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Posts Tagged ‘podcast novel’

It’s amazing where dragons will turn up. In a class, I was helping a kid look up bio-luminescent animals, and there it was! Yep, I wasn’t even looking, and I found another ocean-going dragon.

Dragonfish are predators of the deep sea who can produce their own light. Some have eye spots that generate light, others can flash rows of lights along their bodies, and still others have bio-luminescent lures similar to angler-fishes’s. Unlike angler fishes, dragonfish have long, skinny bodies rather than with the outsized head we associate with angler fish.

Like many denizens of deep water, dragonfish are mysterious. Do they use their lights to attract mates? To lure in prey? To startle enemies? How long do they live? Scientists aren’t sure. We know adults are found up to 5,000 feet deep. Many animals at this frigid depth can make their own lights. Some dragonfish even have black stomachs, to block the lights of prey they have swallowed. They aren’t very big, only 6″ long, but they sure have a dragon’s-mouth mouth full of cutlery!

If you want to find out more about dragonfish, Sea and Sky is a great web site with information about all kinds of deep-sea monsters. Next time, I’ll talk about a few other fish that are nick-named “dragonfish.”

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Last week I wrote about Lego dragons built of plastic bricks, and that got me thinking about other forms of game and toy dragons in mass media. One of the biggest recent conglomerations has been Bakugan. I say conglomerations because there are anime, manga, toys, cards, and more about Bakugan.

The series began as competition to the enormously popular Pokémon video, card game, anime, manga, etc. conglomeration at the turn of the 21st Century. The first Bakugan products were released in Japan around 2007, where they were considered a flop. However, the line caught on in North America. US and Canadian audiences really took to the toy/card game and animated shows.

I first became aware of Bakugan when I was a school staffer. The toys are small, plastic creatures that compress into a sphere about the size of a walnut. Our school didn’t allow toys, because they distract from learning, but Bakugan easily fit into pockets and I was taking them to the office quite often.

Along with the plastic creatures are playing cards. “Gate cards” contain magnetic strips. When you roll the plastic toys over the cards, it causes them to pop open and, the tale goes, absorb the powers of that Gate. You can also play non-magnetic “ability” cards on your creatures, or play trap cards to handicap your opponent. Add it all up, and the highest total wins.

Sounds like fun, but are there any dragons? You bet! Dragonoids are one of the most popular types in game play, and in the anime one of the main Bakugan is a Pyrus Dragonoid called Drago.

Now, I must confess, I have some homework to do. I need to watch a few episodes of the show before I can write any more. So in a few days I hope to be talking more about Drago and his fellow Bakugan.

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The story continues as Vingrel gives enchanted mead to his unsuspecting comrades. What wicked scheme has he got going? You can listen on Podbean or my web site.

As always, I’d love to get comments on the story.

Time Notes: Introduction, 0:12; Chapter 2, 0:57; End Credits, 12:14; Total Run Time, 13:36.

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“The Weight of Their Souls” is a swords and sorcery novelette. In this Nortonesque fantasy, a group of ragged survivors try to make their way home after an epic battle of good vs. evil. There are seven episodes in the series, and they will be posted on Sundays until the end of May, 2013.

The first episode is available through Podbean or on my web site.

If you enjoy this podcast, please leave feedback and tell your friends about my work. Thanks!

Time notes: Introduction, 0:12; Chapter 1, 1:35; End Credits, 13:05; Total Run Time, 14:35.

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Just to keep you all in the loop, I’ll be stepping back from Wyrmflight for a few days to work on my next podcast. This one will be a seven episode series, a swords & sorcery novelette called The Weight of Their Souls.

Right now I’m in the midst of the voice recording. I’m also searching for cover art and music to go with it. It’s spring break in my school district, so I have the time free to focus on the recording and mixing process.

As I go through this story, after not having looked at it for a few years, I find it’s very influenced by Andre Norton’s Witch World series, which was an early favorite of mine. So if you remember Norton fondly, as I do, I hope you’ll take a listen when the podcast is done.

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After my last post, M. Q. Allen asked the fascinating question (paraphrasing here) “What’s with dragons’s predilection for virgins?” This is a complicated question that shows how folklore can blend across nations and ages, growing new meaning with the passage of time.

Among the threads that I believe weave into this tapestry are human sacrifice, virginity, and how justice was carried out. Each of these has a long history in folk belief, so we’ll go one at a time.

In ancient times, people believed their gods wanted concrete proof of devotion. That proof was in the form of a sacrifice. Sacrifices could be wine poured out on an altar, gifts of food and coin to a temple, or the slaughter of animals. Well, for the highest devotion or when praying for something especially important, the sacrifice would be a human life.

So if a human life is required, then the absolutely ultimate sacrifice would be one’s own child. All the parent’s love of their child and hopes for the future given up in an instant, to please the Gods.

This seems horrible to us, but it was practiced all over the world for thousands of years. Europeans sank victims in bogs or burned captives in a “wicker man.” Altars thoughout Central America were drenched in blood and there was a mummified child or girl on many mountaintops in South America. Even the Bible relates, in Genesis 22, that Abraham would have sacrificed his son, Jacob, if God hadn’t sent an angel to intervene at the last moment.

In story after story, a king’s virgin daughter is set to be sacrificed to a dragon — buying security for a kingdom at the expense of her life. It’s such a powerful image, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that dragons came to be connected with it.

Next time, I’ll delve into why being a virgin was such a big deal.

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One more ouroboros, and then I’ll be taking a holiday break.

Jormungandr is a dragon of Norse legend, sometimes known as the World Serpent or Midgard Serpent. Like Hydra, who I covered during the fall, Jormungandr is part of a larger monstrous family. His siblings are Fenrir, the giant wolf, and the death goddess, Hel. All three are offspring of the frost giantess Angrboda and the wicked god Loki.

Because they were so horrific, the children were seized by Odin, king of the gods, to be neutralized in some way. Hel and Fenrir have their own legends; Jormungandr was thrown into the sea. He continued to grow until he was so large that his tail stretched all the way around the earth. Norse lore held that storms at sea happened because Jormungandr had bitten his own tail and was writhing in pain. This might sound bad, but the stories also said if he ever let go of his tail, the world would end.

Jormungandr had a special enmity with Thor, son of Odin. Here is a story from Norse mythology.

Thor planned a fishing trip along with a giant named Hymir. Hymir said he didn’t have any bait, so Thor cut off the head of Hymir’s ox and they used that. Hymir (who didn’t seem to mind having his ox killed) took Thor out to his favorite fishing spot.

Hymir caught two whales and was ready to head back, but Thor hadn’t caught anything yet. Ignoring Hymir’s warnings, he rowed the boat farther out to sea. Using the ox head as bait, he cast his line. Guess who bit the hook? Yep, Jormungandr! After a terrific struggle, Thor pulled the serpent up, while Hymir cowered in the bottom of the boat. Jormungander spat poison and blood, but Thor was fearless. He raised his hammer to strike!

Maybe Hymir had been paying attention when the skalds said Jormungander’s death meant the end of the world. At the last second, he ran out and cut the line. The sea dragon fled back into the depths, but he hated Thor ever afterward.

Thanks for following my blog through 2012. I’ll see you in 2013!

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