Men, Monsters and the Modern Universe
Authors: George Lovi and Wil Tirion
Men, Monsters and the Modern Universe is a book of three parts: first, a complete old-time star atlas; second, a set of universal seasonal star finder charts and; finally, a modern star atlas with a catalog of selected objects suitable for naked eye or small telescope observing. All of this has been done by bringing together the talents of three present day authors with one who wrote nearly two centuries ago—Alexander Jamieson. Our present day authors are George Lovi, Wil Tirion and Brian Skiff.
“There seem to have been a number of books recently published covering various aspects of sky lore and mythology. Men, Monsters and the Modern Universe offers more than the legends connected with the constellations. It is a very useful guide to the night sky in every sense….The complementary skills of the authors and consultant have combined well to produce a skilful blend of ancient and modern astronomy. It will be of use to, and enjoyed by, both armchair amateurs and active observers.” (Journal of the British Astronomical Society)
“…Men, Monsters and the Modern Universe lures amateurs into the intricacies of locating stars, clusters, and nebulae through appealing and concise stories once told about the constellations. This approach can be counted on to turn innocent bystanders into committed stargazers….
Lovi enjoys a reputation for accuracy and credibility, and Tirion is a well-known and properly lionized celestial cartographer. Here they have revived a neglected but successful idea and enhanced it with a complete set of plates reproduced from Alexander Jamieson’s A Celestial Atlas, originally printed in 1822.
Jamieson’s antique pictorial atlas is hard to find, and for that reason alone Lovi and Tirion have enriched us by putting its entertaining images back into print. The pictures unexpectedly amplify Tirion’s new maps. For example, Jamieson depicts the constellation Ursa Major (in the illustration at right) as a long-tailed bear that would add character to even a Victorian version of “Goldilocks.” In his narrative, Lovi points out the Big Dipper within it, references it to Tirion’s map, and tells us what the ancient Greeks, North American Indians, slaves in the American South, and Shakespeare all had to say about it.
The book includes six seasonal finder charts, showing the most prominent stars with 60° of the celestial equator, plus 10 equinox 2000.0 charts showing all stars to 6th-magnitude from the north celestial pole to 50° south. And Brian Skiff has added a catalogue of selected objects, including 650 celestial attractions for binoculars or small telescopes. The volume also provides essential information about celestial coordinates, magnitudes, binary stars, variables, clusters, and nebulae, as well as galaxies….
…Men, Monsters and the Modern Universe is authoritative and down to Earth. Combing the tradition of men and monsters in the sky with detailed but easy-to-use maps and data, it is the latest generation of the figurative star atlases. The authors acknowledge we don’t really need a pictorial atlas to find objects in the sky, ut happily they have given us a memorable introduction to the constellations.” (Sky & Telescope Magazine)