Please welcome James Austin McCormick, author of Dragon
Although I write in several genres (all speculative fiction) the one I return to most often is science fiction. This is especially true for my Dragon series (Dragon being the name of a sentient space craft). First off, I should say a little about the first novel. The book centres on Sillow, a neurotic and hyperactive elf and Brok, a surly, taciturn and bad-tempered barbarian. They are very much the odd couple in space and are constantly squabbling. I enjoy writing fast paced scenes and action more than anything else, so I structured the book as seven interlinking chapter stories which follows the hapless duo over twenty years, from wanted smugglers to heroes of a peace keeping alliance.
Dragon is a self-contained narrative with a clearly defined ending (one of the favourite endings of all my books) yet I could never get these two characters out of my head. The idea of a sequel never appealed to me, and also wouldn’t have worked. Instead I decided to fill in some of the gaps between the chapter stories. There is a one-year gap for example between the first and second chapters, during which time the two decide to try their hand at smuggling. The second book I wrote covers this period and is titled, Dragon: Smuggler Tales, following the ill-fated duo on a series of bungled missions.
After Smuggler tales I still felt there were more stories left in the universe I’d created, although as far as the dysfunctional partnership went, that had run its course. Between chapters six and seven there is a ten-year gap during which time Brok returns to his home world to marry and take up a role in government whilst Sillow becomes a solo agent of the peace keeping alliance. This was fertile ground. The next two Dragon books, Dragon: The Tower of Tamerlane and Dragon: The Prisoner of Valathia cover Sillow’s first two missions. When I wrote Prisoner, I’d decided it would be the last story, so as well as the usual action and comedy scrapes I always put into these stories, I also took the time to explore Sillow’s character more deeply and bring some pathos to the tale.
I think I’ve done almost everything I can with this series although one more idea has bubbled up from my unconscious. This would involve an ensemble piece, focusing on Sillow, Brok and a handful of other characters (mostly bad guys) from the various books teaming up in a sort of Magnificent 7 type way, although this particular team would be more like the Farcical 7. Sillow would be the nervy pilot who has recently fallen off the wagon. Just an idea at the moment but I’m sure it will get written one day.
About the Author:
James Austin McCormick is a college lecturer from Manchester, England and his free time enjoy writing speculative fiction, mostly science fiction, horror and a little sword and sorcery fantasy. He is also a particular fan of classic Gothic and Victorian horror tales and is currently in the process of writing updated versions of these with a science fiction spin.
Find out more about James at:
Blurb for Dragon:
As worlds conspire against each other, Gax, an insane warlord, stockpiles an arsenal of ancient technology in his attempt to rule known space. Less
Two ill matched and reluctant heroes stand in his way; Sillow, a neurotic and cowardly Sylvan and Brok, a surly and ill tempered Herkulun warrior. After a chance meeting in a seedy, mobster owned casino the two find their fates interlinked as they are propelled into a series of hair raising adventures that takes them from wanted smugglers to agents of a peace keeping alliance.
Asmara was a small desert moon orbiting its gas giant parent at a distance just great enough to put it outside the planet’s radioactive reach. It was a cold, dusty little place, barely capable of supporting microbic life. Yet it did have one thing in its favor, its location.Asmara was in the gray zone, an area of space almost central to the six worlds. None dared lay claim to it and consequently it was free of all outside authority. That was why the crime syndicates built their Pleasure Dome there, and in the two decades after the Dark Age Wars it flourished.
It was here, at one of the casino tables, the last three players of a merciless card game studied their hands. Two of them, a human and a reptilian Tuolon, were far from happy, glaring angrily at the third player as he whistled out a tuneless melody. If Sillow had been human, he would have been judged to be no more than fourteen. He wasn’t; he was a Sylvan, and his childlike face and adolescent build were quite normal for his twenty-five years.
As he looked over his cards from beneath a shock of dark green hair, only his large eyes were visible. It was just as well, for his lips moved frantically as he mentally played through the possible scenarios.
Finally he gave a little nod and placed his cards face down. He took his cigar from the ashtray and began puffing heavily on it. The human, a skinny man with pockmarked features, ran a hand over two day’s stubble,
“Make your damn move,” he growled. “If you’ve got the goods, show them.”
Sillow shrugged. “Hey, give me a break Garrick,” he replied in his soft, musical voice. “You can’t rush something like this.”
He looked at his cards again, studying them as he blew smoke rings in the air. His little feet tapped all the while on the hard marble floor.
His fellow players regarded him with extreme irritation, and the human cameto the decision the Sylvan was playing mind games with them. The truth though was far different. Sillow was scared and was trying to decide how best to safely extricate himself and the credits he needed from his present circumstances.
Although he couldn’t say why, he was certain now the Tuolon was a professional assassin here to kill him. His would be killer even blewhis ship up to stop him escaping.
Since then the little Sylvan had been busy at the tables making the money he needed to get a freighter off the Dome. There was a royal summons to answer and he’d delayed too long already. The message was just one word, Suleiman.
“Okay, ready,” he finally announced. “You want to see this hand it’ll cost you…” he paused for effect, “six more credits.”
The human thought hard for a moment, shook his head then threw the chips into the pot in the middle of the table.
Paperback from the publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/component/virtuemart/science-fiction/dragon-396-detail?Itemid=0