Victor Milán’s latest novel, The Dinosaur Knights, is the second installment of a lush, exotic tale about knights—knights riding dinosaurs. As George R.R. Martin describes it: “It’s like a cross between Jurassic Park and A Game of Thrones.” Milán had us at Dinosaur Knights, but maybe you’re worried that the DinoHype isn’t real, or you’re disappointed that the books center around knights riding dinosaurs rather than dinosaurs who are knights (which, okay, would be amazing)… So let this recent Reddit AMA convert you to the DinoTruth, as Milán drops the DinoMic!
It seems fans and book press alike have bombarded Milán with all manner of dinosaur-related humor, but he takes it all in stride. After all, when you’ve written two bloodsoaked installments of a book series about 14th-century knights doing battle on the backs of saurians, you have to possess a superhuman tolerance for dino-puns.
So about that hype—where did it all begin? With the first book cover, of course. Richard Anderson’s fabulous style is a lot to live up to, but Milán doesn’t let it intimidate him:
DeleriumTrigger: Hi Victor—My question is related to hype. Your book cover dropped well before the book itself came out, and generated a lot of buzz and excitement in fantasy circles. Does this kind of thing add a higher level of pressure on your side? Anxiety? Or is it just an exciting thing to see your book garnering excitement long before it releases?
VM: Oh, heck, no! When I first laid eyes on Richard Anderson’s eye-popping cover for The Dinosaur Lords, my breath stuck in my throat, my eyes stood out of my head on cartoon stalks, and the first coherent thought I was able to form was, roughly, “Holy crap, I’ve won the lottery!”
Walter Jon Williams calls it “The greatest cover in the history of the Universe.” I’m not sure even I would go that far, but … I also can’t say he’s wrong.
As of this Fall I’ve been a full-time professional writer for almost all of the last 42 years. This is the first time I’ve experienced anything within an order of magnitude of the hype first DinoLords, and now DinoKnights are getting. I relished it last year, candidly. And this year, I find—I still do.
And, oh, yeah—Anderson’s doing the third book cover too! I hope we can acquire a similar symbiosis to that GRRM and John Picacio have.
If you can believe it, not everyone loved Milán’s use of dinosaurs… but he’s got more tricks up his sleeve.
xxfirebatxx: It’s great that you’re doing one of these (this is my first time participating on reddit).
What criticism did you get from the first book that affected you the most while writing the 2nd?
VM: This is my first time on Reddit too. Thanks for turning up!
Mostly the useful criticism came during the drafting process from the awe-inspiring writers group I belong to, Critical Mass, since I tend not to read the Comments and the published reviews I saw were pretty positive. They helped me get my sentence length, which had ballooned inexplicably in the early Oughts, under control, and helped me tighten up my characters and structure.
I did ask the writer of a review in a Brazilian blog, who was overall quite favorable, why she was dissatisfied with my use of dinosaurs. She said she hoped to see more wild dinosaurs play in the battle scenes. Which is of course a fair take—hey, you like what you like—but I wasn’t able to do much about because wild animals seldom play much role on actual battlefields.
Which is not to say they can’t. And that I didn’t already have plans in those directions. So if she keeps reading, she may find what she’s looking for….
The Dinosaur Lords IV: Dinosaur Wilds?!
Whether or not that comes to pass, he’s already got ideas for basically the entire Dinoverse:
Jorah_Explorah: I believe you may have answered this before in response to me on twitter or facebook group over a year ago (you are awesome with communicating with readers/fans, by the way): Is the current plan for 3 or 6 books in the Dinosaur Lords series (or the “The Ballad of Karyl’s Last Ride” series), or is it dependent on how well the first 3 books sell?
Also, do you have any ideas about other novellas and short stories in the universe, in the vein of the Tales of Dunk n Egg books within the ASOIAF series? It would also be incredible if the Dinosaur Lords series gets popular enough for someone to do a graphic novel. I’ve seen other fantasy series get these, and Paradise is such a beautiful world with dinosaurs, knights and incredible structures.
VM: Why, thanks! And thank you for coming here and asking questions.
What’s sold is a trilogy. And yes, to get the rest of the overall story arc will take 3 more novels. And, yes, whether you get to read those or not depends on how the first 3 sell. So, uh, if you like what you’re seeing and want to see more, please spread the word!
And yes, I’ve ideas for other DinoLords tales, both connected to the main storyline and characters and not. One has already appeared, in the April issue of Grimdark Magazine, and another is with an anthology, both of which involve prominent characters. I also have other novel and novel cycle ideas set on Paradise, including prequels and a direct spinoff to the current trilogy/hexalogy.
Glad you like Paradise! I love it. I wanted it to be a big, sprawling, beautiful world. And I’ve tried to bring it to life visually as much as I could. I think either the books or side stories would make crackin’ graphic novels.
Or movies/TV miniseries, for that matter.
You ride those DinoDreams all the way to TV, Victor Milán!
However, we do draw a line:
jktrololololol: So what about Cybernetic samurai riding dinosaurs? Or better yet, cybernetic dinosaurs riding samurai? :)
VM: Actually, a Cybernetic Samurai riding a dinosaur is something you might yet see! One uses a virtual fighting mecha in SHOGUN, after all.
A cybernetic dinosaur riding a samurai would probably require a virtual world to accomplish. Unless it was a very light dinosaur and a very husky samurai.
Dinosaurs riding humans? MADNESS.
Pick up The Dinosaur Knights, available now from Tor Books. Milán is currently working on the third installment, The Dinosaur Princess—and you know you want to find out what that’s about.