Monday, December 19, 2005

53. Titan by John Varley

Titan pictureContinuing my foray into classic Science Fiction, I took up the recommendation of my friend Jeff, who not only put forth Titan but sent me a cool paperback copy of it in the mail. This is the first book of the Gaea trilogy, concerning a living planetoid shaped like a donut that orbits one of Uranus' moons. The living area is on the inside of the outer wall of the donut and a crew of an earth ship ends up there. The story is them discovering the world and then trying to figure out who runs it by making their way to the hub.

It's an amazing world, both on the planetar level and the space level. Inside of Gaea, there are all kinds of wild flora and fauna. This part of the book almost makes it like a really cool fantasy world. But Gaea itself is a crazy space concept (and I imagine one that is explored further in the later books). It's a nice blend of both sci-fi and fantasy, both elements of which are pretty mindblowing. I imagine it was even more so when it first came out in 1979.

I had my complaints in the first half of the book. Some of the characters were painted a bit broadly and thus become kind of annoying. They also spend a lot of time being all angry and not believing, an attitude we don't see so much these days fortunately. Look, if you're on the planet and shit is weird, you're going to accept it. This being all freaked out is a simplistic way to make a character and have conflict in a book. But once the main quest to get to the hub got underway, we get to see a bit more of the characters subtler sides and the story propels itself forward.

I wanted to review the science fiction field withough getting caught up in too many endless series, and now I've found myself having started my third set of books that I want to follow up on! (Starfish and Hyperion being the other two). But I shouldn't complain. There is some great science fiction out there.

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