The Sirens of Titan is actually a re-read for me as I venture through all of Vonnegut’s novels. If I recall correctly, I first read this book in 2015 and it was the first Vonnegut book I ever read. My recent re-read is due to my new appreciation of Vonnegut’s works, and I wanted to read this book with my new perspective. I did like it the first time around, but I enjoyed it a bit more this second time. This definitely falls in the genre of science fiction as many of his earlier works do, but it is less a science fiction story than a story that hints at that question: What is the meaning of life?
This novel has many interesting ideas and themes much like his other novels. I think I enjoyed this one more than most of his others partly due to the science fiction elements but also because it hints at a beauty through the harshness of humanity and even hints at the beauty of action in a universe seemingly pre-ordained. It speaks to the resiliency of humanity in a universe where we have no real control and there is no clear reason for our existence. It playfully dabbles with religion but does not comment directly like a few of his other novels. This story also dabbles with the meaning of luck and its inequity. Life can be difficult and unfair, just as it can be easy for some. Just as Malachi Constant.
It’s difficult to give a summary of this book without giving away key elements. To put it as simply as possible, this novel is about Malachi Constant, the wealthiest man on Earth for a time, who travels from Earth to Mars to Mercury, back to Earth, and finally to Titan, a moon of Saturn. This may not be the most enticing descriptions of a novel, but given the other tidbits discussed above, I think you’ll know whether or not you want to give it a go.