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Tag: dragon

Sythyry’s Journal: A World Tree Chronicle of Transaffection, Adventure, and Doom, by Bard Bloom – review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

9781451562934_p0_v1_s192x300Sythyry’s Journal: A World Tree Chronicle of Transaffection, Adventure, and Doom, by Bard Bloom
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, April 2010, trade paperback $25.00 (626 pages).

The opening paragraph of this dense, 626 pages of small type is:

“My exceedingly old and exceedingly famous grandparent just gave me this notebook as a going-to-school present. Zie says that zie wishes zie had had one when zie was growing up, but of course nobody knew how to do enchantments then, and there probably wasn’t time to do a lot of writing, what with all the fighting cyarr and nendrai and everything.” (p. 5)

Sythyry is a small, pale blue dragonet (actually a Zi Ri) “of impeccable lineage, considerable wit, and overwhelming inexperience, off alone at college for the first time. Zie must face terrible dangers: roommates, friends, courses in enchantment and flirtatious dance, deadly monsters, minor nobility, war, and, most dreadful of all, romance.” (blurb). The Zi Ri are hermaphrodites with pronouns to match, avoiding the “him” or “her” of the single-sex genders. The cover by Tod Wills shows zir at an Academy Buttery party surrounded by zir roommates Dustweed the Herethroy (the green grasshopper-like being at lower right) and Havune the Cani (the overdressed dog-like being at upper left), and friends Oostmarine the Orren (the otter-like being at upper right) and Anoof, another Cani (at lower left).

When Bard Bloom and his wife Victoria Borah Bloom created the World Tree role-playing game in 2001 (its cover by Mike Raabe was a finalist for the first Ursa Major Award in 2001 for Best Anthropomorphic Published Illustration), LiveJournal was just getting started. Bloom explains in his “Author’s Forward” [sic.] that his own life made uninteresting reading. “So I decided to write from the point of view of a World Tree character.” – Sythyry the young Zi Ri. This book consists of Bloom’s LiveJournal entries from 2002 to 2007, as edited into novel format by Victoria Borah Bloom. Further LiveJournal entries to 2016 have been novelized in four Kindle books; Dragon Student, Ambassador to a Monster, Wizard’s Vacation, and City of Advanced Magic.

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War of the Third Demon, Part 1: Parents of a Savior by Casey Thomas Lehman – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer

61dsiewbbslWar of the Third Demon, Part 1: Parents of a Savior, by Casey Thomas Lehman.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, July 2016, trade paperback $7.99 (288 pages), Kindle $2.99.

I’m not sure quite what to say about this book. The cover, which appears to be by crayon, gives an idea of its quality. The title is taken from the cover; the title page says Part 1 is Raising a Savior. The Copyright Notice, usually on the back of the title page in small type, is two pages in boldface leading with “1. Monetary gain directly from fanfiction or fanart is STRICTLY PROHIBITED unless you have received permission and verification from the authors!!!” There are five such rules. The Dedication is three pages ranging from to Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, the creators of Dungeons and Dragons®, down through Hayao Miyazaki and James Cameron to his mother. There are 11 pages of Glossaries at the end explaining the Japanese, draconic, and science-fictional terminology used in this book.

The principal characters are dragons. Here is the main villain:

“A monstrous dragon had just awoken, opening his four sunken eyes, allowing their red glow to illuminate a small area front of him and his six-goat like horns respectively. His jagged, sword-like black scales made a scraping sound as his legs dragged against the purple-tiled floor. He rose to his six legs, letting his rapier-like claws click against his gray, embroiled, rune-encrusted bed. He stretched, letting his saggy, dark-red underbelly stretch like an aged balloon as his six thin, bonelike, pale, sickly green wings spread menacingly. He finished by letting his pitchfork-like tail-blade slam against the colossal ruby roman-style pillars of his chambers – the demon dragon, also known as Rayburn.” (p. 11)

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The Dragon Tax, by Madison Keller – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

511ionAOd9L._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_The Dragon Tax, by Madison Keller
Portland, OR, Hundeliebe Press, June 2016, trade paperback $9.99 (141 pages), Kindle $2.99.

This lighthearted little book is an expansion of the short story that appeared in the RainFurrest 2015 charity anthology, A Menagerie of Heroes; now out of print. Sybil Dragonsbane, a young professional dragon slayer, is called to the Kingdom of Thima. It has a dragon problem – but not the usual kind:

“‘Actually, we quite like having a dragon on the island,’ the King sat forward, eyes shining. Multiple chins jiggled as he wagged his hard around theatrically. ‘They bring lots of adventurers through the town, adventurers who all pay for a permit to hunt the dragon. They drop gold at local businesses before going off on their hunt. Whether they survive or not, that is not my problem.’” (pgs. 5-6)

None of the previous dragon hunters have survived, and the dragon has amassed quite a pile of gold and gems. Now King Jonathan has decided to tax it. The problem is getting the dragon to pay the tax. That’s why he has summoned Sybil; to offer her the new post of Thima’s dragon tax collector:

“‘My fee is double.’ Sybil placed her hands on her daggers.

‘Double?’ the King roared, surging to his feet. ‘I’m not asking you to kill the thing.’

‘True, what you’re asking is even more dangerous. You’re asking me to leave a dragon alive, a dragon that now will know my scent and my tricks. If that won’t work for you …’” (p. 8)

What happens, about a third of the way through, is unexpected. It is probably supposed to be a major surprise to the reader, but it is impossible to keep from giving away a spoiler and to go on reviewing the final 2/3 of the book. Briefly, Riastel the dragon turns human; Sybil learns that King Jonathan and his wizard Baldwin lied to her and have a more sinister plot, and the dragonhunter and dragon-turned-human team up to save both their lives. Also, Sybil is a young woman and Riastel makes a very handsome and hunky human male. Romance ensues. This is Book One of a series, so the reader will not be surprised to have an ending that leads to further adventures.

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The Mancer Series (Books 1-6): Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Ace PYRMNCR1992Pyromancer, by Don Callander. Map by the author.
NYC, Ace Books, May 1992, paperback $4.50 ([v +] 292 pages)

Aquamancer, by Don Callander. Map by the author.
NYC, Ace Books, January 1993, paperback $4.99 ([v +] 289 pages)

Geomancer, by Don Callander. Map by the author.
NYC, Ace Books, January 1994, paperback $4.99 (v +] 257 pages)

Aeromancer, by Don Callander.
NYC, Ace Books, September 1997, paperback $5.99 ([iii +] 289 pages)

Marbleheart, by Don Callander.
NYC, Ace Books, July 1998, paperback $5.99 (278 pages).

The Reluctant Knight, by Don Callander.
Cincinnati, OH, Mundania Press, June 2014, paperback $12.95 (204 pages)

pyro newCurious … The first five of these were published without a series title, between 1992 and 1998. They were reprinted by Mundania Press in 2013 as the Mancer Series, with a sixth in 2014. By Don Callander, but ISFDB says that he died before that. Donald Bruce Callander, March 23, 1930 – July 26, 2008.

What’s more, the copyright dates of the first three 2013 reprints agree with the Ace editions, 1992, 1993, and 1994. But for the last two they are 1995 and 1996, not 1997 and 1998 when the Ace editions were published, and with The Reluctant Knight © 1995 (and Marbleheart © 1996) even though it wasn’t published until 2014.

Ace Books published a lot of whimsical light fantasies in the 1990s, by authors such as Piers Anthony, John DeChancie, Esther Friesner, and Craig Shaw Gardner. Most of them have talking animals in supporting or minor roles, such as Gardner’s 1990 Revenge of the Fluffy Bunnies, but none are really memorable. (Maybe Scandal, the wisecracking kitten, who is a major character in Friesner’s Majyk trilogy.) But Callander’s Marbleheart Sea Otter, a furry sidekick in the original series, was popular enough to win his own starring sequel in 1998.

0441028160.01.LZZZZZZZI won’t say that Callander’s fantasies are bad — they aren’t, really, for those who like light fantasies. But they are very – I’m not sure whether “cute” or “twee” fits them better. They are the type of fantasies that other fantasy writers make fun of; full of singing and dancing pixies and elves and fairies and friendly animals. And furniture & utensils. Here is dinnertime at Wizard’s High, a wizard’s cottage:

“Shortly they sat down to a feast and were regaled by the antics of the salt and pepper shakers and the serious, droll sayings of the Gravy Boat, who also chanted Sea songs and seamen’s ditties for them.

A pair of fire tongs did a clattery clog dance on the hearth, and Blue Teakettle herself acted as ringmistress over it all and kept the good food hot and savory, coming at just the right pace and intervals. Toward the end the entire chorus of pots and pans sang old favorites with the crocks and cutting board humming along in perfect harmony. And never once did Douglas consider how odd this little household was.” (Pyromancer, p. 10)

Douglas Brightglade, a lively and cheery lad, answers a wizard’s advertisement:


To learn the MYSTERIES and SECRETS of

WIZARDRY in the Discipline of FIRE




And learn Douglas does, from the wizard Flarman Flowerstalk over four novels and five years. He meets all sorts of talking animals and objects, from Flarman’s busybody, clattery Bronze Owl doorknocker, to the seagulls Cerfew, Tratto, and Trotta (she’s a girl; a Gullfriend), to the porpoises Skimmer, Leaper, and Spinner, to Oval, the Giant Sea Tortoise, to the evil Ice King’s spies:

“‘It is best we become more circumspect in our comings and goings from now. I’ve seen some suspicious crows hanging around the top of the High lately.’

‘Yes, I noticed them and told Bronze Owl about them. He said he didn’t like the cut of their pinions.’” (Pyromancer, p. 81)

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Kairos: Tome 3 by Ulysse Malassagne – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Kairos T 3 book coverKairos. Tome 3, by Ulysse Malassagne.
Roubaix, France, Ankama Éditions, January 2015, hardcover €11.90 (64 pages), Kindle $7.99.

Thanks once more to Lex Nakashima for getting this from and sharing it with me. This is in French, but it’s mostly cartoon artwork. Since there’s no sign of an English-language edition, here is the French original.

And so the saga is over.

To recap, Niils loves the mysterious Anaëlle. During a camping trip in the French countryside, she is kidnapped by dragon knights and taken through a dimensional portal. Niils follows them into the anthropomorphic dragons’ world. In t.2, it turns out that Anaëlle is the dragon kingdom’s princess; she escaped into our human world and took on a human form to escape a forced marriage to her own father; she was tracked down and seized by the dragon knights to fulfill her destiny; Niils goes after her and finds that the dragon commoners are ready to revolt against their royal family; and he leads a revolution even while he is turning into a dragon himself. Read the rest of this entry »