The Sirens of Titan

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The Sirens of Titan

Marek Vit

"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." (Vonnegut:220)

The Sirens of Titan is Kurt Vonnegut's second novel. He has

written it in 1959, seven years after his previous Player Piano.

It has been described as a pure science fiction novel and, after

only one reading, it really can be considered to be one. The

intricate plot and fascinating detail may obscure the serious

intent of the novel. If compared to other novels by this author,

it makes much smoother reading because there are much fewer

subplots, digressions and simultaneous developments. The

storyline of Sirens of Titan is much more straightforward than in

the other works (e.g. Slaughterhouse-Five, Galapagos, Hocus

Pocus, Breakfast of Champions etc.)

"The Sirens of Titan, for all its wonderings,

futurity and concern with larger, abstract questions,

transmits a greater sense of direction and

concreteness. Rather surprising, too, is the fact that

the novel with its science fiction orientation, with

its robots and near-robot humans, and with its several

central characters who are intentionally presented as

being rather cold-hearted, generates more human warmth

than Player Piano which is directly concerned with the

agonies of exploring and following conscience, emotion

and love. Three possible explanations for this

fenomenon present themselves: first, Vonnegut's skill

has grown in the intervening seven years; second, the

science fiction mode affords the author more

detachment, and he is less didactic in this work;

third, the positive forces, particularly love, carry

more weight." (Reed:66)

The Sirens of Titan has been, as many other Vonnegut's books,

influenced by his experiences from World War Two (The

Fire-bombing of Dresden was a benefit just to one man, to Kurt

Vonnegut. Over the years, he got five dollars for each corpse, as

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