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The Sirens of Titan

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  111,309 ratings  ·  4,630 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 tel ...more
Paperback, 326 pages
Published September 8th 1998 by Dial Press (first published 1959)
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Einar Steinn Valgarðsson I'd go to Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Neil Gaiman and Ursula Le Guin next.
Sandi Stover Yes, there is profanity. I was very disappointed.

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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
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
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 ins
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
‘the sirens of titan’ (or as i have alternatively titled it, ‘why life is the universes greatest long con’) is the perfect catalyst for my impending existential crisis - all courtesy of john!

in this review, i will explore the two major themes of the novel, state what we can learn them, and explain how these lessons apply to our meager lives.

lets get started.

free will || ah, the biggest illusion of them them all. if the universe was a magician, the fact that we somehow believe we have control ov
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
J.L.   Sutton
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Always prophetic. Always relevant. In Kurt Vonnegut's The Sirens of Titan, we accompany Malachi Constant on adventures through time and space. He is unlike any other hero you're likely to read about; Malachi "was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all." The plot, which seems ridiculous and completely random (like those series of accidents), takes on visionary proportions in Vonnegut's hands. Especially in this novel, I thought about how much Vonnegut had influenced Douglas Adams and Th ...more
Vit Babenco
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There are plenty of space travels in The Sirens of Titan but it isn’t a space opera… It is a spaced out satire, a cosmic comedy of manners…
Mankind flung its advance agents ever outward, ever outward. Eventually it flung them out into space, into the colorless, tasteless, weightless sea of outwardness without end.
It flung them like stones.
These unhappy agents found what had already been found in abundance on Earth – a nightmare of meaninglessness without end. The bounties of space, of infinite ou
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
Aug 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, aere-perennius
“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 constantl
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
mark monday
rope-a-dope is a boxing tactic of pretending to be trapped against the ropes, goading an opponent to throw tiring ineffective punches. rope-a-dope is a tactic employed by Winston Niles Rumfoord as he blithely controls the fates of his wife Beatrice, entrepreneur Malachi Constant, the buffoonish and warlike Martians, and of course all of the humans crowding up this planet Earth. they try to push back against this immaterial man, beamed to them with his hound of space Kazak for less than an hour, ...more
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, 2019-shelf, satire
I'm one of those people who like to pick on the super popular works of SF especially when the literary intelligencia has deemed so-and-so SF writers better than the common hoi polloi. I have to see what is up with them, find a reason to bring them back to the SF fold rather than the claustrophobic Literary BS.

So what happens when I pick up Vonnegut and read him?

I like him. Again. Damn it. In fact, The Sirens of Titan may be my favorite. It's a toss-up between The Breakfast of Champions and this.
Tom Quinn
Jun 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not just one of Vonnegut's best books. It's one of the best books I've ever read.
May 29, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is so fantastic and crazy, yet at the same time so thought inducing and relatable. More than any book it showed the pointlessness of human life and also life goal and aim.

The story felt flexible enough to allow it to be what the reader would like it to be. It felt like the reader could strengthen their beliefs by reading this book, no matter what your beliefs were - it was all there - free will or control, religion and search of meaning, inequality and envy.

I loved his style and the r
Nope. Not for me. I enjoyed Slaughterhouse-Five so much more. This book, The Sirens of Titan was, to me, boring and just couldn't get into it. 😕 ...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
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
Is it Fate or Coincidence?

The Sirens of Titan is an odd satirical twist of a science fiction novel which explores nothing quite as grand as the meaning of life. There are echoes here of Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land and Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide, but guess what. Sirens of Titan came first. Legend has it that Vonnegut wrote this in a few hours while at a dinner party. Obviously, some of the ideas were percolating in his head for awhile.

It is most of all a book of ideas. Vonnegut has the
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
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
Apr 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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
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.
Matthew Appleton
63rd book of 2020.

The moral: Money, position, health, handsomeness, and talent aren't everything.

This began as a disappointing read, which I thought would never happen. Vonnegut is one of my favourite writers, and this is my seventh novel of his. I even have three Vonnegut themed t-shirts. But this one just didn't grab me the way others have. It didn't seem as funny or profound as his later works. There are echoes of his later works though, already. Especially with the Tralfamadores featuring he
Sep 19, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, 1paper, 2fiction
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 done, either
Oleksandr Zholud
This is a classic satirical SF by Kurt Vonnegut, his second novel. The book was nominated for Hugo Award in 1960. I read as a part of the Monthly reads for December 2019 in Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels group.

This is a mainstream book masquerading as a SF novel. What I mean by that is that the author doesn’t try to built ‘what if’ worlds but to comment on contemporary (and eternal) issues. One of the examples, which won’t spoil the story. There is a form of life on Mercury, Harmonioums

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
Jun 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
There’s nothing like a Kurt Vonnegut novel to show you how stupid your own species can be.

Slaughterhouse Five illuminated the absurdity of war, and The Sirens of Titan does something similar with Christianity, sheathing its criticism in a fun read that is suffused with Vonnegut’s wit.

Malachi Constant, ridiculously rich heir to his ridiculously (and undeservedly) rich father is a wastrel, a spendthrift and a fool who attributes his astonishingly good fortune to ‘someone up there’ liking him.

As th
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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

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