Sirius: A Fantasy of Love and Discord by Olaf Stapledon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
So much love!
Olaf Stapledon was a lot of things. Philosopher in real life, novelist in his spare time. But what really made him stand out was the fact that he could write short novels that encompass VAST stretches of time, events, and concepts. One had him envisioning a fate of mankind both good and bad across many thousands of years, or following a future history of mankind until all versions of us died off over a million years, or even encompassing the entire breadth of time and space until we're masters of the universe... and beyond.
And then we have THIS beautiful little novel that seems as far from any of these as anything I might imagine from him!
This came out in 1944. But think Lassie (ten years after this) meets Flowers for Algernon (15 years after this). Add a serious tone about fitting in when in 30's and 40's England when you're not the right skin shade or sex, throw in a very disturbing commentary on religion "for the right kind", and make two unforgettable characters in love with each other. And do it without making it creepy.
And what you have is Sirius. One of the very best tales of its kind. You can substitute the dog with a man's intelligence with any member of society who just Can Not fit in and this would be on par with any classic of traditional literature.
Honestly, the more I read of Olaf Stapledon, the more timeless his writing becomes. This ought to be a true classic on everyone's shelves if you like SF at all.
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