LSF home

In the Books Section:

Book Discussion
Group Archives

Book Review


Lambda Literary

Literary Links

Order Books

Reading List

*Other Books
of Note

By John Varley

Discussed September 2006

Buy Titan from
Buy Titan from Lambda Rising

Cast of Characters

Ringmaster Crew

  • Captain Cirocco "Rocky" Jones - became a hero, could talk to Titanides
  • Gaby Plauget - came out as a lesbian, worshiped Rocky
  • Bill - lost most of his memory, knocked out of action by injuries
  • Gene - went insane, attacked Gaby, raped Cirocco
  • Calvin Greene - went native and bonded with Whistlestop
  • April 15/02 Polo - turned into an angel
  • August 3/02 Polo - lost without April


  • Twelve intelligences: Hyperion, Rhea, Crious, Mnemosyne, Oceanus, etc
  • Whistlestop
  • C Sharp Hornpipe (first contact and guide)
  • Panpipe (lost in fight with angels)
  • B Lullaby (healer)
  • Angels

Story Pacing Notes

  • Pages 1-34 (34 pages): Introduction and arrival at Gaea
  • Pages 35-75 (41 pages): Cocoon, re-birth, reuniting, and discovery
  • Pages 76-102 (25 pages): Meeting sentient life and exploring
  • Pages 103-142 (40 pages): First journey to hub and Bill's injury
  • Pages 143-162 (20 pages): Meeting the Titanides
  • Pages 163-194 (32 pages): Angels attack and time in Titantown
  • Pages 195-264 (70 pages): Ascent to hub and gene's attack on Gaby and Rocky
  • Pages 265-309 (45 pages): Arrival, meeting Gaea and rescue


The Book

  • Adventure story
  • Character development (or lack thereof)
  • Has Varley improved over time (Steel Beach - 1992; Red Thunder - 2003). This was his third book (second novel), and it was published in 1979
  • Homage to Heinlein, Clark and Herbert
  • Product of its time - the prevailing conventions and attitudes of the times (late 70s)?
  • Science behind the fiction (Published in 1979, set in 2025)
  • Success of combining moderately hard-SF and exploring themes of relationships?


  • Alternate breeding relationships for species
  • Companionship
  • Creatures to their God
  • Effect of a powerful alien intelligence upon our own and vice versa
  • First contact of human to alien?
  • Heterosexuality
  • Incest
  • Homosexuality
  • Man and God


  • Abortion
  • Feminism
  • Leadership roles

Other Books

  • Gaea Trilogy - traces the arc of a hero's ascent, fall from grace and redemption
  • Similar to Rendezvous with Rama?
Club Activities Fandom Gaming Television Movies Books Help Site Search Contact Us Lambda Sci-Fi