Profile of Brian Robert Dolton

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Brian Dolton has spent the last twenty years trying to amass enough interesting life experiences so that his writer's bio will make him appear far more interesting than he actually is. He has ridden a camel in the Sahara, stayed in a Zen monastery on a holy mountain in Japan, and played volleyball on a sandbar in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Now these distractions are out of the way he can finally concentrate on sitting at a computer and writing.


Short Story. The Box of Beautiful Things. Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show #3, October 2006.   Nominated for storySouth Million Writers award 2007.

Short Story. The Man Who Was Never Afraid. Abyss & Apex #20, October 2006.   Honorable Mention in "The Year's Best Fantasy And Horror 2007".

Short Story. The Unicorn Hunter. OG's Sepculative Fiction #8, September 2007.

Short Story. When Winter Came. ASIM #32 (forthcoming)

Short Story. Where No Wind Blows. Staffs and Starships #2 (forthcoming)

Short Story. What The Sea Refuses. Black Gate (forthcoming)

Short Story. Three Out Of Four. Sorcerous Signals (forthcoming)

Short Story. The Dragon Path. Fictitious Force (forthcoming)

Short Story. At Blue Crane Falls. Abyss & Apex (forthcoming) 


Tangent Online
on "The Man Who Was Never Afraid"

In "The Man Who Was Never Afraid" by Brian Dolton, Yi Qin has seen this all before. A Man Who Is Never Afraid makes a foolish, alcohol-drenched wager in the presence of a Man Who Is More Than He Seems. The end result is a blood-soaked certainty, but if that's the case, then why is Yi Qin sticking around? Faux Eastern fantasy is a difficult genre to write successfully. A foot wrong in one direction and it comes off as pastiche. A foot wrong in the other and it plays like little more than a distillation of the recent revival in martial cinema. However, Brian Dolton manages to avoid all the pitfalls and turns in a story which feels timeless, shot through with a welcome streak of wry, deadpan humor. Dolton plays with Yi Qin as both a character and a mouthpiece, using her distance and lack of concern to couch the story in traditional and remarkably effective terms. Divided into miniature chapters, there's a distinct hint of the fable to this, as Yi Qin witnesses a battle of wits between The Man Who Was Never Afraid and a surprisingly articulate demon. That battle, and the fact that its based on intelligence and perception instead of physical strength (although fans of heroic cinema will find a lot to enjoy in the story's whirlwind closing moments), is what makes the story stand out. This is a piece of fiction as much about what we think is going on as what's actually going on. It is, in short, a piece of delicately engineered close-up magic, carried out right in front of the reader. A tight, controlled, hugely enjoyable piece of writing, this avoids all the stereotypes of the genre, is worthy of its sources, and is mightily entertaining.

Tangent Online
on "The Box Of Beautiful Things"

" "The Box of Beautiful Things" by Brian Dolton may leave you musing on the nature of truth and beautysynonymous according to Keats, but maybe not when one of the two arouses the envy of those in power. Weng Hao's Grand Carnival Of Curiosities features the usual amusements: tigers, acrobats, storytellers. What sets it apart from the others is the Box of Beautiful Things. Only a few at a time are allowed in to view the treasures. A necklace of gold filigree, delicate as a spiderweb, bright as the morning sun on Mount Yang. A jade dragon, smooth as water, cool as a blessing. Silks, as vivid as dreams. Porcelain, pale as milk. Pearls and rubies and feathers. People stand patiently in line for a brief glimpse of these wonderful things, and leave with gladness in their hearts, thrilled by what they have seen. So famous has the box become, the emperor himself has heard of it, and sends his emissary, Yi Qin, to determine if the rumors are true. Despite Weng Haos pleas that his customers are well satisfied with the memory of beauty, illusion or not, Yi Qin must do her duty. In a moment of candor, she reveals that the emperors motivations in protecting his people from charlatans may not be as high-minded as a simple reverence for truth. The story moves smoothly, with a large chunk of philosophy slid in so carefully that it doesnt affect the storys momentum. Weng Hao makes a good argument, but perhaps as a writer I feel predisposed to agree with him. After all, what is a storyteller but a spinner of dreams to gladden the hearts of ones listeners?"