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The Sirens of Titan

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  124,308 ratings  ·  5,104 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 tell ...more
Paperback, SF Masterworks #18, 224 pages
Published September 9th 1999 by Gollancz (first published 1959)
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Matt It's upsetting to me that people are turning into such narrow fans. Read something completely different, maybe even something that is uncomfortable fo…moreIt's upsetting to me that people are turning into such narrow fans. Read something completely different, maybe even something that is uncomfortable for you. Don't look for another guy "like Vonnegut". The world is words is unlimited. For God's sake don't just read the same stuff over and over. Just my opinion, for what it's worth.(less)
Tara Some, but definitely not laced with profanity. I would have no issue with my teen reading this book, though.

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May 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
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
J.L.   Sutton
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“The bounties of space, of infinite outwardness, were three: empty heroics, low comedy, and pointless death.”

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 Vonn
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
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘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
Leonard Gaya
Feb 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For one thing, according to Epicurean philosophy, the gods are in a state of perfect ataraxia and mind their own business. They have no needs and, although they are omniscient and can observe all points in the space-time continuum, nor do they bother themselves much about us, insignificant human beings. Perhaps the same could be said of the Tralfamadorians in Kurt Vonnegut’s novels. In Slaughterhouse-Five, they abduct poor Billy Pilgrim to their intergalactic zoo and observe with mild interest h ...more
Mar 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Vit Babenco
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Salo is a foreign emissary from a risibly-remote planet. He's travelled trillions of light years to deliver a loony-toons message.

He's a likeable little gnome.

And if you said that's a ridiculous satire on the gee-whiz Boys from NASA spending umpteen gadzilions of Taxpayers' Dollars for a rocket ship gliding into deep space, bearing greetings from us poor humanoids - yes, complete with kiddy-like line drawings of two healthy, well-adjusted WASPS (male and female, of course) - well, then, I gues
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
Oct 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
mark monday
Jun 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi-classic
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
Tom Quinn
Jun 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is not just one of Vonnegut's best books. It's one of the best books I've ever read. ...more
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: satire, 2019-shelf, sci-fi
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.
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
May 29, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Steven Godin

Never really been a fan of the sci-fi genre. Especially when we're talking about blasting off to other planets and moons, or dealing with Martian Invasions. Just not my thing. I only read this because it's Vonnegut - pure and simple - as it's my goal to complete all his novels over time. Had he not wrote this then it's likely I wouldn't have even considered reading it. There is no doubt that he fills The Sirens of Titan with some extravagant concepts - probably more so than all the other Vonnegu
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
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has enough ideas that could be used for a dozen different books. From the chrono-synclastic infundibulum to the Church of God the Utterly Indifferent, from the Tralfamadorians and Harmoniums to Universal Will to Become and space travel, and so on. A myriad of ideas, all mixed up in a single book. Add to that Vonnegut’s style and you get The Sirens of Titan.

Is there a purpose for our existence? The Sirens of Titan will certainly make you question about the meaning of life. Some people f
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Mar 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 06, 2021 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: philosophical SF readers who can appreciate dry wit & surrealism
Recommended to jade by: marta the book slayer
“there is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil. the triumph of anything is a matter of organization. if there are such things as angels, i hope that they are organized along the lines of the mafia.”

this is a story about a man and his dog.

they materialize in a backyard every 59 days and impart the wisdom of the future onto nearby bystanders and the man’s butler. his wife will not listen.

this is also a story about a very lucky billionaire whose luck runs out.

he ends up in
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  ·  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
Sep 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sfmasterworks, scifi
SF Masterworks 18 - Vonnegut Jr's second published work - reputedly the whole plot was put together at the spur of the moment with no prior planning, when he was asked about his next book! So, first published in 1959, this comedic (yes I said comedic) sci-fi story, although showing all the hallmarks of Vonnegut Jnr's future greatness somehow gets a bit lost for me, not knowing if it is a comedy or an all encompassing look at the possible futility of human existence!

This does strike me as one of
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
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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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