Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Anne McCaffrey Passes Away At 85

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the rest-in-peace dept.

Books 181

JSC writes "Anne McCaffrey died Monday at her home after suffering a stroke. 'In the late 1960s she became the first woman to win a Hugo Award for a work of fiction and the first woman to win a Nebula Award. She was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2006.' She will be missed by Dragons and their Riders the world over."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

I has a sad.. (5, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145604)

I'm sad that she's gone, but she did spend her entire life doing what she loved (writing), and we will always have her legacy to enjoy. Farewell, Dragonrider!

Re:I has a sad.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38145814)

Yep and what she loved doing (writing) meant that as a teenager I could continue what I loved doing (writing). Sometimes her works copped a bit of scorn for bungling the sci-fi aspects, but really those where more just stage-props to the more important grand epic of her fantasy novels. Her writing will live long after she has passed.

Re:I has a sad.. (1)

danbuter (2019760) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147690)

I read her Dragonrider books when I was a kid. She was a really good author. RIP.

Dragonriders, stand to honors! (5, Insightful)

Erbo (384) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145654)

Though she's more famous for The Dragonriders of Pern and The Ship who Sang, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for her Crystal Singer series. Look it up sometime; it's a nice little combination of music, mining, meteorology, and not a little romance.

She has passed for all time between; we accord her a dragon tribute. May she always sing the black, and cut well.

Re:Dragonriders, stand to honors! (5, Informative)

Bill Currie (487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145724)

Yes, the Crystal Singer series was good. I also rather liked the Freedom series, as well as the Doona series. Then there's Restoree: a great little stand-alone(?) story.

Re:Dragonriders, stand to honors! (2)

EnempE (709151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145786)

I second that. the Crystal Singer Series was great.
Thank you for reminding me of the many hours of pleasure that those book brought me.
The dragons were great too, I cant help but think she had a big impact of our modern conception of dragons. I think that even Avatar owes her a debt in that respect.

Re:Dragonriders, stand to honors! (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145970)

The first two books were good, I found the third one to be a big let-down and suspect that she was pressured into writing excessive sequels to series she wanted closed.

Re:Dragonriders, stand to honors! (2)

Hyperhaplo (575219) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147170)

While I quite enjoyed the first two books in the Singer series I can re-read the third any time.

I always expected a fourth.. or a prequel.. to explain where Ballybran crystal originally came from.

I'm glad she made Crystal Singer into a trilogy.

I'm sad that there will be no more

Re:Dragonriders, stand to honors! (5, Informative)

jazzmans (622827) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145880)

I'm sure someone has already said this, but

Crystal Singer was inspired by Pat Benatar, who was trained in opera, but was told by a teacher that the burr in her voice would keep her from being a world class opera singer.......

Man, I loved Crystal Singer.

the Pern stuff was fun, but Crystal Singer was always my favorite.


Re:Dragonriders, stand to honors! (1)

Bill Currie (487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145918)

Heh, news to me. And I like Pat Benatar. Cool. It's nice to know the connection, thank you.

Re:Dragonriders, stand to honors! (1)

MattW (97290) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146314)

Crystal Singer was definitely my favorite of her works. The 2nd one in particular I think was incredible.

Re:Dragonriders, stand to honors! (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146824)

Don't forget the Talents of Earth series. Very silly in places, but fun. I didn't really like the Freedom series - they started as a short story to try to cash in on the softporn SiFi bubble (which failed), and didn't get much better - I found the gratuitous Dune references really grating. The Pern series probably had universal appeal - what child didn't want to ride teleporting time-travelling dragons and fight an alien threat? But I think I agree, the Crystal Singers had a slightly more adult feel than the rest of her books (although I've not read them since I was a teenager, so that may just be nostalgia speaking) and were the ones I wanted to reread almost immediately after finishing them.

Re:Dragonriders, stand to honors! (2)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147102)

I found the gratuitous Dune references really grating.

You must totally love Star Wars.

Re:Dragonriders, stand to honors! (1)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148466)

I really liked the Talent series, at least the early ones. "The Rowan" was interesting, though more so as a short story before it got fleshed out to a novel to try and merge it with the Pegasus books, but after that the series started seeming a bit formulaic and repetitive to me, particularly in regards to the romance aspect. In general it suffered from the same flaw as the Pern series and which many an author has grappled with in the past. Starting a new series out strong but not knowing how to continue it past a certain point and not knowing when to quit. Sometimes it happens because the publishers want to keep the cash cow going, sometimes it's because the author loves the world too much and doesn't want to give it up, and sometimes it's a bit of both.

Re:Dragonriders, stand to honors! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147356)

Crystal Singer series is excellent, in my opinion one of her best works.

Burial in space (1)

Random Data (538955) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145674)

I've no idea whether she had a preference for the disposal of her remains, but I think there's a certain attraction in "burial" in a decaying orbit. It's been about 20 years since I read much McCaffrey, but ISTR that was a major aspect of threadfall from a planetoid in a weird harmonic orbit with Pern.

Anne (5, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145678)

Out of life, and into legend. Even Arthur C Clarke had a soft spot for her.

A big part of my imaginary world growing up. (4, Insightful)

hexadecimate (761789) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145680)

Thanks, Anne McCaffrey, for introducing generations of slashdotters to the joys of Pern.

Re:A big part of my imaginary world growing up. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147468)

You misspelled porn

Re:A big part of my imaginary world growing up. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148428)

No, her one attempt at writing porn, The Thorns of Barevi (1970), was... not good.

Re:A big part of my imaginary world growing up. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147912)

And say "hi" to Tolkien for us up there!

Would have loved to hear a discussion between them over dragons.

Fly Dragon, Fly! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38145682)

Anne has ridden her dragon into the ether. Thank you for the fantastic stories of Science, Fiction, and being a human throughout.

with regret... (-1, Flamebait)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145686)

... due to her first six books, not the ones that came after.

Re:with regret... (0)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145688)

*pern* books, I meant.

Re:with regret... (1)

AdamWill (604569) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145702)

yes, the news of someone's death is a perfect time for a mean-spirited, nitpicking personal evaluation of their bibliography. Great job.

Re:with regret... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38146952)

Not to add fuel to the flame, but the number of people pouring gushing praise on the series as some kind of master works outnumber the naysayers by about 99:1. I personally thought they were okay but not great, I can see her infleunce in works I prefer and for that I'm grateful but if someone can inflate the originals so much upon a person's death I don't see any issue with a genuine opinion. It's not going to hurt her where she is, and if it somehow offends you to hear a differing opinion, that's a problem with you, not with the person stating their opinion. Posting anonymous because I know I'll probably get flamed into oblivion for the same, even though I have in no way criticised the woman or her works.

Re:with regret... (-1, Troll)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147050)

Death of an obsessed dragonwench.

Re:with regret... (-1, Flamebait)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147070)

The person is a worthless lump of meat now. Who cares?

Re:with regret... (1, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147334)

We do, the ones who still live, honor her memory, and have to read insults while eulogizing her from worthless lumps of meat like you. Dick.

Shards (4, Interesting)

Bill Currie (487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145714)

Thanks to her, my reading ability at 11 was that of a 16 year old (with plenty of credit to my grade one teacher too, of course). Her Pern books still have a special place in my heart (hear hear! to the dragon tribute).

Well, may she forever fly with Moreta.

Re:Shards (0, Flamebait)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146582)

I'd suggest that a reading age of 16 is somewhat excessive for McCaffrey. There's nothing particularly objectionable about her work, but it's essentially Choose Your Own Adventure level writing, with the choices removed.

I hope her afterlife has a thesaurus so that she can look up alternatives to "slathering".

Re:Shards (3, Informative)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147054)

Yeah, try The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson if you want your eyes to gloss over and your appreciation of the English language to go through the floor. Why do we have this many words!?

Re:Shards (5, Interesting)

Hyperhaplo (575219) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147224)

"The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary."

James Nicoll

This is the second time in two days that this quote is (probably) appropriate. I wonder at what point it becomes worthwhile to write a macro :-)

Meanwhile, I take your point but persist in the notion that the Covenant novels are, in my opinion, a good worthwhile read. Just takes a couple of reads to get everything :-)

Better than Tolkien though.. that could be a real slog.

I will miss Anne McCaffrey's writing style. Good thing is that there will always all of the books she left behind for all of us.
What I like about her writing is that it is understandable, clearly defined and easy to process. I can open just about any of her books and enjoyably pick up the story, even if only for a chapter. Good to unwind your mind before sleep.

Re:Shards (2)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147288)

The Gap Cycle was considerably more tame in terms of linguistic flourish, and many of the characters had more bonhomie.

Re:Shards (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147894)

Meanwhile, I take your point but persist in the notion that the Covenant novels are, in my opinion, a good worthwhile read. Just takes a couple of reads to get everything :-)

I had a years of unemployment some time back. Picked up the first one from a charity shop. Didn't even get half way through.

That was before home broadband & when there were four channels on TV, all of them shit.

Re:Shards (2)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148080)

Try reading Moby Dick sometime.

Re:Shards (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38148220)

Personally, I'd rather read Moby Dick over the Thomas Covenant series.

Re:Shards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147682)

I'd suggest that a reading age of 16 is somewhat excessive for McCaffrey

The person was talking about their reading ability, not the minimum age you should be for reading McCaffrey.

A great imagination (4, Insightful)

deek (22697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145720)

While Anne had a tendency to romanticize her stories and characters, there's no doubt that she had a great imagination. I'll always have a soft spot for the Harper Hall trilogy (Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, Dragondrums). One of my favourite series, and I thoroughly recommend them to anyone of any age. Her music training in life really showed through her writing, and she wrote it well.

Re:A great imagination (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147888)

"tendency to romanticize"? Uh, yeah, she wrote very romantic fiction. Why do you phrase it as a negative? I'll avoid any "emotionally stunted geek" type comments as Dragonsong was probably her most romantic.

Well remembered.... (4, Informative)

mseeger (40923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145732)

Her Dragonriders of Pern were one of my first Fantasy Novels )i dicovered them in the 80's) and had a huge impact on my reading behavior since then..

I will dearly miss her.


RIP to such a wonderful person (5, Interesting)

Cito (1725214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145736)

Anne was really great, and enjoyed her fans a lot. I remember back in 1998 I had old crappy computer on dialup and had read all but 2 of the Pern series, as well as read the Rowan trilogy and Powers that be books. I really didn't expect to get a reply but I saw her email address on her website which was that good ol' html 1.0 look :) would make a geocities page proud haha. Anyhow I emailed her with praise and a couple questions I had on the book "The white dragon' about Jaxom & Ruth and was shocked after about a week she replied with 4 paragraphs, thanking me, and answering my questions and a couple with a "keep reading..." response.

I remember the countless times on her website and on the newsgroups (which she also posted to by the way) she was always asked about doing a movie. She had been approached countless times. But it always fell through because she didn't want the series butchered and she wanted creative control. Of course as the 2 or 3 times we heard the news of talks of a movie fall through, us on the newsgroup and on her website were sad but also happy that some 2-bit director wouldn't horribly butcher her magnum opus.

I know her son has been continuing the pern saga the last few years with Anne's blessing. But it just don't feel like Anne when reading the newer stuff. Although good, it's hard to explain.

I am saddened, but very glad and honored to have been able to come across and fall in love with her books so many years ago, which included a rereading of the Pern beginnings as my son got little older and I started reading him Pern as a bedtime story.

Re:RIP to such a wonderful person (5, Informative)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145948)

She was still posting on her blog and replying to fans a few weeks ago. I think it is her relationship with the fans that kept her going, to be honest. I met her at WorldCon in Glasgow back in the 90s and she wasn't all that well then. But when she talked with those of us at the coffee clatch, her energy seemed boundless.

Re:RIP to such a wonderful person (5, Interesting)

btpier (587890) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148198)

I know from personal experience how important her fans where to her:
In the late 90's my wife and I, during a vacation in Ireland, actually knocked on the door of Dragonhold-Underhill. Many of the dust jackets on her books give very good clues about where she lives and several of them mention she welcomes visits from fans as long as you call ahead. Try as we might during our previous 5 days in Ireland we were unable to find a number we could reach her at, although I did manage to call her stables but she wasn't there. After a bit of driving around Wicklow we found her home and decided we'd take the chance to knock on the door, politely apologize for showing up unannounced, and ask if we could talk to Anne for a moment. Todd answered the door, said hold on and closed it again. We figured that was it and prepared to leave. A minute later he opens the door again and there is Anne! I gave her a enormous hug (I couldn't help it) which I believe made Todd nervous for a minute but Anne laughed and said you don't get a greeting like that at your door everyday. She warmly and kindly invited us into her home and chatted with us over tea and cookies for an hour. She introduced us to her mother, daughter, and Todd and gave us a tour of her home. On the way out she told us we should drive through Wicklow Pass and we'd see her vision of Pern. I'll never forget that day and often share the story with new readers of her books.

One thing I learned during our visit was the main reason she stopped writing was due to a combination of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and arthritis. She had tried speech to text programs but they didn't work for her because of the way she wrote and how her creative process worked.

She was a fabulous lady who will be missed dearly by many, many people. She will always be the Masterharper. May her dragons sing her between!

tanka (4, Insightful)

Bill Currie (487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145872)

Never ends your light
But forever is the night
Where flies your spirit.
And in the cold of Between
Shall our hearts forever keen.

I always loved the poems she put at the beginning of the chapters in many of her dragon books. I hope she likes it.

Re:tanka (-1, Flamebait)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147164)

I hope that's yours and not hers. The rhyme scheme is bizarre and the scansion is frankly awful.

Re:tanka (0)

arcite (661011) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148556)

I must agree. If one cannot write a poem properly they shouldn't even bother.

May she live in her fantasy worlds forever. (5, Insightful)

spokenoise (2140056) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145914)

Being a geeky kid at school I often sought sanctuary in the library where someone cool wanted us to have an alternative to the same dry stuff and regularly donated great boxes of sci-fi and fantasy. These helped me through that era of life far more than anything else. The Dragonriders were and still are a favourite that I look forward to sharing with my kids. Rest IN Peace Anne.

She had heart problems in August (4, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145966)

According to her blog, she had serious heart problems in mid August. It's hard to say if her stroke now is related, but it wouldn't surprise me.

RIP Anne (1)

Elessar (8997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146048)

Goodbye Anne. RIP.

RIP Dragonrider, you will be missed. (3, Insightful)

sjwt (161428) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146068)

Thats two of my top three Authors gone *sigh*

I started on Anne McCaffery's works with a older hard cover of Dragonsdawn, and then went straight to the library a few days later and got out the rest one book at a time, and the good old internet alerted me to Red star rising coming out soon.. To fill in the time I started on The crystal singer series, when I finished that it was onto 'The tower and the hive'.

I am not ashamed to admit that the opening Paragraph of 'The Rowan' still makes me cry, even the first time I read it, weird, and thus the 'Tower and the hive' became my favorite series, and Damia is my favorite book of the lot.,

Re:RIP Dragonrider, you will be missed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147384)

Out of curiosity, who are the others?

Re:RIP Dragonrider, you will be missed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38148472)

The tower and the hive is a great series. I have read most of her books, and I don't know which I like better, FT&T or the Dragon series. I am thrilled that Todd is continuing some of the series. I'd like to see continuation of all the series. I've listened or read many of the books many times (long commute), and am still surprised by events from the first book that reappear in a book written 10 years later.

We will miss you and your writing Anne.

She will be missed (1)

Skilf (522124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146148)

I thoroughly enjoyed her books, especially the Dragonriders of Pern series. I will have to dig them up and reread them in her memory.

Rest in peace, you will not be forgotten

Never heard of her till now, (1)

MurukeshM (1901690) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146208)

I'm ashamed to say, but now that I have, I'll set about reading her novels too... By the way, I have be meaning to get started on Heinlein as well.. Where should I start? When there's a series of books, I like to begin at the beginning, but if there other standalone books, I'd prefer those first. What say you about McCaffrey and Heinlein?

Re:Never heard of her till now, (3, Informative)

Jaruzel (804522) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146290)

There are two Heinleins;

Early Heinlein (his thinner) novels are good examples of early Sci-Fi - I thoroughly recommend 'The Door into Summer' as a good starting point.

Later Heinlein (fatter more rambling books) were all written during and after his mental breakdown - from that set I recommend working through the Lazarus Long stuff initially:

1. Time Enough for Love
2. The Number of the Beast
3. The Cat Who Walks Through Walls
4. To Sail Beyond the Sunset

Additionally the novel 'Friday' is a good stand-alone easy to read Heinlein.


Re:Never heard of her till now, (3, Informative)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146554)

I quite liked Moon is a Harsh Mistress/em of Heinlein's. Stand-alone, good read. Not as obviously pushing his sexual agenda as in some of his other books, although still quite present, obviously.

Re:Never heard of her till now, (2)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147000)

The Heinlein books I'd recommend:

_Space Cadet_ (just don't get the Tor ebook from the Sony store --- it has so many errors it's unreadable)
_Have Spacesuit Will Travel_
_The Moon is a Harsh Mistress_ (for those over 16 --- agree w/ your sexual agenda comment)

Optional for those who agree w/ or are not put off by his politics, or want to have their own challenged:

_Starship Troopers_


Re:Never heard of her till now, (2)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147426)

Have Spacesuit Will Travel is also a great introduction to Sci-Fi for any age. It's a bit more readable than Verne, but still has that old-time feel when you run across phrases along the lines of "slide rules were the greatest invention since girls." It also hits a lot of problems relevant to modern space exploration that most authors just assume technology has addressed the issue (such as thermal buildup in space) so if you give it to a young adult to read you might just encourage their science or engineering interests.

Re:Never heard of her till now, (1, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146572)

I wouldn't really bother with Heinlein's later work, it's basically propaganda about why hot young chicks should screw older men while calling them daddy. Of course, if cross generational incest appeals to you, knock yourself out.

Re:Never heard of her till now, (1, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146854)

1. Time Enough for Love
2. The Number of the Beast

Writing one book about a character who travels back in time so that he can screw his mother might be excusable. Writing two is unimaginative as well as creepy. I'd skip the later Heinlein stuff and read some E.E. 'Doc' Smith for some classic space opera.

Re:Never heard of her till now, (1)

Hyperhaplo (575219) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147438)

I second the "The Door into Summer" as a good starting point; as well as "To Sail Beyond the Sunset".

I've now gone through 4 copies of Time Enough for Love.

I'd second that - "Friday" for the best standalone novel.

On the other hand, I still have my first Pern book - The White Dragon - picked up in a yard sale around 1993... my first step into Sci Fi / Fantasy.

Re:Never heard of her till now, (3, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146312)

Honestly, McCaffrey's probably generally for younger readers. Her books are imaginative, but her character development and such are probably a bit shallow for more mature tastes. She's definitely on the softer side of sci-fi than Heinlein - which I don't mind, but some people only like the hard stuff.

Dragonsdawn is the first of the books chronologically, and Dragonflight the first in order of writing - choose whichever you wish, it works both ways. There are (semi) standalone books (Dolphins of Pern, the Harper Hall trilogy), but they generally all presuppose the readers have a general knowledge of the series.

Re:Never heard of her till now, (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146876)

Possibly nostalgia talking, but I think the Crystal Singers series would appeal more to older readers than her other works. I've also reread some of the Talents of Earth / Tower and the Hive series as an adult - they were fun (although you might have to turn your brain off briefly in places) but I'm not sure if I'd enjoy them as much now if I hadn't first read them as a child.

Re:Never heard of her till now, (1)

MurukeshM (1901690) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147006)

Turning off my brain isn't a problem. I went through the entire Buffy the Vampire Slayer series out of nostalgia for a few episodes I watched ten years ago. Even though there are moments where the show really showed its class like in the Zeppo, you have to be zoned out for most of the episode's action. Since I'll be in my last semester of college this Jan (when, I'm told, I'll have lots of spare time), a long series will be awesome. :) Say, are there examples of multiple series being combined, like when Asimov tied together the Foundation, Robot and Empire novels in Foundation and Earth? Seeing Daneel on the Moon was the happiest a book ever made me. :,) Ok, I think I'll start with By His Bootstraps and and Dragonflight, following with The Door into Summer. Thanks for the advice, all of you!

Re:Never heard of her till now, (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147200)

By His Bootstraps is classic RAH - well worth reading. The Dandelion Girl by Robert F. Young is also worth reading if you enjoy it. I don't think Anne McCaffery did any crossover stories - each of her universes were quite distinct and fitting them together would have been quite difficult and would have felt contrived. The Pern series could probably have fitted into any of the others, because it was about a planet that had been colonised and then (after genetically engineering dragons) abandoned most of its technology, but having it be contacted by people from the Tower and the Hive or Ship That Sang series would have felt a bit strange.

Re:Never heard of her till now, (1)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147518)

The first two Harper Hall books are actually a pretty self sufficient. The third is better understood within the context of the Dragonflight trilogy. I'd also say that the Harper Hall books probably classify as YA SF while a lot of the others are probably generic SF. I do agree with you in that even her generic SF are more likely to thrill younger readers, but they're probably enjoyable by anyone who partakes of the genera. McCaffrey story emphasis seemed to be more about people and plot rather than speculations about the deep impacts on society her worlds or technology would effect (as opposed to Brin who usually tells stories using people and plot, but uses them as a context for exploring the larger discussion - like Kiln People or Glory Season).

McCaffrey and hard SF (1)

alispguru (72689) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147766)

Don't dismiss McCaffrey if you only like hard SF. Consider that her Dragonrider series started out serialized in Analog.

Re:Never heard of her till now, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38148066)

Yes, you're so cool. Fuck off.

Re:Never heard of her till now, (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38146834)

Heinlein short story: By His Bootstraps

Re:Never heard of her till now, (2)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147684)

Heinlein: While his earlier works differ from his later works considerably, they are all very readable with decent plots. My personal favourite has always been The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I absolutely love that book, and reread it every few years. I suggest you consider reading that one first. There were rumours of a movie but I haven't heard anything since. It would do well as a movie I think. "Stranger in a Strange Land" is also a classic worth reading.
McAffrey: well everyone will say the Pern books but I didn't like them and stopped reading them after the first few. Your mileage may vary of course. I *love* the Ship Who Sang though, excellent read.
Since you are looking at new SF writers, allow me to recommend VERY HIGHLY: John Scalzi and his book "Old Man's War" and subsequent volumes. He is very much like Heinlein at his best. OMW is nothing short of fantastic, and would definitely make a great miniseries or movie IMHO.

rip (4, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146212)

I spent a lot of time as a youngster at the public library. Fortunately my mom was a big reader and took me there often (it was too far from our house for me to ride my bike or walk.) In grade school I'd already figured out that Science Fiction and Fantasy were my favorites. I don't remember what year it was exactly but it doesn't seem like it took me too long to read through everything interesting in the kids section and I moved over to the regular Sci-Fi/Fantasy shelves.
I do remember clearly pulling the White Dragon off the shelf one day and there on the cover [] was a guy, sitting on a dragon, with little dragons around them both. Well, that was it. I grabbed it and I tore through it.
I still chuckle because my parents were rather conservative and some of the content in that book would have made them flip out. I just loved every bit of it, and then went back to the library to actually read through the series in order. The Pern books became lifelong friends, from that introduction as an adolescent, to bringing Masterharper of Pern with me on my honeymoon (read it on the flight) and today I still am reading the books. Not too many authors have that kind of long term impact.

Re:rip (1)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146612)

That cover of the White Dragon paperback brings back memories. It's the only one of Anne McCaffrey's novels that I've read cover to cover, but I thoroughly enjoyed it - and I say that as someone who absolutely despises almost all fantasy and science fiction stuff.

Before Videogames There Were Books and Imagination (4, Informative)

djl4570 (801529) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146324)

I grew up before video games and even though I wasted far too much time in front of the TV I still found time to lose myself in the works of authors like McCaffery, Zelazny, Tolkein, Maxwell and others. In college I could read for half an hour between classes. Sometimes it was classwork but towards the end of the day I needed entertainment. I still remember the day I found the first two Pern books on the shelf of a used bookstore. The cover art sold them. I wore them out reading them and wanted more but had to wait until the first book of the Harper Hall series was released.

Re:Before Videogames There Were Books and Imaginat (2)

gavving (1689168) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146538)

The comment about the cover art for the Pern books reminds me of how great they were. I'd imagine that alot of us here have Michael Whelan to thank for in getting us started on many great books. Thanks Anne and Micheal for the great memories.

Before MMOs there were MUDs (4, Interesting)

Solandri (704621) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146724)

And PernMUSH [] was one of the first of them, starting just a couple years after TinyMUD. All text of course. The "book and imagination" analogue to the 3D MMOs we have today.

Re:Before MMOs there were MUDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147650)

I was active for several years on PernMUSH myself. It's but a shell now, as there are rarely more than a handful of people logged in, but it was fun when it was bustling. I'd like to know what happened to some of the people I knew then.

RIP Anne.

R.I.P. Anne (1)

folderol (1965326) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146402)

Very sorry to hear this but knew she had serious heart problems. 'Damia' from the Tower and Hive series is one of the few books I read again and again. She wrote beautiful descriptive stories.

Good bye Anne (4, Insightful)

Stripe7 (571267) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146454)

She has had a full life doing what she loved. I loved her work, it is a legacy that will live on. The world is a sadder place without her. Thank you for the stories.

Watch out for thread, Anne.... (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146684)

...after you get your dragon.

SF with romance (4, Interesting)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146764)

McCaffrey's love scenes, wooing, and relationships were very different from typical SF fare. Typical for a romance novel, perhaps? (I wouldn't know, don't read that genre.) Some people don't care for that in their SF, but I enjoyed the novelty.

Most SF leans towards casual, kinky sex, like Niven's interspecies sex on the Ringworld. Treats it all technically and distantly, or as a tool for manipulation or sealing deals. In Star Trek, seems the crew is often getting drugged with strange fluids, hit with plant spores, tempted with sexy robots, shapeshifting aliens, holodeck creations, or otherwise being enticed or forced into some sort of quickie, cheapie when they are busy with other matters. Sex as a mere plot device, and love as an impediment that could interfere with your duties, an inconvenient holdover from primitive times that has little place in modern life. Worst of all, you always knew almost all the changes in relationships would be rebooted for the next episode. True, the dragons of Pern imposed upon human sex life. However, McCaffrey cared enough about it not to do stuff like reboots.

Dragonspeed, Anne (2)

ChaoticCoyote (195677) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146944)

I was never a huge fan of her works, just a matter of taste -- yet I appreciated her creation of female protagonists, and her depiction of dragons as allies of man.

Re:Dragonspeed, Anne (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148014)

I was asked the other day whether I knew any movie that did Dragons justice.

The only movies I could think of were Dragonheart, Eragon and Reign of fire, none of them really worked. Reign of fire did well to depict them as an "out of context problem" as Iain M Banks would put it, but it could just have easily been aliens.

I always wondered what it would be like to see a movie or TV series of Pern.

Now, I haven't read George R.R. Martin's books, so I don't know whether the Game of Thrones sequels will feature them well, but I like to think that if the same people responsible for the GoT TV series made a Pern series, it might just do them justice.

Like you said, their depiction of Dragons as allied with humans is unique (in terms of scale, I know Robin Hobb, and possibly others, have incorporated them on smaller scales) and very interesting, also not just the female protagonists, but the antagonists also were very good. Some of them, even the lesser ones, were well motivated and believable.

A staple of my library (4, Insightful)

tdelaney (458893) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147064)

I've been reading Anne McCaffrey since I first found "Dragonsong" and "To Ride Pegasus" in my school library in year 8 (~13 years old) - some 25 years ago. To this day Dragonsong is still my favourite of the Pern books. I spent the next few years hunting down and buying (with my very limited money at the time) every Anne McCaffrey book I could get my hands on. I still have all of them - I love seeing "RRP: $3.75" ... I don't have every one of her books - I've missed some of each of the Ship books, Tower and Hive series, Peetaybee and Acorna. One of these days I need to fill in my collection, but with the price of books these days ...

"Restoree" is possibly my favourite of her books. It's her first, and it has a rawness to it that I find very appealing. You can see the genesis of many of of the ideas that appeared in her later stories - for example the inhuman aliens that are so evident in several series.

Interestingly, I've been re-reading a random selection of her books the last few days - "Red Star Rising"; "Dragonsdawn"; "Dolphins of Pern" and "Pegasus in Space". It's one of the things I love about her writing - if you know the worlds she's built, you can pick up nearly any of her books and enjoy it in isolation. Less so for a tight series like "The Crystal Singer" though.

The Dragonlady has gone between.

I respect her, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147238)

I tried to read the Pern/Dragon books, and found them very much geared at 12-20 year-olds and difficult to get through because of her 2-dimentional characters (a trait she shared with writers like Isaac Asimov).

The whole Pern series really became a symbol of her inability to move beyond Pern. Hey, we've all gotta pay the bills.

I respect that she had an audience and that people enjoyed her, but she was writing comic books after the first 2 or 3 Pern novels.

It seems unfair... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147328)

It seems somehow unfair to her memory that in just 70 years her works will pass into the public domain and provider her no sustenance, despite her lifelong work. Why, my 9 year old daughter might still be alive to see that happen. Travesty of the worst sort. Luckily, my young daughter will, by then, probably be fighting Alzheimers in a home, so that she doesn't have to see to horror of this creative genius' works defiled by them becoming public domain.

Re:It seems unfair... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147864)

Get out. This is an obituary thread, not about copyright law.

Deeply saddened (1)

UttBuggly (871776) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147330)

I loved the Pern stories as well as Crystal Singer. Actually, I didn't dislike anything of hers I read.

I suppose Todd will continue writing but I will miss Anne's distinct style a great deal.

Farewell, Anne! (3, Interesting)

Frightened_Turtle (592418) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147422)

One of my favorite storytellers! I still enjoy reading her stories over and over again.

I "first" discovered her stories when The White Dragon came out. But, a number of years later, I remembered that I had read one of her short stories--The Smallest Dragonboy--back when it was first published. At my age then, the story strongly resonated with me. It's probably why I enjoyed The White Dragon so much. After reading The White Dragon, I bought the other books in the series that were then available. I loved how in the HarperHall Trilogy, she took the commoners point of view in the daily life of Pern.

I loved how she brought many of her series of stories to create a single cohesive universe. The Brainship series and the Crystal Singer series came together nicely. I also enjoyed how Dragonriders went from a fantasy setting to hard science fiction as the history of Pern was slowly revealed. I always wondered if ever McCaffrey was going to have Pern rediscovered by a Brainship and re-enter galactic society? I guess that one is for our collective imaginations or for Todd to pursue, if within Anne's canon.

You will be missed (1)

jcaren (862362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147428)

Like many of her fans, Anne had an entire bookshelf devoted to her. My deepest condolances to her family and close friends.

I wanted a dragon so bad... (1)

invid (163714) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147462)

I even would have taken one of the little ones from "Dragonsong" (actually, they would be more practical--easier to feed). Growing up, it was a revelation to read a story with dragons that wasn't based around some epic fantasy war fighting an evil wizard. The Pern series brought me to one of a handful of worlds that made adolescence bearable, and it was a truly unique, imaginative place. She has earned her place in the pantheon of great science fiction writers.

As a Female Geek (4, Interesting)

kria (126207) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147694)

Anne was one of the first female authors that I managed to find in the SF&F field. She was one of the first authors I read that had really great, strong female characters. She helped teach me that you don't have to be a man to be smart, strong, successful, that you don't have to be a man to be a hero. Her fiction helped shape my perspective, along with authors like Andre Norton and eventually (scoff if you will) Mercedes Lackey. Thank you, Anne McCaffrey.

anne? (1)

packrat2 (686953) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147732)

lived in new york;
  had a child from a prize winning writer; moved to tronoto; ran writing classes at the libraray for years.

  if I have the right person.


A bitter sweet goodbye (1)

Goboxer (1821502) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147748)

I remember the first book of her's I read. It was an anthology of short Pern stories. I must have been around 12. They opened me up to the world of fantasy/scifi literature and started me down the path to being an avid reader. Anne McCaffrey changed my life for the better and I wish I had been able to thank her before her passing.

RIP, Anne McCaffrey (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147780)

Years ago, a cow-orker was raving about her Pern series. At the time, I didn't want to get into yet another long series, so I didn't buy any of them. A couple years ago, I was looking for something new and remembered the cow-orker's recommendation, bought one of the books, and loved it. Now I have most of the series.

She was my first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147800)

I had no interest in reading back in the early 80s when I was 8. My favorite things were playing outside, building forts, catching frogs, all of the normal things for a child back then. My mom handed me a copy of "The White Dragon" and while I still retained my excitement and love for the outdoor, that book opened a portal to reading that had me reading two to five years beyond my level from 3rd grade on. After "The White Dragon" I was introduced to the "Hobbit" and then back to the dragon riders of Pern. The love for reading that acquired grew into a skill that has served me so many times in life and the imagination that it inspired has fueled creative solutions for my life and the people I serve.

You were my first, Anne. I will always remember you and the gifts that you inspired in me.

G'bye, Anne. (1)

Amnenth (698898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147914)

Guess what series I was reading when I came up with my current handle.

McCaffrey's books helped me get a jumpstart on literacy way back when. G'bye, Anne. Thanks for all the books.

Ah! The Thread! (1)

penguinstorm (575341) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147924)

Wheel and turn
Or bleed and burn.
Fly between,
Blue and green.
Soar, dive down,
Bronze and brown
Dragonmen must fly
When Threads are in the sky.

Re:Ah! The Thread! (1)

sunzoomspark (1960660) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148328)

It has been a long time since I read many of her books. I appreciated her story telling and it was great escapism.

Been meaning to do some recreational reading, think I'll re-read some of her work.

RIP Anne McCaffrey and thank you

Just last month.... (2)

SwedishChef (69313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148500)

I gave a hard-back copy of one of Anne's books to the very bright ten year old girl across the street. Her mom was having trouble finding books that she would read that weren't full of the wrong messages. I looked in my library shelf and Anne McCaffrey's book caught my eye. I don't know if she has read it... but Anne's books always had the right messages. Thanks, Anne. RIP.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?