The Flight of Dragons: Fires the imagination

Flight of Dragons by Peter DickinsonThe Flight of Dragons by Peter DickinsonThe Flight of Dragons by Peter Dickinson

I loved this book as a kid, and not just because it had naughty boobie pictures that had nothing to do with the text. Dickinson takes the position that Dragons actually existed, then goes from there to ask questions like: why are they not in the fossil record? How could a creature that is generally depicted as huge and armoured supposedly fly? What’s the deal with the fire-breathing? Why are they often depicted as speaking and/or telepathic creatures? How come the accepted method of killing them is by a dude with a magic sword? The answers he comes up with were pretty convincing, at least to young me, and do a lot to fire the imagination.

Scattered throughout the text where Dickinson expounds on his theories are excerpts from stories about dragons (both ancient and modern) that serve to back-up, or at least explicate, some of his theories. After covering the basic elements of Dragon physiology Dickinson goes on to posit the life-cycle of a dragon living according to his design and it’s a fascinating glimpse into the could-have-been life of a mythical creature. I especially liked the fact that even though Dickinson is ostensibly making dragons “realistic” they still don’t lose their magic. No small feat. This isn’t a dry-as-dust scientific treatise, but rather a “what-if” scenario that tries to bring our dreams to life.

Apparently they made an animated movie about The Flight of Dragons, but I never saw it. I have no real desire to either… I like the text itself just fine, thanks. It’s loads of fun, whether you’re reading it cover to cover, or just leafing through and dipping in here and there.

Great reading. And boobies!

Publication Date: September 1981 From the dust jacket: “This thrilling book combines fact with fantasy, science with romance. In an elegant exposition Peter Dickinson, award-winning novelist, sets out to prove that dragons did exist. The mythology of dragons gives many surprisingly consistent clues as to the size and nature of the beasts. Peter Dickinson has woven these intriguing folk-tales and anecdotes into a riveting thesis on how so great a creature as the dragon actually managed to fly. His theory exactly ties in with reports on dragons’ flight patterns, eating habits and family life. He reveals to us the dragon’s special reasons for hoarding gold, their distinctive mating and evolutionary cycle, in a romantic yet well-researched and wholly satisfying construction of the dragon’s way of life.”

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TERRY LAGO, one of our regular guest reviewers, is a Torontonian who, like all arts students, now works in the IT field. He has been a fan of fantasy ever since being introduced to Tolkien by his older brother when he was only a wee lad, though he has since branched out to enjoy all spectrums of the Fantasy genre and quite a few of the science fiction one as well. Literary prose linked with well-drawn characters are the things he most looks for in a book.

View all posts by Terry Lago (guest)

One comment

  1. Brann /

    I loved the book growing up as well, and still do–the animated movie is actually a combination of The Flight of Dragons, and Gordon R. Dickson’s Dragon and the George.

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