Revisiting Pern, the great McCaffrey reread: ALL THE WEYRS OF PERN

Tehani and Marisol bonded over Pern (and Doctor Who) at a science fiction convention, decided that it was time for a reread of the series, and really, they should blog about that. They are reading in Anne McCaffrey’s preferred way, which is basically publication order.  

gl49of4nx3uzug5weu1fPern Series – All the Weyrs of Pern

T: This is the book you could really end the series with. And maybe McCaffrey should have, though I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve reread Dolphins and Skies (and the Masterharper), because I don’t think I’ve read some of those more than once, so don’t really remember much about them. I’ve not included The Chronicles of Pern in that, because everything in it comes from the beginning, prior to or following Dragonsdawn.

M: I’d be really sad if we didn’t include Dolphins, that’s one of my favorites from my childhood, although we shall see if that’s still the case.

AnneMcCaffrey_AllTheWeyrsOfPernT: Oh, we’re totally doing it, I’m just saying that the story cycle really completes nicely in All the Weyrs

M: I remember being surprised they came out with more books after, because it seemed like they were going to stop after this one. At the same time, though, I really enjoyed reading about the ‘fallout’ post AIVAS in the next books, and I’ve got some thoughts on that I’ll keep shushed til we get there. Continue reading “Revisiting Pern, the great McCaffrey reread: ALL THE WEYRS OF PERN”

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Revisiting Pern, the great McCaffrey reread: THE RENEGADES OF PERN

Tehani and Marisol bonded over Pern (and Doctor Who) at a science fiction convention, decided that it was time for a reread of the series, and really, they should blog about that. They are reading in Anne McCaffrey’s preferred way, which is basically publication order.  

gl49of4nx3uzug5weu1fPern Series – The Renegades of Pern

M: This is the book I always think of as “The Gypsy Book”. I always forget all the OTHER stuff that happens in it.

T: The events of The White Dragon, The Renegades of Pern and All the Weyrs of Pern are apparently just one big jumble in my head, because I really had no idea which events took place in what book (or sometimes, short story…), so it was wonderful fun revisiting these to find out!

M: Given the ridiculously wide timeframe this book covers, it’s no surprise. I mean, we see Fax before he’s been killed. That’s ages ago!

michael whelan_anne mccaffrey_pern_renegades of pernT: At first I felt like we really *should* have skipped Moreta/Nerilka and Dragonsdawn to come back to later, because Renegades runs concurrently in the chronology to Dragonflight, Dragonquest, the Harper books and The White Dragon (as well as a couple of short stories!) for a big chunk! However, as I read on, I realised that it probably would have been a bit irritating to read the book in too close a proximity, and in fact the break really made this a better read. It also helps one gloss over the little continuity errors…

M: Too much dipping in the same pot, I agree. Even if Dragonsdawn is my least favorite story (so far as I remember). This book is like the book that shouldn’t be. It’s vignettes sliced up over an enormously long time.

T: Renegades certainly has the most ensemble cast of any of the books so far, I think. We get multiple widely varied points of view, with the dragonriders and harpers interesting quite sidelined for most of the story. Quite a fascinating choice McCaffrey made there! Continue reading “Revisiting Pern, the great McCaffrey reread: THE RENEGADES OF PERN”

Revisiting Pern, the great McCaffrey reread: DRAGONSDAWN

Tehani and Marisol bonded over Pern (and Doctor Who) at a science fiction convention, decided that it was time for a reread of the series, and really, they should blog about that. They are reading in Anne McCaffrey’s preferred way, which is basically publication order.  

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Pern Series – Dragonsdawn

T: In my memory, Dragonsdawn was one of my very favourite books. Revisiting it, I realised that actually, I didn’t love it quite as much anymore. Part of that may have been that I just wasn’t as invested in the characters (although Sean and Sorka remain favourites). But a lot of it came down to, I think, the pacing. There were sections I really skimmed over, and I don’t think it was because it was a reread – it was because they were a bit overlong and kind of dull…

asiandragonsdawnM: This is the first book, chronologically speaking, and after reading it I’m reminded why I firmly believe one should NOT read this book first. I’d pick just about any other book before it. It’s a good book overall, but it’s not Pern. It’s Pern Easter Eggs, or the Silmarillion for Pern. The backdrop of how it all began is interesting, but not as interesting as if you know WHY these stories are important in modern day Pern.

T: Heh, good comparison! Continue reading “Revisiting Pern, the great McCaffrey reread: DRAGONSDAWN”

Revisiting Pern, the great McCaffrey reread: MORETA/NERILKA

Tehani and Marisol bonded over Pern (and Doctor Who) at a science fiction convention, decided that it was time for a reread of the series, and really, they should blog about that. They are reading in Anne McCaffrey’s preferred way, which is basically publication order.  

gl49of4nx3uzug5weu1fPern Series – Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern / Nerilka’s Story

T: In Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern, we go back in time several hundreds of years (turns), and read the story of “Moreta’s Ride”, a ballad we were introduced to in earlier books.

M: This is one of those great tiebacks where you realize the ballad in no way reflects the reality of the situation. And given the nature of the entire pandemic, I doubt it could, anyways. Most poignant fact being that no one wanted to admit she was on Holth and not Orlith. Nor was the last wink between as heroic in the story as it sounds in the ballad. It was a terrible accident brought on by exhaustion.

I mean, it’s still heroic, but it’s not the same.

T: One of the things that struck me was how McCaffrey did a pretty good job of making some small societal changes that made it clear it was a different era. Nothing hugely significant, but just tweaks that may logically have changed before we get to the “present day” Pern.

Moreta-Dragonlady-of-Pern-Anne-McCaffrey-20141220173255 Continue reading “Revisiting Pern, the great McCaffrey reread: MORETA/NERILKA”

Revisiting Pern, the great McCaffrey reread: THE WHITE DRAGON

Tehani and Marisol bonded over Pern (and Doctor Who) at a science fiction convention, decided that it was time for a reread of the series, and really, they should blog about that. They are reading in Anne McCaffrey’s preferred way, which is basically publication order.  

gl49of4nx3uzug5weu1fPern Series – The White Dragon

T: So this has always been, in my memory, my favourite Pern book. Reading it again was interesting, because I realised that some of the bits I thought were in it are actually in other books, which was weird, but also, there is so much I forgot! It was like coming at it for the first time, which was fantastic.

M: I had the exact same experience! It’s really again proof of her storytelling power, that that many bits from a character stay with you despite multiple books, usually over multiple years for readers.

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https://36.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m5e3qcilXZ1qbqpsro1_500.jpg

T: I love the fact that so much of the story of this book comes about due to the intellectual curiosity of the characters, not just the harpers, but others too, both young and old. The way learning and cross-crafting is so important. And the idea that sometimes, you just have to take a leap to reach the next level! Continue reading “Revisiting Pern, the great McCaffrey reread: THE WHITE DRAGON”

Revisiting Pern, the great McCaffrey reread: The Harper Hall trilogy

Tehani and Marisol bonded over Pern (and Doctor Who) at a science fiction convention, decided that it was time for a reread of the series, and really, they should blog about that. They are reading in Anne McCaffrey’s preferred way, which is basically publication order.  

gl49of4nx3uzug5weu1fPern Series – The Harper Hall Trilogy (Dragonsong, Dragonsinger and Dragondrums)

M: First, I think I should point out this is the only time Tehani and I decided to read out of publication order, because this trilogy has so much to do with the White Dragon and the landscape there-in. It just seemed right. And having read it in this order, I stand by this.

T: To be fair, Wikipedia says Anne recommended reading the Harper Hall books before The White Dragon, so I’m comfortable with our decision!

Harper HallM: Out of all the books, this set is my absolute favourite (can’t wait to see if that still stands come the end of this).

T: They really are very very good. And the first true time (at least in Dragonsong and Dragonsinger) that we have a female protagonist, which is nice.  And I recently remembered that I did a university assignment to design a unit of work around the first book! It definitely made an impact…

menolly2M: Menolly is a fifteen year old girl who is a musical prodigy. She writes catchy songs and is a deeply compassionate, kind person. Continue reading “Revisiting Pern, the great McCaffrey reread: The Harper Hall trilogy”

Revisiting Pern, the great McCaffrey reread: DRAGONQUEST

Tehani and Marisol bonded over Pern (and Doctor Who) at a science fiction convention, decided that it was time for a reread of the series, and really, they should blog about that. They are reading in Anne McCaffrey’s preferred way, which is basically publication order.  

gl49of4nx3uzug5weu1fPern Series – Book 2 Dragonquest

T: Another story starting out from the male point-of-view. Dearie me, here we go again… Oh, but it’s Robinton, and you know what? I’m okay with that. I love the Masterharper 🙂

I really like the way McCaffrey gives us a quick recap in the shape of Robinton’s musings here – in fact, I might suggest that people planning to read the series for the first time might like to skip the very problematic Dragonflight and perhaps start here instead? Although this book is not itself problem-free…

51l2fhN2Q7LIn this one, the rampant misogyny is toned down a fair bit, giving over to the occasional off-putting line or two. Robinton’s thoughts in the first pages, for example, include this gem: “Larad, Lord of Telgar, was giving his half-sister, Famira, to Asgenar, Lord of Lemos Hold.” Giving? Is she a plant, to be given? And when the numbweed is being made, a significant event in the Weyr, it is of course “the women” boiling it and doing the awful work to make the salve. Little lines like “This was a matter for men to settle” grate on the modern reader, but again, in the context of the year of publication (1971), and in relation to some of the horrors of Dragonflight, I could deal with it.

Less easy to handle are some other aspects. Lessa’s subservience to F’lar irritated me. She stands up to him, she holds her own in a righteous argument, then suddenly caves, pressing up against him with: “I’ve no right to say such things to you,” Lessa was whispering in soft remorse. WHY? You certainly DO have the right, Lessa! You were making him see the truth of a situation! Continue reading “Revisiting Pern, the great McCaffrey reread: DRAGONQUEST”