Who doesn’t love dragons? From ancient legends to modern epics, these massive beasts are a foundational part of fantasy lore—and today, we’re pleased to share with you news of an exciting dragon-centric short fiction anthology that will celebrate every aspect of these great and terrible beasts.
The Book of Dragons, coming from Harper Voyager in summer 2020, is a massive tome filled with all-new stories from both seasoned fantasy veterans and up-and-coming talents, all riffing on dragon legends and lore. Even better, each poem or story will be accompanied by gorgeous new artwork from World Fantasy Award-winning artist Rovina Cai.
Below, we reveal the cover of the anthology, featuring wraparound art by Rovina Cai, and share details on how the book came to be, straight from the creative team assembling it. Find it all below the official summary…
Here there be dragons . . .
From China to Europe, Africa to North America, dragons have long captured our imagination in myth and legend. Whether they are rampaging beasts awaiting a brave hero to slay or benevolent sages who have much to teach humanity, dragons are intrinsically connected to stories of creation, adventure, and struggle beloved for generations.
Bringing together nearly thirty stories and poems from some of the greatest science fiction and fantasy writers working today— Garth Nix, Scott Lynch, R.F. Kuang, Ann Leckie & Rachel Swirsky, Daniel Abraham, Peter S. Beagle, Beth Cato, Zen Cho, C. S. E Cooney, Aliette de Bodard, Kate Elliott, Theodora Goss, Ellen Klages, Ken Liu, Patricia A McKillip, K. J. Parker, Kelly Robson, Michael Swanwick, Jo Walton, Elle Katharine White, Jane Yolen, Kelly Barnhill, Brooke Bolander, Sarah Gailey, and J. Y. Yang—and illustrated by award-winning artist Rovina Cai with black-and-white line drawings specific to each entry throughout, this extraordinary collection vividly breathes fire and life into one of our most captivating and feared magical creatures as never before and is sure to become a treasured keepsake for fans of fantasy, science fiction, and fairy tales.
Below, Harper Voyager Editorial Director David Pomerico explains how this incredible volume came to be:
“My very first memory of fantasy as a child was my dad reading me and my brothers The Hobbit, with illustrations from the Rankin/Bass movie. Prominent on the cover—the thing that really drew me in—was this bright red dragon. And while Bilbo’s adventures were fun, what stuck with me was that image of Smaug: big, powerful, intelligent… maybe a touch evil. I was hooked.
When Jonathan came to me with this idea for an anthology really examining the mythos of dragons from all different perspectives, I was immediately in. There were some amazingly big names attached to the project—Nix, Lynch, Kuang, Elliott, Liu—but there were other names I was just as excited about: Cooney. de Bodard. Robson. Bolander. Gailley. (Well, really, I was excited about all the names.) I was excited to see how these writers would approach dragons. (I would think with a bit of caution, but also a bit of courage!) I was excited to see their prose and their poetry. And I was excited to see those dragons brought to even greater light with World Fantasy Award-winner Rovina Cai’s art.
And none of them disappointed.
This is a collection of some of the greatest science fiction and fantasy writers going today. It’s a mix of many different voices putting their own spin on a creature practically every culture has a version of in their mythos. I wanted to publish an anthology that would be timeless—one that people will love in 2020, but also in 3020—and Jonathan, Rovina, and all the authors have delivered that and so much more.
I can’t wait for you all to be able to read this incredible book!”
Jonathan Strahan, the volume’s editor, explains his own reasons for assembling the anthology:
“I love dragons! I love everything they can be, everything they can represent in a story. I really wasn’t much of a Tolkien fan when I was a kid, but I always loved Smaug in The Hobbit and Ann McCaffrey’s Weyr riders from Pern, and whether it was in Barbara Hambly’s Dragonsbane, R.A. McAvoy’s Tea with the Black Dragon, James P Blaylock’s sublime “Paper Dragons,” or Lucius Shepard’s gristly, gnarly Griaule in The Dragon Griaule, I kept coming across ways that dragons could be reinvented, made fresh, made relevant to today.
The dragon really is a timeless part of science fiction and fantasy and I’ve always wanted to put together a book of dragon stories where the best writers I knew got to make them fresh again. I honestly didn’t dream The Book of Dragons would have been this great, though, or have as stunning a cover. Rovina Cai has done an astonishing job, and The Book of Dragons, for me as a reader and booklover, is a dream come true.”
Finally, artist Rovina Cai, who is fresh off a World Fantasy Award win, notes:
“I am thrilled to be illustratingThe Book of Dragons, because it features an amazing collection of stories and poems that were a joy to read—I can’t possibly pick a favorite! I particularly enjoyed the unique and varied interpretations that each author brings and hope to reflect that diversity in my illustrations.
Dragons are probably one of the most iconic and enduring topics found within the fantasy genre, so it is both intimidating and exciting to have the honor of illustrating so many of them in one book.”