Author Topic: "Dragonriders of Pern" author dies  (Read 841 times)

Offline delalluvia

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"Dragonriders of Pern" author dies
« on: November 23, 2011, 07:02:01 pm »
The literary world has lost one of its greats. Anne McCaffrey, the author of nearly 100 science-fiction and fantasy books, died Nov. 21. She was 85.

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Re: "Dragonriders of Pern" author dies
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2011, 10:45:42 pm »

Anne McCaffrey,
Author of ‘Dragonriders’ Fantasies,
Dies at 85

Published: November 24, 2011

Anne McCaffrey in 1981.

Anne McCaffrey, a science-fiction writer widely known as the Dragon Lady for her best-selling series of young-adult novels, “Dragonriders of Pern,” died on Monday in County Wicklow, Ireland. She was 85.

The cause was a stroke, her publisher, Random House, told The Associated Press. Ms. McCaffrey, who had lived in Ireland since the 1970s, died at her home, Dragonhold — so named, she liked to say, because it had been paid for by dragons.

The author of scores of books in a spate of different series, Ms. McCaffrey was indisputably best known for “Dragonriders,” written over four decades and comprising more than 20 novels.

That series, which is notable for marrying elements of fantasy to pure science fiction, takes place on the planet Pern, which Earthlings have settled. A utopian idyll at first, Pern has degenerated, after centuries of human habitation, into a tense feudal society.

The greatest threat to Pern is Thread, a type of deadly spore that rains down periodically. To combat these Threadfalls, inhabitants have cultivated a species of large, airborne, telepathic and eminently congenial dragons, whose fiery breath can vanquish the Thread. Throughout the series, Ms. McCaffrey’s protagonists — often young women or children — right all manner of galactic wrongs, stalwart paladins astride their soaring scaly steeds.

The series, which began in 1968 with “Dragonflight,” includes “Dragonquest,” “Dragonsong,” “Dragondrums,” “The Masterharper of Pern” and, most recently, “Dragon’s Time,” written with her son Todd McCaffrey and published this year.

As a stylist, Ms. McCaffrey was not uniformly esteemed. Reviewing “Dragonsdawn” in The New York Times Book Review in 1989, Gerald Jonas wrote of her, “Few are better at mixing elements of high fantasy and hard science in a narrative that disarms skepticism by its open embrace of the joys of wish fulfillment,” but faulted her “awkward similes” and “formulaic descriptions.”

But the immense commercial success of “Dragonriders of Pern” more than outweighed any criticism. The books sold millions of copies and have inspired a cornucopia of Internet fan fiction and a spate of scholarly studies.

The world of Pern became so all-encompassing to those who entered it that it gave rise to a concordance, “The Dragonlover’s Guide to Pern,” by Jody Lynn Nye, with Ms. McCaffrey.

Anne Inez McCaffrey was born in Cambridge, Mass., on April 1, 1926. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Slavonic languages and literature from Radcliffe, and trained as an actress and opera singer before her writing life transported her to operatic worlds of another kind.

Her first novel, “Restoree,” was published in 1967. A satirical work of science fiction for adults, it lampooned the genre’s portrayal of women as helpless chattel.

The novel’s plot, as summarized in the reference work Authors and Artists for Young Adults, is set in motion when its strong, savvy heroine, Sara, “is snatched from Central Park by a low flying space ship.”

Sara awakens to find herself “restored” — that is, clad in an entirely new body — in a world that combines great technological sophistication with a retrograde social order.

Ms. McCaffrey’s honors include the two loftiest awards of her genre: a Hugo, which she won in 1968 for her novella “Weyr Search,” later incorporated into the Dragonriders series; and a Nebula, for the novella “Dragonriders,” also incorporated into the series.

Her non-Pern books include “The Ship Who Sang”; “PartnerShip,” with Margaret Ball; and “The City Who Fought,” with S. M. Stirling.

Ms. McCaffrey’s marriage to Horace Wright Johnson ended in divorce. Besides her son Todd, she is survived by another son, Alec Johnson; a daughter, Georgeanne Kennedy; and grandchildren.

She was the subject of a biography, “Anne McCaffrey: A Life With Dragons,” by Robin Roberts, published in 2007 by the University Press of Mississippi.

Ms. McCaffrey, an avocational horse breeder, was often asked, Why dragons? “You can get closer to a dragon than you can to a horse,” she said in an interview with National Public Radio in 2007. “Horses are smart within their own boundaries, but dragons are very smart.”
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Offline louisev

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Re: "Dragonriders of Pern" author dies
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2011, 03:45:29 am »
Yep, I read "Weyr Search" in the early 1970's when Isaac Asimov collected it in "The Hugo Winners."  I never cared for her other work because it seemed to devolve from the tense novelty of "Weyr Search."  Slavonic languages?

I see she is one of the few American sci fi writers who took the tax benefit of emigrating to Ireland - Ireland had a master plan to stock itself with literary artists and so made income tax exempt for anyone who makes a living from their fiction or poetry.  Don't think I didn't think about this.

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