Sirius (Gollancz Collectors' Editions) Paperback – 24 Aug 2000
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Sirius is a somewhat poignant journey, incalculably emotive and immeasurably introspective, a true masterpiece of literary (science) fiction. (SFBOOK.COM) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
'The most human of all Stapledon's novels' Brian Aldiss --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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).
The character is that of a super intelligent dog breed to possess intelligence with rivals and outstripes some humans, there is an element of tragic "meddling scientists" about it similar perhaps to Flowers For Algernon (S.F. MASTERWORKS) but I felt it was more positive than that book, although admitting the lonely plight which accompanies Sirius discovering that he is a one of a kind anomaly, neither man nor beast.
The story begins with the narrators encounter with the animal and he sets out a biographical tale of the beast from there on, for any lover of animal tales or anthropomorphic stories this is absolutely superb, it is also a story which totally commends itself to the reader for its depiction of humanity and its essential humanism. The character of Sirius is a kind of outsider who is able to observe and examine the everyday and ordinary and in doing so inspire the reader to so so too, that is a sign of a great writer often and the secret to great science fiction and fantasy writing.
There are many highs and lows to the story and it manages to evoke strong feelings but without becoming farcical or romanticising too much, when in chapters the narrative appears a little tangental or meandering the narrator himself comments upon it and asks for the readers indulgence or apologises, I thought that was a neat narrative tool but when chapters do stray from the plot its usually so interesting as to merit no complaint what so ever.Read more ›
"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 ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This got boring rather fast. Perhaps too old fashioned. Too perusive.Published 2 months ago by Ulla Bjørg Gundersen
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 5 months ago by Rich Spain
This is the story of Sirius, who is not like other dogs. Or other humans. Or any other beings at all... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Ianjames
Interesting idea, but I found it a bit boring and no surprises...Published 14 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 on 21 Jun. 2014 by JW
A graphically sensitive and meaningful exploration into the tragedy of being human,viewed from an external, non human, perspective . Read morePublished on 17 May 2014 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 on 18 Feb. 2014 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