Dragonship by J. P. Ashman
THE GOOD: Creative concept and one I have not seen before, executed with both style and grace – it could’ve been a shit storm of scales and soggy spit, but this firebreather of a short story came out roaring.
THE BAD: Whilst I immediately recognised and related-with the main characters, I struggled to get my head around the ‘numbered men’ at first (remembering who’s who), it being such a short story, but that’s part of the magic in truth – they’re number men, not named, because that’s all they are. Numbers. And numbers can be replaced.
THE UGLY TRUTH: As equally inventive as it is entertaining – JP throws caution to the wind as he takes off and soars on the wind to regale us with the epic conflict between two dragons, one burdened with a crew, and the other with only one thing on its mind.
Read this little beaut in less than an hour – and it’s more blow your volcano top than it is firecracker.
NO-ONE HAS DONE DRAGON MOUNTS LIKE THIS BEFORE!!!
Matchlocks and mayhem meets firebreathing monster. Controlled by a system of pain inducing mechanics, the crew of the Red find themselves caught up in a contest between their dragon – a female – and a male.
We see Dragonship’s conflict from the PoV of an officer, the crew, and the male dragon, and whilst that might sound like a lot for a short story – and it is when there’s a lot going on – but JP never misses a wingbeat. The battle is epic, both in scale and action, and was written with a cinematic vision in mind.
The story hints at a whole world of potential offerings, and I for one hope JP explores these opportunities in the future.
This review originally appeared on Michael Everest’s blog on May 31, 2017.