2MTL #8: The Highwayfan Considers Kasterborous

"Highwayfan" episodes of the Two-minute Time Lord podcast are my chance to ramble about more fannish, geeky, or just plain fun topics about the mythology of Doctor Who. After all, what else can you do in the middle of a commute? And speaking of mythology….

The "Constellation of Kasterborous" — the spatial location of The Doctor's homeworld Gallifrey — has always struck me as one of those kitschy aspects of classic Doctor Who that reminds one that there are hazards to taking it too seriously. As Paul Cornell put it in the Discontinuity Guide, "constellations are arbitrary divisions of stars in a planet's sky." He then goes on to provide a simple, clear explanation of why The Doctor uses that name.

But I'm not much for simple. Let's go for an odder explanation of what Kasterborous is. Something dimensionally transcendent.

Note: Because I'm driving down I-40 as I record this, my IQ's down about 20 points. When I say "geographic" replace that with "astrometry", when I say "Neil Gaimany" I mean "mythological," and when I say "follow 2minutetimelord on Twitter" I mean "visit twominutetimelord.com to leave comments".

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  1. I tried hard to remember where in classic Who Kasterborous was mentioned as being the location of Gallifrey. I think it's Pyramids of Mars? And I think in that same conversation the person the Doctor is talking to… Some Egyption… I'm picturing a Jackal headed man so that would be Anubis… Says that he doesn't recognize the constellation's name and to identify the planet by it's location "relative to galactic center". And then The Doctor rattles off a bunch of numbers.

    So as much as I like your mythic, or Neil Gaimany, idea it's possible that Kasterborous is a constellation visible when you're at galactic center? (Where ever that is.)

    The reason I'm so well versed in this particular episode is that I'm a knitter, and Pyramids of Mars has in it the canonical gauge of The Scarf.

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