The Dragon on the Bookshelf

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"The Dragon on the Bookshelf"
Author Harlan Ellison, Robert Silverberg
Original title "The Dragon on the Bookshelf"
Country United States of America
Language English
Series The Ultimate Dragon
Genre(s) Fantasy short story
Publication type Short story
Publisher Griffin Books
Media type Paper
Publication date 1995

"The Dragon on the Bookshelf" is a short story by Harlan Ellison and Robert Silverberg. The story was originally written and copyrighted in 1995, and appeared in Ellison's 1997 short story collection Slippage.

Plot summary[edit]

The story starts with Urnikh (/ˈʊərnʃ/ OOR-neesh), the young dragon protagonist, sitting on a bookshelf in his love Margaret's home and thinking about how beautiful she is. Outside it is a war of the worlds as unspeakable creatures cross an inter dimensional rift to invade the Earth. After Urnikh reports back to his master, it turns out that Urnikh was sent to repair the rift.

Back at Margaret's apartment, Urnikh is frightened to learn she isn't home. Frantic, he searches the whole city for her, the rift getting larger by the second. He knows he only has a limited time to get Margaret out of danger and save the universe. He alights on her boyfriend's house and waits for her to leave. Finally she boards the bus with him on top of it. Anxious, he casts his eyes skyward. He has failed. Mortal time has come to an end.