A Week In Book News Articles Authors Fantasy News Technology

How to build an anatomically believable dragon

Meet the Targaryens; the science of dragon breath; short story dispenser; Mills & Boon gets daring. Welcome again to a Week In Book News.

Meet the Targaryens

No, winter is not coming, not in 2018, says George R R Martin. The much anticipated The Winds of Winter will have to wait because the author wants to release a Targaryen chronicle instead this November.

Fire and Blood is a historical account of the quarrelsome Targaryen dynasty, from the reign of Aegon I to that of Aegon III, which takes place some 300 years before A Song of Fire and Ice.

It is written from the point of view of Archmaester Gyldayn, a fastidious historian who won’t entertain speculations or rumours on unverified historical claims. But feel free to speculate away because what’s the point of Game of Thrones if not for the speculations and rumours?

You can catch a glimpse of Archmaester Gyldayn’s account of the Targaryens in The Princess and the Queen, the 2013 short story by George R R Martin featured in Dangerous Women (Part I).

Martin promises plenty of dragon actions in this first volume. Well, judging from the novella we had read recently, there will be plenty of irate dragons, limbs being torn off, entrails being stepped on, wayward husbands, family feuds and incest.

Bring on the fire.

George R R Martin’s announcement:
Fire and Blood: On the way

About the book:
Fire and Blood


Dragon breath: a science

This should help if you are currently building a world that involves dragons.  A science publication recently asked scientists how a dragon might be able to breathe fire if it exists in real life.

Science News For Students (SNS), an online magazine for learners and educators, says that fire needs three things: ignition, fuel and oxygen.

So how would a dragon spark the fire? Two possibilities. If it has a gizzard that contains rocks, like that of a bird, it might be able to rub these together to ignite the fire. Or it could have scales that ignite when rubbed together.

What about fire breathing? That’s tricky because the flaming gas that a dragon discharges might end up burning its face if the wind blows the wrong way. So the most possible method is liquid fuel in the form of ethanol or methanol. Birds can’t produce these but fish can.

So your fire-spewing dragon should be a reptile of some sort with split-second reflect that can spit out flammable liquid at great force.

More on Science News For Students:

Liber Floridus
Dragon spit, not dragon breath. The creature according to the Medieval Liber Floridus (1460). Photo source: Wikipedia.


Mills & Boon gets daring

Mills & Boon is looking for a new Brand Director.

The new person will replace the previous director who was there for over a year. She, or he, will get to oversee marketing initiatives which also include the recently launched category, Mills & Boon Dare.

Launched in February 2018, Mills & Boon Dare aims to publish four romances a month. It promises “heat level” that is more explicit and graphic. Thus, it is seeking “authors with memorable voice (and) write stories with high sexual tension as well as graphic sex”. Heroes such as “billionaires, CEOs and affluent men are welcome” in the romance, but Dare is also open to “grittier heroes and anti-heroes”.

“These books are not erotica,” according to Dare. “These are still romances”.

The minimum word count for a Dare Romance is around 50,000.

More on Mills & Boon Dare:

Romance isn’t a bad genre, but many stories are badly written for romance. Good romance authors would rather categorise their works as high literature, fantasy or historical fictions instead. So, whilst we wait for a quality romance to come along, we read Pushkin. Photo: © Salina Christmas / GLUE Studio.


Vending machine for short stories

The Short Story Dispenser, the vending machine that gives you short stories in print, has reached New York, US.

The service, created by French company Short Edition, was first introduced at selected train stations across France in 2016.

Readers get to enjoy over 100,000 short stories submitted by authors to Short Edition. They can choose a story by pressing one of these buttons: “one minute”, “three minutes” and “five minutes”.

Francis Ford Coppola liked the idea so much he asked for a Short Story Dispenser to be installed at his eatery, Café Zoetrope.

The café doesn’t offer wifi to customers.

About the Short Story Dispenser:

About Café Zoetrope:


0 comments on “How to build an anatomically believable dragon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.