My daughter Julie and I have written a book together entitled, “How to Build a Dragon or Die Trying, A satirical look at cutting edge science.”
The book will be out sometime in June most likely.
In How to Build a Dragon we, first of all, take a satirical tone as highlighted by the subtitle. We are somewhat poking fun at science hype in this book. Hopefully, you can get that gist just from the cover where the dragon’s fire is heating up the words “A Satirical Look”.
At the same time, we are literally going through how one might try to build a real dragon using actual science. For instance, one can try to use CRISPR gene editing at various steps along the way to confer dragon-like traits.
Another important difference in this book is that our intended audience is very broad. The book is meant to specifically be inclusive for young adults. We’ve written the book and had it edited in such a way as to be fun and appealing to a diverse audience including young and future scientists, but also current scientists.
Of course, Game of Thrones (GoT) and its dragons come up in the book as does Smaug from The Hobbit. Incidentally, what roles do you think the remaining 2 dragons will pay in GoT?
The idea for this book came from one of Julie’s past science projects. No, she didn’t build a dragon, but she briefly outlined how it might be done.
In working on this new book for a couple of years, one of the best parts of the research was learning more about striking real creatures who already have (or in the case of Pteranodons, had) amazing, real powers. One of the weirdest creatures is the Bombardier Beetle that can fire hot, burning chemical solutions out of its butt. While we want our dragon to breathe fire out the front end, the Bombardier is nonetheless pretty remarkable and its biochemistry could help with making a fire-breathing dragon.
Not surprisingly, stem cell technology also comes into play in planning for building a real dragon.
In the second to last chapter we write about using the same kinds of technologies to make real versions of other mythical creatures including unicorns.
We wrap up the book with the last chapter on ethical issues that could arise if we actually tried to build a dragon.
Once it’s out, we hope you will pick up a copy of How To Build a Dragon and enjoy it. In the meantime you can pre-order copies.
Let us know what you think of it after you read it.