________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 29. . . .March 28, 2014


Nuclear Dragons. (Launch 1980, Bk. 2).

Jim McPherson and various artists.
Vancouver, BC: Phantacea Publications, 2013.
362 pp., trade pbk., $20.00.
ISBN 978-0-9878683-6-7.

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.

Review by Ronald Hore.

* /4



In the SDL, white-as-light Morgianna was tagged the White Witch when as black-as-midnight he, as her husband, constant companion, and bodyguard, quickly regained the even less complimentary codename of Blackguard. (Personally, he always liked the Ace of Spades; this despite there being an entirely unrelated Queen of Spades, dead since ‘46, whose actual name was Mnemosyne D’Angelo Heliopolis.)

Unlike Memory of the Angels, who was a Lovely Lady Afrite like her much younger sister-in-law, the Summoning Child Roxanne Heliopolis become Kinesis, Morgianna was a thoroughly well-trained member of the Antediluvian Sisterhood of Flowery Anthea. (An otherwise obscure Greek goddess of Springtime renewal, of life itself, the flirtatious Flower Goddess was pictured, albeit with only two eyes, in a famous painting by Sandro Botticelli, circa 1480, entitled

Although barely into her thirties and still (apparently) childless, there was little doubt Morg, as he called her despite her preference for Morgianna, would eventually become the Sisterhood’s Mother Superior. In ‘51, Memory’s older and last surviving sister, Dolores nee D’Angelo Rivera held that honour, had at least nominally for the second time, the first being in the late 1930s.


The novel Nuclear Dragons is set in a continuing Phantacea Mythos, a series at least in part based on comic books from the 1980s. Covering 362 pages, it consists of three pages relating to this and others in the series, a three page “Auctorial Preamble,” table of Contents, and a black and white replica of the colour cover. The story is broken into 27 chapters. At the end is a introduction to another in the series and three pages of black and white cover samples.

     The author is well-versed in his mythology and knows his many characters and the universe it takes place in very well. Unfortunately, for the reader who is unfamiliar with the story, it is very difficult to follow, in part because of the style and excess of information. The tale opens with the destruction of a rocket ship and falls into the ongoing world-wide struggle between devils, witches, supermen and countless unknown creatures who are attempting to destroy a magic island, among other things. To add to the confusion, some characters, often with lengthy multiple names, take over and control the bodies of others. There are frequent narrator asides, providing additional information which does not always add to the progress of the tale.

     The unsuspecting reader who began their entrance into this mythology with this novel would discover it very difficult to follow or find the plot. It would probably help if they were familiar with the comic books on which it is based, but, even then, I suspect, would find this hard going. The novel would benefit from the firm hand of an experienced editor to pare it down to the core of the story.

Not Recommended.

Ronald Hore, a member of several writing groups, writes medieval-style fantasy and fantasy detective stories in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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