Part of the S.F. Masterworks series
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 spectrum of human knowledge and experience.
But Sirius isn't human and the conflicts and inner turmoil that torture him cannot be resolved.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 208 pages
- Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
- Publication Date: 14/04/2011
- Category: Science fiction
- ISBN: 9780575099425
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by atreic
I read this because P said it was a bit like Chocky. I'm not sure it is. However, rather than judging it for what it isn't, it seems better to try and talk about what it is - which is a short and densely packed tale of self-growth, discovery of religion, loss of parents, isolation, incest and prejudice, all packaged up as a sci-fi story about a talking super-dog.I never quite got the Otherness of Sirius. It felt too much like a direct analogy for a human life - the 'not being understood by my parents about religion', the 'being divided between the place I grew up and the place I went to university', the difficulties of finding ones own purpose and place in the world - they were very human themes. There were interesting side notes - Sirius's music, and his wild side - but the story feels very much as though it is about a human who is disabled by being born as a dog, not about a dog. It was also much more adult than I was expecting - if we ever went to a classification system for books, one feels that the murder and bestiality would definitely make it an 18.I didn't find the response of Plaxy's boyfriend to discovering her relationship with Sirius rang true. Of all the book, that felt too easy and contrived. Then again, lots of people find ways to make unconventional relationships work for them... but I felt his 'twitch, that's a bit difficult, but Sirius is a jolly good chap and I know it's what Plaxy needs' was very quick and trivial. Maybe that is just because I am used to YA where the love triangle has to be Angst and Drama.But I loved it. It was beautifully crafted, and Sirius's explorations of his own personality and his place in the universe really struck a chord with me.
Review by baswood
[Sirius: A fantasy of Love and Discord] by Olaf Stapledon The Mind of a man trapped inside a dog's body might scream out at you from a gaudy cover had this 1944 science fiction novel been published recently in an attempt to appeal to a mass market. The fact that to my knowledge it never has (although this would be an excellent short description of the novel), but has usually had a more tasteful cover like the excellent S F Masterworks cover above, shows the high regard in which this book is still held by many readers.It is a familiar premise for Stapledon readers: a lone scientist experiments with the foetus of dogs in order to produce super intelligent puppies, but with the puppy Sirius he manages to produce an animal that melds the mind of a dog with that of a man. The puppy develops at a very slow rate keeping pace with the scientists daughter born around the same time and the novel describes his development and learning experiences through his youth to early adult hood. Stapledon paints a believable portrait of a human mind that is painfully aware that he shares the characteristics of a human being and a dog. He thinks of himself as a man without hands that is subject to the call of the wild and it is the dog like actions of Sirius; hunting, chasing bitches in heat, using his olfactory powers explained in human terms that makes this such a fascinating read. Sirius puzzles long and hard about where he fits in to society and like Stapledons earlier novel [Odd John] it becomes clear that there is no place for him. A loving relationship develops between Sirius and the scientists daughter (Plaxy) which goes through all the tribulations of young people growing up, and Stapledon is not afraid to tell of it's sexual nature. This together with the backdrop of England during the second world war places this novel firmly in context and provokes sympathy for Plaxy and Sirius and all those who seek to protect them. Stapledon is able through the structure of the novel to pass comments on Human society as seen through the eyes of Sirius, here is what he says about the scientific community with whom he works:<I>"They were so very distinguished, and all so seeming modest and so seeming friendly; and yet every one of them, every bloody one of them, if he could trust his nose and his sensitive ears, was itching for personal success, for the limelight, or worse scheming to push someone else out of the limelight, or make someone in it foolish or ugly. No doubt dogs would be as bad really, except when their glorious loyalty was upon them. That was the point loyalty with dogs could be absolute and pure. With men it was always queered by their inveterate self love. God! They must be insensitive really; drunk with self, and insensitive to all else. There was something reptilian about them, snakish"</I>Stapledon allows Sirius to communicate with those people who have the patience to understand his intelligible doggy sounds and he also gives him the ability to make music with his voice that is far superior to most humans, but he is a freak and like [Odd John] the reader fears for him as he tries to make his way in an alien world. The novel never descends into bathos as Stapledon continues to explore intelligently the dilemma that is at the heart of this novel. There are some brilliant descriptions of Sirius working as a sheep dog and running free over the moorland and the love story with Plaxy is both insightful and desperate. There is plenty of literary merit in this novel and as an achievement it ranks with Odd John, but because the themes are so similar and as Sirius came along nine years after, then I would rate it at 4 stars.