Carol Emshwiller. Riding Red Ted and Breathing Fire. (Asimovs April/May 2012)

I’m not a big fan of stories with dragons, but this one took my fancy. Emshwiller creates a believable, flawed character, a military man taking a mission for money, more concerned about his appearance and worried that he will not be accorded respect due to his status, than matters ethical or moral. Emshwiller gets his voice, his internal dialogue, just right, showing up the extent to which other stories typically fail in this respect, or don’t even try to attempt it.

The human-dragon relationship is a more complex one than is of the case, and including instructional manual material for dragon riders is a neat touch.

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