A Book Review of Sorts: Titan, by John Varley

I’m trying a new thing, wherein I start at one end of my bookshelves and work my way through, and post something about the book when I’m done.

I’ve never done book reviews, and I’m not sure these will count as such. But they’ll tell you something about the book, or, at least, that’s the hope.

The first book to be so read is Titan by John Varley.

The first thing I noted: This is a used copy, not the original cover according to Wikiepedia but what ebay says is a 1980 cover. And there’s so much hype. It’s written like this guy will be the next Robert Heinlein – and if he hadn’t been on my dad’s bookshelf, I’d have never read him.

I read Wizard, the sequel, first, several times, as is my wont, because that’s the one Dad had on the shelf, growing up; I think I found Titan in a used book store & recognized the cover. This was not my first read of Titan, but it had been long enough that I’d forgotten most of the plot.

Two things stuck out enough that the story itself got a bit lost in them:

First, this would make a phenomenal web comic. Check out this fan art. Pastel centaurs (well, most of ’em are pastel) with two sets of genetalia! (oh here’s a pastel one).

All of the imagery is like that, and the story, rambling and disconnected as it can be at times, would probably work great in webcomic form.

Secondly… holy seventies, batman. Now, this is me we’re talking about. Sex in scifi doesn’t bug me. But I hadn’t noticed, on the first read, how Look We Have Sexual Freedom the story read. There’s the incestuous clone-twins, the “we sleep with everyone” discussion, the awkward lesbian crush subplot, the rape… of course there’s a rape. What story with a female captain would be complete without that? O_O In short: yay, you have sex. Maybe have a plot, too?

I actually did enjoy the book as a whole, but found myself skimming large portions of it, and rolling my eyes at ever larger portions. It might have been better on first read… but it’s probably going back to the used book store now.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/890907.html. You can comment here or there.

0 thoughts on “A Book Review of Sorts: Titan, by John Varley

  1. I read the entire trilogy, voluntarily, after picking up and enjoying his much later book Steel Beach. You’re dead on about the books being painfully seventies with the whole Free Love Psychidelia We Can Write About SEX Now! thing.

    • Maybe I’ll have to check out his later later stuff. Also, maybe because I grew up reading 70’s sci fi and fantasy, I am bloody tired of The Men Don’t Want Her In Charge But She Does It Anyway & associated tropes.

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