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R.I.P. Anne Mccaffery :(Follow

#1 Nov 22 2011 at 6:20 PM Rating: Excellent
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She was one of my favorite authors, and one of them I have met in real life. She visited my Junior High School back in 1998 because she knew the librarian there. We'll miss her. The world is a duller place now. Smiley: frown

http://io9.com/5862031/rip-anne-mccaffrey-creator-of-pern-and-other-classic-books

R.I.P. Anne McCaffrey, Creator of Pern and The Ship Who Sang

Anne McCaffrey wasn't just the inventor of Pern, the world where a whole society is based on dragon-riding. She was also an incredibly influential author who helped transform the way science fiction and fantasy authors wrote about women, and the way all of us thought about bodies and selfhood. She was the first woman to win a Hugo Award and a Nebula Award, as well as a Grand Master of science fiction.
Top image by Michael Whelan

Besides the Pern books, McCaffrey wrote the classic space-faring novel The Ship Who Sang, in which a severely disabled girl becomes the core of a starship, or Brainship, with her mind controlling all its major functions. McCaffrey's novel provided a startling new way to think about personhood and the nature of the mind/body connection, but also helped pave the way for a whole subgenre of posthuman space opera, in which heavily modified humans explore space.

She told Locus in 2004:

I think the best story I ever wrote was 'The Ship Who Sang'. It still causes people to cry, including me. When Todd and I were reading it at Brighton, they had a BBC crew filming it. So there were these BBC cameramen hunkered down filming us, and comes the end of the story (which Todd always reads, because I can't go through it without weeping), I saw that these cameramen had tears rolling down their faces. That's such a thrill — a story I wrote at the beginning of my career, and it's still packin' the house. I wrote that story because I couldn't tell my father, he died in 1953. I remember reading a story — I can't remember the name or that of the author — about a woman searching for her son's brain, it had been used for an autopilot on an ore ship and she wanted to find it and give it surcease. And I thought what if severely disabled people were given a chance to become starships? What if they wanted to do that? I thought, 'Hey, that would be a gorgeous idea.' So that's how 'The Ship Who Sang' was born.

McCaffrey's first novel, Restoree, was written in response to the unrealistic depiction of women in science fiction and fantasy.

But it was the many Pern novels that sealed her renown. One of my fondest convention memories is of going to Dragon*Con one year and attending a panel about "Emergency Medicine on Pern." There, a group of extremely earnest — but good-humored — people were hashing out exactly what you would do if someone happened to be on Pern and fell of his/her dragon. How would you make a stretcher out of items that were readily available on Pern? How would you keep the fallen rider's dragon from freaking out? And so on. The world of Pern was as real to these people as Atlanta — maybe more so.

Anne McCaffrey died today at the age of 85.
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#2 Nov 22 2011 at 6:24 PM Rating: Good
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I... just posted this. Smiley: dubious

You can lock my thread, even though I beat you. Yours has a lot more info.
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#3 Nov 22 2011 at 6:33 PM Rating: Excellent
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Eh, I'll leave em both.
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#4 Nov 22 2011 at 7:04 PM Rating: Excellent
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I am genuinely heart-broken. I mean, I know that she was old and lived a good life, but there are so many of my memories that I can tie to a time when I was reading something of hers. Her writing was a part of my childhood and the basis for comparison to so much literature growing up. I never met her, but she's just one of those people that I feel like I knew somehow...like it was comforting to just know she existed somewhere in the world.

Nexa
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#5 Nov 22 2011 at 7:09 PM Rating: Excellent
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Obligatory Anne McCaffrey memory:

So when I was in middle school and went on my Grand Tour of science fiction, I had a minor obsession with Pern and all things related, and at one point I had checked out a really nice coffee table book of illustrations from the library. I promptly lost the book.

The fines started piling up, and finally they got to the point where the library capped it at the cost of the replacement book and asked us very nicely to pay it. ($45 or so.) My dad sent them a check and then docked my allowance for about six months until it was all paid back.

Fast forward 4-5 years later when I'm moving out of home and giving my childhood room a really good cleaning out. I pulled the mattress away from the wall... and lo, there was the illustrated Dragonriders book.

It was mine now! Smiley: lol
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Thayos wrote:
I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

FFXIV: Katarh Mest on Lamia - Member of The Swarm and leader of Grammarian Tea House chat LS
#6 Nov 23 2011 at 12:35 PM Rating: Good
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I've never read the Pern books, my dad owns all of them in hardcover. I remember him reading them when I was little, when I did however try reading them I was sadly 13 and it was a little above my head at the time. Now that she's passed I might just have to ask to borrow them from my dad now.
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#7 Nov 23 2011 at 8:04 PM Rating: Excellent
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Was very sad to hear this, I lucked into someone selling their collection of her books this summer via yardsale which are now here... so great to go back and read 'em.

I do wonder though what this does for the televised series that she had kept final refusal on. I'd love to see it if they did it right.
#8 Nov 25 2011 at 8:32 AM Rating: Good
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I just saw this in the news. Smiley: frown

I got a lot of miles out of the Pern novels back in my teens. Fear the thread.

rip Anne
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#9 Nov 25 2011 at 9:00 AM Rating: Good
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Smiley: frown

Never heard of her, I think. Her books sound interesting, though.
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#10 Nov 26 2011 at 5:51 PM Rating: Decent
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Smiley: frown

Never heard of her, I think. Her books sound interesting, though.


The Pern series were good, really good, definitely worth a read. I hadn't heard the news to be honest, it's sad.

I didn't know her work well, nor that she was that influential, I guess I'll look for her other books, definitely that "The Ship who sang" sounds very interesting.
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#11 Nov 26 2011 at 8:27 PM Rating: Good
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The Ship series is by far the title that earned her "Grand Master." I think my favorite of them was The City Who Fought.

Crystal Singer series was good too, as was The Rowan and all the psychic descendent kiddies. The only one I didn't like was the one about the unicorn girl, that was too furry-esque for my taste.

Edit: Something occurred to me - one of the things that really drew me to her sci-fi books is that women were often the protagonists. They weren't accessories, they were the stars.

Edited, Nov 26th 2011 9:29pm by catwho
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Thayos wrote:
I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

FFXIV: Katarh Mest on Lamia - Member of The Swarm and leader of Grammarian Tea House chat LS
#12 Nov 26 2011 at 8:53 PM Rating: Excellent
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I think "The ship who searched" is probably one of my favorite books of hers. Definitly second Crystal Singer. The Rowan was kind of iffy in my oppinion. It wasn't bad, it just didn't grab me. Pern is definitly where most of my favorites came from though.
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#13 Dec 07 2011 at 6:26 AM Rating: Good
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I adored Dragonsong and the Harper miniseries as a young teen. Also the first Dragon books with (Lessa?) Crystalsinger a favourite, Restoree, The Ship Who Sang. Oh, and Nerilka had me crying my eyes out for hours after I finished, even though I knew how it had to end up.

However I had a bad moment when I was an adult and went back and reread some of the Pern books. Anne McCaffrey is the only writer who I think should have taken every sentence, and turned it into a paragraph. The story was excellent.......but it totally read like it was in point form. I haven't been able to think about her as a writer the same since. I think she had great, even fabulous, ideas, she just wasn't a great writer overall.

Like David Eddings, I think she is excellent reading for teens. Adults, not so much. Even though she wrote some "naughty" books ^_^
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