Newport, Rhode Island

The majority of today’s novel takes place on planets other than Earth, but for the sake of my map, I have chosen its beginning location. What book takes the reader from lovely Rhode Island to three other objects in our solar system? The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut.

A synopsis:

Beatrice Rumfoord lives locked within the walls of her Rhode Island estate, waiting for her husband and dog to make their periodic materializations. Winston Niles Rumfoord, a man who does everything “with style,” flew himself and his dog, Kazak, into a chronosynclastic infundibulum:

A point in space where, upon a person entering it, that person’s existence in space-time ceases to be linear, becoming discrete. This means that a person that has entered a chronosynclastic infundibulum exists at multiple points and lines in space-time. For example, such a person could exist at all points in time in one place and also appear at another point for five minutes. (A web definition.)

Malachi Constant, an incredibly wealthy and wasteful young man, meets this strange couple, and his fate is revealed to him. He knows that someday he and Beatrice will be mates and that the moon Titan will be his final destination.

You might be thinking that this novels sounds like it belongs in a Sci-fi section, and you are correct. Vonnegut has created an intriguing picture of space and science fiction as reality that is not terribly far-fetched. The Sirens of Titan, however, is not primarily a science fiction novel. It is a satire, a scathing criticism of the human race and organized religion. I did not care much for his criticisms of Christianity since I am a Christian, but I could appreciate his views on the hypocrisies found in many religions of the world.

In addition to being thought-provoking, this novel is also funny. The dry, almost sarcastic sense of humor Vonnegut displays is hilarious. I found myself laughing out loud at many parts of the novel! This rarely happens when I read. The reading was easy and fun; it did not take long to finish. If you’re looking for a good book to get you started on some summer reading, I would recommend this.

I can see some raised eyebrows coming from those who aren’t as interested in science fiction. While The Sirens of Titan has many sci-fi elements, that is not its primary focus. I am very selective about the science fiction that I read and even more selective about which ones I like, and this one is excellent.

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