Wyatt McLaren just released a new five-story collection (with an intriguing author’s introduction) of Buck Johnson short stories. If you like a dab of science fiction in stories about dragon riders and dragon wranglers, you just might want to check out this new collection.
Just take a look at the blurb:
In Dragon Wrangler Collection I, you’ll encounter dragon breaking, a dragon drive, and a dragon roundup – all served up with plenty of western/cowboy adventure (albeit on another planet) and a generous dollop of fun character interplay. A wild mix of fantasy, action/adventure, western, and science fiction, this book is a new twist on the space western and a rollicking ride across the vagaries of a dragon wrangler’s and his sidekicks’ lives on planet Terul. Think of The Good Old Boys, The Rounders, and a little bit of Lonesome Dove all rolled up together and cast into space.
Follow Buck Johnson, Skeeter Evans, and Snort Jones in their attempts to make a little money to get off Terul and get to some place where there’s easier money and a lot more fun. But, as you’ll see, breaking, roping, herding, and rounding up dragons – especially when there are more than a few green-broke korths and churlish native Terullians involved – don’t always turn out quite as expected.
This is the very first book-length collection of Buck Johnson short stories. It includes five inter-related stories that loosely hang together as a sort of cycle, as well as an author’s introduction to set the stage and explain the genre.
And here’s a very small sample from the beginning of the first story in this collection:
When Buck Johnson finally managed to breathe a little again and knew he wasn’t dead, he propped himself up on one elbow. He spat dirt out of his mouth—pthit, pthit. Worse yet, the “dirt” was at least half dragon dung.
Commiserating, Skeeter Evans called across the football field-sized round pen, “You okay, Buck?” He was pretty sure Buck was uninjured—he was the best hand at breaking dragons Skeeter had ever seen—but the claims of friendship drew the question out of him anyway. “Buck, is anything broke?”
Finally managing to stand, but with hands on knees and head down, Buck worked hard at re-inflating his lungs, getting as much air into them as he could with each gasp. But the sulfur-tainted air of Terul didn’t give him much help in getting his wind back. Eventually, he answered: “Yeah, I’m okay. Too far from the heart to kill me. Did you see what that bitch did, Skeet?”
“Yeah, I seen it. Treacherous, ain’t she?” What had happened was this.
Dragon wranglers have to break a dragon twice—once to ride and then, about six to eight months later, once to flight. So a top-notch dragon wrangler has to be not only knowledgeable in all the techniques of dragon breaking, as well as being a top hand at keeping his forked end down, but he also has to be an outstanding judge of a dragon’s age. And that’s where it gets tricky, especially on Terul.
With the advent of e-readers (the Kindle in this case), the short story is making a come-back. And in these precarious times, many of us like our reading entertainment to be just sheer, unalloyed fun. Buck Johnson: Dragon Wrangler Collection I fills the bill on both counts.
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