Vonnegut's Titan Sirens, a vaccine against contemporary myths

Vonnegut's Titan Sirens, a vaccine against contemporary myths

One of the most beautiful books by the great American author is available in a new translation. History is a desecrating satire against progress and religious fanaticism

Today, as digitalization has transformed the world into a global country where more nations are affected by similar phenomena - pandemics, immigration, financial crises, etc. - science fiction is a genre more current than ever and that of Kurt Vonnegut, who injects into the reader robust doses of humor, an ideal vaccine against illusions and false myths.

Bompiani is republishing in a new translation by Vincenzo Mantovani, titles by the American author, who passed away in 2007.

The latest, available in bookstores from 22 July, is The Sirens of Titan, the second novel, released in America in 1959. The first was Piano Meccanico , a partially successful dystopia, but in which Vonnegut had not yet found himself. With The Sirens of Titan he does it. On the page he sets up, through the genre of science fiction, but distancing himself from the canons of the same, a grotesque universe whose only antidote is a sense of humor.

The absurdity of life is one of the recurring themes more frequently in Vonnegut's works and that he, a survivor of the bombings of Dresden, son of a schizophrenic woman who committed suicide, father of three children to whom three more would be added, those of her sister and her husband who died prematurely , he knew well.

In the Slaughterhouse, no. 5 , his most famous novel, the world has no meaning and the man realizes it only after death when one lives his life without any chronological order, but by tasting the various moments scattered in time. In the Sirens of Titan , in a was evolved, which allows interstellar travel, the protagonist, Winston Niles Rumfoord , he will discover the truth that lies behind the presumption of civilisation based on progress and religious fanaticism, overcoming a chordate cronosinclastico , or a snag in the space-time .

While I do it I realize that it is almost impossible to tell, briefly, and without spoilers to the plots of the novels of Vonnegut. Are absurd, and are more similar to the joke that the novel as a narrative form, and then their sense of humor and social criticism that exude, they are not transmitted in summary. Yet there are few authors with a similar load of pity for the fate of the human species. Are a few science fiction authors who have managed to give us an idea of the smallness in terms of physical size and weight of life, that the man has in the infinite cosmic void that surrounds him and his absurd claim to be the centre. For this reason, today, that a contact on the list of followers gives us the illusion of being happy, and by updating their status on Facebook with a simple click, we have the feeling that our thinking has been around the world, an author like Vonnegut who undresses every myth and resize your role in the story, is like a vaccine.

The sirens of Titan, are a cruel and necessary destruction of all the myths, the social, scientific and religious, even the myth of love (one of the most famous phrases of author is: “ please, a little less love and a little more dignity “). What remains of the beauty of the human experience? The laugh, of course, and the spirit of human brotherhood (Vonnegut was a volunteer firefighter).

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