only his second book) the ideas presented here are deep and varied, lying what is obviously the philo ...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
Darwin8u
Jul 08, 2011 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

description

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
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Sirens of Titan, Kurt Vonnegut
The Sirens of Titan is a Hugo Award-nominated novel by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., first published in 1959. His second novel, it involves issues of free will, omniscience, and the overall purpose of human history. Much of the story revolves around a Martian invasion of Earth. Malachi Constant is the richest man in a future America. He possesses extraordinary luck that he attributes to divine favor which he has used to build upon his father's fortune. He becomes the cent
...more
BlackOxford
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love the One You're With

Most of Vonnegut's enduring tropes start life in Sirens:
- Time and its distortions
- Places like Newport and Indianapolis
- People such as Rumfoord and Ben and Sylvia
- The planet Tralfamadore and its inhabitants
- And of course the Volunteer Fire Department

What holds these oddities together is what holds everything of Vonnegut together, an ethical theology. His sci-fi is a way of displacing talk about God just enough to do some serious thinking. And he may indeed have inspi
...more
Algernon
Mar 09, 2014 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
...more
Apatt
Oct 20, 2015 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
...more
Stuart
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
...more
MJ Nicholls
Sep 27, 2010 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
...more
Geoff
Sep 24, 2013 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
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
Sep 19, 2008 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.
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
Gavin
Nov 10, 2013 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."

-RANSOM K. FERN


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
...more
Richard Derus
Rating: 3.5* of five

I read this book when I was a teenager in the 1970s. I missed a lot of assumptions, like the one where it's okay for a man to discuss his own wife "being bred" by another man; the one where black people all speak in dialect, obviating the need to mention their skin color; the one about homosexual sex being offensive; I'm at a loss, as a 695-month-old reader with literally thousands more books under my expansive mental belt, how this 1950s prejudice whipped past my allegedly e
...more
Jeff
Aug 17, 2007 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
David
Apr 01, 2009 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.
Taylor
May 23, 2007 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
...more
Chris_P
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,
...more
Miss Ravi
Nov 08, 2016 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.
...more
David Sarkies
Jan 21, 2014 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
...more
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
...more
Gabrielle
3 and a half stars.

In typical Vonnegut fashion, this novel is zany, unpredictable, funny, thought-provoking and very, very hard to summarize. As much as I enjoy his books, reviewing them is always a challenge, because where the hell am I even supposed to begin? With the story of the man and his dog, who are spread across time and space; the story of the rich and depraved Malachi and his feeble attempts to control his fate? The non-linear way this strange story is told makes me think of a Mobius
...more
William Girdler
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
Vonnegut doesn't write stories like normal writers. His mind seems so strange and perfect and his books are delivery system for these wonderful ideas more than they are stories. He is a satirist, I suppose, but that very much undersells him. He is a philosopher and he wrote book long discussions of these ideas loosely framed on a story. It's one of the things I find most unique about Vonnegut. His stories are great, they really are but his ideas are fantastic. And I think those fantastic ideas d ...more
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
Ivan Lutz
Dec 21, 2016 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
...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
Sep 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  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
...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 Jr....
“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.” 2903 likes
“I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all.” 952 likes
More quotes…