Това е третата книга на Вонегът, която прочитам. Първите две бяха "Синята брада" и "Майка нощ". Не помня за какво се разказват. За една от двете помня, че сюжетът се въртеше около картина в стил абстрактен експресионизъм, но не съм сигурен, коя от двете. От тях ми е останало само едно безкрайно чувство на задоволство. Точно като приятен сън, който си забравил, но знаеш, че е бил хубав по доброто чувство. Когато прочетох Сирените на Титан ми хрумна, откъде би могло да идва това много приятно усещане. В книгата има много спокойствие, дистанцираност и прекрасен хумор. Човек, който не го е срам да разказва за магариите, които е вършил като млад, би описал живота си по този начин. С пълно разбиране, че това са просто микроскопични отрязъци от гигантския информационен поток на Вселената и като такива имат значение само за него и за никой друг.
Има много над какво да се разсъждава в книгата. Тъй като в нея няма почти нищо категорично, голяма част от мислите на анализаторите ще са чиста проба спекулации. Техни си истини. Но в това няма проблем, защото, както е казано още в началото, всички истини могат да съществуват едновременно по най-прекрасния начин в хроносинкластичния инфундибулум. Ако, също като мен, първата ви реакция след като прочетете книгата е да се попитате "Добре, де, ама за какво беше цялата тази история? Какъв е смисълът на всичко това? Защо му е трябвало да изписва толкова много страници, за да не каже нищо накрая?", изчакайте, раздразнението ще премине. Ще установите, че няма нужда да се впрягате. За нищо.
Може би най-любимият ми пасаж:
In the Hear Ye Room were three people — a bartender and two customers. The two customers were a thin woman and a fat man — both seemingly old. Nobody in the Wilburhampton had ever seen them before, but it already seemed as though they had been sitting in the Hear Ye Room for years. Their protective coloration was perfect, for they looked half-timbered and broken-backed and thatched and little-windowed, too.
They claimed to be pensioned-off teachers from the same high school in the Middle West. The fat man introduced himself as George M. Helmholtz, a former bandmaster. The thin woman introduced herself as Roberta Wiley, a former teacher of algebra.
They had obviously discovered the consolations of alcohol and cynicism late in life. They never ordered the same drink twice, were avid to know what was in this bottle and what was in that one — to know what a golden dawn punch was, and a Helen Twelvetrees, and a plui d'or, and a merry widow fizz.
The bartender knew they weren't alcoholics. He was familiar with the type, and loved the type: they were simply twoSaturday Evening Post characters at the end of the road.
When they weren't asking questions about the different things to drink, they were indistinguishable from millions of other American barflies on the first day of the New Age of Space. They sat solidly on their barstools, staring straight ahead at the ranks of bottles. Their lips moved constantly — experimenting dismayingly with irrelevant grins and grimaces and sneers.
Evangelist Bobby Denton's image of Earth as God's space ship was an apt one — particularly with reference to barflies. Helmholtz and Miss Wiley were behaving like pilot and co-pilot of an enormously pointless voyage through space that was expected to take forever. It was easy to believe that they had begun the voyage nattily, flushed with youth and technical training, and that the bottles before them were the instruments they had been watching for years and years and years.
It was easy to believe that each day had found the space boy and the space girl microscopically more slovenly than the day before, until now, when they were the shame of the Pan-Galactic Space Service.
Two buttons on Helmholtz's fly were open. There was shaving cream in his left ear. His socks did not match.
Miss Wiley was a crazy-looking little old lady with a lantern jaw. She wore a frizzy black wig that looked as though it had been nailed to a farmer's barn door for years.
Everyone now knows how to find the meaning of life within himself.
But mankind wasn't always so lucky. Less than a century ago men and women did not have easy access to the puzzle boxes within them.
They could not name even one of the fifty-three portals to the soul.
Gimcrack religions were big business. Mankind, ignorant of the truths that lie within every human being, looked outward — pushed ever outward. What mankind hoped to learn in its outward push was who was actually in charge of all creation, and what all creation was all about.
Mankind flung its advance agents ever outward, ever outward. Eventually it flung them out into space, into the colorless, tasteless, weightless sea of outwardness without end.
It flung them like stones.
These unhappy agents found what had already been found in abundance on Earth — a nightmare of meaninglessness without end. The bounties of space, of infinite outwardness, were three: empty heroics, low comedy, and pointless death.
Outwardness lost, at last, its imagined attractions.
Only inwardness remained to be explored.
Only the human soul remainedterra incognita .
This was the beginning of goodness and wisdom.
It took us that long to realize that a purpose of human
life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.
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