Book Card  -  Volume 1  -  Book Review Number 1  -  Fri, July 1, 1988 8:29 PM

TITLE: Dragons: An Introduction To The Modern Infestation
AUTHOR: Pamela Wharton Blanpied
PUBLISHER: Warner Books

Dragons is an introductory textbook in the subject of Verminology, that is, the study of dragons. It purports to be written sometime late in the 21st century and from beginning to end is presented in a flawless scientific style, complete with footnotes, bar graphs, and a six page bibliography of (mostly imaginary) sources. The author discusses dragon feeding habits, reproductive cycles, and anatomy, and provides a history of Verminology's gradual acceptance by the scientific com-munity, including some of the political infighting going on between current researchers.

Ms. Blanpied is an extremely clever writer and her book is as much a wry commentary on the scientific method as it is a book about dragons. Even so, if Dragons were no more than a pretend textbook, I would not have found it very interesting. But I do find it interesting; in fact I regard it as a great find. The book pretends to be a scholarly tome, but underneath it is a hilarious, haunting, rollicking good story.

Of the three leading characters, only one is a dragon. The other two are Marta Froedlich, a kind of Margaret Mead character, and Philip Marsden, the rather mystical father of Verminology. Their many adventures are never told directly in story form, but always obliquely through journal excerpts and personal letters. Somehow the dragons themselves do not come across as merely an interesting species of lizard, but rather as magical, beautiful, dangerous mysteries.

This is a book about the profound human desire to communicate with other creatures, and about the pursuit of beauty and the yearning for immortality. In this respect it is akin to another of my favorite books, Interview With The Vampire. The characters are appealing, convincing, even moving. In short, it is a much deeper book than it appears at first glance, but still lighthearted throughout: an easy read.

Dragons is listed in the official publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.