ell, blogkids, after spending a couple of weeks reading meh books from the 70s, I finally turned away from the used bookshop piles and pulled something off my favorites shelf. And there it was, one of my old beloveds from my VPI college days, John Varley’s Titan.
Okay, so Titan begins with a deep space mission to Saturn with a handful of astronauts. As they near the ringed planet, they discover a body never glimpsed before, a pinwheel-shaped form slowly spinning in its orbit, the radar returns indicating it as hollow, filled with air and life and obviously artificial. It is a living ship that has a world within its spinning body, a world with life created by Gaea, its brain/god, a world influenced by the radio and television signals from Earth.
And so Captain Cirocco Jones and her crew end up getting snatched by one of the minor rim brains (for Gaea has been losing control of her outer brains as the millenniums pass). And now Rocky (as she hates to be known as) and her friend Gaby end up on the greatest adventure of all, which is climbing one of the living suspension cables (the massive body forested as it arcs higher and higher) to confront the mad god about what has been done to them, the reasons for life, the universe and everything.
I can only tell you – this is classic scifi mixed with beautiful fantasy. As Rocky and Gaby continue their crazed quest, we (the reader) learn more and more about this crazy spinning world, its creatures (centaurs and angels and sandworms and blimps) and its landscape. We watch the Gaea losing control of her outer brains. All we can do is continue reading the story as the world becomes stranger and stranger, the quest more dangerous, the story slowly coming to an end.
I loved it. If you haven’t read the Gaea Trilogy (Titan, Wizard and Demon) you really should. It is a great example of what scifi was before it was stunted by lessor authors. Don’t pass this one up!