Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Anne McCaffrey

For some reason I seem to be stuck on the Anne's this week. I recently re-read Anne McCaffrey's Dragonrider's of Pern series though, and it's one of the best classic series of sci-fi/fantasy books ever in my opinion. It always surprises me how many people haven't read it. If you like sci-fi or fantasy it is a must read. The Dragonriders of Pern is undoubtedly McCaffrey's best work. There are quite a few books in the series. If you haven't read any of them, you should start with the first trilogy Dragonflight, Dragonquest and The White Dragon........... The main story deals with the dragonriders and their dragons. There is a telepathic bond between the humans and their dragons who have human intelligence. The dragons are meant to be the protectors of Pern from thread, which is a deadly spoor that falls to the planet destroying anything organic. As the story begins the role of the dragonriders is questioned when thread hasn't fallen in 400 years and it is doubted it will fall again. The best characters of the series are introduced in the first book, though later books also bring some very likable characters into the story. I think McCaffrey does an excellent job in creating realistic challenges and personalities. She manages to make even mundane sequences entertaining, which is I think, the mark of a very good writer. McCaffrey has written several series', including The Ship that Sang, Killishandra and the Acorna books and has been overall a very prolific writer. Her son is now taking over the franchise, though I don't think his books are nearly as good. I will be surprised if the series continues with Todd McCaffrey as the author, though fan loyalty might keep the Pern series afloat. Mostly I am a fan of the Pern series. I have read several other books, but I don't think anything is as good as her original series or as well developed. When it comes to world building, the Pern series is as good as it gets. It starts out as what seems like a straight-forward fantasy series but over time develops into a really good sci-fi story with fantasy elements. I don't know how long it took for McCaffrey to develop the whole story, but it is so detailed and layered that I think it must have taken a long time to flesh out her ideas. She even goes back several hundred years to the early beginnings of the story and shows you how the planet was settled and the dragons came to be. McCaffrey is also smart in that she has done several interconnected trilogy's based on different characters. She keeps the main characters from previous series' around so you don't miss them, but changes the focus in a way that keeps it fresh and interesting. She has also dedicated several books to characters that are not dragonriders, and in this way manages to further flesh out the world she has created. For a more complete list and description of McCaffrey's work, here's the wikipedia site.


Crunchy Carpets said...

Totally agree..I loved these books and love the back story/world/universe she created for it.

I love dragons anyway..but this was a great merge of fantasy and sci fi.

She has always done that well.

I haven't read them in ages as I tend to equate them with my teen years when I was reading them...same with Piers his stuff makes me uncomfortable!

SQT said...

Piers his stuff makes me uncomfortable!

I totally get that! I loved his stuff when I was like, 14. Now it does kind of make you squirm.

I re-read Anne McCaffrey every couple of years. I just think she's really good. But I was so dissappointed in the writing her son does. It just doesn't even compare.