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Sirius

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  669 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
Sirius is Thomas Trelone's great experiment - a huge, handsome dog with the brain and intelligence of a human being. Raised and educated in Trelone's own family alongside Plaxy, his youngest daughter, Sirius is a truly remarkable and gifted creature. His relationship with the Trelones, particularly with Plaxy, is deep and close, and his inquiring mind ranges across the spe ...more
Paperback, 194 pages
Published April 14th 2011 by Gollancz (first published January 1944)
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Manny
Sep 25, 2012 Manny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction

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
...more
Lily
Apr 06, 2016 Lily rated it it was amazing
Why did you make only one of me? It's going to be lonely being me.

What do we mean when we talk about community?

It's a word that always seems to be prefaced with something else - a location, an interest, a profession. It's hard to strip away those descriptors, to uncover those individuals with no apparent "community", those who challenge us to redefine the word and reevaluate how open our hearts and minds are.

With fervor he insisted that the most valuable social relationships were those between
...more
Andrew Walter
Oct 24, 2009 Andrew Walter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Amber
Mar 30, 2015 Amber rated it it was amazing
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.
Dave
Sep 22, 2010 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Rebecca Gransden
Jan 17, 2015 Rebecca Gransden rated it it was amazing
My - heart - and - brain - just - broke
Pustulio
Feb 12, 2015 Pustulio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
**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
...more
anhedral
Sep 12, 2014 anhedral rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'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
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Jani
Sep 13, 2014 Jani rated it liked it
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
...more
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
May 09, 2015 Peter O'Brien rated it it was amazing
"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
...more
Juan
Mar 20, 2015 Juan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Freya
Jan 08, 2015 Freya rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tobias Taylor
Oddly this was my first foray into Stapledon's works. I had intended to start with the classic duo 'First and Last Men' and 'Starmaker' but alas my intentions were running along a different path to reality, as they so often are.

I'm struck by the similarities 'Sirius' has with Capek's 'War With the Newts,' of ten years prior, but also astounded by how starkly different the two novels are. The character Sirius is alone, he has no species, so naturally from the outset, it must be a tragedy. There a
...more
Guy Haley
Feb 07, 2013 Guy Haley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
William Burcher
Jul 16, 2016 William Burcher rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
Sometimes you start a book really wanting to like it. This is always based in your own past, your own conditioning—always based in "who you think you are." I love dogs, and I thought I loved Olaf Stapledon. I did not love this book. And my preconceptions and expectations (as they, admittedly, often are) were wrong.

The only reason I'm giving it 3-stars (instead of 2) is because of a single, beautiful, haunting line found at the beginning of the book: "I am the scent that he will follow always, hu
...more
Chris
Nov 04, 2015 Chris rated it really liked it
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
Nicholas
May 06, 2015 Nicholas rated it liked it
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.
Bark.
*low growl*
Woof!
Lewis Shaw
Jun 08, 2011 Lewis Shaw rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Urszula Diakowska
Mar 15, 2016 Urszula Diakowska rated it it was amazing
I don't think I ever would have picked this book up if a good friend hadn't lent it to me over Christmas. I'm so glad he did. I'm not generally interested in stories focusing on talking animals. But this book is sensitive and heartbreaking in how it delves into the life of an animal with human intelligence.

Sirius is a beautifully written character and easily identified with, even through the almost constant conflict between his human and canine sides. Through the very alien-like nature of his e
...more
Kieran
May 08, 2014 Kieran rated it it was amazing
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.
...more
Zack Zildjan
Dec 27, 2014 Zack Zildjan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

...anyway.

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
...more
Altivo Overo
Mar 25, 2014 Altivo Overo rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Evan
Nov 19, 2008 Evan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
7thTrooper
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
J.T.
"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
...more
Cameron
Aug 24, 2013 Cameron rated it really liked it
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
...more
Jeff
Aug 09, 2016 Jeff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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
...more
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
Jen
Jan 30, 2016 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stapledon was a phenomenal writer. This story is very good and I'd say progressive for his time (it was written in the 1940s.)

That said, the book is at times very heavy with detail and a little slow for that reason. He had a way with words, though, and no matter how much I wanted to give up on the book at times, I was continuously propelled onward.

Overall, a very good book which raises--even now--a lot of good, ethical questions around biotechnology.
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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.” 5 likes
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