The Sirens of Titan

The Sirens of Titan

eBook - 2006
Average Rating:
12
1
Rate this:
Rosetta Books

The Sirens of Titan (1959), Vonnegut’s second novel, was on the Hugo final ballot along with Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers and lost in what Harlan Ellison called a monumental injustice. Malachi Constant is a feckless but ultimately good-hearted millionaire who, in this incondensable interplanetary Candide (lacking perhaps Voltaire’s utter bitterness), searches the solar system for the ultimate meaning of existence.

Constant is aided by another tycoon, Winston Rumfoord, who, with the help of aliens, has discovered the fundamental meaning of life. With the help of Salo - an alien robot overseeing the alien race, the Tralmafordians (who also feature in Slaughterhouse-Five) - Constant attempts to find some cosmic sense and order in the face of universal malevolence. Constant and Rumfoord deal with the metaphysics of “chrono-synclastic infundibula” and the interference of the Tralmafadorians. The novel is pervaded by a goofy, episodic charm which barely shields the readers (or the characters) from the fact of what seems to be a large and indifferent universe.

ll of Vonnegut’s themes and obsessions, further developed or recycled in later work, are evident here in a novel slightly more hopeful than most of his canon. It is suggested that ultimately Constant learns only that it is impossible to learn, that fate (and the Tralmafadorians) are impenetrable. On the basis of this novel, Vonnegut was wholly claimed by the science fiction community (as the Hugo nomination demonstrated) but he did not reciprocate, feeling from the outset that to be identified as a science fiction writer would limit his audience and trivialize his themes. His recurring character, the hack science fiction writer Kilgore Trout (prominent in Slaughterhouse-Five) was for Vonnegut a worst case version of the writer he did not wish to become.



Publisher: New York : Dial Press Trade Paperbacks, 2006
ISBN: 9780795311994
9780795303029
Characteristics: 1 online resource

Related Resources


Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

m
mjohnson313
Oct 20, 2017

From the moment he meets his displaced patron, the only thing Malachi Constant can count on is change. This deftly woven tale of a Space Wanderer enduring a series of carefully calculated accidents is vintage Vonnegut. In true post-modern fashion, he breaks down philosophy, religion, matrimony, war, peace and indeed the sum total of human civilization. It manages to be laugh-out-loud funny and heartbreaking on facing pages, with a rented-a-tent cadence that begs not to be put down.

e
elizali
Aug 07, 2017

Like all great Vonnegut books, you start out believing that what you are reading is science fiction. Then, at some point, the tragic nuances hit you as exactly the social construct you live every day inside. This was not my favorite Vonnegut book, but it is still an impressive work of fiction for its itty bitty 200 pages. The hopefulness of this one really hit.

b
BenHur56
Jun 09, 2017

This is an amazing book, full of dazzling ideas and laugh-out-loud humour.

LPL_IanS Jul 20, 2016

It's not too often that you get a book that manages to be as tragic, lovely, and wacky as this one. Its an existential journey throughout the solar system that you won't soon forget.

kurthallsman Oct 17, 2014

The first great Vonnegut novel. Presents many future, recurring themes: The Anti-Hero in an Existentialist Universe, etc., etc. And I just wanted to point out in regards to pigirl's comment, that "The Sirens of Titan" was originally published in 1959, when Douglas Adams was a mire 7 years old.

n
nabeullens
Jun 09, 2014

This is an amazing book. I had very little experience with Vonnegut before reading this. I had only previously read Slaughter House Five in school. This book not only has a great plot but deals with some major life themes. By the time you get to the end you are floored at the message Kurt imparts. This work I can not reccommend enough, along with all the other titles Kurt gave us. One of the most talented writers of the 20th century for sure!

s
smacdon9
Jun 19, 2013

Definitely would recommend this book to anyone. It covers themes like free will and the purpose of life and is loaded with sarcasm. As seanewoods said the religious satire was very in your face, but I laughed out loud at parts from it so it worked alright for me. This is the first book by Vonnegut that I've read but definitely not the last.

s
seanewoods
Mar 15, 2013

Not bad, but certainly not Vonnegut's best work. Could have been more subtle with the religious satire.

t
thomd
Aug 17, 2012

I enjoyed many of the themes in this thick satire, but not all of them clicked for me now. Least favorite or least understood - Boaz.

p
pigirl
Aug 13, 2012

This book is AMAZING. It has the same wonderfully science fiction approach as Douglas Adams' 'Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy'. Everyone should read this book.

View All Comments

Quotes

Add a Quote

Laura_X Apr 04, 2016

A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.

Age

Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Recommendations

  Loading...

Find it at BPL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top