A stand-alone science fiction books about genetically engineered dragons!


Publication year: 2021
Page count: 345
Publisher: Baen

Noah Parker has a Ph.D. in genetic engineering. He wants to work for Reptilian Corp. for a very specific reason and the reason’s not because Reptilian is making dragons. Reptilian has genetically engineered (from reptiles) dragons to hunt the wild hogs which are a huge problem for the US farmers. However, now the dragons are making quick work of the hogs and the company needs to expand to more lucrative market: pets.

Four years ago, a virulent disease killed off almost all dogs and the few who are alive are kept in clean rooms. While some people are happy with other pets, Reptilian wants to make dragons for the former dog owners. Noah’s research could well help with that. But even if he gets a job in the company, he must try to do his own secret work and time is running out.

This was a fun and fast-paced scifi book. Noah is the first person narrator and he has a good sense of humor and he’s quite nerdy, too. But when he’s obsessed with something, everything else just falls away. He mostly works with computer models. As a conterpoint to sitting in front of the computer all day, he starts geocaching in the Arizona desert. I also enjoyed his snarky but caring relationship with his brother.

We get a couple of fun chapters from others’ POV, too. A couple of them are hilarious customer service calls.

Noah has programmed a behavioral simulater based on the dragons’ biological variables. Basically, he tries to designs dragons which will be genetically docile. The company puts a point cost to different things like intelligence and size, so he can’t change them willy-nilly, but must balance things out. The company uses a 3D printer to print the eggs and then hatches them.

I have no idea if any of this is even remotely plausible but it’s a lot of fun!