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Titan [Mass Market Paperback]

John Varley
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 1982
Twenty years ago, the Gaean Trilogy dazzled critics and readers. Now a new generation will discover that brilliant world--beginning with Titan.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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About the Author

John Varley is the author of the Gaean Trilogy (Titan, Wizard, and Demon), Steel Beach, The Golden Globe, Red Thunder, and Mammoth. He has won both the Nebula and Hugo Awards for his work.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars A classic of 1970's-vintage space opera May 17 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The age of books like Titan is long since gone. The fact that Titan is still in print is telling -- it is among the best this era had to offer.
An enormous investment of imagination and analysis went into creating Gaea, the giant living space-habitat where the story takes place. Many novels of this day were full of strange alien landscapes and creatures that come off as hollow flights of fancy arranged by authorial fiat. Here though, they fit together in symbiosis. Even the parts of the world that seem "not quite right" on the first read through make perfect sense at the end after finding out more about the world's history. In fact, this is a good analogy for the plot of the book as a whole: a series of apparently random adventures with little obvious connection that finally makes perfect sense at the end when you learn what's really been going on.
Titan is also a reasonably good psychological novel. The opening events leave all the human characters mentally "damaged" in various ways, and Varley does a very believable, mature job of developing the plot as each character overcomes or sinks deeper into his or her respective psychosis.
What prevents Titan from being much better than it is is that Varley does not apply this same maturity to his handling of the various sexual issues he tries to address. In his treatment of free love, homosexuality, rape, abortion, and the like, his characters don't act like the liberated personalities he intends them to be, but simply as people who are as dogmatized in one direction as the American society of thirty years ago was dogmatized in the other. As a result, what Varley intended as thought provoking, having in time lost all shock value, comes off somewhere between childish and puerile.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative to a point... Aug. 19 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
An artifact is discovered in space...inside is an amazing assortment of discoveries, but more importantly our group of people need to find a way off this thing.
1) Fantastic world created!!
2) Like others have said the author suffers from immaturity when handling the sexual portion of this book.
3) Definitely not for kids! Not to mention there are so many other things that could happen without characters having sex ever thirty pages or so. I literally counted three scenes within the space of 80-90 pages...which took up most of those pages.
4)Characters were ok, but nothing too rememberable.
OVERALL: Kept reading in the hopes things would improve but they didn't. Gave it a two stars vs. one because of the fantastic world created in general. For exploring an alien artifact, Greg Bear's "Eon" was a much better read (and more mature)
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3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining pulp June 7 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
These books are nominally sci-fi but really have more of a fantasy flavor, especially the second and third installments in the trilogy. Heroes, gods, monsters, epic quests, nukes, and lots of human-human and human-alien sex. In other words, all the ingredients of a pulp space opera. The series makes good beach reading but parts of it are not for the squeamish, so be warned. The dust jacket of my copy of "Titan" compares it with Frank Herbert's Dune books, which is ridiculous, but all in all these novels aren't a complete waste of time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Its taken over a year Dec 27 2002
By Anny
Format:Mass Market Paperback
But I finally read the entire trilogy. Titan seems to be out of stock everywhere but Amazon and was well worth the wait.
All the truths that were established in the other two novels are blown completely away. Proof again that the reader is always as ignorant as the narrator.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Aged fairly well, all things considered. April 27 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
This was one of the very first SF books that not only got me over a horrible breakup, but also opened my eyes to the possibility of worlds that exist beyond swords, dragons and magic. Titan is weird, to say the least, and the general ability that Varley has to write eerily real text that effortlessly bends genders and kicks out the legs of conformity likely spurred my own interest with those genderbending immortals of the fantasy setting, the fey. Basically a late 1970s-style space opera - they sure don't make 'em like they used to!

Without getting too much into Spoilertoria, this basically takes place in a plausible near-future until something is discovered in the outer orbit of our solar system. Something big.

And while much of the treatment of sexuality and social mores will likely seem dated to us writing in the twenty-first century, keep in mind that this was written over three decades ago, and was pushing a lot of boundaries when it first came out. It won a Hugo, after all. Definitely recommend this to anyone who is looking for something outside of the usual, from a surprisingly fresh perspective.
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