Book Review: The two McCaffrey, and dragons in the sky

Sky Dragons by Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey

If I have a soft spot for a series, it’s the Dragonriders of Pern. After Tamora Pierce’s Alanna series in middle school, the Pern books were my first foray into Fantasy cum Science Fiction. Somewhere along the road, though, my attention drifted. McCaffrey began co-writing the books with her son, Todd McCaffrey, and I started seeing other novels. But when I saw the cover of Sky Dragons this June, I couldn’t resist. Sky Dragons is also the last Pern book written by the late Anne McCaffrey.

So. Eight books have gone by since I stopped reading. A lot has gone down. Dragonrider politics is a-broiling, time travel is glitchy, and there just aren’t enough dragons to keep the planet safe from the deadly falling space parasite called Thread. So the dragon riders jump back in time to the southern continent to raise dragon hatchlings so they can grow up in time to battle the deadly Thread when it begins to fall.

What should have been a simple and fool-proof plan becomes a Lost-style (well, not quite) struggle for survival. Xhinna, a rare female rider of a blue dragon is shoved into the role of leader, against all tradition. Supplies are running out.

The predatory creatures from the wilds are going after the eggs. It is no longer a question of training the next generation of dragonriders – the very survival of the new settlement  is at stake. Continue reading

Thinking of Pern: Anne McCaffrey

Science fiction novelist Anne McCaffrey passed away yesterday at the age of 85 in her home in Ireland.

Over the years, Anne McCaffrey has become an iconic figure in the Sci-fi genre. She published her first novel, Restoree, in 1967 and has written over a hundred books since.

You might know her by the Dragonriders of Pern, by the short story “The Smallest Dragonboy” that found its way into English textbooks, or by her many science fiction series: The Ship Who Sang, Talent, and The Crystal Singer.

She has co-authored books with authors like Margaret Ball, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, Mercedes Lackey, and Jody Lynn Nye, and was the first woman to receive both the Hugo Award (for “Weyr Search” in 1968), and the Nebula Award (for Dragonrider in 1969).

“Writing has been so much a part of my life that I’m really quite annoyed that I can’t do as much as I used to. But I have nine series, for godsakes, give me a break! I’m 78, I’m on my pension in Ireland, and all that good stuff. I have my good days and my bad days, but I don’t have as much energy as I used to back when I was young and foolish and didn’t count the cost — and it takes a lot — to write.”

–From Locus Online: Heirs to Pern

When she was asked in a 2004 interview what she would like her epitaph to read, she summed it up in two words: “Story Teller”. And I know I am just one among thousands of readers who would add “Beloved” to that line.