On 21 November 2011, the legendary science fiction and fantasy author, Anne McCaffrey passed away.
I remember reading her Pern books in my mid-teens. They were the first series I seriously began to read, and also one of my early looks into science fiction and fantasy which are now my most read/written genres.
Her first novel, Restoree, was published in 1967 and told the story of a woman who was intelligent and acted on her own, unlike most heroines in the science fiction of those times.
McCaffrey won both a Hugo and a Nebula award (and was the first woman who accomplished that) for the Pern novella Weyr Search in 1967 and Dragonrider in 1969 respectively.
The Pern novels were by far her most notable work, telling the story of a colony of humans who crash-land on the planet, Pern, and eventually learn to ride dragons in order to fight off Thread, a mycorrhizoid spore, that periodically rains down on the planet.
Though the Pern novels are the most known, her personal favourite was The Ship Who Sang, a story about Helva, who was severely disabled at birth but because of her exceptional brain was allowed to become a shell person, someone who is infused with a ship and acts as its pilot.
Anne McCaffrey was a brilliant writer and person, and I’m sure she will be widely missed. I’ll leave you with the advice she gave an aspiring writer on her blog:
First — keep reading. Writers are readers. Writers are also people who can’t not write.
Second, follow Heinlein’s rules for getting published:
1. Write it.
2. Finish it.
3. Send it out.
4. Keep sending it out until someone sends you a check.
There are variations on that, but that’s basically what works.
~ Anne McCaffrey