Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones.
Collins, 2000 (1975).
In Diana Wynne Jones’s novel Sirius – the name in Greek means ‘scorcher’ – is the so-called ‘luminary’ of Alpha Canis Majoris, the brightest star of the constellation Canis Major. Known as the Dog Star it’s the principal body in a binary star system, its companion being a white dwarf, a degraded star the size of Earth.
But in this tale Sirius and his fellow luminaries are akin to the gods of classical myth: more than mere personifications of stellar bodies they are tutelary spirits who guard or protect the entities they’re named after. With each jealous of their place in the celestial hierarchy all indulge in Byzantine diplomacy, calling each other Effulgency while firmly asserting what they see as their rights and privileges.
Sirius, however, is in trouble: accused of killing a fellow luminary after a loss of temper, and then losing an object called the Zoi, he is condemned to be incarnated as a puppy, on Earth, which is where the Zoi appears to have ended up. And more is to befall him: having been born in a dog’s body as one of a litter of mongrel puppies to a pedigree bitch he, together with his siblings, is destined to be placed in a sack and dumped in a river. His earthly sentence seems about to end just as soon as it has begun.Continue reading “As above, so below”