excerpts from

The Sirens of Titan

by Kurt Vonnegut

1959

edited by Fredrik Ekman

It is funny how, once you start looking for them, Martian calendars just seem to pop up wherever you look.

I just finished reading Kurt Vonnegut's novel The Sirens of Titan from 1959, a wonderful book which I warmly recommend even disregarding the Martian connection.

In chapter six (page 98 in my Coronet paperback edition) I found the following description of a Martian calendar:

The Martian year was divided into twenty-one months, twelve with thirty days, and nine with thirty-one. These months were named January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December, Winston, Niles, Rumfoord, Kazak, Newport, Chrono, Synclastic, Infundibulum, and Salo.

Mnemonically:

Thirty days have Salo, Niles, June, and September,
Winston, Chrono, Kazak, and November,
April, Rumfoord, Newport, and Infundibulum,
All the rest, baby mine, have thirty-one.

The new month names may require some explaining.

Winston Niles Rumfoord was apparently the fictional designer of the calendar (even though the book never specifically says so) and in practice the ruler of Mars.

Kazak was Rumfoord's dog.

Newport was his home on Earth.

A Chrono-Synclastic Infundibulum is a phenomenon in space which turned Rumfoord into a traveller in space and time.

Salo was an alien friend of Rumfoord's living on Titan.

It is noteworthy that Vonnegut seems to have correctly assumed a Martian year of 669 days, but then accidentally included one 30-day month too few, since his year has only 639 days. Following Vonnegut's naming scheme, an extra month could perhaps be called Beatrice (who was Rumfoord's wife) and be inserted either after Kazak or after Salo.