John Varley is an American Sci-Fi author born in Austin, Texas. He has written several novels and quite a few short stories, many in the future after a race of aliens have killed and eliminated humans on Earth and they have had to take refuge elsewhere. Unlike many post apocalyptic novelist, his stories are less dystopian and more of humans just getting on and surviving.
Titan was one of the first of his novels I read and was wowed. Our hero, Cirocco Jones who has made a career in NASA on a scientific expedition near Saturn discovers a massive ship in orbit almost entirely black and non-reflective completely hidden from view. As her ship approaches, it is captured and swallowed by the ship. When she and her crew emerge in the interior, nude and separated from each other. The ship has a world inside divided into multiple zones with life and intelligent creatures. The prominent intelligent creatures are the Titanides, creatures with humanoid torsos on top of large horse bodies. These creatures speak in music and Cirocco understands them although no one else does. They’ve all been changed in sometimes subtle and sometimes drastic ways as they emerged into the interior. The Titanides speak of their god, Gaia in a very real sense…they live within her, the ship is a living creature.
Cirocco and Gaby, one of her crewmates and close friend begin a journey to the hub of the ship far above them by climbing up one of the massive spokes that holds the ship together. The journey is perilous but she believes that “God” must answer for what she’s done.
This is the first of a trilogy and is quite massive in scope and breadth. The descriptive vision is incredible and quite believable. I have read the entire trilogy several times and each time I find things I have forgotten or overlooked. They are written rather timelessly so I don’t see them ever becoming unreadable.
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