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3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  450 ratings  ·  45 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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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
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
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
Whilst it may initially seem like it's going to be high-concept and philosophical, this books delivers in a much more subtle manner. Told from the view of an outsider - a man who knows the woman who knows the dog, and then gets to know Sirius himself later - it is compelling and often heart-breaking. Stapledon's focus on the relationships between the characters creates a sense of realism often lacking in science fiction, and Sirius stops being a philosophical concept and becomes a person. That's ...more
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.
'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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
Benny Wilkinson
Having now read this and Star Maker there's a clear style to Stapledon's writing that is unique among the authors I've read, providing a connection between books that otherwise have nothing in common. Sirius is about the tragedy of the titular character, a dog engineered with human levels of intelligence (or even above the level of many people). He's not just a human in a dog's body though, at times a slave to canine impulses. As the only one of his kind Sirius is ultimately as alone as anybody ...more
Jul 26, 2007 Jennifer rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
I bought this book because i was lured in by the idea of a super intellegent dog (genetically engineered) as a focal character. I was severly dissapointed, barely finishing the book and, upon completing it, walking immediately to my apartment complex dumpster and tossing it in. The is written from the perspective of a male narrator who falls in love with a woman only to discover that she is engaged in a complex, layered, relationship with the super intellegent dog (a creation of her father). The ...more
I don't know why I never read this before. I found it on one of my many bookshelves... who knows how long it was there?

Primary impression: They don't write books as audacious as this in our timid conformist age. No forelock-pulling to the prejudices du jour whatsoever. A challenge for all of us to be less timid.

Secondary impression: It was nice to see the grand philosophical vision of "Star Maker" immanentised in the person of one superintelligent dog, and to get a feel for what Stapledon was c
I wanted to get Odd John, but the bookstore didn't have a copy. [Later found a book with this plus O.J. but never got around to reading OJ because i was so nonplussed about 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 orna
Fascinating. Highly readable. Thought provoking.
Vlad Luca
Can't shake the feeling that Sirius, the black intelligent dog imagined by Stapeldon was the source of inspiration for J.K.Rowling when she created Sirius Black. The book makes you wonder of the nature of mankind and lets you empathize with a creature of supposedly sub-human intellect that at times seems more human than most men. Struggling with the nature of its existence and isolated by the difference between both his own race and his creator's, Sirius is thorn between his wolf side and human ...more
Loved this book!
May 07, 2008 Josh rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all scifi readers.
Impossible to find in the U.S., this book is a fascinating story of created intelligence, much like Frankenstein and, to a lesser extent, Moreau. Though it shares some of the same failures of plot as Huxley's BNW in that the premise ignores a few inherent fixtures of society, it is profound and eerily sympathetic to its audience, who in turn finds that it has much more in common with its title animal that originally assumed.
This is one of the most touching, funny, heartbreaking books I've ever read.
Beautifully written in that old writerly-SF paradigm, so much so I was able to forgive some of the giant leaps of credulity required with regard to some plot elements. Overall, I enjoyed it a bit less than I could have because I kept steeling myself for sad stuff about the dog. And there was sad stuff, but it was manageable. Just about. (NB: Most people are not as big a sissy as me about these things.)
Science fiction for dog-lovers taken to the extreme, or the tale of a girl and her dog. The science in this 1944 classic may be a little out of date, as is the case with most science-fiction from this period, but the tale is timeless and in its own special way quite daring. It also tackles the issue of just what it means to be human in a very different way. Highly recommended.
I gave Stapledon's imaginative yet ultimately hum-drum tale bonus points because he's the same guy who penned Last and First Men , one of those science fiction works that are more like brilliant invented history than fiction.

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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...
Star Maker Last and First Men Last and First Men/Star Maker Odd John Odd John/Sirius

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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?” 4 likes
“We are bound to hurt one another so much, again and again. we are so terribly different.''Yes,' he said, 'But the more different, the more lovely the loving.” 3 likes
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