Saturday, August 18, 2007

Forty Years of Pern

F'lar as drawn by Robin Wood
I've written romance since I was a teenager, but the idea of mixing romance with paranormal themes didn't occur to me until I read the Dragonriders of Pern® series by Anne McCaffrey. Anne's books were not full out romance, but rather sf/paranormal with romantic elements but they inspired me to write nonetheless. Why? I discovered the Pern fan culture. Rabid fans who created their own characters and wrote about them using rules specified by the DragonLady herself. It was incredible. Incredible fun and a great proving ground for me as a writer.
Anne's first dragonrider book was published in 1967 so her unique world is celebrating a 40th anniversary this year. Talk about longevity. Not only that, but how many writers can pass a writing legacy on to their children. Oh their royalties, sure. But their world? Anne's son Todd has taken over the reins of her worlds and has written several novels in his own right now.

Why am I so taken with her world and why did it inspire me to write? The characters. Anne writes amazing, complex characters that recognize shades of gray. LOTS of gray. I also love the way her characters could look at life and see humor. I loved Lessa with all her prickly edges and sarcastic humor and I wished I could steal F'lar from her. Now there was a hot dragonrider!

Anne's Dragonrider series was one of the first where m/m relationships were accepted. A daring breakthrough in 1967. Now m/m romance is all the rage. What goes around comes around...so to speak.

Pern fandom was a blast. It was one of the first times I met people from all over the place via the computer. This was the bad ole days when AOL was huge and hugely expensive (2.95 a minute) using dial up and I often had to call a long distance number to access things on top of it. Ouch. But it was worth it because I met equally obsessive Pern fans who wanted to create their own characters on Pern. I even went to DragonCon and met a bunch of them about ten years ago. A community of writers to brainstorm and collaborate with - could there be anything cooler? Early versions of social networking.

I value the experiences and the friends I made then and I want to wish Anne McCaffrey a happy 40th Pern anniversary. To find out more about Pern fandom, please visit The Pern Museum and Archives. Any other Pern or Anne McCaffrey fans out there? Sound off and leave a comment or two!

13 comments:

  1. Well, now you've done it. These books are going to have to be added to my towering "to-be-read" pile. Great post, and a lovely tribute!

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  2. I just love the Pern books! Your post makes me want to go on a massive reread.

    Jody W.

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  3. Wow! It's been 40 years? Anne McCaffrey is a fabulous writer. For years, I read everything by her, although not as much lately. I really admire her world building--and her characters are great too.

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  4. We have most, if not all, of the books. It's been forever since I've read them but I, too, feel a re-read marathon coming on ; )

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  5. I couldn't believe she'd been in the publishing world for 40 years until I went to the Pern Museum site and it mentioned the 40 years thing. I love her writing and her characters have always appealed to readers of all ages. I loved them at 20 something and I love them now at 40 something.

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  6. Ah, dragons and the people who tame them. What's not to love?

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  7. Love dragons, love Pern, and love fanfic. I, too, cut my teeth on fanfic and it was a wonderful step toward pursuing publication.

    And Anne hails from NJ like yours truly so what is not to love?

    40 years?

    Amazing,

    talia

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  8. Anne McCaffrey's writing is like a cuddly blanket that I refuse to loose.

    I read her books when I am sick or down and just loose myself in the writing and comfort of her worlds.

    I love the Pern books and I am savign my collection for my son to read.

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  9. I love Pern too. Who is your favorite character? Mine always Robinton.

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  10. Brenda,
    My favorite character was probably Robinton too. I cried at the end of All the Weyrs of Pern! But in terms of favorite character type - I always wanted to be a goldrider. Most of my heroines (when writing fanfics) were goldriders and my heroes were always bronzeriders. LOL

    Francesca

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  11. HI! I manage a place such as you mention, the one and only Official "PernRPG" and have for over twenty years now. Pern RPG was granted a unique Charter from The Lady, AMC, herself back in the late 80's and we have existed online ever since. We used to be on Prodigy's boards and in '99 when Prodigy died we moved to Delphiforums where we still exist :> For anyone who wants to
    COME! VISIT WGERE DRAGONS LIVE!
    The e-address is:

    http://www.delphiforums.com/PernRPG

    You will ned a FREE account on Delphiforums and for that you just need a valid EMAIL Address. That's all. Then drop in and say hello, read, and then Post a charatcer. Three AYES by the GM's and you are ready to go. All Welcome, especially The Lady' fans :> - Lord Ramage

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  12. anne mccaffrey has a talent for writing she the makes such good novels

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