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Sirenerne på Titan (1959)

af Kurt Vonnegut

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MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
10,331124691 (4.01)172
Malachi Constant, "the richest man in America," gives up his indulgent lifestyle to follow an urgent calling to probe the depths of space. He participates in a Martian invasion of Earth, mates with the wife of an astronaut adrift on the tides of time, and follows the lure of the "Sirens of Titan."
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Engelsk (117)  Spansk (1)  Portugisisk (Brasilien) (1)  Svensk (1)  Italiensk (1)  Tysk (1)  Alle sprog (122)
Viser 1-5 af 122 (næste | vis alle)
"Everyone now knows how to find the meaning of life within himself. But mankind wasn't always so lucky." is the first line of the novel. The book itself is rich in ideas about free will (It turns out that humans don't really have it, having been evolved by Interstellar travellers to produce a small replacement part for a star ship, that is carrying a greeting card message to another interstellar group. Our hero, after discovering this truth, is droppedoff on earth, and freezes to death in Indianapolis while trying to get to his grandparents' home. A large number of other ideas get dealt out as teasers, setting up a large number of Vonnegut fans for future novels. It is both tender and funny. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Feb 19, 2024 |
I'm really not sure how to rate this book...

Sirens was mentioned somewhere in an article I read recently, so I picked it up. I've never read any Vonnegut, and I suppose this was a good one to start with because I had no prior knowledge (not even Slaughterhouse Five in high school) of his style or themes.

It was a fun read, mainly because of the twists early and in the middle of the book. The premise is fun science fantasy and I really felt for Constant by the end of the book. It was hard to see someone unlikable become a scapegoat for a cranky old guy with bad fortunes of his own.

I think what turned me off were the hard jerks in the plot. At the same time, I'm not sure I really understood the significance right after I finished the story. Thinking back on it, it's a little sad that no one - not even Rumfoord - had any will of his own. It just shows you don't have to be physically present to enslave people.

Vonnegut and I also have significantly different views on God and the purpose of humanity, which contributed to the disconnect. Given the differences, I enjoyed the read. ( )
  ohheybrian | Dec 29, 2023 |
Rating: 3.5* of five

The Publisher Says: 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.

My Review: I read this book when I was a teenager in the 1970s. I missed a lot of assumptions, like the one where it's okay for a man to discuss his own wife "being bred" by another man; the one where black people all speak in dialect, obviating the need to mention their skin color; the one about homosexual sex being offensive; I'm at a loss, as a 695-month-old reader with literally thousands more books under my expansive mental belt, how this 1950s prejudice whipped past my allegedly enlightened 1970s sensibilities.

Two stars off.

The Tralfamadorian Salo, tangerine-colored mechanical man whose millions of years of lightspeed travel get interrupted by an unexpected landing on the balmy, verdant shores of Titan, also gets the stink-eye from my increasingly myopic baby greens. Winston Niles Rumfoord, the chrono-synclastically infundibulated spacetime sprinter, becomes his buddy? Salo spends inordinate amounts of energy, for a Tralfamadorian, setting WNR (a note to come on these initials) up and making his life on Titan extraordinarily pleasant. That has more than a faint whiff of colonial privilege, Salo being the first inhabitant of Titan though not native to it, who expends all his energies to improve the lot of an ungrateful, entitled newcomer.

Another star off.

Malachi Constant, reasonably dim, phenomenally lucky, is summoned to Rumfoord's famous reappearance after he's been chrono-synclastically infundibulated (seriously, if you're ever in a foul humor or just draggy, say or better yet type, "chrono-synclastic infundibulum." Your smile muscles will automatically activate and your crow's-feet will dance) in order to converse with the great man, though why he's so great really isn't much discussed. And what happens? Constant is turned into an unlucky pauper and press-ganged to Mars to fight a fake war with real casualties designed to unite the people of earth. In service of this goal, Malachi Constant has his identity stripped from him, mechanical thought-control devices implanted in him, and he's specifically made subject to a black man's total control to symbolize his utter dehumanization.

More racism, fewer stars. What are we down to, one? I'll snatch that one back for black-man-as-nature-gawd-of-Mercury, Boaz using his natural rhythm (urp) to feed the harmoniums off his superiorly rhythmic pulse in preference to Unk/Malachi's more, what? bland? attenuated?, white man's pulse.

No stars for you, Vonnegut. Zip. Zero. Rien. Nada.

So whence cometh the three-and-a-half stars above? The Church of God the Utterly Indifferent. The mass religion of billions who know with the simple certainty of faith that God couldn't pick you out in a police line-up and couldn't possibly care less about you, your prayers, your troubles, and your existence or non-existence. You don't matter to God.

That is the single best take-away from reading this book. The assurance with which Vonnegut adduces the non-existence of God's interest in humanity is worth all three and a half stars I've rated the book. This isn't the reason I suspect people want to read a novel. It isn't my first thought on picking up a novel. But it damn sure makes for a great end! Though I have to say the ending of this novel, as opposed to its end in the sense of purpose, is...it's...on the bland side. Things rather stop than end. After a long, long time passes, the show rings down the curtain and you don't have to go home but you can't stay here.

I remembered this novel as a Big Deal, a game-changer for me, and so it might have been in my teens. I think encountering a created world in which the Indifference of the Divine was simply accepted as fact, and the attitude towards the accumulation of money was sneeringly superior to those who merely grub after gold in the mud resonated strongly with my noblesse oblige sense of wealth as responsibility not opportunity.

Another entry in the "re-read at your own risk" files. I might have liked it better left un-re-read. ( )
  richardderus | Nov 14, 2023 |
Wow, this book was all over the place and not in a bad way. I am amzed how well it holds up after all these years. I will say this book is not going to be fro everyone but it completely hit in the pocket of my views on freedom and religion. Vonnegut's brain does not work like the rest of us. I think this is a book I will be rereading in a few years. I have a feeling it will bring something new to each reading. Not my favorite by him but up there. ( )
  cdaley | Nov 2, 2023 |
why was the mangled guy so mean to constant and his own wife the whole book. it was totally excessive. I guess I should specify that he was terrible to his wife cause he set up a thing where constant would seemingly rape her. ugh idk. like nothing he does makes any sense and none of the reaction of anyone to what he says makes any sense. he kidnapped 100k people got them mostly murdered then presented it as a weird morality tale where he's the only good guy and people were cool with that?? also he was lucky to be born rich as fuck so everything he says is hypocritical as fuck. like. none of that whole plot which is like half the book makes any sense at all (i guess you could say "oh it was manipulated by the aliens" but that's a total cop out. idk like the other half of the book was interesting and i liked the whole mediation on the role of luck and meaning but the whole mars segment was just annoying enough to spoil everything else

with no spoilers: like half the book is good, a big plot is really bad and makes absolutely no sense and kind of spoils the rest ( )
  tombomp | Oct 31, 2023 |
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Everyone now knows how to find the meaning of life within himself.

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Malachi Constant, "the richest man in America," gives up his indulgent lifestyle to follow an urgent calling to probe the depths of space. He participates in a Martian invasion of Earth, mates with the wife of an astronaut adrift on the tides of time, and follows the lure of the "Sirens of Titan."

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