The Shadow War of the Night Dragons

The Shadow War of the Night Dragons, Book One: The Dead City is a parody fantasy short story by John Scalzi. It was first published on on April 1, 2011, and presented as an excerpt from a nonexistent larger work.

"Cover art" for the nonexistent novel of which the story was allegedly an excerpt.


On a dark and stormy night, three palace guards in the city of Skalandarharia discuss the possible existence of Night Dragons.


The Shadow War of the Night Dragons was a finalist for the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Short Story.[1]

GamesRadar considered that the story "affectionately skewers the heroic fantasy genre".[2] At Escape Pod, Mur Lafferty commended it as "very funny".[3]

Jim C. Hines praised Tor for supporting the joke by commissioning cover art for the non-existent novel, and noted that there was "an actual story (...) amidst the jokes and the over-the-top fantasy tropes", such that "when (he) finished reading, (he) wanted to know what happened next;" Hines did, however, note that "some of the humor felt a little forced", and correctly predicted that the story would not win the Hugo.[4]


  1. ^ 2012 Hugo Awards, at; retrieved July 25, 2021
  2. ^ BLOG Short, Sweet And Free: The Hugo Short Story Shortlist, by Dave Golder and Alasdair Stuart; at GamesRadar; published August 6, 2012; retrieved July 25, 2021
  3. ^ It’s Hugo Month!, by Mur Lafferty; at Escape Pod; published May 2, 2012; retrieved July 25, 2021
  4. ^ Hugo Short Stories, by Jim C. Hines, at; published May 29, 2012; retrieved July 25, 2021

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