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Monday, August 14, 2023

The Unimpressive Fictional Legacy of Dragon+

 Dragon Magazine from its start was a magazine of variety. At its inception this included fiction. The first issue even he part 1 of 6 of the novella “The Gnome Cache” by Garrison Ernst, a pen name for Gary Gygax. Other famous writers would even appear in the early pages, Harry Otto Fischer, Fritz Leiber, Andre Norton, Fletcher Pratt, L. Sprague de Camp, and Gardner Fox worth noting.

Dragon+ was a short lived, mediocre, sequel. Only half the heart was put into it, and there is no excuse because it was digital only—the last 71 issues of Dragon were also digital only. After six years of digital only content, the magazine was sunsetted in December 2013. 

But like a Phoenix it survived. In April 2015 Dragon+ was born as a successor to both Dragon and Dungeon magazines. While this gave hope for free content compatible for your fifth editions table, it was a sickly Phoenix. Issues came out bimonthly, making six a year. It lasted 7 years itself, the 41st and last issue releasing in March/April 2022 before being quietly shut down in July.

I failed to cover this when it happened, as my blog was on hiatus. I can’t say I know how the business was ran, but I feel there was much more fiction that could have been. Dragon+ was a wan light when the novel line ended. In 14 issues fiction appeared, all being somewhat connected to the Forgotten Realms as the flagship setting of the current product. The last piece came in October 2020 when “Ice Out” was released as a tie-in to Rime of the Frostmaiden. 

Apparently it tied into Candlekeep Mysteries too, and beyond that there has been very little attention given to the Realms from the sorcerers who live on the shore. 

While the recent movie tie-ins provide some light, the novel lines death accompanied with the death of short fiction in Dragon magazine marks a disdapointingdissapointing state. While fiction did decrease after the 1990s in Dragon Magazine, the venue still saw the likes of George R. R. Martin and others. When I think of Dragon’s legacy I can see much worthwhile fiction in the thousands of pages. I can’t say I see the same in Dragon+. 

I did see Ed Greenwood was part of a Spin a Yarn panel at GenCon and I had hoped it would be set in the Realms. Alas, even that hope was futile. We’ll see what happens from here.


You can track my current progress here.

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