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Anne McCaffrey Passes Away At 85 181

JSC writes "Anne McCaffrey died Monday at her home after suffering a stroke. 'In the late 1960s she became the first woman to win a Hugo Award for a work of fiction and the first woman to win a Nebula Award. She was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2006.' She will be missed by Dragons and their Riders the world over."
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Anne McCaffrey Passes Away At 85

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  • Shards (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bill Currie ( 487 ) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @02:45AM (#38145714) Homepage

    Thanks to her, my reading ability at 11 was that of a 16 year old (with plenty of credit to my grade one teacher too, of course). Her Pern books still have a special place in my heart (hear hear! to the dragon tribute).

    Well, may she forever fly with Moreta.

  • by Cito ( 1725214 ) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @02:49AM (#38145736)
    Anne was really great, and enjoyed her fans a lot. I remember back in 1998 I had old crappy computer on dialup and had read all but 2 of the Pern series, as well as read the Rowan trilogy and Powers that be books. I really didn't expect to get a reply but I saw her email address on her website which was that good ol' html 1.0 look :) would make a geocities page proud haha. Anyhow I emailed her with praise and a couple questions I had on the book "The white dragon' about Jaxom & Ruth and was shocked after about a week she replied with 4 paragraphs, thanking me, and answering my questions and a couple with a "keep reading..." response.

    I remember the countless times on her website and on the newsgroups (which she also posted to by the way) she was always asked about doing a movie. She had been approached countless times. But it always fell through because she didn't want the series butchered and she wanted creative control. Of course as the 2 or 3 times we heard the news of talks of a movie fall through, us on the newsgroup and on her website were sad but also happy that some 2-bit director wouldn't horribly butcher her magnum opus.

    I know her son has been continuing the pern saga the last few years with Anne's blessing. But it just don't feel like Anne when reading the newer stuff. Although good, it's hard to explain.

    I am saddened, but very glad and honored to have been able to come across and fall in love with her books so many years ago, which included a rereading of the Pern beginnings as my son got little older and I started reading him Pern as a bedtime story.

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @06:40AM (#38146724)
    And PernMUSH [wikipedia.org] was one of the first of them, starting just a couple years after TinyMUD. All text of course. The "book and imagination" analogue to the 3D MMOs we have today.
  • SF with romance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bzipitidoo ( 647217 ) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @06:45AM (#38146764) Journal

    McCaffrey's love scenes, wooing, and relationships were very different from typical SF fare. Typical for a romance novel, perhaps? (I wouldn't know, don't read that genre.) Some people don't care for that in their SF, but I enjoyed the novelty.

    Most SF leans towards casual, kinky sex, like Niven's interspecies sex on the Ringworld. Treats it all technically and distantly, or as a tool for manipulation or sealing deals. In Star Trek, seems the crew is often getting drugged with strange fluids, hit with plant spores, tempted with sexy robots, shapeshifting aliens, holodeck creations, or otherwise being enticed or forced into some sort of quickie, cheapie when they are busy with other matters. Sex as a mere plot device, and love as an impediment that could interfere with your duties, an inconvenient holdover from primitive times that has little place in modern life. Worst of all, you always knew almost all the changes in relationships would be rebooted for the next episode. True, the dragons of Pern imposed upon human sex life. However, McCaffrey cared enough about it not to do stuff like reboots.

  • Re:Shards (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hyperhaplo ( 575219 ) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @08:44AM (#38147224)

    "The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary."

    James Nicoll

    This is the second time in two days that this quote is (probably) appropriate. I wonder at what point it becomes worthwhile to write a macro :-)

    Meanwhile, I take your point but persist in the notion that the Covenant novels are, in my opinion, a good worthwhile read. Just takes a couple of reads to get everything :-)

    Better than Tolkien though.. that could be a real slog.

    I will miss Anne McCaffrey's writing style. Good thing is that there will always all of the books she left behind for all of us.
    What I like about her writing is that it is understandable, clearly defined and easy to process. I can open just about any of her books and enjoyably pick up the story, even if only for a chapter. Good to unwind your mind before sleep.

  • Farewell, Anne! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Frightened_Turtle ( 592418 ) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @09:19AM (#38147422) Homepage

    One of my favorite storytellers! I still enjoy reading her stories over and over again.

    I "first" discovered her stories when The White Dragon came out. But, a number of years later, I remembered that I had read one of her short stories--The Smallest Dragonboy--back when it was first published. At my age then, the story strongly resonated with me. It's probably why I enjoyed The White Dragon so much. After reading The White Dragon, I bought the other books in the series that were then available. I loved how in the HarperHall Trilogy, she took the commoners point of view in the daily life of Pern.

    I loved how she brought many of her series of stories to create a single cohesive universe. The Brainship series and the Crystal Singer series came together nicely. I also enjoyed how Dragonriders went from a fantasy setting to hard science fiction as the history of Pern was slowly revealed. I always wondered if ever McCaffrey was going to have Pern rediscovered by a Brainship and re-enter galactic society? I guess that one is for our collective imaginations or for Todd to pursue, if within Anne's canon.

  • As a Female Geek (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kria ( 126207 ) <roleplayer DOT carrie AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @09:55AM (#38147694) Journal
    Anne was one of the first female authors that I managed to find in the SF&F field. She was one of the first authors I read that had really great, strong female characters. She helped teach me that you don't have to be a man to be smart, strong, successful, that you don't have to be a man to be a hero. Her fiction helped shape my perspective, along with authors like Andre Norton and eventually (scoff if you will) Mercedes Lackey. Thank you, Anne McCaffrey.
  • by btpier ( 587890 ) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @10:49AM (#38148198)
    I know from personal experience how important her fans where to her:
    In the late 90's my wife and I, during a vacation in Ireland, actually knocked on the door of Dragonhold-Underhill. Many of the dust jackets on her books give very good clues about where she lives and several of them mention she welcomes visits from fans as long as you call ahead. Try as we might during our previous 5 days in Ireland we were unable to find a number we could reach her at, although I did manage to call her stables but she wasn't there. After a bit of driving around Wicklow we found her home and decided we'd take the chance to knock on the door, politely apologize for showing up unannounced, and ask if we could talk to Anne for a moment. Todd answered the door, said hold on and closed it again. We figured that was it and prepared to leave. A minute later he opens the door again and there is Anne! I gave her a enormous hug (I couldn't help it) which I believe made Todd nervous for a minute but Anne laughed and said you don't get a greeting like that at your door everyday. She warmly and kindly invited us into her home and chatted with us over tea and cookies for an hour. She introduced us to her mother, daughter, and Todd and gave us a tour of her home. On the way out she told us we should drive through Wicklow Pass and we'd see her vision of Pern. I'll never forget that day and often share the story with new readers of her books.

    One thing I learned during our visit was the main reason she stopped writing was due to a combination of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and arthritis. She had tried speech to text programs but they didn't work for her because of the way she wrote and how her creative process worked.

    She was a fabulous lady who will be missed dearly by many, many people. She will always be the Masterharper. May her dragons sing her between!
  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportlandNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @11:41AM (#38148856) Homepage Journal

    He challenges no one politics. It's a story written in a different set of politics. He gives no argument for any politics, only a setting.

    It's like Saying JK Rawling Challenges your belief in wizards.

  • by mariox19 ( 632969 ) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @12:42PM (#38149628)

    I hate to be that guy, but the Wikipedia page on Crystal Singer [wikipedia.org] suggests that it was McCaffrey's own experience as an amateur singer that inspired the series. Now, Wikipedia isn't necessarily the last word in anything; so, do you at the very least remember where you heard this thing about Pat Benatar, or -- ideally -- can you provide a cite?

    I didn't look this all up to be a dick -- I grew up in the early '80s and love Pat Benatar. I also studied to be an opera singer at one point, so you had me intrigued.

"Everyone's head is a cheap movie show." -- Jeff G. Bone