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Author Anne McCaffrey passes away at 85

Dragonflight #1

Anne McCaffrey, creator of the Dragonriders of Pern fantasy novels, passed away Monday at the age of 85. The multiple award-winning author died in her home in Ireland after suffering a stroke.

McCaffrey’s first novel, Restoree, was published in 1967, and was followed by the first Dragonriders of Pern novel, Dragonflight, in 1968. Nearly 100 of her books were published in her lifetime, and she was the first woman to win a Hugo Award and a Nebula Award. Eclipse Comics published an adaptation of Dragonflight in 1991, and a film adaptation by Watchmen and X-Men screenwriter David Hayter was announced earlier this year.

“She was an incredible world-builder,” comics creator Derek Kirk Kim wrote on his blog. “I also remember being blown away when she used ‘fuck’ repeatedly in a fantasy novel. It was the first time I’d seen that when I was a kid, and taught me the importance of keeping true to a character no matter what the genre or its conventions.”

Author Neil Gaiman remembers meeting her both through her books and, later, in person. “I met her as a person in the late 80s, when I was a young writer, at a convention, where she was the Guest of Honour,” he wrote on his blog. “It was a small convention, and she decided that I needed to be taken under her wing and given advice I would need in later life, which she proceeded to do. It was all good advice: how to survive American signing tours was the bit that stuck the most (she wanted me to move to Ireland, and I came close). I liked her as a writer, and by the end of that convention I adored her as a person.”



I think that she’s the first writer to bridge the gap between fantasy and science fiction. She will be missed…greatly.

She had time for her fans – answering letters, having lunch with small groups of us, just being a nice, approachable person. I have mourned the passing of other great authors and comics creators, but I wept for Anne. She was the first author for whom I became a FAN, when I was 14; once I read “Dragonrider” in 1969, then my friend’s magazine copy of “Weyr Search” (which was published in 1967), I was hooked. As Derek Kirk Kim said, her worldbuilding was fantastic, she made Pern real. Also Doona (from Decision at Doona), and the planet Petaybee. Now I’m just going to have to go back and rereread her books again.

What a shame. She will live forever in her writing, her visions of a fantasy world which included Dragons was like no other. Thank you for sharing your imagination with us.

Minor quibble: it’s spelled McCaffrey, with an R-E-Y.

I was never a Pern fan, but for a long time, McCaffrey was one of my favorite SF writers. I still have a soft spot for her Brainship series.

I have enjoyed Anne McCaffrey’s books for a long time and I will miss her and her books tremendously. There are not many authors that I like, but hers were the best in my eyes. Thank you for sharing with me and the rest of the world.

Blessings be with you and your family.

I have been a fan and avid reader of her “Pern”, “Planet Pirates” and other fantastic series for over three decades, and have lately gotten my nieces into the “Harperhall” Trilogy. She will be sorely missed.

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