Vale Anne McCaffery

Lord, I’m close enough to epitaph writing that I wouldn’t be very witty. I think ‘Story Teller’ would be a good summation. Anne McCaffery.

I share the sentiments of Scott Sigler, who wrote on Facebook:

Anne McCaffrey has passed away. She was my favorite author as a kid. I couldn’t get enough of Pern, Dragonflight, Dragonsinger and the Crystal Singer.

Anne created magic, pure and simple. I read the paperbacks over and over, until they were crumbling. Out of all the books I read as a kid (and there were a lot of them), Pern was the one place I most wanted to be real.

She was a big part of my desire to write, to create, and to take people away to another place. Her writing taught me that the fantastic could be rooted in science instead of magic. The collapse of advanced cultures into medieval states, the real fading into myth, and genetically engineered monsters remain central aspects of my own work, thanks to her.

Her books will stand the test of time and remain classics of science fiction.

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About Kylie Sturgess

Kylie Sturgess is a Philosophy teacher, media and psychology student, blogger at Patheos and podcaster at Token Skeptic. She has conducted over a hundred interviews including artists, scientists, politicians and activists, worldwide.
She’s the author of the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser‘ column at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website and travels internationally lecturing on feminism, skepticism, and science.

  • Mara

    Besides Anne McCaffrey being a wonderful storyteller, I will note that Pern had no religion. No priests, no church, no nothing. And not in a preachy, “see, we’re consciously being nonreligious” way either. The planet simply had no religion because she decided it was utterly unnecessary and nobody ever mentioned the fact. I loved that :)

    Despite their flaws, I loved her books and read every single thing she wrote for close to two decades. I will always honor her for the worlds she created and brought to life.

    (Man, I still have the ripped up paperback of Dragonquest where I’d made lists of what I would name my fire lizards. And what dragon I’d Impress. And…)

    • Kylie Sturgess

      I was fortunate enough to get a glimpse of her at Dragon*Con 2008. Just a glimpse, she was mobbed. :)

  • geocatherder

    I’m so saddened. I’ve enjoyed most of Anne McCaffrey’s books, and some of her son Todd’s. When I’m really down and I need a good escape, I still turn to one of my dog-eared tales of Pern. What a loss.

    • Kylie Sturgess

      I don’t have many of her later books, but pretty much all of her earlier ones. And the ones she wrote with Elizabeth Moon, a few of those around. :/

  • ‘Tis Himself, OM

    Besides the Pern and Crystalsinger books I also enjoyed The Ship Who Sang.

    Goodbye, Anne. Sic transit gloria mundi.

  • Aliasalpha

    I still remember playing Dragonriders of Pern on the C64, 20 solid minutes of loading but damn was it worth it. Battling against the thread, arranging dragon hatchings, political alliances, betraying my sister and leaving her to her own devices at a time when she was most vulnerable… great stuff.

    • Kylie Sturgess

      OMG YES!! But I had the cheap version, which was either two things:

      1) Fly around on a 2D dragon, flaming thread or
      2) Be presented with a very pixellated map and negotiate as many alliances as you could every turn, until you dominated Pern.

      I used to play the former a lot and then got into the latter. If you were Benden, you were fairly certain to win, but on the second game, it’d be biased towards High Reaches and would be a little more of a challenge.

  • keithharwood

    I once read a book in which dragons were phantasmic, malevolent beings. The central character is searching for information about them and comes across a marketplace story-teller. He listens to her story about dragons then talks to her afterwards. The dragons she talks about are fictional, quite unlike the ones in his world. When he leaves she starts her story again, “Lessa awoke, cold”.

    I have often thought that if I ever met Anne McCaffrey I would ask her how she felt at being a character in a story. Now I shall never know.

    • Andrew G.

      You’re referring to Peter Morwood’s The Dragon Lord, third of four books in the Book of Years series; but the dragon in that series is quite real and not especially malevolent. The original paperback edition even has an illustration of the storyteller, as I recall.

  • Katkinkate

    It’s sad to hear she’s gone. I haven’t read any of her works for over a decade now, but they are fond memories. Maybe I should take a journey back to Pern.

  • Kate from Iowa

    One of my good friends just told me about this. Just having finished yet another re-read of my crumbling copy of Sassinak (and completely unable to locate the rest of my Dinosaur Planet/Fleet novels,) I can’t say I has a sad, because we have her words. Still, it’s never good to hear that someone who’s work and words have been such good friends for so many years is gone.

    You will be missed, Lady.

  • tielserrath

    Lessa woke, cold.

    It’s as memorable for me as ‘in a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit’.

    My childhood wouldn’t have been the same without these books to escape to.