25 Years of Spectra: FORTRESS DRACONIS (2001) by Michael A. Stackpole


Many readers probably know Michael A. Stackpole as the author of some great Star Wars books, including a number in the X-Wing series, which is one of my personal favorites.
But Michael is one of those multi-talented writers who isn’t necessarily constrained by genre (you know–the kind of author whose talent makes you just the teensiest jealous). Now, some people might say that the shift from science fiction to fantasy isn’t that far of a leap, but when you have to switch from a world built on magic and illusions to a world predicated on scientific plausibility, you’re talking about two very different beasts.
So for Michael to work in both SF and Fantasy shows his versatility. The fact that his books are still in print–including Fortress Draconis (as well as the rest of the DragonCrown War Cycle: The Dark Glory War, When Dragons Rage, and The Grand Crusade)–shows how good a storyteller he is.
In his own words, Michael discusses Fortress Draconis

Fortress Draconis was a first novel in several ways. It was my first trade paperback, which was a great thrill. The cover, by Ciruelo is one of my favorites. I met him at Gencon in 2001 and bought the original. The folks at FASA lent me a big art folder to carry it, and the flight attendants were wonderful in stowing it for me once I explained what it was.

FD also started the DragonCrown War Cycle of novels. True, The Dark Glory War preceded it, but in the planning phase, I’d originally looked at just doing the trilogy. The Dark Glory War got added into the mix over breakfast at a convention with Anne Groell and Tom Dupree. I had back-story, so might as well burn it in a novel we could use as a lead-in.

Most significantly, however, Fortress Draconis was the first novel where I was “in” from the start. Usually it takes three or four chapters to break through into the world. With Fortress Draconis, with that first chapter, I was there, in Will’s skin, feeling the rain, feeling the world. I recall being rather frightened by that at the time. I knew that wasn’t how it was supposed to be, but it felt great. And got things off to a great start.”

–Michael A. Stackpole, June 2010


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