Sirius in Fiction - General Uses of Sirius

General Uses of Sirius

Sirius may be referred to in fictional works for its metaphorical (meta) or mythological (myth) associations, or else as a bright point of light in the sky of Earth, but not as a location in space or the center of a planetary system:

  • The Iliad (c. eighth cent BCE), epic poem attributed to Homer. Homer describes the final approach of the Greeks' shining warrior, Achilles (see graphic), toward Troy by comparing him to the dazzling star Sirius: The aged Priam was the first of all whose eyes saw him / as he swept across the flat land in full shining, like that star / which comes on in the autumn and whose conspicuous brightness / far outshines the stars that are numbered in the night's darkening, / the star they give the name of Orion's Dog, which is brightest / among the stars, and yet is wrought as a sign of evil / and brings on the great fever for unfortunate mortals. / Such was the flare of the bronze that girt his chest in his running. (sky, myth)
  • Absalom and Achitophel (1681), satirical poem by John Dryden. Sirius was commonly thought to cause madness in 18th century England, and it is alluded to in the context of showing that it would plainly be mad to think that Charles II should "displease" the English people: If David's rule Jerusalem displease / The dog-star heats their brains to this disease. / Why then should I, encouraging the bad, / Turn rebel and run popularly mad? (sky, myth)
  • Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), novel by Thomas Hardy. Sirius makes several appearances in this book as a companion of other prominent stars (The kingly brilliancy of Sirius pierced the eye with a steely glitter, the star called Capella was yellow, Aldebaran and Betelgeuse shone with a fiery red.), then as the follower of the Pleiades (The Dog Star and Aldebaran, pointing to the restless Pleiades...). (sky)
  • Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891), novel by Thomas Hardy. Tess sits with her new husband Angel before the embers of a fire, and her jewelry sparkles in its crimson glare: Tess's face and neck reflected the ... warmth, with each gem turned into an Aldebaran or a Sirius — a constellation of red, white, and green flashes, that interchanged their hues with her every pulsation. (Compare Sirius and Aldebaran in Far from the Madding Crowd above.) (meta)
  • Dogsbody (1975), juvenile novel by Diana Wynne Jones. The star Sirius (the dog star) is an intelligent being falsely accused by his peers of murdering another star. As expiation he is sent to Earth in the body of a newborn puppy to find the weapon supposedly used in the alleged crime. “Denizen of Sirius,” said Polaris, “you are hereby sentenced to be stripped of all spheres, honors and effulgences and banished from here to the body of a creature native to that sphere where the missing Zoi is thought to have fallen…" (meta)
  • The Silmarillion (1977), compendium of mythopoeic works by J. R. R. Tolkien, including the creation myth limning the origins of the Elvish race: Sirius is called Helluin by the Elves, who awoke to the world "when first Menelmacar strode up the sky and the blue fire of Helluin flickered in the mists above the borders of the world..." (sky, myth)
  • Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas (1994), novel by Tom Robbins. The plot involves an eclectic mix of characters and complicated scenarios, and mixes the mundane with the mysterious, in the form of the Sirius mysteries and the mythology surrounding the Dogon people of Mali in west Africa, a hypothesis of Robert Temple first published by St. Martin's Press in 1975 under which the Dogons preserve an ancient tradition of contact with intelligent extraterrestrial beings from the Sirius star system. (myth)

There follow references to Sirius as a location in space or the center of a planetary system, categorized by genre:

Read more about this topic:  Sirius In Fiction

Famous quotes containing the word general:

    There is in general good reason to suppose that in several respects the gods could all benefit from instruction by us human beings. We humans are—more humane.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)