We at The Novel Approach are happy to be able to play host today to author E.R. Karr, one of the contributing authors in Storm Moon Press’s newest anthology Dracones, a compilation of stories that “brings together seven stories detailing the power and majesty of a dragon’s love.” So, without further ado, take it away, E.R.!
Hi, all! E. R. Karr here. My story “Two in the Bush” in Dracones is my first Storm Moon Press publication – which really is only fitting, since a short story about dragons is how I became an SFF fan and writer to begin with.
I’d always loved science fiction and fantasy, long before I knew what it was – A Wrinkle in Time and The Chronicles of Narnia were some of my favorite books as a child; but I didn’t realize that these belonged to a greater genre. One of my other favorite books was an anthology of sci-fi stories that for some unknown reason had been shelved in the children’s section of my local small-town library. The first story in the collection was Anne McCaffrey’s “The Smallest Dragonboy”. I had never heard of Pern or read about dragons like these, but I loved the story; I checked out the anthology a dozen times to reread it.
Imagine my thrill the day I wandered into the library’s sci-fi section and came across an old paperback copy of Dragonflight. “Book 1 of The Dragonriders of Pern”, the cover proclaimed—not just an entire novel, but an entire series of novels, about the dragons I loved!
I must have read the original Dragonriders trilogy half a dozen times in the first year I discovered it; to this day, there are passages I can quote from memory. It was my gateway into scifi and fantasy. Lured to that most fascinating section of the library, I devoured Tolkien, Asimov, Le Guin, Adams, Card, and dozens of others. But of all the new worlds opened to me, Pern was my favorite. I was twelve, a shy, awkward, unpopular kid (and oblivious like we all are then to how everyone else was as shy, awkward, and unpopular as myself) and Pern, with its friendly dragons and their special chosen riders, was my first, best escapism. I doodled fire lizards in the margins of my school notebooks, had nightmares about Threadfall, and, of course, daydreamed about Impressing a queen dragon of my own. I didn’t have a clue how to be a cool kid, but I was sure appearing on the playground astride a fifty-foot gold dragon wouldn’t hurt my reputation any!
While I’m still a SFF fan, it’s been years since I’ve read any Pern books; my tastes have grown and changed over the years, as have the worlds I choose to escape to. (And, to be honest, I’m a little nervous about trying to go back and finding I don’t fit there anymore.) But dragons are still my favorites of the entire mythological menagerie, and for all their ferocious nature in so many stories, I can’t help but prefer more hopeful fantasies: dragons not as man’s enemy but allies and friends—or even more than that! So I was excited to hear about Dracones, and the opportunity it offered for exploring more, hmm, advanced dragon-human relations.
It was inevitable that Pern would inform my own story, though the dragons in “Two in the Bush” are worlds away from McCaffrey’s genetically engineered Thread-fighters. These dragons are on our Earth, though hidden and secret, and they are of magic, not science: immortal, immensely powerful beings almost as old as life on this planet, more easily mistaken for gods than monsters. Though Ferdie (he picked his name himself!) is the exception that proves the rule: he’s young, curious, and as fascinated by people as so many of us are with dragons, risking his power and his life in order to live in vulnerable human form. And it’s the human, not the dragon, who’s the telepath in their partnership—David happens to be psychic, which is very handy in the private eye business, but can make things complicated when it comes to personal relationships. Especially when your lover is a young dragon with limited magic and even more limited common sense.
But while Ferdie may not breathe much fire and David prefers to get around in fuel-efficient hatchbacks rather than on dragonback, in their way, they’re as closely bonded as any dragon and rider. This bond will be put to the test in “Two in the Bush”, wherein Ferdie and David discover that going camping in the woods with a dragon means you have a lot more to worry about than mosquitos, moose, or burnt marshmallows…
I hope you enjoy the story, and the rest of the anthology! (And if you ever happen to get hold of an extra fire lizard egg, or are invited to a weyr Hatching… drop me a line?)
E.R. Karr was born in Boston and raised in small-town Massachusetts, and she read The Dragonriders of Pern at an impressionable age. She has two cats, three housemates, and a computer named Rupert, upon which she is currently working on more stories doing terrible and annoying things to characters who probably don’t deserve it. She rather enjoys living in the future (though she still secretly is waiting for her gold queen to hatch). Her latest short story, “Two in the Bush”, can be found in Storm Moon Press’ Dracones anthology. Get your copy today!