Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series

What other authors do Tolkien fans enjoy? Come on in and enter into a broadened conversation on the great literature of this and other times.

Postby Alcina » Sun May 09, 2004 2:04 pm

I'd say anything she wrote before 1982 (with the possible exception of Restoree, which is just about OK) is probably worth reading. I've not found anything since then that's any good; plus they spoil the original premise of many of the books to which they're sequels. I fell that even 'Moreta' does this, by changing the original story/legend to a much more mundane one about passive vaccination agains flu. (Anyway, I'm fairly sure passive artificial immunity against flu isn't viable... it would only last for about 10 dys, wouldn't it?)
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Postby portia » Wed May 12, 2004 4:12 pm

I am currently reading a new (2003) Pern book, written by Anne and Todd McCaffrey. It is called "Dragon's Kin," which seems to refer to Watch-whers. I am not far enough into it to say how it compares with the others.
Interestingly, though, it takes place in a Thread-free interval.

More later.
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Postby luthienelflover » Thu May 13, 2004 1:26 pm

I really enjoy them, though the writing isn't stellar (at least IMHO). The premise is interesting... I haven't read the ones you all say aren't any good, though. I've only read the original trilogy and DragonsDawn. :)

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Postby Castanea_d. » Fri May 14, 2004 12:40 pm

I read all the ones up through "All the Weyrs of Pern," and used to be a huge fan of the books. I agree with others here:

1) Robinton is extraordinarily cool.
2) the Harper Hall books are the best. Something McCaffrey does very well is communicate a good sense of what the life of a musician is like (though most musicians' lives are not nearly as exciting as Robinton's, Menolly's, et.al.) :):):):):):) I love the premise of the "teaching songs" playing such a large role in society as corporate memory.
3) Some of the others are uneven in quality.

I disagree with what some of you are saying, too: I loved the AIVAS!!! It became one of my favorite characters, and I enjoyed the intersection of two different modes of thought in those books. Trying not to give anything away, I thought the scene where AIVAS and a certain other character "die" was one of the best in the series.

The last time I spent much time with the books was Labor Day weekend 2000. It was about 100 degrees in the afternoons, we were living in an un-airconditioned apartment, I had the flu, was utterly miserable - and I read about a half dozen of the Pern books pretty much nonstop. It struck me for the first time then how different the beginning of the first book was from what follows, and reminded me that it was originally a short story in (I think) Analog. I am pretty sure it won a Hugo that year.

Goes to show you what can happen when you write a good short story! :):):):):):):):)

Hi, Luthy!!! :):):):) )
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Postby luthienelflover » Fri May 14, 2004 3:16 pm

Hi Cassi! :):)

It struck me for the first time then how different the beginning of the first book was from what follows

I agree... Like I said, I've only read four of them, but just the difference in style between the first one (Dragonflight? Maybe?) and The White Dragon struck me when I read all three nonstop. I didn't notice it so much when I read them separately, but all together it really hit me like a hammer :P

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Postby portia » Fri May 14, 2004 4:33 pm

I have now finished "Dragon's Kin."
As always (as far as I recall), the storyline was interesting.
This one followed a common pattern. The main character(s) are people who are not following the paths they are best fitted for, because of some social convention or a prejudice. They struggle against this and end up on the right path.
The writing style and outlook make this seem like a book written for juveniles. That did not stop me from enjoying it.
It has been a long time since I read the others and I think there are ones I have missed. Nevertheleess, this one seems above average.
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Postby ladyrohan31 » Mon Aug 23, 2004 6:08 am

I first read DRAGON RIDERS OF PERN in junior high school. I first read learned about them by reading THE HARPER HALL trilogy. I didn't start reading the other books until high school. I have heard somewhere that they tried to make a television series,now I hear that they might be turned in movies. Does anybody know about this?:)
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Postby Crystal~elf » Tue Aug 31, 2004 10:07 am

I read many of the Pern books and really liked them at the time. Characters were good and as I love dragons, these good dragons were fun.

But afterwards, looking back and reading some quotes by the author I reallized that I have some, sort of moral problems with them.
(spoilers after this, I suppose)

First of all, I agree with whoever said that the Dragons are in controll.

The thing about the people having a lifetime mate in thier dragon, don't you think that is a little messed? Then the whole idea of marrage is totaly thrown by the wayside. The Dragon's pick your husband or wife, you have no choice and it doesn't matter if you love them or not. Then, when the mating time comes, your dragon may end up mated to a different dragon, and you with a different spous. The Wyr Folk don't even raise thier own children!

Then there is the isue of when the Dragons mate thier emotions get kind of spread. So you have random people you know, doing stuff they wouldn't be doing if they were in controll. Then there is the fact that the green dragons are female and have male mates. So when their dragons go into heat, they have emotions for other guys. McCaffery even said herself that some of the dragon riders are gay.

Basically in the books the relationship between dragon and human is more important than that between man and woman.

Even in the Holds, men have many wives and pure marrage is not represented.

Besides the fact that marrage is messed up, there are other things I find wrong with the books.

A problem that is to be had with many science fiction books is that they shamelessly premote the THEORY of evolution. Dragons evolving from firelizards, huge wild cats from house pets, etc. Of course human-imposed breeding can modify species, but I see no reason or facts to prove that stuff can just evolve all by itself. (I know the dragons were genetically edited, but all the same, they got really big) I think that this either shows that the author was not creative enough to think up thier own theory for their books, or that they haven't really looked closely at the world around them. *shrugs* Or perhaps they just beleive in the theory of evolution.
--along this point, it is impossible for me to beleive that the setteler's wouldn't have brought thier religion along with them.

THUS, I don't think one should just give a book like this to a gulible child or teen, and they should be read thoughtfully.

~Crystal~
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Postby halplm » Tue Aug 31, 2004 2:51 pm

Crystal~elf, I agree with you 100% t hat they should be read thoughtfully and carfully, especually by young adults.

As for the Settler's not bringing their religion, I think I read somewhere that one of the reasons they wanted such a remote place as PERN was to get away from such things. That was one of their motivations. However, we have evidence that The Settlers brought all the reference materials on religions with them (AIVAS quotes the Bible), so perhaps they only wanted separation from the "current" polical and religious, not to mention technological chaos. The information would still be there for future generations, if they were interested.

As for the familial and sexual relationships of the weyr, I agree that they have a different moral compass, but there are examples of how marriage and family have remained pure. The Crafts and Holds have a much tighter view of family, while the Weyr's family ambiguity parallels the animal nature of their psychic companions. In essence, they behave as the Dragons do, like you said.

It's clear that some Dragon's (and their riders) mate for life, and while they don't call themselves married, it's the same thing... F'lar and Lessa come to mind. F'nor and Brekke are another good example.

I used to get upset about the homosexual relationships that were both apparent and prevalent within the wyers, but it doesn't bother me as much any more. Mostly because it's clear that that aspect of weyr life is equally unpleasant to other characters in the books (Jaxom briefly mentions it at some point).

As for Sci-Fi supporting teh Theory of Evolution, well, that's just somethign that has to be lived with I'm afraid.

The key thing to remember with books like this that touch on Moral or religious issues, is that they are fiction. While they can make you think, and provide plenty of discussion on such issues, it's also possible to ignore that aspect of the writing, and enjoy the characters and story.

I guess I would say I kind of had a different path to liking the books, CE. I read them when I was younger, loved them, but was disturbed by the parts you were, so didn't read them again for a long time. Then, coming back to them, I found that I had blown those issues way out of proportion. I still see them there, but they really don't have anything to do with the story, so... it doesn't bother me.

I wouldn't read them to any kids though...
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Postby Crystal~elf » Wed Sep 01, 2004 2:28 pm

Yuppers! :) I just thought it was a point (or points) that needed to be made before off-handedly recomending the books.

As for the Settler's not bringing their religion, I think I read somewhere that one of the reasons they wanted such a remote place as PERN was to get away from such things. That was one of their motivations. However, we have evidence that The Settlers brought all the reference materials on religions with them (AIVAS quotes the Bible), so perhaps they only wanted separation from the "current" polical and religious, not to mention technological chaos. The information would still be there for future generations, if they were interested.

Yeah, that's why I figured she left it out. And I must have missed/forgotton/not read those quote. ( :


As for Sci-Fi supporting teh Theory of Evolution, well, that's just somethign that has to be lived with I'm afraid.


haha, yeah, I suppose. And I'm fine with everyone having thier veiws, but there are a lot more creative ways to come at things. :)

I'd write more, but I don't have the time. btw, what I posted in my previous post was obviosly just my oppinion and point of view, I don't mind people dissagreeing, just thought it might make for an interesting discusion.

Ta ta,
~Crystal~
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Postby Haara » Thu Nov 11, 2004 10:41 pm

Okay well, one Anne enthusiast to another:

I'm a very avid RPer of her series, as well as an avid reader. I've read every single book and short story. I've got the DLG (Dragonlover's Guide to Pern). I'm going to buy the Masterharper of Pern CD on sale at her website. I want the videogame, but I'll have to wait till I trust EBay or someone I know that does gets it for me. But anyhow....

I have to say I'm disappointed at Todd's efforts, though I am glad he's stayed away from Anne's major characters by using a different time period. I just can't get into his books like I could hers, but she's aging now so yeah...

I'm waiting for Dragon's Blood, which is the next to come out. We'll see what happens in that one. And for anyone who is interested in RPGing or needs info on her books or anything, e-mail me or reply here or something.

Some good RPG groups are:
http://www.geocities.com/rainfallweyr
http://www.arolosweyr.co.uk
http://www.darkfort.co.uk
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Postby portia » Thu Dec 27, 2007 7:43 pm

There is a new Pern novel out, by Anne and Todd McCaffrey. It is called "Dragon Harper." From the summary on the Random House website, it appears that it concerns a plague which attacks humans. A harper who has impressed a fire lizard and loves a Holder's daughter is involved. This happens a few years before Threadfall.
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Postby Calma » Thu Dec 27, 2007 9:56 pm

*Pern Movie*

Would this be cool or what?
Hope it gets going soon.
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Postby portia » Fri Dec 28, 2007 10:47 am

It would be good. There are several episodes that would make good movies. But, since nothing has been heard since May, 2006, I wonder. How long does "developement" take?
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Postby GlassHouse » Tue Jan 01, 2008 12:36 pm

I have never read these, but my 9 year old daughter is seriously into dragons right now, so I was wondering if these would be good for her to read. I mean I'm sure they are interesting stories and I've assume there isn't any sex or gratuitous violence but she hasn't read many chapter books yet, and nothing above the level of Captain Underpants or the Goosebumps books. How's the difficulty level of these books?
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Postby Calma » Tue Jan 01, 2008 5:29 pm

Hmm, I don't really know about how easy the reading is.
I read them in my mid 20's. There is mention of dragons mating and what happens to the humans they have "melded" with, but not a blow by blow discription.

I'd rate them PG13.
I recommend she wait maybe a year or two before giving these books a whirl. They've been around for ages and I don't see them disappearing anytime soon.
Oh, yeah, one more thing.
The dragons in these books aren't the fairy tale variety, but the Fire Lizards are just the cutest little things. :D

You could always give them a quick read to see if you think she could handle them. You won't be disappointed in them. (IMO)
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Postby portia » Wed Jan 02, 2008 6:20 pm

I agree with Calma. There isn't much to do with sex in the books, but the overall concepts in the books are fairly mature.

You might LOVE the books, as many others do, however.

A few months ago I read the "Great Brain" series. It is in chapters, but at a much less mature level. Have you tried these?
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Postby GlassHouse » Thu Jan 03, 2008 10:19 am

Thanks for the advice, guess I'll let my daughter wait for these. I have never read these books, despite seeing them in the science fiction section of book stores just about forever. Mostly, I like my science fiction straight up and just from the concept, I assumed there would be too much of a fantasy element, but now I think that may have been a mistaken impression.
I've got a pile of books to get through (it's the after Christmas crush ya know :) ) so I don't think I'll be able to read them myself for a while anyway.

portia I've never heard of that series, what's it about?
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Postby melianlorien » Tue Feb 05, 2008 2:48 pm

I just found this thread. The Dragons of Pern is one of my favourite series. The Dragons and Fire Lizards are about the only fantasy elements. No elves, fairies, goblins etc. But the original 3 are the best. The way she writes the characters is wonderful. The reader really comes to care for them. I know there were a couple of time when I balled my eyes out. I would definitely recommend them to people. I like reading about dragons that are actually the good guys. And yes the firelizards are absolutely charming as a matter of fact so are the dragons.
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Postby portia » Wed Feb 06, 2008 6:51 pm

I do not think I would call the Pern books fantasy, as a "plausable" scientific explanation is given for everything in the books, including dragons.

The Great Brain series was suggested to me by my daughter in law when I was looking for something to read aloud on tape for my grandchildren (who live 2500 miles away). The books are about a boy in Utah around 1900 or so who is very good at figuring out ways to get others to do what he wants. He uses fast talking, convoluted logic and a little trickery to do it. Nothing really dishonest or cruel. Sometimes he outsmarts himself. They are funny, and not complex. I think they would provide pretty good teaching moments to discuss with a child whether this is the right way to behave. The chapters are short.
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Postby rwhen » Fri Feb 08, 2008 4:31 pm

Oh yay me, we are back on Pern talk.

I did hear there was talk of a movie. I have posted on this thread years ago, but now, I change my mind.

My favorite of her Pern books IS and always will be The White Dragon.

I LOVE RUTH!!!

;)

Anyone hear anything more on the possibility of a movie?
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Postby Calma » Sat Feb 09, 2008 7:32 pm

I've not heard any more on the possibility of a Pern movie.
I would really like to see one made, but a GOOD one, if you get my drift.

As for favorite characters, I gotta give my vote to Master Harper Robinton.
I remember reading Ms. McCaffery saying he was just supposed to be a minor character, almost just a mention, but he sort of made his presence known and wouldn't go away, so she made him a major character.

I love it. :D

I have to read them again.
As soon as I finish my Deryni series, I'll get on it.
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Postby portia » Sun Feb 10, 2008 4:02 pm

Calma wrote:I have to read them again.
As soon as I finish my Deryni series, I'll get on it.


I read the Deryni series a few years back. I think there are newer ones, but I have missed them. I found it fascinating and horribly frustrating.
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Postby Calma » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:17 pm

portia wrote:
Calma wrote:I have to read them again.
As soon as I finish my Deryni series, I'll get on it.


I read the Deryni series a few years back. I think there are newer ones, but I have missed them. I found it fascinating and horribly frustrating.


This is my third reading of them.
There is a new one out now called *Childe Morgan*

This is the only author that has made me so mad about a book that I threw the book across the room. Fortunately for me it was a paperback and nothing was broken. It took me a month to pick that book up again.

[/hijack]
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Postby rwhen » Thu Feb 21, 2008 8:42 am

As in High Deryni and Deryni Rising? I have those books and I think I even read them many moons ago. *ducks from throwing books*

Ah, Calma. Master Robinton is also my favorite character of the whole series. He is a gem...my favorite line....

When Robinton came to the meadow there were already three dragons from different weyrs on the ground, then a fourth, a large bronze landed.

The rider from Telgar said angrily "I was told to take YOU, Master Robinton."

"And it is good to see you take such joy in the task. There are plenty of other passengers, fortunately. Sebell, you on the green. Talmor and (whoever it was) on the other two. I will ride with Benden as he doesn't begrudge me the choice."

"But I didn't think...."

"Obviously."

LOL....that dry humor of the Master Harper of Pern was the best. I know I didn't quote the lines perfect, but that is the jist of how I remember it.

Hope they do make a movie, a great movie. Which they should be able to do now-a-days!
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Postby Calma » Fri Feb 22, 2008 3:10 pm

rwhen wrote:As in High Deryni and Deryni Rising? I have those books and I think I even read them many moons ago. *ducks from throwing books*


Yep... Yep... Yep....
Those would be the books plus the rest of them...

I don't think I'd want to get into a war of words with the Master Harper.
Nope, not ever...
My mama didn't raise no stupid children.

Just started to re-read Dragonflight.

Love these books muchly. :D
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Postby rwhen » Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:35 pm

Just an update here from Anne McCaffrey's website, she says that she is getting bombarded with emails on the movie and all she can say is that "it is in the works" with no dates for release by Copper Heart Enterprises. At least that is hopeful.

Calma, I read the entire series at least once a year. I have only the first one that her son wrote...I think it was about weyrworms, but after visiting this site I see that he has several more out. Have you read him too? If yes, what is your impression?
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Postby Calma » Fri Feb 22, 2008 5:21 pm

I've not read any of Todd's books. I have his first one, but haven't gotten around to opening it.
My hope is that he's near the author his mother is.
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Postby GlassHouse » Sun Feb 24, 2008 8:29 am

portia wrote:I do not think I would call the Pern books fantasy, as a "plausable" scientific explanation is given for everything in the books, including dragons.

The Great Brain series was suggested to me by my daughter in law when I was looking for something to read aloud on tape for my grandchildren (who live 2500 miles away). The books are about a boy in Utah around 1900 or so who is very good at figuring out ways to get others to do what he wants. He uses fast talking, convoluted logic and a little trickery to do it. Nothing really dishonest or cruel. Sometimes he outsmarts himself. They are funny, and not complex. I think they would provide pretty good teaching moments to discuss with a child whether this is the right way to behave. The chapters are short.


thanks portia! I'll look them up. :)
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Postby portia » Thu Jan 07, 2010 3:26 pm

I recently received an email from Random House Author Tracker that McCaffrey and Scarborough have a new, non-Pern, book out.
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