back to article Dragonriders of Pern author Anne McCaffrey dies

Author of the Dragonrider series of books, Anne McCaffrey, died on Monday aged 85, having authored a huge number of books that straddled the border between science fiction and fantasy. The author suffered a stroke at her home in Ireland on Monday, and passed away shortly afterwards. Her publisher, Del Rey, posted a …


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  1. Alfred 2

    R.I.P. Anne

    You gave a lot of pleasure to a lot of people.

    I enjoyed your books.

  2. Gordon 10

    Sad Day

    Whilst never a Rabid fan I did have a Pern phase, before finding it all a little Young Adult.

    For the delight she gave me while growing up - she'll be missed.

  3. fLaMePrOoF

    Bad show

    Negativity, particularly the 'parting shot' in pretty bad taste for an Obit IMO.

    1. Bob Bobson

      "Negativity, particularly the 'parting shot' in pretty bad taste for an Obit IMO."

      It's an obituary, not a hagiography.

  4. Paul_Murphy

    Sad news - the Pern books were amongst the other books that I read while growing up, but they are the only ones that went from a fantasy-world to a science-fiction world, they showed what a good story teller could do.

    I agree through that the descriptions of people were enough to tell if someone was to be a goodie or a baddie, still interesting stores.


  5. DasEnglander

    "widely credited in cutting a path for female writers of science fiction"


    Not a fan of Andrew North then Bill?


    1. Josh Holman

      Indeed, I'm oft perplexed by the sentiment that the genre is male dominated. So much for Mary Shelley, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Ursula K. LeGuin, Andre Norton (Andrew North), Ocatvia Butler, Margarget Weis, etc,etc,etc.


      So long, and thanks for all the dragons.

    2. Stevie


      Or James Tiptree Jr.

  6. JimC

    One of her odder habits

    Was using the same plot/series of events in different books written from different character's viewpoints. I could never make my mind up whether its intriguing, ingenious, enlightening or just a shortage of ideas...

    1. Cthonus

      re: Odder Habits

      Worked well enough for Moorcock!

    2. laird cummings

      I rather liked that habit.

      Most events have a multitude of different interpretations - basically, for every event where there are N number of observers / participants, there are N+1 stories - One story for ecah viewpoint, but the objective actual event. And no two of those stories are the same - each one is fitered by the viewpoint character's perceptions.

      So - Re-examining a particular story line through many different points of view is not only valid and innovative, but is an interesting and efficient way of telling stories.

  7. Andrew Moore

    Sad news indeed...

    I read nearly all her books as a youngster and was only just thinking about getting my eldest daughter started on the Pern series.

  8. Steve the Cynic

    McCaffrey porn

    I've actually read this story. It was, as she said, fairly soft porn, soft enough to be included in a collection of her short stories that could be bought in normal bookshops.

    And no, it wasn't among her best writing, either. As porn it suffered by having too much of her hallmark political intrigues, and as political intrigue it suffered by having too much porn. A sort of lose-lose situation.

  9. Rob

    R.I.P dear lady

    I loved the 'Dragon' series when I was growing up, they had a good balance. I still have a number of the original paperbacks kicking around (some books I keep cause I like the artwork). Makes me think I might buy a couple in Kindle format and relive the 'Pern' days.

  10. Jedit Silver badge

    "Dinosaur Planet wasn't very good"

    Let's be honest here - most of McCaffrey's novels weren't very good. However, I never heard that she was a wicked person, and as said she did a lot to get women fantasy authors taken seriously. RIP, and condolences to her family.

  11. Mage

    Will be missed

    Unlike most Authors she helped newcomers. Her love of Opera and Music is obvious.

    The later Pern books maybe suffer by being more written to satisfy the demands of Pernese Fandom than her own. Plenty of good reading apart from Pern or the later Pern books.

    Many of her books are better than some more popular authors. Depends what you expect. Pern is a tricky mix of SF and Fantasy actually.

  12. Jelliphiish


    not that i disagree mind you.. but this has got to be an attempt at winning FOTW..

    the early dragon books were worth the effort .. but then i grew older and wound up re-reading a couple a few years later.. i still enjoyed them. they were3 per force short books and therre's only so much you can do given the space.. but on the whole, lovely fun reads.

    i alsways liked her biog '..subject to change without notice'

    She'll be missed.

  13. sisk

    RIP Anne McCaffrey

    It's been a while since I've picked up a Pern book (and I never could get into any of her other series), but I remember getting so involved reading Moreta that I started to panic when I sneezed while reading it. Then, of course, my brain kicked in and I remembered the plague was only happening in the book. The really funny thing is that I watched my room mate do the exact same thing two weeks later.

    Few books can draw me in that way. I consider it the mark of greatness when it happens.

  14. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    "...and dragons raised their heads as one and keened"

    She was for many years one of my favourite authors. So much, that I paid full price on launch day for "Dragondrums" IN HARDBACK, in the days when books were published in hardback many months before they appeared in paperback, and were horribly expensive.

    I'm trying to think of a suitable quite from something like "The Ship who Sang" or "Masterharper of Pern", or even from "Dragonsong" (something from the dirge sung by Menolly during Petrion's Dirge would be suitable), but memory fails me.

  15. Jacqui

    One of the nicer writers

    One rather telling comment was that her health was failing noticably over the past few years and people close to her stated that it was her fans that kept her going. Many of the later stories driven by her massive and dedicated fan base, many of which would visit her at home.


    p.s. get some of the audio books read by the author - deffo adds something to the tale.

  16. Steve the Cynic

    Lasting impressions...

    I read the Pern books as a teenager and student before giving up when the sequel to The White Dragon was released (and it all seemed too neatly tied off, thanks, with excessively blatant disregard for physics). However, it left an impression somewhere, because twenty years later, the name of one of her characters bubbled out of my subconscious into the name of an MMORPG character I was creating. (And then eighteen months later I finally looked it up to see if I could find out where the name had come from...)

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven

    I enjoyed "Dinosaur Planet" as a kid. Not so good as adult literature.

  18. Candy

    A real loss.

    My first reaction to the news was: Oh, no more stories for young girls with the ponies replaced by fluffy dragons. But a quick look at the bookshelf was a pleasant reminder of what an entertaining and varied author she really was. Starting off with Restoree as a first novel was impressive all on its own. But then the Ship Who... and Crystal series really brought it home to me. While I may not be much of a Pern fan, she certainly knew how to tell a good tale. Get Off The Unicorn remains one of my favourite collections of short stories, serves as the source for several longer works and has one of the best tales about naming a book to boot...

  19. Tony S

    Gone Between

    I still have most of the Pern series; and I do re-read them occasionally. Really enjoyed them and the ones written by her son add to the series nicely.

    She will be missed with great sadness.

  20. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Got a bookshelf full of her stories and not ashamed to admit I still like to read them.

    Smiley, because noone is truly lost while people remember them fondly.

  21. Tony Lock

    The Crystal Singer books along with the Ship Who Sang are great books. I shall have to go back and reread them. Again.

    1. Intractable Potsherd

      Crystal Singer ...

      ... and The Tower and the Hive are the two series I keep going back to. Pern is so rich, but I am never sure how I like the change from the original books' fantasy underpinnings to the somewhat dodgy sci-fi of the later books (AIVAS just wasn't plausible enough in terms of surviving all that time, and I am a Star Trek fan!)

  22. MyronC

    Nice gal but had some weird ideas

    ... about homosexuality in specific:

    "It’s a proven fact that a single anal sex experience causes one to be homosexual. The hormones released by a sexual situation involving the anus being broached, are the same hormones found in large quantities in effeminate homosexual males. For example, when I was much younger I knew a young man who was for all intents and purposes, heterosexual. He was mugged, and involved in a rape situation involving a tent peg. This one event was enough to have him start on a road that eventually led to him becoming effeminate and gay. "

    I read all her books growing up but she started going wacky kookoo near the end. Still sad to see her go, she did bring a unique character to the SFF world.

  23. Stevie

    Bah! Spoilers!

    Yeah. Mmm. Had some odd ideas indeed. One laughable one from the Pern stories involved a computer that had survived thousands of years intact and that housed an AI with a human speech capability and interface reminding its students to "back up their hard drives" after a learning session.

    Authors. Can't stop putting their own life experiences on paper no matter how silly.

    As for the unpronounceable F'nor and Mnementh: Really? Okay, F'nor is pronounced like Fynor without the "y", and Mnementh is pronounced in the same way anyone who deals with computers for a living would pronounce "mnemonic", it being a fairly common word in IT.

    Even I know *that*.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anne, I have counted you as one of my favourite authors for over 30 years, the magical stories you wove made you our planets Master Harper.

  25. OzBob

    I was introduced to McCaffrey,...

    by a Diesel Mechanic in the Air Force who loaned me some of the Pern series. Now if you could get that guy to read and enjoy fiction, then I am impressed. I liked it but never carried on reading more, pity.

  26. DownUndaRob

    So long and thanks for all the fish

    One of only two series I ever got into (can you guess the other one)

    I wish her clear skies.


    (in a previous life: Perick, Healer Craft Second, Harper's Tale MOO)

  27. Nerf Herder

    Very Sad

    I have been an Anne McCaffrey fan since childhood. I loved her stories, quirks 'n' all. The Pern series, Decision at Doona and The Ship Who Sang were my favourites. She will indeed be sadly missed.

    A bright light has gone out of the world.

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