For my first new Hugo review I will point out The Shadow War of the Night Dragons, Book One: The Dead City by John Scalzi. This short story appeared on April 1 of 2011 for the very good reason that it was an April Fool’s prank. Scalzi talks about the genesis of the story here. Basically, Tor had wrapped up their “Best Books of the Decade” voting and had done some statistics on the frequency of words in the titles here. In that post, they suggested that a trilogy with the titles:
- The Shadow War of the Night Dragon, Book One: The Dead City
- The Shadow War of the Night Dragon, Book Two: Dark Blood Magic
- The Shadow War of the Night Dragon, Book Three: Dream World of the Fire Wolf
would be the most generically titled (and frighteningly possible) set of titles that could be arrived at.
With that list in hand, Patrick Nielsen Hayden called Scalzi up and asked him if he would be willing to write the prologue of the first volume for their April 1st funness. Scalzi (cackling with maniacal glee I can only imagine) accepted.
The story itself is a wild bit of fun. It has humor–high, low and meta. And, hey, it’s got evil badgers with spoons of darkness–how can you not like that?
Addendum:Here is a link to a hilarious reaction video of Mark Orshiro reading the first portion of “Shadow War”. It is made extra amusing by Mark being unaware that the story began its life as an April Fools prank.