Titan Author:John Varley Review from Amazon: — I first read this book when I was in sixth grade, then a few years ago I managed to track it down again. I'm glad I did, as this is one of those books that can be appreciated on several different levels. At 11, I was more interested in the descriptions of the fairy-tale aliens, while reading it now, I can appreciate the dyna... more »mics between all the characters, the science behind the fiction, and a terrific first-contact story.
A small space exploration stumbles across a fantastic satellite orbiting Saturn. A massive, hollow wheel, 1300 kilometers across, it sucks them inside an incredible, artificial alien world. Captain Cirocco Jones reunites her crew after their crash landing, and they begin to travel around the inside of the wheel - which they name Gaea - in search of a way home. They meet the citizens of Gaea, who are familiar and yet utterly alien. (They include winged humanoids and centaurs.)
Eventually, Cirocco and her friend Gaby make the grueling 600 Km vertical journey up one of the spokes of the wheel to the hub, where they meet the God of Gaea and learn some very interesting things about this alien "planet".
John Varley has done his science homework, which allows you to relax and quit worrying about the "How did they..?" questions that invariable crop up in any sci-fi book. The characters, while not always likable, are well-drawn and human (or not), and the changes they each go through while on Gaea raise thought-provoking questions about the effect of a powerful alien intelligence upon our own - and about our effect on the aliens.
I'd rate it PG-13, for a rape scene, implied incest and other sexual references, as well as some mildly disturbing violence. Highly recommended.« less