Hello and welcome back to the Friday Fiction Feature! Today’s theme is once again inspired by my own thrilling life, and the Tabatha-centrous theme of the day is “Nooo! Summer can’t be over already!” That’s right dear readers, it’s already back-to-school time. In fact Monday was back-to-school time, today is just the day set aside for trying to come to terms with the sad, sad fact that I can no longer sleep more than the cat, and I will have to use my brain more than twice a day.
And how does a graduate student and teacher cope with the return to working life you ask? With dragons! To make the return to hard work and long days doctors (phd’s that is) recommend filling your spare hours with mythical worlds which have nothing whatsoever to do with your actual work. So, I hope everyone who has also had to head back to campus this week will join me in sitting back, taking a break, and pretending that we are slaying huge dragons to save our imperiled homes and families as a relaxing getaway.
Bob the Dragon Slayer by Harry E. Gilleland Jr.
The first selection for this week’s escapism is Bob the Dragon Slayer, a tale of an unexpected hero, impossible tasks, insurmountable odds, and in all likelihood a fair maiden. There is always at least one fair maiden. While the impossibility of Bob’s task suggests that he can only win (gloriously at that), the lawyers and his magical friend Steve let me hope that even if he overcomes it all in a blaze of glorious triumph (because they always do) at least it’ll be funny watching him stumble his way there.
Bob, a mere peasant lad, sets off to see a dragon that is terrorizing a village and soon falls in with a wizard named Stephen. Thereafter, his life is filled with adventures that involve dragons, knights, damsels in distress, castles, a fair lady, friendship, true love, an evil king, civil war, and lawyers. This rollicking tale belongs not to history but to legend. Written with wit and humor, this novella will delight readers from teenagers to octogenarians.
Dragon Slayer by Isabella Carter
The next book on the list gives us another tale of derring-do, but this time with the formula-plots all mixed up. The Damsel-in-Distress-Who-is-Forced-to-Marry-the-Evil-King has merged with the Unexpected-Hero-Who-Must-Defeat-the-Dragon-and-The-Evil-King and given us our Dude-In-Distress, Ingram. Because all really determined and self-respecting Evil Kings are equal-opportunity-destroyers, and bets with your rival over the right to marry off your offspring are always a bad idea, Dragon Slayer saves time by making the Unexpected-Dude-in-Distress-Hero overcome insurmountable odds, free himself from his own Evil King, and slay the dragon all in one book. (Talented lad). I would like to see how he manages to carry himself off into the sunset though…
Ingram is a coward and weakling—at least according to his father, the king, and the royal court. He cannot use a sword, he faints at the sight of blood, and even his brilliant abilities as a strategist are not enough to overcome his failings. When his father loses a bet to the notorious Lord Mallory over the matter of a dragon slaying, he pays his debt by ordering Ingram to marry him.
Then his father reveals that he is putting Ingram to a greater purpose, giving Ingram one last chance to prove he is not worthless. All it requires is betraying his new husband.
Dragon Slayer by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Another Dragon Slayer takes us in a completely different direction, leaving behind the heroic art of dragon slaying, we now enter the cruel world of…dragon slaying. Showing this age-old heroic task from the other side, Dragon Slayer gives the dragons’ side, recasting the heroes as murderers and the dragons as victims of vicious attacks. And what does the victimized species do when murderers run rampant? They develop detectives to find the clues and hunt down the perpetrators. The novel is an entirely new kind of detective story (well really, how many private eye’s can skip the whole judge/jury/jail bit and go straight to pulverizing the neer-do-well with one claw) merging fantasy and mystery and making us reevaluate just what ‘heroics’ are, Dragon Slayer reopens an entire genre for exploration. (Maybe now they’ll leave off with all that foolish physical-activity-kind of heroics, and start valorizing the more thrilling heroes: academics).
Fifteen dragons have died in less than a century.
Rumaad, a different kind of dragon, collects information about the killings the way some dragons collect jewels. So he’s perfectly suited to see the differences in the latest crime scene, the murder of a dragon he knows all too well.
What he sees convinces him something has changed in his world—and not for the best.
His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire #1) by Naomi Novik
Shifting views once again His Majesty’s Dragon proposes an alternate view of history, explaining the real story behind Napoleon’s fame and defeat. Little did we know, Napoleon’s famous strategies depended heavily on the skill and influence of his dragon fighting-force (they played-up the naval aspects because at the time huge wooden tubs holding hundreds of people and weaponry sounded cooler than plain old dragons. That’s the version of history I’m sticking to anyways).
Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors ride mighty fighting dragons, bred for size or speed. When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes the precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Captain Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future – and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature.
Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.
How to Slay a Dragon (The Journals of Myrth #1) by Bill Allen
We at the Friday Fiction Feature always try to be helpful. This generally means giving any extra hints and tips we can to make sure you are not left out of whatever theme we choose, and today is no different. We know it’s no fun to hear all about dragon slaying and not be able to join in yourself, so to cap off the list we present How to Slay a Dragon. You can learn all the basic techniques to dragon slaying as you read the story of an unfit warrior lost in a world of magic, mayhem, dragons, and, worse yet, angry princesses.
Ruuan is a very large dragon. Twelve-year-old Greg Hart can’t slay a dragon. He’d be lucky to win a fight against one of the smaller girls at school.
Now the magicians of Myrth have mistaken him for a legendary warrior, so they’ve yanked Greg into their world of sorcery and danger. Nothing will stop the people of Myrth from believing Greg will rescue King Peter’s daughter from Ruuan the dragon. After all, Greg has been named in a prophecy, and no prophecy has ever been wrong before.