In Memoriam: Anne McCaffrey

Hi, all–

I received this news via Twitter, and had to go check it out. GalleyCat, as well, is reporting that famed sci fi/fantasy author Anne McCaffrey has died shortly after suffering a stroke. She was 85.

And here’s MSNBC reporting on this.

Read on…

I’ve been thinking about her since I got the news, and reminiscing about her acclaimed Dragonriders series (note: you’ll see the name Todd McCaffrey on some of those covers; he’s one of her sons). I read those books from front to back and over again, and I loved them. LOVED them. I was in grade school/junior high when I discovered McCaffrey’s Pern, a misfit kid who dreamed of battle cruisers, interplanetary travel, and mad adventure. But McCaffrey’s dragons…wow, what a ride. Who among us who read the Dragonriders didn’t dream of Impressing our own dragons, of soaring into the sky and disappearing into the cold black of Between, only to re-emerge and do battle with the sickening, glistening gray strands of parasitic thread, brought by the Red Star?

And who among us didn’t want our own fire lizards, snuggled against us at night, chirping and cooing contentedly?

And who among us didn’t dream of a ballad by the Master Harper in our honor, or the honor of our Weyrs or Holds, part of the massive tapestry of Pern that McCaffrey wove?

Exactly. Those were shared dreams among Pern readers, and each one of us no doubt spent hours wondering what it would be like to Impress a dragon, to fly in service to a Weyr and Hold, to hear the songs of the harpers.

I loved the dragons, loved the intrigue and drama McCaffrey expertly wove into the stories, but Menolly’s story also resonated with me, because she, too, was a misfit, but found her place and was able to express her talents through music. That’s the kind of story that spoke to a lot of people like me, who didn’t feel they fit anywhere, and who knew there had to be something else out there.

source (re-sized here)
[Note: This is an earlier cover, but I love it because it’s the cover that was around when I first read the series.]

There was. McCaffrey’s Crystal Singer series blew my mind at first, because it was so clever. And how utterly amazing, that I could “hear” the premise in the narrative, through McCaffrey’s ability to evoke what something sounds like via the written word.


There’s simply no way to tell you about all her work, so let me instead tell you a little bit more about her as an author. McCaffrey was the first woman to win a Hugo Award — science fiction’s most prestigious — in 1968. In 1969, she won a Nebula, another prestigious sci fi award. In 1978, she became the first writer with a sci fi book on the New York Times Bestseller list. That book, The White Dragon, was part of McCaffrey’s amazing Pern series, and again, a book that really hit home for me because it was about two misfits — Jaxom a young lord of Ruatha Hold, and his white, “runty” dragon Ruth. In 2005, McCaffrey was named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America and in 2006, she was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. Well-deserved recognition.

She left us with nearly 100 books, either authored or co-authored, and incomparably rich worlds within their pages. Though McCaffrey is no longer with us, she will live on in every person who reads her work. And some of those will look to the sky and see, maybe, the wink of a Red Star and the flash of sunlight on a dragon’s hide.

Thank you, Ms. McCaffrey, for your vision.

source: Books at Transworld

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