Follow TV Tropes


Literature / The Dog Stars

Go To

The Dog Stars is a post-apocalyptic novel by Peter Heller. It chronicles the struggles of a man trying find human connection after a super-flu has wiped out almost the entire human population.

This novel has examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Bangley's backstory.
  • After the End: Most of the population has died from a super flu. Many of the survivors of that are suffering from a blood disease.
  • Badass Back: Bangley kills a bandit with a burst of submachinegun fire while looking directly at Hig, apparently to make a point.
  • Advertisement:
  • Badass Beard: Pops sports a very long grey beard. Notably averted by Bangley, who keeps himself meticulously clean-shaven even in a post-apocalytpic world.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Jasper, Hig's hunting dog and only real companion for most of nine years.
  • Blood Knight: Bangley was basically waiting for the end of the world so that he could do nothing but kill people.
  • Cats Are Mean: In contrast the Jasper's loyalty, the cats of the airport couple drink the man's blood while he's still alive.
  • Cold Sniper: Bangley, Pops and the airport man.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: the living quarters of the murderous airport couple is littered with cats.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Bangley knows almost nothing about anything except building and using weapons. He relies on Higs for everything else. Subverted, as Higs eventually discovers that Bangley was raised a farmer and has a whole wealth of useful skills that he's refused to acknowledge.
  • Advertisement:
  • Evil Old Folks: the couple living in the airport, who lure pilots to their doom.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Bangley was no one of consequence or training before the end of civilization. Now he's a bloodthirsty one-man-army with countless notches on his belt.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: Higs has a hard time understanding the old couple in the airport.
  • Last-Name Basis: Bangley, who never tells Higs his first name even after nine years of living together. Higs has to find out from someone else.
  • Last Stand: Bangley has one while Higs is away when their home is attacked by a large group of raiders. He manages to kill all of the intruders and survives long enough for Higs to return with medical aid.
  • Meaningful Name: Bangley is a gun and explosives enthusiast
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Bangley's last stand while Higs was away. Higs and company return to survey the carnage and eventually find Bangley still clinging to life.
  • Advertisement:
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Pops.
  • Papa Wolf: Pops. Don't mess with his daughter.
  • Post-Apocalyptic Dog: Can't you tell from the title?
  • Retired Badass: Pops, who is an ex-Navy SEAL
  • Riddle for the Ages: Where did the flu come from? Where did the blood virus come from? Why is the environment changing? What the deal with the Arabs?
  • Sociopathic Hero: Bangley cares only about survival and seems to get a kick out of killing people. Luckily he's on Higs's side.
  • Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: Higs's narration uses extremely idiosyncratic punctuation, apparently to represent his erratic mind. He's an educated man, and an aspiring writer, so we know that he could punctuate properly if he were actually writing it down. Spoken dialogue is always formatted according to standard English.
  • Warrior Poet: Higs is a gentle soul, but can kick ass when he really needs to. He was also an aspiring poet at one point and still thinks about poetry.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Bangley kills a child in a raiding party without hesitation.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: