R.I.P., Anne McCaffrey

(Elizabeth Malczynski Littman’s website)

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From Charlie Jane Anders at io9:

Anne McCaffrey wasn’t just the inventor of Pern, the world where a whole society is based on dragon-riding. She was also an incredibly influential author who helped transform the way science fiction and fantasy authors wrote about women, and the way all of us thought about bodies and selfhood. She was the first woman to win a Hugo Award and a Nebula Award, as well as a Grand Master of science fiction.
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Besides the Pern books, McCaffrey wrote the classic space-faring novel The Ship Who Sang, in which a severely disabled girl becomes the core of a starship, or Brainship, with her mind controlling all its major functions. McCaffrey’s novel provided a startling new way to think about personhood and the nature of the mind/body connection, but also helped pave the way for a whole subgenre of posthuman space opera, in which heavily modified humans explore space…

For us girl geeks of a certain age, The Ship Who Sang proved to our carping male fellows that the category “sf/fantasy writer” could not exclude the subset “women” — that not all women writing speculative fiction were ‘obsolete‘ (like C.L. Moore), ‘just YA scribblers‘ (Andre Norton, Zenna Henderson), ‘more editors than authors, really‘ (Judith Merrill, Kate Wilhelm) or ‘weird outliers‘ (Joanna Russ). The premise behind the brainships hasn’t aged well; the idea that physically imperfect humans would be turned into enslaved cyborgs as a merciful alternative to euthanasia has moved from unsettling to socially outrageous, and I for one consider such political correctness an improvement. But Helva-the-Brainship is still a fantastic character, and along with her much-mocked (extremely mockable) Dragonriders, have ensured McCaffrey an honorable place in the genre’s hall of fame.

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80 replies
  1. 1

    No love for Ursula K. in your panthees* ?

    *[sic (fem. pl. ‘pantheon’)]

  2. 2
    Soonergrunt says:

    Well, obviously I’m going to have to add Anne McCaffrey to my reading list.
    Dorothy Fontana, Diane Carey, Jean Lorra, and any number of other female Star Trek authors have written my favorites of that particular universe. It was always the women who best appreciated and articulated Gene Roddenberry’s real vision of Star Trek as a vehicle for stories about exploration and “where the mind went”. Sure, I loved the shoot-em-up stories and Deep Space Nine is the best Trek precisely because of the Dominion War arc, but the emotionally fulfilling Trek, and sci fi generally, is usually written by women.

  3. 3
    passerby says:

    Awww.

    I’ve read every book she’s ever written. The dragon books were all pretty much the same theme, like Zane Grey westerns or Nancy Drew mysteries, but she had such an engaging style of writing that it was an easy fantasy to get lost in for a few hours. I enjoyed them all.

    A particular favorite of mine, of any sci-fi I’ve read, is The Crystal Singer. What fun.

    Well done Anne McCaffrey, and thank you.

  4. 4
    piratedan says:

    @bob_is_boring: or Andre Norton, Mary Shelley, Mary Stewart or Octavia Butler…. just shows that the bench is deeper than anyone thought and my current fave Lois Bujold…. lots of great lady storytellers out there and ty Anne for opening up new vistas and horizons for us all.

  5. 5
    Anne Laurie says:

    @bob_is_boring: Wasn’t intended as an exhaustive list of my favorite female spec-fic writers (that would take too many pixels*), just a couple examples. For some (probably Freudian) reason, McCaffery was accepted as a “real sf” writer by a lot of early-1970s boyfen who sneered at every other non-penis-bearer. Even the more evolved fans were shocked when manly-man-supporter John Campbell published the first Dragonrider stories in Analog, which was supposed to be about “hard sf” and not that effeminate emasculated fantasy tripe!

    (*Suggested reading: How to Suppress Women’s Writing, by — as Austen would have said — A Lady)

  6. 6

    A writer I truly enjoyed. I can imagine the dragons of Pern giving her a proper sendoff. May she rest in peace.

  7. 7
    Yutsano says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Dorothy Fontana, Diane Carey, Jean Lorra, and any number of other female Star Trek authors have written my favorites of that particular universe.

    DC Fontana is often credited for the strong feminist tendencies that run through the original series. IIRC her favorite character in that milieu was never hers: Kathryn Janeway.

  8. 8
    bjacques says:

    Drag@John – A Motley Moose: The “Missing Rider” formation, natch!

  9. 9
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Soonergrunt: You might try Lois McMaster Bujold‘s Vorkosigan books. They started coming out around the time I (mostly) drifted away from reading “hard” sf, but I liked her (more fantasy-based) Chalion books well enough that the Spousal Unit persuaded me to read A Civil Campaign. (I’m the one who talked him into reading his first Georgette Heyer, who he now adores far more uncritically than I do — fair’s fair.)

    And I don’t know if you watch anime, but you might like Crest of the Stars — it’s the one series that reminds me most of Original Star Trek out of the couple hundred I’ve watched so far. It’s just 13 half-hour episodes, and it’s PG at most, so your local library system should be able to find a copy for you (also, you can watch it with your kids in the room, which might be a point in its favor).

  10. 10
    S. cerevisiae says:

    RIP Anne, Thank you for Pern.

  11. 11
    Samara Morgan says:

    Threadfall is coming, AL.
    Look to your wings.

  12. 12
    S. cerevisiae says:

    @S. cerevisiae: I always considered Pern as a hard SF universe.

  13. 13
    wvng says:

    Loved all the Pern stories, but especially the dragon singer books that were such a celebration of the power of music.

  14. 14
    Mino says:

    Kate Wilhelm as an editor. Well, I think that appellation belongs more to her husband, Damon Knight. He’s probably the one who described her as such. Heh.

  15. 15
    Insomniac says:

    “And a time to every purpose under heaven”

    R.I.P Anne. Thanks especially for Pern, Doona (sentient, intelligent cats), the Crystal Universe and the Freedom Series.

  16. 16
    MsWImey says:

    Pern was one of my first introductions to SciFi/Fantasy, that and Star Trek made me a girl geek for life. Though I stopped reading a lot of her work after picking up those horrible Darnia (tower and hive) series. Pern holds a special place in my heart.

  17. 17
    Atticus Dogsbody says:

    Wow! I just finish watching the last episode of of my beloved Spicks and Specks when I turn to my computer and learn that Menolly has died. Sadness.

  18. 18
    Cermet says:

    @John – A Motley Moose: Excellent – I second.

  19. 19
    wvng says:

    @Atticus Dogsbody: She is just walking the tables.

  20. 20
    Bruuuuce says:

    By all accounts, she was gracious and generous, as well as talented. Besides her own writing, she encouraged other authors, and was herself a serious fan. I only got to meet her once, briefly, but it was clear that she was, in all the best ways, a lady.

    Requiescat

  21. 21
    lou says:

    This takes me back to my teens with sadness. After Dune I picked up the Dragonrider series and was hooked and never got away from my love for scifi and fantasy. RIP, Anne McCaffrey.

  22. 22
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I read some of the Pern books when I was 14 or so; I enjoyed them, but I don’t think I am a SciFi/Fantasy fan in the way that many of you are. She is an author from the genre that I think even casual SciFi/Fantasy readers would recognize and remember fondly. RIP.

  23. 23
    dmsilev says:

    @Soonergrunt: For McCaffrey, your best bet is to start with her earlier works; for me, anything after about the early 90s was increasingly repetitive exploitation of her earlier work. Start with the Dragonrider trilogy (Dragonflight, Dragonquest, and The White Dragon), Crystal Singer, and maybe To Ride Pegasus. She wrote a lot of follow up books in those universes, so there’s plenty more to read if any of those catches your fancy.

  24. 24
    greennotGreen says:

    I want to defend the idea behind The Ship Who Sang. Of course, enslavement = bad, and since the cyborgs weren’t given a choice, also bad, but I understood the point to be that a human mind in a non-functioning body was given a marvelously functioning body of a very different sort. I think of sic-fi like a sonnet: certain rules are imposed by the cosmology. In Ship’s case it was life of imprisonment in a severely damaged body v. interfacing with a mechanical body. In a more complete universe, there would have been another choice -like genetic counseling or prenatal care.

  25. 25
    PurpleGirl says:

    One nitpick and this applies to just about everyone writing about Ms. McCaffrey. She won the first woman to win a Hugo for fiction. [My introduction to her writing was her first novel Restoree; while I like the Pern novels, The Ship who Sang is my favorite. As someone who stutters and whose life has been shaped by that disability, I loved the idea of getting a new chance of living as the brain and master of a space ship. May she rest in peace and may her writings continue to inspire new generations of readers.]

    Returning to the nitpick:

    The first woman to win a Hugo was Elinor Busby, who won for her fanzine writing and editing in 1960. (Cry of the Nameless ed. by F. M. Busby, Elinor Busby, Burnett Toskey and Wally Weber.)

    Elinor is a member of the APA I participate in.

    Source: Comment by drplokta at Tor.com
    http://www.tor.com/blogs/2011/.....emembrance

  26. 26
    justawriter says:

    She was also the creator of “zen hugs” in The Ship Who Sang” as a way to share comfort when physical touch is impossible.

  27. 27
    Paul in KY says:

    One of the giants of SF. Loved her writing.

  28. 28
    Paul in KY says:

    @Samara Morgan: Glad to see you haven’t vamoosed for good, cudlip ;-)

  29. 29
    Emma says:

    Last night I heard the Dragons of Pern keening the passing of one of their own.

    She was the first female sf writer I ever read. I had grown up with sf, both my father and my great-uncle were fans. My great-uncle taught me to read from The Odyssey and The Martian Chronicles (he insisted Homer was sf, with a twinkle in his eye). But when I saw her name on the cover…. my God, women can do this too? I hunted down every female writer I could get my hands on. But the Dragons were first.

    And another vote for Bujold. What marvelous worlds she weaves.

  30. 30
    WereBear says:

    While I’m a rarity in having some resistance to the DragonRiders series, I loved The Ship Who Sang.

    Of course we must not forget a very influential woman, and one of my own favorites: James Tiptree, Jr.

  31. 31
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    Thank you Ms. McCaffrey, and dragons fly you to your rest. I first read the Pern books after Lord of the Rings, and the contrast was very important to an adolescent girl.

  32. 32
    Mino says:

    @WereBear: Amazing. I haven’t heard her name in ages. What a unique imagination that one had.

  33. 33
    John Weiss says:

    Anne McCaffrey wasn’t my favorite ladywriter. It was C.L. Moore’s Jirel of Joiry that flipped my switch. She wrote in the thirties in the last century and what tales she told!

  34. 34
    WereBear says:

    @John Weiss: C.L. Moore wrote Vintage Seasons, a novella that haunts me still.

  35. 35
  36. 36
    dcdl says:

    I always enjoyed her books and her collaborative works. Don’t forget she did more than just write Dragonrider books.

  37. 37
    Steve says:

    Another, vastly underrated, SF author who bears mentioning in this category is Julian May.

  38. 38
    merrinc says:

    I stumbled upon McCaffrey’s “The Rowan” several years ago and immediately upon finishing it, tracked down all the others in her Tower & Hive series and devoured them one after the other. One of these days I’ll get around to reading some of her other work.

  39. 39
    MazeDancer says:

    Pern was as real and wonderful a refuge as has been constructed with words. Will always be grateful I got to dwell there now and then.

    While not quite as eloquent, last night on Twitter – and again here, and all over the internet – we are the dragons keening.

  40. 40
    WereBear says:

    @greennotGreen: I actually took The Ship Who Sang as a feminist metaphor.

    Women were born “missing something” that condemned them to second class citizenship and less-than-human status. Women can be powerful and amazing… if they are allowed the tools.

  41. 41
    Sasha says:

    Met her a few times at DragonCon, where she (like Tolkien) holds the distinct honor of having a track dedicated exclusively to her work.

  42. 42
    Dan says:

    I loved those Pern books when I was in middle school. I don’t know if she was a great writer, exactly, but she was a helluva world-builder, which is no small thing. RIP.

  43. 43
    MosesZD says:

    I liked McCaffery, in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Her short story “Weyr Search” was outstanding. As was her novella “Dragonrider” which later became a book. But there’s more to the story of her writing career than “wow she was great.”

  44. 44
    S. cerevisiae says:

    @Dan: World-builder – exactly right. She created a believable and consistent universe and that is a feat not every writer can pull off.

  45. 45
    4jkb4ia says:

    I cosign 42 because I have not read any McCaffrey in what may be 15 years. But I recall that McCaffrey did shimmer and splendor very well.

  46. 46
    satby says:

    I loved her books. RIP indeed, and thanks for many happy hours of reading.

  47. 47
    Mnemosyne says:

    Of course this thread started after I went to bed and now everyone has already said what I wanted to say (and more cleverly than I would have thought to say it). Of the Pern series, it’s the Harper Hall trilogy I go back to again and again.

    When I was in 6th or 7th grade, we had a class assignment to write a letter to our favorite (living) author and I received a lovely signed postcard back from Ireland with a note from Ms. McCaffrey. I’m sure it’s in a box in my parents’ garage somewhere.

    (Edited because I haven’t had coffee yet.)

  48. 48
    Redshift says:

    This is one of the first losses of a public figure that hit me really hard in quite a while. Since she was a prolific author during my “check out all the new fantasy and SF in the library” period, I read and loved loads of her books, so I felt close to her in a way. I was one of the “boyfen” who was born just late enough that it never occurred to me that women shouldn’t write in the genre, and I devoured McCaffrey, Le Guin, Russ, and more along with all the others.

    I (along with Ms. Redshift) got to have “tea with Annie” once at her house in Ireland. (We were visiting Katherine Kurtz, who is a a friend of ours, and she took us round.) We were both somewhat starstruck, but she was warm and gracious and lovely to be with. I will really miss her.

  49. 49
    Rheinhard says:

    @Anne Laurie: Wow! Recommending in one comment both Lois McMaster Bujold and Seikai no Monshō? Sigh. Why can’t I find a woman with this kind of taste around me?…

  50. 50
    Canuckistani Tom says:

    Anne McCaffrey has been one of my favourite authors for almost 20 yrs, and this morning is truly a sad one for me. I think I had a crush on Menolly when I was younger (I know I wanted to break her father’s face)

    My Dad was a sci-fi reader, although his purchases were mostly what looked interesting in the airport bookstore before his flight left. That’s how I ended up reading ‘The Rowan’, then the Crystal singer books, and then Pern.

  51. 51
    Redshift says:

    @S. cerevisiae:

    I always considered Pern as a hard SF universe.

    Yeah, that was one of the neat things about it — like Darkover, it was a fantasy world that was given a perfectly consistent hard SF background. (I was going to say “later given,” but I can’t recall for certain in either case that the SF elements weren’t introduced earlier.) Certainly Pern had hard SF bits from the beginning, since the Red Star is pretty clearly presented as an orbital interaction, not a fantasy “star in the sky” type of thing.

  52. 52
    Ab_Normal says:

    Dang. Pern was my first fandom, photocopied fanzines and all. RIP.

  53. 53
    celticdragonchick says:

    @MazeDancer:

    Pern was as real and wonderful a refuge as has been constructed with words. Will always be grateful I got to dwell there now and then.
    While not quite as eloquent, last night on Twitter – and again here, and all over the internet – we are the dragons keening.

    I’ll add my voice as well.

    The White Dragon was one of the most joyous reading experiences I have ever had, and the Harper Trilogy influenced me into actually playing the harp in my adult life.

    We miss you, Anne.

  54. 54
    ruemara says:

    I was a huge fan of Pern’s Dragonriders and I do take some umbrage at those of you who say that series is mockable. It was hard science, it just didn’t have robots and alien littering the place. The dragons were genetic manipulations by settlers, there were spaceships, but I guess for some, no aliens, no scifi. I read the Rowan and have tried to get into the rest but those, now those are mockable. Harper Hall series, love them. But the best was the White Dragon. Having understood what a bastard was before I was able to spell it, it was wonderful to have a story about things that were despised and useless–perhaps better to have been destroyed in some people’s eyes–actually be the heroes. I’ve always wondered what an afterlife could be. If it’s a moment of eternity, I hope she gets to spend it in her most beloved of worlds, flying free and high.

  55. 55
    Mnemosyne says:

    @ruemara:

    I don’t think the sci-fi parts are mockable at all, but there is some 70s style “romance” that can draw a snicker or two. The relationship that develops between, say, F’lar and Lessa is fascinating, but the actual sex is a little rapey for modern tastes.

    IMO, anyway, but it may be because you can get the Dragonriders trilogy on Kindle so I re-read it recently and was a little amused/horrifed by that aspect.

    And speaking of sex, was McCaffrey the first popular sci-fi author to treat gay men matter-of-factly, or did LeGuin do it first?

  56. 56
    celticdragonchick says:

    I don’t think the sci-fi parts are mockable at all, but there is some 70s style “romance” that can draw a snicker or two. The relationship that develops between, say, F’lar and Lessa is fascinating, but the actual sex is a little rapey for modern tastes.

    The love scene with F’nor and Brekke is a bit…ahem…physically rough as I understand it.

  57. 57
    CaseyL says:

    It was sad to hear that Anne McCaffrey has died (though at 85, one can hardly say she didn’t have a good, long life) but what’s made me cry is reading the reaction of her fans. It’s staggering to hear of so many people, particularly women, who discovered her at crucial points in their lives; how many of them credit her work with keeping them alive through awful childhoods and adolescences.

    I appreciated McCaffrey’s writing very much, but it’s the impact she had that is really breathtaking.

    Along with world-building, that’s a wonderful legacy.

  58. 58
    Tom Ames says:

    I just recently bought a used copy of Dragonflight, with the intent of passing on to my 11 year old daughter one of my most fondly remembered juvenile reading experiences.

    Although rereading it felt like a return home to a lost world (and to my youth), I think I’ll hold off a bit on sharing it due to the sexual content.

    (Funny how those parts evidently made less of an impression on my 12-year-old boy’s mind than did the characters and the sheer depth of the world.)

  59. 59
    Paul in KY says:

    @Tom Ames: If you could handle the icky parts as a 12 year old reader, why can’t your daughter?

  60. 60
    Gromitt Gunn says:

    Never been a fan of Pern, myself, but I know she affected tons of people, and made their lives brighter. For that alone, I’ll offer a moment up to the Universe.

  61. 61
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Tom Ames:

    Let her go ahead and read it. She will thank you for it later.

    My mom let me read Dragonflight when I was 12 and it was one of the best things she shared with me.

  62. 62
    Cain says:

    Yes, I love the traditional SF/Fantasy stuff. I’ve read a lot of the Pern books but got somewhat bored towards the end and didn’t read anything past. I still re-read Dragonriders of Pern though. It is a great stuff.

    Now, if we could kick these romance authors who have now invaded the Fantasy genre with mutiple versions of the same urban fantasy book series I will be happy man. More dragons, less “sexy hunter falling in love with her prey”type books. Meh.

    In college days I used to go to Science Fiction conventions (you never called it SciFi, it was very ghetto to call it that) and meet up with a lot of these authors. I never got to meet Anne, but a number of my other ones. I have a number of books that are signed. I also used to know some personally, before all this internet thingees, you could talk to your fav sci fi authors on something called “Opus” a BBS calling network simliar to USENET. You’d download all the messages on a board, answer a bunch of stuf and hten upload it to your local server and it would do something fedex or any other mail carrier does, except through the phone lines.

    Good stuff. :-) I miss those days. :(

  63. 63
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    Lou (#21) mentioned the Dune series, which had some very strong and well-developed female characters. (I do NOT like sci-fi that presents women as mostly sexual window-dressing — I’m looking at you, Larry Niven).

    This may be a foolish question, but are Anne’s female (and male) characters well-drawn and complex? I’ve actually not read her Pern books, and it’s been too long since I’ve read The Ship Who Sang to be able to answer my own question. I know that I liked the book, but no longer recall specific content.

    Is ten too young for a fairly literature-precocious girl to explore the Pern books? I’m always looking for good books to put in front of my daughter.

  64. 64
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tom Ames:

    As another girl who read Dragonflight at a young age, I don’t think she’ll be too scarred by the sexual content. If you’re worried, you can start her on the Harper Hall novels (Dragonsong, Dragonsinger and Dragondrums) and have her read the Dragonriders series afterwards. There’s a little bit of sexytime in Dragondrums, but no slightly creepy rough stuff like in Dragonflight.

    I read The World According to Garp at a much too young age and that was WAY more scarring than anything in any of McCaffrey’s novels, believe me.

    ETA: Same advice to West of the Rockies — I think the Harper Hall novels are aimed at more of a young adult audience anyway, so IMO they’re fine for a 10-year-old. That’s around the age I was when I first read them, FWIW.

  65. 65
    Paul in KY says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.): Are you saying Teela Brown was unlucky to be a character in a Larry Niven novel?

    BTW, don’t read ‘Stranger in a Strange land’

  66. 66
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    Thanks, Mnemosyne (#64)… She does love anything with dragons, unicorns, and brave female characters, but has moved on from the light-weight stuff aimed at the 7-10 range. Yes, I suspect that most people would regard anything having to do with unicorns as pretty fluffy, but unicorns figure into the Harry Potter world in sometimes gruesome ways.

  67. 67
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    Hey, Paul in KY (how ’bout them Wildcats?)… Well, Teela was lucky if nothing else! I must confess that I bailed out of the Ringworld about 250 pages into it. Yes, Teela, like some of Heinlein’s female characters, strikes me as being little more than a willing toy for the more important male characters of the book. Doesn’t Niven, in fact, make mention of a couple different species having only sentient males? The females, bless their non-sentient little heads, do little more than provide sex for their men-folk.

    I know that Niven is highly-esteemed by many, and my point is not to piss on anybody’s favorites author, but he is not my cup of tea. I very much enjoy Vernor Vinge, Frank Herbert, Walter Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz, Ursula K. Le Guin, Arther C. Clarke, much of Heinlein, but Niven left me a little bored. I think his writing is a little lazy and sexist.

  68. 68
    Mnemosyne says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.):

    She’ll definitely like Menolly and the Harper Hall novels, then. Girl who’s so miserable at not being allowed to express herself that she runs away and lives in a cave with a bunch of miniature dragons as her pets? Totally awesome when you’re 10. (And still a good read as an adult.)

    And I think she’ll be so enthralled with Lessa’s character in Dragonflight and her long-plotted revenge that the slightly weird (and non-graphic) sex parts won’t register with her.

  69. 69
    REN says:

    I read and loved Ursula LeGuin and Andre Norton as a very young man. Loved both. I’ve always believed DC Fontana was one of the important reasons for Star Treks success. Intelligent,compassionate morality plays.

    I think a distinction should be made between science fiction and fantasy, with the operative word being science. My favorite SF writer has always been Arthur C. Clarke because his stories do not take liberties with the known facts of physics. You do not have to suspend disbelief and can assume the story is taking place in the far future.

    Fantasy is,well,fantasy. You must suspend disbelief. With that said it is still one of my favorite mediums.Tolkien and Terry Brooks are two of my all-time favorite writers.

  70. 70
    Mnemosyne says:

    @REN:

    Interestingly, McCaffrey never wrote fantasy, only science fiction. The “dragons” in her books are revealed to be a genetically modified modified native species bred by settlers from Earth.

    Though some authors can do both genres well — the abovementioned Lois McMaster Bujold has both a great science fiction series (the Vorkosigan saga) and a great fantasy series (the Chalion books).

  71. 71
    Anne Laurie says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.):

    She does love anything with dragons, unicorns, and brave female characters, but has moved on from the light-weight stuff aimed at the 7-10 range.

    Look for Andre Norton — starting at your local library or used book store. (In the 1960s, Norton & Heinlein constituted 85% of the ‘YA SF/Fantasy’ section in most libraries.) Books like the original Witch World series, The Stars Are Ours, Breed to Come (evolved cats!), Dread Companion, Moon of Three Rings, Crystal Griffin, Beast Master — some of the technology shows its age, but the characters will remain young & vibrant forever. The books with “Magic” in their titles (Steel Magic, Fur Magic, Octagon Magic) were explicitly written for a younger audience (around 9-12, IIRC). But anything prior to the late 1990s (after which her books tended to fall victim to some combination of authorial age/overenthusiastic collaborators/the market for fat sprawling ‘trilogies’ and its baneful effect on lazy editors) should be accessible to a bright ten-year-old, with a little help from you & a dictionary.

  72. 72
    Anne Laurie says:

    @REN:

    My favorite SF writer has always been Arthur C. Clarke because his stories do not take liberties with the known facts of physics.

    He did take great liberties with the known facts of human behavior and their societies, however! (For which, yes, he had his reasons.) Love & respect Clarke’s short stories, but even though Alvin of Diaspar was the very first ‘grown-up book’ I ever read entirely on my own, I have to say that his longer works don’t hold up well for me.

  73. 73
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    Starman’s Son is one of the very early Andre Norton novels and still hold up quite well. Good post apocalypse sci fi.

  74. 74

    Oh my. I got sick just as weather turned here beginning of November. I whiled away my downtime re-reading a lot of Pern novels; have two to return to library that’re due next week.

    The one person I’d like to share this news with is the person who introduced me to Anne McCaffrey in college, reading The White Dragon. Alas, I cannot share it with JM, as JM left a long time ago, August 1994.

    Let the drum slip into the water, it can play no more.

  75. 75
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    Thank you for the suggestions, Anne! I’ve read the Norton books you mentioned and will look for those titles at our local library/used book stores. I also remember reading Lester del Rey and my tween/teen years and liking his work. I imagine it would appear quite dated now.

  76. 76
    Debbie(aussie) says:

    Haven’t read all comments, so hope I am not repeating,,, but she also wrote th pegasus series, Damia, Damia’s Chidren, et al.i havd all of those as well as the Pern books and often go back fo re- read. She will be greatly missed. She had,over the last few years writing Pern stpries with her son.

  77. 77
    sandie nz says:

    @wvng: walking the tables..wow..made my eyes water..good call..reaching for tissues… Restoree..just tossing it out there..lives in my handbag for long queues and traffic jams.
    took dragonsinger in my back pack on my big OE.. she knew about people and their hearts..walk on.

  78. 78
    Joe K says:

    “the white dragon” was the first novel I ever read, age 10. I’m really sad right now :-(

  79. 79
    Paul in KY says:

    @Anne Laurie: I loved ‘Rendevous with Rama’.

  80. 80
    Herbal Infusion Bagger says:

    James L. Tiptree is another silver age SF writer with ladyparts (there was a hilarious intro to one of her stories by Robert Silverberg dismissing rumors of her being a woman ‘cos a woman wouldn’t write like that. And Silverberg was hardly one of the most sexist SF writers.)

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