“Sirens of Titan” by Kurt Vonnegut

“Everyone now knows how to find the meaning of life within himself.”

– Kurt Vonnegut

Sirens of Titan, opening sentence 

I asked Joy this morning whether I had told her what I found out about a connection between Douglas Adams (long may he live) and Kurt Vonnegut (RIP), besides the fact that they are both deceased.

Joy said, “I don’t think I’m stoned enough to talk about Kurt Vonnegut.”

Well, we weren’t stoned at all and had no intention of getting that way, but I tabled the discussion, told her I would blog about it and talk with her when she wakes up (which is about an hour after her body gets out of bed… weird.)

“But mankind wasn’t always so lucky. Less than a century ago men and women did not have easy access to the puzzle boxes within them.”

– Kurt Vonnegut

Sirens of Titan, second and third sentences

So. The day before Vonnegut died, I was reading Spider Robinson’s DeathKiller, and I thought that somewhere he mentioned that Kurt Vonnegut’s Sirens of Titan was part of the seed for the book. Naturally, I went looking for Sirens of Titan.

And the next day, Kurt Vonnegut died.

Something similar has happened before. I was listening to Country Roads in Japanese, driving down a country road, when I decided to switch to the radio, and heard that John Denver had died. That was a decade ago.

Anyway, I finished Sirens of Titan last week.

Now, I’m confused. Maybe I read something in a Douglas Adams interview in a Darker Matter blog that my friend, Malcom sent me a while back. But Robinson does include a memory wipe idea in Death Killer. I’m thinking he influenced them both. One of those errors BCAK. (Between Chair And Keyboard)

Here is the Douglas Adams bit:


with this posting:

 Kurt Vonnegut died yesterday. This is a sad loss to the world of science  fiction, and writing in general.

 The best tribute Darker Matter can offer is this quote from Douglas  Adams, recorded in 1979 and first published in the Darker Matter interview last month:

 “Kurt Vonnegut I think is absolutely superb. I’ve read The Sirens of  Titan six times now, and it gets better every time. He is an influence, I  must own up. Sirens of Titan is just one of those books ? you read it through the first time and you think it’s very loosely, casually written.

 You think the fact that everything suddenly makes such good sense at the end is almost accidental. And then you read it a few more times,  simultaneously finding but more about writing yourself, and you realise  what an absolute tour de force it was, making something as beautifully honed as that appear so casual.”

Now, I’m realizing that this is what I actually read that sent me looking for Sirens of Titan. Yeah, that sounds like the thoughts that sent me looking for it. Ooops.

I was intriqued and I definitely see the correlations. We’ve got aliens manipulating Earth in order to send messages, a man in a bathrobe and yes, Adams fans, someone who is 42!!! All of that occurs around pages 304-308 in my paperback version. Go look.

“Mankind, ignorant of the truths that lie within every human being, looked outward – pushed ever outward.”

– Kurt Vonnegut

Sirens of Titan, 6th sentence


And if you haven’t called up Amazon or your local Borders Books to order the book by now, I am very surprised.

Alright. I’m vacationing in Santa Fe, then teaching next week. I want to enjoy the city, have some lunch and read some more of LifeHouse by Spider Robinson. Tomorrow’s blog is likely to be about the introduction to that book, in which an orgasmic creation the main characters have been composing for weeks is suddenly interrupted by a rare alarm, which actually adds to the climax.

Love, Ann

“What were people like in olden times, with their souls as yet unexplored?”

Kurt Vonnegut

You guessed it:

Sirens of Titan

PS – Yes, Dr. Kratz, and without that book whose name we don’t even have to mention, because we have all read it by now, there would be no Sirens of Titan. Dr. Dennis Kratz of the University of Texas at Dallas, a man but part leprechaun, impressed this upon our young minds in my seminar on “Science Fiction and Fantasy” back in the 80’s. Thank you, Dr. Kratz. I understand he is Dean Kratz now. I hope he still teaches from the desktops.


2 Responses to ““Sirens of Titan” by Kurt Vonnegut”

  1. The Booklist: Part 1: 1989 - 2007 « Says:

    […] Sirens of Titan Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. […]

  2. The BookLife (WIP) « Says:

    […] Sirens of Titan……………………………………………Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. […]

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