The Sirens of Titan

The Sirens of Titan

eBook - 2006
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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: 9780795303029
9780795311994
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file,rda
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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ArapahoeTina Mar 31, 2020

This was my first introduction to Mr. Vonnegut and I really wanted to like it. I tried. I can see how clever and well-crafted it is, but it felt like a chore getting through it.

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EvanSchoenfeld
Feb 06, 2020

Vonnegut’s exposition on free will poses a more entertaining meaning to life than to say we’re products of our environments that aren't responsible for the silly things we do . . . ‘Sirens’ favors the upbeat view that we fill our purpose perfectly, never mind character defects of those portrayed. If only things were so simple!

t
tugperson
Jan 01, 2020

I stepped into a time machine back to the 1970’s to revisit the Vonnegut I adored and admired as a teenager. On the inside cover, a Librarian had noted this book had much wear and tear from so much love through the years. The story contains a heartbreaking trip to Mercury, a credible solution to a nuclear Armageddon and the meaning of life: “To love whoever is around to be loved.” His best. Reading Slaughterhouse Five afterwards was a bit disappointing.

l
LadyDi52
Jun 28, 2019

I quit reading half way through when it was all about the Martian army, probably a satire/comment by an American male writer about the politics of his day

w
wliszewski
Jun 18, 2019

this was a C D , performed by Jay Snyder .

sent to S.J.C.P.L. from Elkhart Public Library

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eiryn
Mar 22, 2019

Vonnegut has a remarkable way of expressing dark humour through the prose encouraging critical thinking regarding moral philosophy. From the first chapter, you are enthralled with elements of science fiction that condition your concepts of reality while engaged in the narrative. This novel took me on a journey through a universe I thought I knew and provided an entertaining view of a future unknown.

7
7626dee
Feb 22, 2019

Maybe not the best of his novels but pretty well sets you up for all that will follow. His science is terrible but the social satire is superb.

v
Violetlight
Jan 19, 2018

Weird book. Not scientifically accurate by a long shot, but an interesting social commentary. Considering the current political situation, definitely worth reading.

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.

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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.

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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.

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