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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


10 thoughts on “The Sirens of Titan

  1. says:

    5 THINGS I KNOW I learned from reading Sirens of Titan 1 Kurt Vonnegut was a brilliantly insightful GENIUS whose brain waves were ever so slightly out of phase with our universe making complete comprehension of his work by the rest of us impossible;2 In the hands of a master literature can be both incredibly entertaining and soul piercingly deep;3 Vonnegut had a rock hard MAD on the size of a Dyson Sphere against Organized Religion;4 Winston Niles Rumfoord is a Gigantanormous Hobbit blowing Douchasaurus Rex or if you prefer the proper latin phrase Giganticus SamwiseGamgeeus Douchbaggius Maximus; and5 A Martian soldier unable to stand at attention because he has been strangled to death by his best friendcan be VERY VERY FUNNYThere is uite a bit that I’m pretty sure of after reading this Vonnegut classic but on the above I am very confidant I had so much fun with this book and I am sure that I still missed some of what Vonnegut was trying to say His delivery is so dry and understated that if your attention wonders even for a moment you can miss his point I think this is one of those books that just screams to be read in a group and discussed Maybe that’s why books like this lend themselves so well to re reading every so often because there is so much there to find upon closer inspection PLOT SUMMARYHere is a brief rundown of the plot for what it’s worth The story is told by an unnamed far future historian and takes place over a 40 year period during the “Nightmare Ages”“sometime between the Second World War and the Third Great Depression” The story revolves around 3 main characters are Malachi Constant the aforementioned Winston Niles Rumfoord and Rumfoord’s wife Beatrice The story begins with Malachi Constant the richest man in the world being granted a rare invitation to the Rumfoord Estate to witness a “materialization” You see Winston Niles Rumfoord while traveling between Earth and Mars with his pooch came in contact with a phenomenon called chrono synclastic infundibulum one of the truly remarkable concepts created by Vonnegut but you’ll have to read for yourself As a result of his encounter Rumfoord now exists as a wave phenomena has complete knowledge of the past a future and “materializes” for a few minutes at his home every 599 days Malachi is the first person other than Beatrice to be allowed to see and speak to Rumfoord during his visits During the visitation Rumfoord tells Malachi all about his future and the future of his wife Beatrice and explains that Malachi will go on a series of journeys and will eventually end up with Beatrice on one of the moons of Saturn called Titan hence the title Malachi not liking the idea that his path is set goes about doing everything he can to prevent the events Rumfoord has ordained This event starts the series of events that make up the novel Along the way Vonnegut bitch slaps organized religion; puts forth a funny witty and piercing examination of the uestion “Free Will YES or NO?;” and follows his characters as they experience growth and change through the constant loss and destruction over everything they are A FEW FAVORITE MOMENTSWithout leaking too many details regarding the myriad of uncut gems that Vonnegut includes in this story I do want to point out a few of my favorites On ReligionClearly Kurt's most all up in your face critiues are directed at “organized religion” He doesn’t spend time bashing “belief” in any mean spirited way Rather he focuses his ample ire on the “actions” that organized religion often leads its followers to perform In this regard my favorite satirical nuggest in this area were1 The Bible as Financial Analyst and Stock picker2 The Church of God the Utterly Indifferent this name still makes me chuckle3 The Earth as God’s Spaceship and the 10 commandments reworked as a launch countdown On Free Will and Why We’re HereMy single favorite “idea” from the entire book is the central idea of the novel in which Vonnegut answers for us the “what’s it all about” uestion His answer delivered with classic VonnegutSHOTness is sublime When you takea The intro to the story by the narrating future historian; plus b The final “reveal” regarding the purpose behind all of the actions of the characters in the story; plusc Some additional inter story commentary from our narrator who hindsights this period of our historyand add it all togetherthe result for your eyes gut and mind is a truly popping wrenching expanding STOP YOU IN YOUR TRACKS moment that may reuire a few injections of Whiskey or stronger to take the razor sharp edge off It is certainly commentary that will burrow into your memory and lay idea eggs So I really really liked it In sum a truly exceptional work by a truly exceptional author expressing some exceptionally powerful ideas that made my exceptionally tiny brain scream for an exceptionally long time until I downed an exceptionally large glass of some exceptionally good stuff and suddenly felt exceptionally welland exceptionally wobblyHIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION Nominee Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel 1960


  2. says:

    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 later work that many people regard as his masterpiece Slaughterhouse Five In fact interestingly aspects of several works in Vonnegut’s bibliography can be detected including Galápagosand Slapstick or Lonesome No MorePlayer Piano may have been the first book published by Kurt Vonnegut but Sirens of Titan was the first Vonnegut bookPlayer Piano was an excellent story a fine work of science fiction literature written by a man with much world experience and wisdom But for the body of work that would come that great canon of literature that would inspire and entertain and provoke thought from generations of readers the vanguard was Sirens of Titan Kurt Vonnegut when he wrote Sirens of Titan was 37 Earth years old he was 6 feet 2 inches tall and had curly brown hair that his mother Edith Lieber called chestnutI have read a lot of Kurt Vonnegut’s books and I think Sirens of Titan was the book that formed the template the engineering blueprint for what would becomeAnd so it goes


  3. says:

    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 too No Garry came the sage reply Use them now You'll get new ones And indeed this turned out to be a correct predictionKurt Vonnegut wrote Sirens of Titan early in his career and I wonder if he didn't receive similar advice The novel contains enough ideas for half a dozen normal books and fairly bubbles with creative energy I like it much than Slaughterhouse Five and I've always wondered why it isn't better known I suppose it doesn't actually make sense; but for goodness sakes do things always have to make sense? Free associating for a moment Candide A Grand Day Out and the Old Testament are all undisputed masterpieces None of them make sense and they would be greatly diminished if they did Put them together and package the result as a 50s SF novel and you might get something a little bit like SirensSo you have a naively optimistic central character who suffers the most appalling reverses of fortune in a way that somehow ends up being comic than tragic; but instead of going to South America he spends most of the book wandering around a Solar System which is very slightly credible than Nick Park's cheese flavored Moon He's pursued by a God who's rather too fond of elaborate practical jokes but who is simultaneously trying to use the story to convey deep truths about the meaning of life Unless He's just kidding It's a bit hard to tell but isn't that normal for pronouncements made under the influence of divine inspiration?I see I've left out all the good bits I haven't mentioned the chrono synclastic infundibulum Or Bea's sonnet Every Man's an Island about how to breathe in space Or Salo and his message for the people at the other end of the Universe Or Universal Will to Become Or even the Sirens If you haven't already done so why don't you buy the book and check them all out for yourself? It's an easy read and it even has a happy ending I think


  4. says:

    Love the One You're WithMost 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 DepartmentWhat 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 inspired a new generation of thinkers about God as a conseuenceVonnegut's Church of God the Utterly Indifferent follows a teaching remarkably like a Christian theology developed almost 40 years after Vonnegut's novel This theology of the Weakness of God rejects the idea of God as the all powerful fixer of the universe And it rejects the idea that power flows downhill as it were from the divine source to spiritual and secular leaders Its ethical import is that all of us are engaged in a search for God and that the only help we have in this search comes from our fellow human beingsThis is essentially Vonnegut's Titanic Theology “The two chief teachings of this religion are these Puny man can do nothing at all to help or please God Almighty and Luck is not the hand of God God does not interfere in human affairs; he is what in traditional theology is called 'apathetic' He is not affected one iota by human action In short God Does Not Care Whatever morality there is in human life comes not from His interests or the possible benefits from pleasing Him but from the necessity for the community life of human beingsSo the ethic of Vonnegut's theology is direct and clear There is only one commandment These words will be written on that flag in gold letters on a blue field Take Care of the People and God Almighty Will Take Care of Himself This mandate reuires no complicated exegesis or commentary Nevertheless it's profundity takes a while to sink in “It took us that long to realize that a purpose of human life no matter who is controlling it is to love whoever is around to be loved” In a world ruled by such an ethos there is the possibility of pain but of a particular sort “The worst thing that could possibly happen to anybody” she said “would be to not be used for anything by anybody” So called ‘Weakness Theologians’ like John Caputo are apt to agree


  5. says:

    ‘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 johnin 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 startedfree will || ah the biggest illusion of them them all if the universe was a magician the fact that we somehow believe we have control over our lives would be considered the finale the best trick saved for last because we are nothing than 'victims of a series of accidents' the combination of random events created us and will continue to lead us and nothing we can do or say has any influence over that there is no way to control that which is unpredictable alexa play despacito meaning and purpose || if you choose to believe vonnegut intrinsically everyone knows how to find the meaning of life within themselves meaning that even though we just established we have no control over our lives we can still find meaningpurpose and make it highly personal in nature in this instance i agree with the book in that ‘the purpose of human life no matter who is controlling it is to love whoever is around to be loved’ unfortunately for me im painfully single in closing what have we learned? its that life is meaningless but we should be happy about it because even though we may not be able to control what life throws at us we have the innate disposition to be able to make it meaningful thats what makes us humanand that is something we all could do well to remember thanks for coming to my ted talk↠ 45 stars


  6. says:

    The Sirens of Titan Kurt VonnegutThe 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 center point of a journey that takes him from Earth to Mars in preparation for an interplanetary war to Mercury with another Martian survivor of that war back to Earth to be pilloried as a sign of Man's displeasure with his arrogance and finally to Titan where he again meets the man ostensibly responsible for the turn of events that have befallen him Winston Niles Rumfoord تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز بیست و یکم ماه فوریه سال 2012 میلادیعنوان افسونگران تایتان؛ نویسنده کورت ونه گات؛ مترجم علی اصغر بهرامی؛ تهران، نیلوفر، 1390، در 376 ص؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی سده 20 ممردی با سفینه اش وارد چاله های فضایی شده، و اکنون بیرون از زمان است، و در زمان مسافرت میکند او فهمیده، زنش و یکی از هنرپیشه های هالیوود توسط مریخیها دزدیده شده، و با هم بچه دار میشوند و؛ «ونه گات» باورهای روز دنیای غرب را، در این اثر به رشته ی نگارش درآورده؛ از عصر روشنگری، تا نظریه‌ های فیزیک کوانتوم؛ خوانش و درک طنز، و درونمایه های اثر، برای خوانشگرانی که با اسطوره های غربی آشنا نیستند، بسیار کند است، گاه خوانشگر منظور متن را درنمییابد، با اینحال اثری با چشم اندازی نو، و جهانشمول است «ونه گات»، در این رمان، با دستمایه قرار دادن اسطوره‌ و کلان روایتها، و شوخی، و دست‌ انداختن آنها، در پی به چالش کشیدن وضعیت بشر معاصری ست، که علیرغم خیال تسخیر کهکشانها، و دستیابی اش به کره ی ماه، و سیارات منظومه شمسی، نه تنها همچون نیاکان خویش، خوشبختی، هنوز هم برایش میسر نیست، بلکه زندگی، برایش از بگذشته ها نیز، ناآشناتر نمایان است عنوان رمان، برگرفته از عنوانهای اسطوره ها، و کهن الگوهای غربی ست، شخصیتها خدایان، الهگان، یا قهرمانانی هستند، که به سبب برخورداری از نیروهای فرابشری، توان انجام کارهای فراطبیعی را دارند ملاکی کنستانت، یا انسانها، در این اسطوره‌ ها، یا باید شاهد فرود عذاب از جانب خدایان باشند، یا به جبر سرنوشت خویش، تن دهند، و نیروهای فرابشری را قهرمانان خویش بدانند ا شربیانی


  7. says:

    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 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Whereas Vonnegut uses the absurd to explore what makes us human because what else really is there besides the absurd? Adams takes the absurd and turns it into a funny and highly entertaining romp I was so struck by the similarities that I began to re read Adams even before finishing Sirens I recommend this book for any fan of Vonnegut or Adams Finally by having our 'hero' Malachi as an unwitting victim of his own adventures during a lifetime of learning and unlearning Vonnegut approaches tragedy but he turns away from it because that would be taking this life much too seriously


  8. says:

    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 mannersMankind flung its advance agents ever outward ever outward Eventually it flung them out into space into the colorless tasteless weightless sea of outwardness without endIt flung them like stonesThese unhappy agents found what had already been found in abundance on Earth – a nightmare of meaninglessness without end The bounties of space of infinite outwardness were three empty heroics low comedy and pointless deathSome enigmatic space phenomenon had turned a lonely space scout into something similar to photon possessing properties of both particle and wave and spread him all over outer space and time making him periodically appear and disappear in different places as his material selfWinston Niles Rumfoord vanished slowly beginning with the ends of his fingers and ending with his grin The grin remained some time after the rest of him had goneThis smart allusion to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland surely gave me an agreeable frissonConseuently to improve humankind and to better its destiny omnipresent and omniscient Rumfoord decided to become a universal do gooder and began to commit a hellish lot of preposterous deeds and even fashioned a new religion“O Lord Most High what a glorious weapon is Thy Apathy for we have unsheathed it have thrust and slashed mightily with it and the claptrap that has so often enslaved us or driven us into the madhouse lies slain”But however absurd new religion may seem it can’t be absurd than those religions that already exist


  9. says:

    3RD READ THROUGH 41817 Since I was about 19 I’ve been referring to this novel as my “favorite book” I don’t know if uite holds that distinction still having read a lot in the succeeding 15 years but it is STILL without uestion one of the best This book might be the “plottiest” of all of Vonnegut’s novels while I enjoy the voice later Vonnegut much The Sirens of Titan was only his second book the ideas presented here are deep and varied lying what is obviously the philosophical and spiritual groundwork for a lifetime of work to still come This book still hits and it hits HARD If you haven’t read this and don’t rectify that immediately then I don’t think we can be friends 5 GIGANTIC STARSThis is my favorite Vonnegut book and I've read them all except for one which I am afraid to read because he is dead now and once I read that last book there won't be any to read and my life will be meaningless


  10. says:

    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 uestioningSo 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 you are in control of the story or is he the real commander Go beyond the cliché beyond the at times stupendously obvious humour Look at the blanketed irony Then either sleep in the warmth of ignorance or throw away the cover and dive deep in the chills of realityReading Vonnegut is probably a religion The Church of God the Exuisitely SarcasticShake hands with Rumfoord If he allows you to do soPeer through the kaleidoscope of allusions The allusions in the form of the War Harmoniums Old Salo A machine with a heart as opposed to humans with emotions hardened as Titanic peat due to over exposure to something unrecognized or overtly familiar Kazak the dog on the leash The soulless slave of gravityIn between become unstuck in time while reading the events that led to the initiation of the formation of The Church of God the Utterly Indifferent Keep reading and re reading several passages I have a feeling that I am lost Lost while comprehending the gravitational depth for each line Vonnegut has written I don't know whether I really liked this book or I really want to like it than I did I wonder what planet influenced me to write this review The Hindu religion does give a lot of importance to planets and their influences on your life and the reviews you writeI will abstain from asking myself these uestions after a Vonnegut book in future Best is to try and emulate the sweet sounds of Poo tee weetI need a stiff drink