Anne McCaffrey, legendary science fiction/fantasy author, died on November 21, 2011, at the age of 85. It was a great run and although death is inevitable, I still feel a deep sadness that she will not be sharing anymore of her wonderful creations with the world.
I was introduced to Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern series by a friend from Art School and I was hooked from the first chapter. The Pern books are arguably her most popular, but she has written about other worlds and people too. They are all first-rate novels that would make even the most die-hard Sci Fi snob into an ardent follower of the genre.
In my case, her books are like old and cherished friends, there to be revisited, enjoyed, to provide comfort when real life challenges and to be introduced to everyone you know. I also realised that after I had read her books, dragons began to pop up in my doodles (and clay pieces). The sketch above, for instance was drawn in quiet moments while I was manning a craft market stall. My dragons aren’t the dragons from Pern, they are just creatures of the imagination that appeared at the end of my pencil when other inspiration failed. They were the creatures that said, “I don’t have to draw the angst (something that was very de rigueur at art school) or the pain of the human condition, I can just draw my fantasy and that’s okay too”. Anne McCaffrey taught me that.
Her Dragon Rider stories are finally going make it to film. It amazes me that it has taken so long for Hollywood to catch onto these great stories, but in a way I am glad it has taken so long, because now CGI will be able to do them justice, and let’s hope they do!
In the 44 years she has been a published author, she has influenced, entertained and comforted millions of fans world-wide. She retained a sense of being available and interested in anyone who approached her. On her blog in April, her son, Todd, posted the news that she was not well and would have to cancel her appearance at Dragon*con. Her words were directly quoted: “Sorry that old age came up and bit me on the a**.” You’ve got to love that attitude!
You just have to go to the tribute sites to see how many people were touched by her work. And it is probably better that you read other people’s words than have me try to write them, because I just cannot begin to touch on them. She is revered – notice that on John Scalzi’s blog, he states at the beginning of the comment thread that the “Mallet of Loving Correction” would be used on anyone who posted a snark or snide comment. The Mallet is gathering dust. No one has had anything bad to say.
A final note: Read her books, enjoy her worlds, feel free to comment. But like John Scalzi, the Mouse of Loving Correction will be judiciously employed.