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Book Review: Titan by John Varley

December 31, 2006

Preface on the 1st page of the book:
“Welcome to Titan, the alien that is, itself, a world.”

In Loving What Is by Byron Katie, the author contends that one of the main sources of stress comes from not finishing what we start. My dad gave me 3 books to read in highschool which I never quite got to. The first was Titan. I decided, with my interest in reading rekindled, to jump back to that assignment and give this book a try. I found my experience with this book to be similar with the time I first tried to read Lord of the Rings. I trudged through the first couple chapters begrudgingly, knowing at some point it would become more interesting than an old hobbit’s birthday, or in this case, the description of the ship’s mission and the architecture of Titan. And indeed they did eventually get very interesting. After a couple chapter, Titan pulls itself up out of the drudgery of the scifi section and gets going with the dazzling fantasy section. Varley has a talent of hooking you at the end of each chapter. It always start out strong, then starts getting bogged down in details for a bit, and then bam! He takes a left turn and leaves you hanging suspense for the next chapter. He creates an amazing fantasy alien world, yet totally believable human characters, sexual hangups & all. He is a great writer, obiously very intelligent and creative, though not particularly quotable or poignant. Thats sad, because I would normally put my favorite phrases here, but I couldn’t come up with a single one. It was more like certain chapters or concepts were very intriguing, like Varley’s theories on sex in low gravity, and the Titanides reproduction with 3 sets of genitalia.

Not exactly thought-provoking but still very intelligent and entertaining read. I would recommend it to any sci-fi or fantasy fan.

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