- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 8 hours and 38 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 13 Sept. 2012
- Language: English
- ASIN: B009AE1NG2
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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Sirius Audio Download – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
"Sirius" can stand alone, or be considered part of Stapledon's vast future universe as outlined in his other works. The story is simply on a much smaller scale, and so would not in and of itself be a noteworthy event in books like "Last and First Men" or "Star Maker". Thomas Trelone is Stapledon's Frankenstein, though certainly he does not suffer from the same character flaws as Shelly's famous predecessor. At the same time, Trelone admits that he failed to consider all of the consequences of his experiment, which led to a very lonely and torn character in Sirius. Sirius cannot fit in with humans for many reasons, though Sirius himself focuses on the lack of hands. Sirius also doesn't fit with other canines, as he finds them too simple and only interesting when a female is in heat.
This book was tied for 9th on the Arkham Survey in 1949 as one of the `Basic SF Titles', which was a higher rank than "Star Maker" (tied for 13th) received.Read more ›
Sirius ends up seeing the full range of human life, from bad to good, and more. He is also not a true dog, and finds himself not only alienated from human beings who cannot accept him fully (with a handful of exceptions), but other dogs who are like cretins to him especially his "lovers" (as the book puts it). Despite having difficulty speaking and writing (he devises ways to get around that), Sirius has an advantage over other dogs through his intelligence, and over humans in his hearing, sense of smell etc. What we get is not only a satire on English life during WWII, but an almost autistic view of the world, seeing everything but not able to integrate oneself into it.
Of course some of the writing is dated, and Stapledon at times takes a very colonial view of the Welsh and their language (Sirius is originally brought up on a Welsh farm by English academics). Some of the style is very dry and typical of the period (for example when Sirius spots a holy roller farmboy pleasuring himself, Stapledon calls it "something unspeakable". Fortunately Victorian hangovers like these are not common).
Sirius was created as part of an experimental programme to generate super-animals. He is a dog with elements of human consciousness, existing alongside his innate canine consciousness. Much of the story concerns the tension between these disparate elements, and Sirius's attempts to integrate them, whilst remaining 'true' to both his canine drives and his human intellect.
If, like me, your initial thoughts are "SuperDog? I don't think so"., I'd urge you to put such pre-conceptions to one side. Because this story really is worth your time. Olaf Stapledon explores themes such as alienation, baser instincts and "higher" yearnings, in a manner that reminded me somewhat of Hermann Hesse. I'd even go so far as to say this novel could stand comparsion to some of Hesse's works.
The premise of the book means it warrants inclusion in the SF Masterworks series (a fine series, worthy of exploration if you haven't already), but once you move past this, the general thrust of the writing is speculative in a philosophical, rather than fantastic or futuristic manner. Set in contemporary (1930/40s) Wales, it explores the human world through the idiosyncratic perception of this outsider, utilising canine senses of smell, and sound in a wonderful exploration of the artifice, and at times the yearning and longing, within human social behaviour.
It is a hard book to categorise: part Science Fiction, part philosophical pondering, part love story. In fact, there are two or three love stories here, though all are unconventional. It is easy to forget this book was written in 1944 - though set in that era, it often feels like a more recent work.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A different angle on the Frankenstein myth. Read it many years ago and it almost lived up to the memory. Stapledon's best book, I think.Published 14 days ago by Rich Spain
Interesting idea, but I found it a bit boring and no surprises...Published 9 months ago by mr brian hartley
This was a favourite title from my teenage years (1960's) and I purchased it to see whether it gave the same feelings of wonder and tragedy that I encountered then ... it does! Read morePublished 20 months ago by JW
A graphically sensitive and meaningful exploration into the tragedy of being human,viewed from an external, non human, perspective . Read morePublished 21 months ago by B Smith
My first Stapledon but definitely not my last, Sirius is a thoroughly engaging read. The plight of Sirius - neither dog nor man - is handled brilliantly by Stapledon. Read morePublished 24 months ago by P. Borrington
This lyrical story was published the year before I was born and I got to read it 12 years later - age 11. Read morePublished on 10 Jan. 2014 by SykeStudiO
Thomas Trelone is a scientist, living with his family in North Wales, following his scientific interests in the cortical growth in the brains of mammals. Read morePublished on 23 Oct. 2013 by Eileen Shaw
I got this book after hearing about it on Radio 4, it is magnificent. Olaf writes in a fabulous way and his understanding of the relationship between Sirius and the humans he... Read morePublished on 27 Aug. 2013 by Richard Wandsworth
Read this very quickly, as it's very engaging, and very poignant, in the sense that any family on earth could have lived with an intelligent dog, and be devastated by the wanton... Read morePublished on 30 July 2013 by T.C.R Baker