Peggy at the science fiction in biology blog mentioned Bitterwood today in a post about biologically plausible dragons. Alas, the link she points readers to is broken. I suspect she was directing them to a post I wrote over a year ago called "Building a Better Dragon." This essay examines some of the underlying biological plausibility of my beasties, such as why I went with a four limbed dragon instead of a six limbed one, and why my dragons don't breathe fire.
Peggy's article mainly talks about an Animal Planet fake documentary about dragons that came out a few years ago. I saw it right around the time Bitterwood came out. It was interesting, but they really bent over backwards to explain the dragon fire-breathing. They are correct to point out that animals can produce methane and hydrogen in their digestive tracks, but, as Peggy's blog points out, what's going to ignite it when the dragon burps it up? Cow's burp out enough methane to be potential firebreathing menaces, but they have failed, alas, to develop teeth made from flint and steel.
However! Frat boys have for many years lit their farts with lighters. Suppose you had a vegetarian dinosaur that could belch out twenty times as much methane as a cow, and suppose that that dinosaur had evolved to tool-using intelligence. If it could learn to flick a zippo with it's tongue... hmm. Perhaps a mix of biological fuel and technological ignition could make a plausible fire-breather after all.
Damn. I might have to write another book to explore this possiblity. An alternate earth ruled by super-intelligent giant bovines who fight their former primate overlords with fiery belches. On that world, the most chilling sound any man can hear is "mooo-fwhooosh!"
Welcome to my worlds!
I'm James Maxey, author of fantasy and science fiction. My novels include the science fantasy Bitterwood Saga (4 books) the Dragon Apocalypse Saga (4 books), numerous superhero novels including Nobody Gets the Girl and the Lawless series, the steampunk Oz sequel Bad Wizard, and my short story collections, There is No Wheel and Jagged Gate. This website is focused exclusively on writing. At my second blog, Jawbone of an Ass, I ramble through any random topic that springs to mind, occasionally touching on religion and politics and other subjects polite people are sensible enough not to discuss in public. If you'd like to get monthly updates on new releases, as well as preview chapters and free short stories, join my newsletter!