“Speak for yourself!,” was Danny Rosen’s exclamation to those who claim looking at the night sky makes them, or all humans, “insignificant.” Hank Schoch explained that the matter that makes up humans is not all that different than what makes up the stars – each of us is made of “star dust,” and each of us is the universe. The conversation turned philosophical as our panel of astronomers, poets, and a mythologist discussed The Dog Stars. While over second readings of the novel, the panelists counted between 26-30 star or astronomical references – all of which were correct for the place and season – and all panelists found it odd that in a book of that title, the dog star itself was never directly mentioned. How could that be? Luis Lopez hypothesized that Jasper himself was the Dog Star, and the only one that needed mentioning. Each panelist explained their personal fascination with the stars – namely the stories and the largely unsolved mysteries – and Hank explained what appeal the night sky may have had for Hig. In a world where his wife, his family, all of humanity and all of his existence, has disappeared or changed dramatically, the night sky was stable, consistent, and dependable. It came every night, the familiar constellations always visible, and it’s continuity alone would have been a significant comfort. Luis suggested he has gotten to know the constellations and their stories so well, they feel like friends – and when he sees them, he knows he isn’t alone.
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