Jeff L's Reviews > The Sirens of Titan

The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
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Jul 25, 2012

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Read in January, 2012

A space traveller flys into a space-time phenomenom and becomes aware of all past and future events. He predicts that the fates of his wife and a Sybaritic billionaire will become entangled, and on Mars no less. What follows is a story of a Martian army, composed of shanghaied Earthlings who've had their memories wiped out. This army is being trained to attack the Earth and they do. For the billionaire, Malachi Constant, the space traveller predicts a multi-planet odyssey that will lead eventually to Titan.

Vonnegut's second novel is a story about the meaning of everything. He actually provides an answer. Right from the first page, he posits that the answer will not be found outside of ourselves. He then spends some time depicting the role of chance and the innate human drive to make sense of things. Vonnegut settles eventually on an answer which everyone will recognize when they see it.

In the meantime, there's the story. Vonnegut himself seems fairly proud of this early work, which has also generated appreciative notice from many corners. The book itself is mostly engaging but not compellingly so. The writing is simple. Like a lot of science fiction, there is no texture to the writing. The humor tries to be sly but is hampered by being obvious. The fundamental conceit of the book is clever and he effectively holds it under wraps until the end. The reader isn't likely to outguess the writer in this instance.

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