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Sirius: A Fantasy of Love and Discord

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  571 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Sirius is a tale of immense tragic pathos in which Olaf Stapledon evokes the terrible lonliness of a dog born with the mind of a man. Thomas Trelone's life-work was to explore the possibilities of producing a superman by experimenting with hormone injections into various mammals. Sirius himself is infinitely the most successful of these trials. He is the only viable puppy ...more
Paperback, 188 pages
Published 1964 by Penguin Books Limited (first published January 1944)
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During the early decades of the 20th century, many intellectuals devoted attention to the idea of what a "Superman" would look like. (George Bernard Shaw is a prominent example). After a while, the emphasis shifted; the Nazis gave the word unpleasant associations, though Professors Siegel and Shuster luckily managed to save it from oblivion with their discovery that the Übermensch would carry a cape and wear his underpants on the outside, an important point that had somehow escaped Nietzsche's a
Andrew Walter
Oh man...

I'm either a sentimental animal-lover at heart or a preternaturally genius mind trapped in the lumpen, inefficient body of a mere animal (I jest, I jest) but this book really did move me in a way that not a lot of genre fiction has done.

Stapledon is best known for his twin individuality-shattering monuments Last and First Men and Starmaker which are probably the two most criminally underlooked examples of speculative fiction in my experience of the genre, particularly the first. I'm no
This is a story about a genetically altered sheep dog with human intelligence who tries to figure out what his purpose in life is in a human world. Can he achieve his mission of finding purpose and love without unleashing his wolf-mood that comes naturally to him? Read on and find out.

This was a pretty good and sad story that I found on feedbooks. If you like stories about dogs, definitely check it out for yourself.
Olaf Stapledon, is undoubtedly best known for his amazing novels "Star Maker" and "Last and First Men", but if that is all you have read from him then you have missed out on his writings which are in a more traditional style. "Sirius: A Fantasy of Love and Discord", published in 1944, is an excellent book as well, though not on the same scale as those earlier works. It is the story of a "super sheepdog" (Sirius), who was biologically engineered with hormones, and raised along with the daughter ( ...more
'Sirius' is one of those haunting, one-of-a-kind books that will stay with you far longer than it takes to read its 190-odd pages. Sometimes joyful, often searing; through the eyes of his unique protagonist Stapledon takes a scalpel to humanity, and the skill of his dissection is reason enough to recommend this book.

I'd also recommend 'Sirius' to anyone interested in writing sentient, communicative animals while respecting their underlying biology.

Yes, the main character is a bioengineered, talk
I had heard Stories about Stapledon. ("Stapledon is the ultimate SF writer. Olaf doesn't necessarily even have protagonists, only the history of the bloody civilization.") But instead of being intimidated, my interested was peeked. As a consequence, when I saw Sirius while shopping for my Christmas reading, I decided to pick it up, though to be fair I picked up the novel described as the most humane of his works.

Although Mr Stapledon was apparently mystified that his novels were so embraced by t
Laurel Rogers
This was a magical and thoroughly marvelous tale of a scientifically 'altered' canine named Sirius. The relationship between Sirius and his owner is heart wrenching and extremely genuine in its telling, and the trials and tribulations of the pair are devastating. In the end, however, the reader is left with a sense of sweet, sweet love between 'species'.
I highly recommend this book, and others by Stapledon, to any reader.
Peter O'Brien
"There is no place for me in man's world, and there is no other world for me. There is no place for me anywhere in the universe" - page 190.

Sirius is probably Stapledon's most intimate novel that both demonstrates his maturity as a writer and his finesse as a contemplator on what it is to be human. The book is made all the more remarkable when it is realised that these observations on humanity are observed through the eyes of the dog Sirius who has his level of intelligence raised to that of a h
A pesar de tenerlo hace años en mi biblioteca no lo había leido. Pero recordé Ciudad de Simak y hojeándolo, para recordarlo, leí que decía que eran dos libros los que tenían buena fama sobre el tema de los perros y la CF, Ciudad y Sirio. Entonces, armado de paciencia y anticipando una lectura casi decimonónica fue que empecé a leer Sirio.

Y si, por partes es medio aburridón y previsible, pero son pocas partes realmente. En general se lee bastante bien y no se le notan mucho los años, que son bas
Rebecca Gransden
My - heart - and - brain - just - broke
**Reseña pronto, debo hacer unos photoshops.**

Ahora si chavos, mi reseña.

Si pudiera describir el libro en una sola imagen sería:

Es una historia de ciencia ficción, y está buena. Pero a veces me causaba un conflicto las situaciones en las que se encontraban los protagonistas. Y todo el tiempo no pude dejar de pensar en Sirius black dog edition de harry potter. No sé si J.K. Rowling sacó alguna de sus ideas de aquí, pero el perro solo por el color parece que es igual. Pero bueno ese no era el pu
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Otis Campbell
Who was born in a house full of pain.
Who was trained not to spit in the fan.
Who was told what to do by the man.
Who was broken by trained personnel.
Who was fitted with collar and chain.
Who was given a pat on the back.
Who was breaking away from the pack.
Who was only a stranger at home.
Who was ground down in the end.
Who was found dead on the phone.
Who was dragged down by the stone.
Guy Haley
Stapledon's a very rare SF writer in that his books do not date. This one, set and written during World War II, concerns the creation of a highly intelligent "man-dog", and its repercussions.

Sirius is a fantastic reflection on the way dogs think, our relationship with them, and out own split natures. Written in Stapledon's characteristic reported style, here a biography penned by the lead female character's lover, the prose at first feels distancing, but as the book progresses allows a great dea
In the 1920s Cambridge scientist Thomas Trelone attempts to increase the capabilities of the human mind by experimenting first with dogs. By injecting hormones in pregnant bitches he produces some super-intelligent sheepdogs with large capacity brains; but it is only with a predominantly Alsatian puppy called Sirius (after the dog star) that he manages to breed an individual capable of human mental processes and feelings. Unlike normal dogs Sirius ages and matures at the rate corresponding to th ...more
Lewis Shaw
Stapledon takes a seemingly throwaway 'high' concept ('what if a dog had the intelligence of a man?') and transforms it into a quite beautiful exploration of existential angst, drawing in a staggering array of themes from intimations of bestiality and incest to the philosophy of Hegel. All rendered in prose which, apart from the occasional insistence on over-hyphenation, still feels surprisingly fresh.
I should not have read this book. I had set myself a task of working my way through the stack of books that I have been meaning to read for sometime. Something drew me to the book shop and in turn to the sci fi section, and then to Olaf Stapledon. Sirius seemed like it would be a nice little read. So I picked it up. I was wrong. It wasn't nice, it was incredible. I resented work and sleep as it prevented me from reading.
I will not go to much into the actual book itself as I don't like spoilers.
Zack Zildjan
Who's a good book? You are! Yes, you are! You're my little 4 star book, aren't you? ooz a boo boo doo doo!

Sorry...I'm also currently dog-sitting for my brother right now.


Olaf Stapledon's psycho-social sci-fi-losophy (yeah, I said it) is, at times, as dry as a...something dry...use your imagination!...and, at times, as poetic as Shelley...or Blake if you don't like Shelley. Or just pick a poet you DO like.

The character development is next to non-existent for anyone other than Sirius him
Altivo Overo
Mar 25, 2014 Altivo Overo rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: serious readers of speculative fiction
This book, though a bit dated, is a magnificent psychological work. If a dog had the intelligence of a human, yet remained with the physical faculties of his species (e.g. tremendously sensitive nose and ears, rather weaker eyesight than that of a human, and very significantly, no hands) what would he make of himself, his relationship to humans, and ultimately of the mysteries of life itself. Stapledon does a masterful job of presenting this as he relates the biography of Sirius, a manufactured ...more
A portrait of an English family between the wars, an engrossing spiritual biography, and a taste of English intellectual life in the 1930s. And the main character happens to be a dog endowed with the intelligence of man.
"Sirius" is a thoroughly enjoyable novel in its own right - a delight to read just for its plot. But "Sirius" is also meant to encourage philosophical thought, which it does in a delicate, subtle, and very approachable way. As with all good books of this sort, "Sirius" raises many more questions than are answered.

Ostensibly, "Sirius" is a science fiction novel. I think you'll agree Sci-fi generally doesn't age well - this was written in 1944 - so you might be inclined to pre-emptively dismiss th
This is a great story, however there are a couple of weaknesses and it hints at some really challenging stuff that means I cannot recommend it to everyone.

It explores the themes of a modern prometheus in a greater depth with more objectivity and allows the coexistent of the monster and its creators to reach a point where religious and peasant superstition and ignorance becomes the true monster.

It also works for me as the "Frankenstein's monster" is an intelligent animal that has its artificial
I wanted to get Odd John, but the bookstore didn't have a copy. (Later found a volume with this plus O.J. but never got around to reading OJ because i was so nonplussed by Sirius.)

The style of an OLD book, definitely British, fascinated with place and telling readers everything as if talking to us. A straightforward treatment in resolving the issues of who is writing the tale and why -- the issues i seem most concerned with as a "literary critic." Not a book to swoon over for this lover of ornat
Picked it up because it's supposedly one of the best novels written about a non-human protagonist.
Certainly some worthwhile conversations within the book, what is humanity, the nature of man and beast, the idea of souls and how one acquires one.
Rather predictable ending, but touching nonetheless.

Sirius is certainly a great character to be familiar with, and is indeed one of the more creative characters I've read in a while.

Translated in Dog:

Woof woof.
*low growl*
Ketan Shah
A surprisingly compassionate look at the nature of intelligence. Sirius ,a 'super sheepdog' with human level intelligence struggles to understand his place in the world and alternates between viewing his unique situation as a curse and a gift. Although written in 1944 the author includes some surprisingly frank descriptions of sexual attitudes . Similar to Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes . Flowers for Algernonand in some ways to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Frankenstein
Kate Howlett
The blurb on the back says "Probably the finest novel with a non human protagonist ever written." I would have to agree. Sirius is a complex creature in a complex world. There are some things that he does that one would not agree with but, as with his contemporaries and his fictional biographer, one finds sympathy for his unique plight. Moreover Sirius' commentary about the human race is interesting and revealing.
Debby Kean
Sirius is amazing, I had read it back in the 1980s, and have just re-read it, and am so glad I did. Sirius' own desire was to 'show man to himself, from the outside' (as a sapient dog - now he would be genetically engineered, but as Stapledon was writing in 1944, the miracle of creating such an oddity was done with pre-natal hormones.)
This is a story that could never have a happy ending, and it's marvellous the way in which Stapledon showed that in spite of the inevitable tragedy, despair can be
Dave King
Have revisited this book several times. I think reading this book as a young man, rewired my thoughts.... This is pathos in one of the most pure forms I have found it- deeply moving. ...Stapleton is brilliant, a bright light intellect.. Amazing work considering when it was written.
Montgomery Webster
Story: 8 / 10
Characters: 7
Setting: 6
Prose: 6

Another fantastic adventure by Stapledon. Much like Star Maker, the reader is taken on the journey through one life. Sirius explores a host of interesting themes as he tries to find meaning in his unique, canine life: family, love, lust, nature, work, existentialism, friendship
Edward Davies
This story of a super-intelligent dog is intriguing in its approach to the dichotomy faced by the dog, as he is less than human but more than beast. This question, and how both Sirius and those around him answer it, makes for a great read that is possibly one of the most unusual morality tales of our time.
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Excerpted from wikipedia:
William Olaf Stapledon was a British philosopher and author of several influential works of science fiction.

Stapledon's writings directly influenced Arthur C. Clarke, Brian Aldiss, Stanisław Lem, C. S. Lewis and John Maynard Smith and indirectly influenced many others, contributing many ideas to the world of science fiction.
More about Olaf Stapledon...

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“But what a universe, anyhow! No use blaming human-beings for what they were. Everything was made so that it had to torture something else. Sirius himself was no exception, of course. Made that way! Nothing was responsible for being by nature predatory on other things, dog on rabbit and Argentine beef, man on nearly everything, bugs and microbes on man, and of course man himself on man. (Nothing but man was really cruel, vindictive, except perhaps the loathly cat). Everything desperately struggling to keep its nose above water for a few breaths before its strength inevitably failed and down it went, pressed under by something else. And beyond, those brainless, handless idiotic stars, lazing away so importantly for nothing. Here and there some speck of a planet dominated by some half-awake intelligence like humanity. And here and there on such planets, one or two poor little spirits waking up and wondering what in the hell everything was for, what it was all about, what they could make of themselves; and glimpsing in a muddled way what their potentiality was, and feebly trying to express it, but always failing, always missing fire, and very often feeling themselves breaking up as he himself was doing. Just now and then they might feel the real thing, in some creative work, or in sweet community with another little spirit, or with others. Just now and then they seemed somehow to create or to be gathered up into something lovelier than their individual selves, something which demanded their selves’ sacrifice and yet have their selves new life. But how precariously, torturingly; and only just for a flicker of time! Their whole life-time would only be a flicker in the whole of titanic time. Even when all the worlds have frozen or exploded, and all the suns gone dead and cold there’ll still be time. Oh God, what for?” 6 likes
“Why did you make only one of me? It's going to be lonely being me.” 4 likes
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