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Thu Jun 21, 2012, 01:49 AM

Perhaps the greatest fantasy short story ever!

Last edited Thu Jun 21, 2012, 01:11 PM - Edit history (1)

The Shadow War of the Night Dragons, Book One: The Dead City
Br: John Scalzi

Night had come to the city of Skalandarharia, the sort of night with such a quality of black to it that it was as if black coal had been wrapped in blackest velvet, bathed in the purple-black ink of the demon squid Drindel and flung down a black well that descended toward the deepest, blackest crevasses of Drindelthengen, the netherworld ruled by Drindel, in which the sinful were punished, the black of which was so legendarily black that when the dreaded Drindelthengenflagen, the ravenous blind black badger trolls of Drindelthengen, would feast upon the uselessly dilated eyes of damned, the abandoned would cry out in joy as the Drindelthengenflagenmorden, the feared Black Spoons of the Drindelthengenflagen, pressed against their optic nerves, giving them one last sensation of light before the most absolute blackness fell upon them, made yet even blacker by the injury sustained from a falling lump of ink-bathed, velvet-wrapped coal.

With the night came a storm, the likes of which the eldest among the Skalandarharians would proclaim they had seen only once before, although none of them could agree on which one time that was; some said it was like the fabled Scouring of Skalandarharia, in which the needle-sharp ice-rain flayed the skin from the unjust of the city, provided they were outside at the time, while sparing the just who had stayed indoors; others said it was very similar to the unforgettable Pounding of Skalandarharia, in which hailstones the size of melons destroyed the city’s melon harvest; still others compared it to the oft-commented-upon Moistening of Skalandarharia, in which the persistent humidity made everyone unbearably sticky for several weeks; at which point they were informed that this storm was really nothing like that at all, to which they replied perhaps not, but you had to admit that was a pretty damn miserable time.

Which is to say: It was a dark and stormy night.
...


http://www.tor.com/stories/2011/04/the-shadow-war-of-the-night-dragons-book-one-the-dead-city-excerpt?WT.mc_id=0

(And yes, you should probably notice the day it was posted... )

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Reply Perhaps the greatest fantasy short story ever! (Original post)
petronius Jun 2012 OP
uppityperson Jun 2012 #1
Fortinbras Armstrong Jun 2012 #2
petronius Jul 2012 #3
softhearted Feb 2013 #4

Response to petronius (Original post)

Tue Jun 26, 2012, 12:53 AM

1. How fun, thank you.

Am laughing my way through it.

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Response to petronius (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 08:10 AM

2. I trust you are familiar with The Eye of Argon

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Response to Fortinbras Armstrong (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 2, 2012, 01:26 PM

3. That is really spectacular! Spectacularly bad...



I've heard of it, but I never read it clear through - it's a study in how not to use adjectives. Thanks!

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Response to petronius (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 07:24 AM

4. "It was a dark and stormy night"

is more of a meme than an actual example of bad writing IMHO.

It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.


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