Anne Inez McCaffrey, born April 1st 1926 in Cambridge Massachusetts, died November 21st 2011 in her home, Dragonhold, in Ireland. She was the first woman to win a Hugo Award, and the first to receive the Nebula Award. Inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2006. The White Dragon, published in 1978, was one of the first science fiction novels to appear on the New York Times Best Seller List.
Here is just a sample of the Anne McCaffrey books that I have in my library. Primarily from the Dragonriders of Pern series. I believe I have read or heard all in this series over the years. I have read many of her other works outside of the Pern sets as well. Several from the Crystal Singer series, and several of her short stories. And still there are so many more to go!
I was introduced to Anne McCaffrey’s work one summer when I was about 12 I believe. (It might have been 13.) My first book was Dragonsong. Of course that’s not the first one in the series, but it was the beginning for me to Anne’s work, as well as a beginning into the fantasy fiction realm. And I have been hooked ever since!
I used to re-read her books (those that I owned anyway) about every 2 years. And then I found audio books and I started all over again. There have been new books to add to the family as the years have passed, including new books preceding the original ones.
DragonsDawn for example goes back to the first settlers on Pern, and the original creation of the great dragons, but the book itself wasn’t published until 1989. That was about 10 years after I had read Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, Dragondrums, Dragonflight, Dragonquest, and A White Dragon!
I saw an interview with Stephen King where he said that for him the stories come and they have to be told (or something like that). It wasn’t as if he sat down and had to fight writer’s block to come up with something. Rather he would get ideas that would simmer in his mind, often mingling with other ideas until a story developed that pretty much wrote itself.
From the interviews that I heard with Anne, it appears that it was very similar for her. The stories just tumbled out. Of course the hard part was making sure that the timelines, and specifics remained consistent, but she had a lot of help with that.
She surrounded herself with family, friends, and fans who helped to keep the details accurate. I guess most prolific writers can be summarized as being ‘big picture’ people who can soar when they have detail driven people to keep them tethered to the ground. Funny! I’m claiming that as an original quote unless someone wants to prove me wrong:)
Anyway, Anne McCaffrey has always been one of my favorite authors, and I will continue to enjoy her life’s work for many years to come if I am that lucky.
Anne’s son Todd co-wrote with Anne on the Pern series before her death, and here Todd McCaffrey talks about Anne at the San Diego Comic Con.
Thank you Anne for leaving us such beautiful stories!