In Memoriam: Anne McCaffrey

Anne McCaffrey.

Today one of the most renowned fantasy fiction authors passed away at the age of 85. Anne McCaffrey was famous for her series The Dragonriders of Pern, a 22-novel saga which spanned over 2,000 years in the magical world of Pern.

I read the original trilogy (Dragonflight, Dragonquest, and The White Dragon) so many years ago, but I respected McCaffrey like I respect J.R.R. Tolkien, because their skills in world creation are unbeatable. There are so many characters in McCaffrey’s books, that a character list is required. And when your series covers over two millennia, you must have an insanely extensive knowledge of its history.

In the novels, dragonriders form telepathic bonds with their dragons when they hatch in their lodgings known as Weyrs. Dragonriders must protect Pern from a deadly spore called Thread, which rains periodically due to the orbit of the Red Star. The dragons’ fire burns Thread before it can hit the earth and destroy all organic life.

I won’t bog you guys down with too many details, as this series can get awfully confusing with its large cast and various science fiction elements like time travel. And like Tolkien, McCaffrey often suffers from sacrificing easy-to-follow entertainment for seriously factual-sounding fantasy–which is why I discontinued reading the series a long time ago.

The Dragonriders of Pern is no Harry Potter in regards to appealing to practically everybody, but if you enjoy high fantasy clearly meant for adults, then definitely pick up a Pern novel sometime.

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