Peter Heller’s fiction debut removes any doubt about his writing ability. Already well known for his non-fiction adventure writing, Heller’s background makes The Dog Stars stand out in a sea of dystopian literature. Set in the distant future after a renegade virus has decimated humanity, the novel follows Big Hig as he spends his days patrolling the skies surrounding the airplane hangar in which he has been squatting for the past nine years. Days and nights blur together until he discovers signs of friendly contact from an air traffic station at Grand Junction. With nothing left to lose, he embarks in his faithful 1956 Cessna to try to find some semblance of human connection, only to uncover much more than he bargained for. The Dog Stars focuses less on the shock of humanity’s demise and more on the psychological warfare survivors must endure each day. It’s also a surprisingly poetic book, reading more like a diary than a straightforward narrative. If you’re into post-apocalyptic scenarios, you’ll definitely be hooked. And if you’re not, I’d still recommend it for the fact that it’s very well-written and researched.
- Dallas Dunstan