Gork, The Teenage Dragon: A Novel
“a grown-up fable, a charming, though bloody, fairytale for adults.”
“There’s an old riddle that goes like this: What is the hardest part of a dragon’s life? Answer: Hatching.”
Gork is about to discover that isn’t necessarily so.
From the beginning, Gork is different from other dragons. In the first place, he’s an orphan, his parents dying when their ship crashed on Earth. Raised and educated by the ship Athenos, he is three years old when his grandfather, Dr. Terrible, takes him home to the dragon planet, Blegwethia
“Maybe you’ll be surprised to learn we dragons have story-telling traditions of our own. Well get used to it. My name is Gork The Terrible (first name Gork, middle name The, last name Terrible). I’m a dragon. And this is my story.”
On Blegwethia, Gork soon learns his differences put him at a disadvantage, especially as he grows into young adult dragonhood. His heart is much too large, making him have soft emotions. His horns are too short, barely two inches.
“My horns are so small I couldn’t gore a flea.”
He occasionally faints when overcome with excitement. His “Will to Power” ranking is 1 out of 1000 and his nickname is Weak Sauce.
With youthful optimism, however, Gork is certain he’ll grow out of all these deficits. At the moment, he’s a senior at War Wings Academy for Planet Conquering, Epic Poetry Writing, and Gold Plundering for Draconum. It’s time for EggHarvest, and Gork is determined to ask Runcita Floop, daughter of the tyrant running the school, to be his queen. He can’t lose; he’s practiced before his mirror for three days.
There’s extra pressure for Gork to get his queen.
“If I don’t get an official queen by sundown today my rights as a dragon will be revoked. I’ll be demoted to slave status.”
He’s going to have a difficult time because Runcita won’t stand still long enough for him to get near, much less speak to her.
Gork is determined.
In short order, he defies a security detail of dragon commandos, Dean Floop, various dragon bullies, and even his own grandfather, in his relay-race courtship of the lovely-scaled Runcita.
“Me and my Queen Runcita will be laying plans for invading a planet together . . . on a Fertility Mission . . . and me and Runcita will be ‘bumping scales.’ As soon as she quits flapping her beak with her villanous dad, Dean Floop, my Queen Quest will be over. Runcita will be wearing my crown in a jiffy.”
Occasionally helping Gork in his pursuit is Fribby, his best friend, a cybernetic dragon.
“Fribby looks like your typical Dragobot, but she isn’t from the Servant Class. She’s the first generation of a new dragon species produced by the Creative Evolution Lab. She’s what’s called a MortalMachine, produced from Dragon DNA.”
Not everyone likes MortalMachines, or the ordinary Dragobots, either. Dr. Terrible hates them, but Gork doesn’t . . . but then, he’s different.
Braving bullies, handsome dragon cadets with seven-foot horns spiraling skyward, a vicious Dean Floop, and even his own grandfather’s nefarious plotting, Gork persists in his goal of find Runcita and offering her his crown, making her his queen.
Somewhere along the line, however, things change.
Gork will discover what he needs and what he wants aren’t always the same thing. He’ll also learn of his own parents’ hopes, and gain insight into what it truly means to be a dragon, even a dragon with a too-big heart and too-small horns.
“What can I say? My big heart just isn’t cut out for conquering and enslaving and whatnot. Ranking systems and power indexes be damned.”
In a cross between a dragon version of Ferris Buehler’s Day Off and the Expendables, this single day in the life of teenage dragon Gork is by turns amusing, thought provoking, and a bit shocking. Though a good many sentences begin with “But,” and “And” and there are many descriptions of “scaly green asses,” and “black hearts,” who are we to become grammar police?
Perhaps this is the way dragons talk.
Gork’s minor diatribe against Beowulf, Tolkien, et al who’ve vilified dragons, and his affinity and kinship with Huck Finn and Holden Caulfield may bring about some changes in thinking among the drakophobes in the audience.
It’s a grown-up fable, a charming, though bloody, fairytale for adults, with enough explosions to satisfy the adolescent in us while making readers cheer for Gork in his determination to achieve his goal. Though “delightful” may not be the proper description for Gork the Teenage Dragon, this tale of one dragon’s quest for happiness and the lengths he goes to in achieving it is, nevertheless, exactly that, and more.