Saturday Art: Influential Authors: Anne McCaffrey
Ever since I first discovered Anne McCaffrey’s writing, I have marveled at her ability to create such interesting universes. While her Pern books are her best known works, I know I have read multiple books she authored or co-authored from at least three other series as well as a number of stand alone stories and books.
I have to admit that the very first book of McCaffrey’s that I read did not make a large impression on me. It was the third book in her Pern subset, The Harper Hall series, Dragondrums. I know it was soon after I first got to Hawai’i that I picked this book up and read it. It was not real thick and was a quick read. However, not long after, I picked up and read The White Dragon which was the third book in the original Dragonriders of Pern trilogy. One of the fascinating aspects of both of these books was that even though they were the third of their respective trilogies, they could be enjoyably read as stand-alone books without having read the earlier books (although I did eventually go back and read the earlier books to catch up.)
Here’s McCaffrey’s wiki intro:
Anne Inez McCaffrey (1 April 1926 – 21 November 2011) was an American-born Irish writer, best known for the Dragonriders of Pern science fiction series. Early in McCaffrey’s 46-year career as a writer, she became the first woman to win a Hugo Award for fiction and the first to win a Nebula Award. Her 1978 novel The White Dragon became one of the first science-fiction books to appear on the New York Times Best Seller list.
In 2005 the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America named McCaffrey its 22nd Grand Master, an annual award to living writers of fantasy and science fiction. She was inducted by the Science Fiction Hall of Fame on 17 June 2006.
McCaffrey wrote twenty-four Pern based books. This list is in publication order while this list is in ‘chronological’ order. I am partial to the published order myself although at some time in the future I may go back and read the chronological order as a “history.”
The Crystal universe is the setting for five books, including the Crystal Singer trilogy. The first book (and first of the trilogy), The Crystal Singer (1982) is a fix-up of four stories published in 1974–1975.
The Crystal Singer series revolves around the planet Ballybran. Under a permanent biohazard travel restriction, Ballybran is home to one of the FSP’s wealthiest (and most reclusive) organizations: the Heptite Guild. Source of crystals vital to a number of industries, the Heptite Guild is known to require absolute, perfect pitch in hearing and voice for all applicants (especially those seeking to mine crystal by song). The second and third books feature brainships which were not main characters in the Brain & Brawn Ship series.
When you are totally tone deaf as I am, I guess there is a bit of wonder when characters have ‘perfect pitch.’
Here is Goodreads.com’s list of all the series McCaffrey wrote or co-wrote. Besides the Pern and Crystal Singer books, I have read four or five of the Talents Universe series including the first two, To Ride Pegasus and Pegasus In Flight. I have also read the first couple of the Acorna series starting with Acorna: The Unicorn Girl
Her first novel, Restoree, was written as a protest against the absurd and unrealistic portrayals of women in s-f novels in the 50s and early 60s.
In a bit of a change of pace, Black Horses for the King is young adult historical fiction. From the Goodreads description:
This fast-moving historical fantasy by bestselling author Anne McCaffrey traces the beginnings of the British cavalry, as recounted by a boy growing up in exciting and perilous times.
Cat lovers may enjoy a light bit of fantasy in the novella No One Noticed the Cat.
Picture from Roxanne Ready licensed under Creative Commons