jyrgenn: Blurred head shot from 2007 (Default)
[personal profile] jyrgenn
Science fiction from the early 1940s. I found this book first in a dumpster in Vienna on my summer trip 1981, and it was probably the first novel that I read in English on my own.

I was quite impressed by the book and wanted to use it as the examination topic for the oral Abitur in case I needed it, but it turned out that the written exam was in line with my previous grades, so I needed no oral. So the teacher gave me back the book, which he had borrowed to prepare himself for the oral. A co-student who was around saw the book, was curious, borrowed it on the spot, and never gave it back. Now, 28 years later, I read the book again.

Sirius is a dog, the crowning result of a scientist's effort to improve the brain capacity of animals. Sirius, with human-like intelligence, is brought up together with the scientist's youngest daughter, which creates a strong bond between these two unequal non-siblings. Sirius grows up to be a very insightful person, is examined in detail by scientists in Oxford, and later makes a career in sheep farming.

Stapledon makes this book very interesting by exploring an immense number of consequences -- philosophical, practical, sexual, social, ethical -- of a dog being so intelligent. And it is entertaining, too.
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jyrgenn: Blurred head shot from 2007 (Default)

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