• Titan

  • Gaean Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: John Varley
  • Narrated by: Allyson Johnson
  • Length: 10 hrs and 26 mins
  • 3.8 out of 5 stars (466 ratings)

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Titan  By  cover art

Titan

By: John Varley
Narrated by: Allyson Johnson
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Publisher's Summary

John Varley's monumental trilogy - Titan, Wizard, and Demon - has achieved cult status, hailed as a modern triumph of the imagination by critics and fans.

It begins with humankind's exploration of a massive satellite orbiting Saturn. It culminates in a shocking discovery: the satellite is a giant alien being. Her name is Gaea. Her awesome interior is mind-boggling - because it is a mind. A mind that calls out to explorers...and transforms all who enter.

Download more titles in John Varley's Gaea series, including book 2, Wizard, and book 3, Demon.
©1979 John Varley (P)2008 Audible

What listeners say about Titan

Average Customer Ratings
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

First of Varley's classic Gaean Trilogy

Titan is the first part of the classic Gaea Trilogy; the Lord of the Rings of Sci-fi. (Mild spoilers ahead!) Consider an insane goddess obsessed with Earth religions and Hollywood cinema who creates new kinds of creatures for her amusement, and alleviates her boredom by dropping humans from bottomless elevators, offering miracles to pilgrims in return for heroics, and inciting thermonuclear wars. It has amorous blimps and submarines, holy zombies, smiling cattle, a giant Marilyn Monroe, and a story thread that would honor Joseph Campbell with the rise of the hero, the hero's fall, and the hero's redemption. I've long been convinced that Cirocco Jones had to have been the inspiration for Alien's Ellen Ripley (although both appeared about the same time), and her partner Gaby must have been an inspiration of Xena's Gabrielle. They're just too darn close. Of course I was thrilled when I spotted the series on Audible and I snatched it right up. The narrator has a comfortable voice and does fine work with the voices of Gaby, Cirocco, and the others. Although the books can stand on their own, they work best taken sequentially with Titan giving the introductions, Wizard the tragedies, and Demon the triumphs. Titan starts the series a bit slowly, but they are all worth repeated reads. I recommend them.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A good if dated SciFi Story

My apologies, I wrote my review on book 2 and meant it to be on book 1!

I read a lot of SciFi and this book was a good listen. The narrators voice was a bit difficult for me at first, but once I got used to her, she was actually a very good story teller. The book was written in 1979, so some of the themes are quite dated (The Soviet Union for example), however while dated, it was an entertaining read. I have just purchased the second book and will be listening to it right after I finish Neil Gaiman's latest book.

14 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Space Trilogy That Should Be Read. NOW.

Imagine a hollow living ringworld in our solar system, complete with an ecology, mythical centaurs, arians, biological aircraft, riddled with lesser gods, and with living earth references throughout, and run by an almost immortal and insane queen? Now throw in earth explorers that enter this world in the midst of a planet-wide war, and become pawns in a much bigger plan that...

There, enough. I red this in its first printing. All three books. And they're awesome. VERY different. Extremely unique. And at the same time, epic storytelling.

Between the excellent character development, strong plot lines, deep descriptive writing without being weighty, and zero boredom, this is definitely worth your time to listen.

John Varley has a solid body of work, but I consider this this series to be his crowning achievement.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

What a great story!

This review covers the entire trilogy. In the past 20 years, I read the entire trilogy 3 times. I was so delighted when I discovered that Audible had recorded an unabridged version of all three books. I had never heard of the narrator before, but it only took me about a minute of listening to realize that no one else could have done a better job. Ms. Johnson read this book as if she positively loved it! I don't know if she did or not, but her tone of voice was so expressive, even when reading simple narration as opposed to conversation, that I had to think she was enjoying the reading of the books as much as I was enjoying the listening. I'm not going to provide any "spoiler alerts", but I do think that some things got a little bit over the top in Demon (Book 3). But I enjoyed a world in which there was a God that could actually be approached and who made some extremely interesting creatures. For the most part, the book was well-paced and the main characters and most of the minor ones were well-defined. I was sorry to see the series end. But it did end at an appropriate point. I know a book is good when I am glad to be in a traffic jam so that I can listen to more of it. And this book made me want to drive in rush hour all the time. I am definitely going to look for more books narrated by Ms. Johnson!

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent performance

I've long been a fan of Varley's work and was thrilled to find they'd found a good *female* narrator for the Gaea trilogy. She handles the different "voices" of the different characters quite well, though after awhile the plainsong dialog of the Titanide language got on my nerves. I'm not sure how she could have given a vocal flavor otherwise, and it's densest in the first book before the Titanides learn English. So, that's really the only quite minor drawback.

The whole trilogy is excellently-written and this is quite a worthy performance.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

SCIENCE FICTION AT IT'S BEST, FROM A MASTER!

This story I read many years ago and loved it then so when I found it on Audible I was very excited. This is a classic from an old master, from the beginning days of Syfy we get the best of the travel to the stars and finding other races that are so original you would never in a million years expect what comes your way in this series! Gaia is a real person, she's not JUST A GODDESS! I found myself holding my breath as the story I read many years ago came to life again with this narrator. If you have ever dreamed of going to the stars....this series is for you. If you have not...this story is still for you! Everyone will relate to the beginning of a new journey...a fantastic journey!

8 people found this helpful

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Loved it when I read it years ago

And loved the entire series again in audio. The characters are compelling and the world of Gaea is inventive and the creatures Gaea made inspired by Earth movies are wonderful. The Titanides are centaurs with a complex reproductive system involving up to 4 parents and they are particularly appealing. They use the names of the Greek musical modes (Aeolian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian) coupled with the words "solo", "duet", "trio" or "quartet" to describe the number of parents the individual has, and the ways in which genetic material is transferred between them. They are also brightly colored with intricate patterns.
I never forgot the Titanides or the Blimps or Cirroco Jones from my early reading of the trilogy and it was great fun to relive the experience in the audio version.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wonderful Fun!

Of course the story is a fabulous classic of Sci Fi adventure, but Allyson Johnson makes it so much fun! She is easy to listen to and her creative ideas of how to make you hear each character is truly wonderful!! You will really enjoy listening to this set of Varley classics as Ms Johnson's voice enhances the humor and adventure of the stories now put to voice so beautifully. Thank you Ms Johnson!!

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Uncreative drivel with sex

After briefly checking out one of the positive reviews, I decided to give it a try. They compared it to a ‘sci-fi lord of the rings’ type novel. I was intrigued by the premise and was looking forwards to a sci-fi epic of humans making first contact with an all powerful unknown entity. But not even 22 minutes into listening to this audiobook I’ve been hit with so many tropes and themes that would make a fanfiction writer feel guilty for indulging in.
There is no way I’m going to finish it.
Where do we start?
First they have a absurdly boring sex scene- more for the sake of pointing the weird ways to have sex in space with no gravity. Completely and utterly irrelevant sequence of writing that had no need being mentioned since we already had been given an implied ‘these two are in a relationship’ moment earlier. Then to top it off, they spent perhaps 5 minutes describing most of the casts sex lives within this station. I barely remember their names, or know what the main plot is: but I already know how many characters screw, and that there are twins who have an insestuous relationship.
Not just that but they are asian/filipino, and the author wanted to make sure you knew how small, and soulless their gazes looked. He’s just a few words shy of calling them freakin’ dolls since their backstory is something about being genetic clones of their mother. Let’s not forget the one black guy, where the author made a point to say ‘but he isn’t really connected with his heritage’ as if to make sure that we- the viewers- won’t have to worry about this ever bringing up any theme of racism. I don’t even know what year this sci-fi setting is set in, let alone the set up of why they are out in space beyond studying an alien made planet and the lack of door.
40 minutes in, and right after talking about their studies on this unknown thing out in space, the captain and her crew member somehow end up talking about the men they have sex with and the tensions between the crew. It’s like the author wants to make sure you know what is on everyone’s mind.
And finally an 1hr and 45 minutes in, the same two characters with zero chemistry start making out after going through what is possibly could be compared to dying and regaining semblance of living again. Their reason? For reuniting. A wonderfully bad take for what most people might actually do in the case of reuniting while naked, starved, and standing in the wilderness.
Honestly the best part so far was when the characters didn’t have someone to grind up against, so therefore had to focus on discovering the new world they found themselves in. But with less than two hours into listening to this novel, I don’t trust the author to waste my time writing some very boring sex scenes in the most ill advised moments.

Maybe someone out there likes this type of reads, but I be bothered with how very unrealistic the character interactions were in this, and I have zero faith that this would improve through the novel to stick around and read the rest.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Love the Gaia Series -- but not the narrartor. 😬

What can I say. I'm so disappointed that this series was completely ruined by a bad narrator. I wanted to revisit this world, while I wait for the next Koban book, but I just can't take this persons pedantic, and "reading a bedtime story," cadence. It's time to re-release this one.

In the meantime, I'm going to go buy it on Kindle. It's better than nothing -- which is what this recording does for me.

Blah.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-24-22

A delightful blast from the past

So so happy to find this saga, delighted with the narrator, looking forwards to more

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  • CRAIG MENZIES
  • 01-10-21

Was this written in 2018 rather than 1979?

I do check reviews when I'm checking into an author I'm not famiiar with, but somehow the alarm bells didn't ring on this one. I'm so glad I didn't buy the second or third volume at the same time because I'm going to be asking for a refund on this one. I'm not going to get into a rant except to say I kept thinking is this book written in the last couple of years because it doesn't read like it had an editor worth their salt cast any eye over it. Dialogue is woeful and although I'll give credit to the "scientific" staging, those sections read even more boringly and stilted than a plan for a supermarket. None of this was helped by a poor choice of narrator for this particular book. She may well be fine with other material but she really didn't help this work. Save your money or your credit for another work.