Anne McCaffrey

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Author Review: Anne McCaffrey (1926 – Present)
Review Written By: Diane

Writing Style 
Body of Work 
Anne McCaffrey Links 


If you’ve ever read anything by Anne McCaffrey, you know she frequently describes herself in the following manner: "My hair is silver, my eyes are green and I still freckle: the rest is subject to change without notice!" However, there’s a lot more to this amazing storyteller than this simple explanation.

McCaffrey was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on April 1, 1926. Her father was a retired army colonel and her mother was a real estate agent. Her family, including two brothers, moved several times as she was growing up, including stays in Virginia and New Jersey. McCaffrey attended Radcliffe College, majoring in Slavonic Languages and Literatures and graduating cum laude. After graduation, she spent time in the theater, both as an actor and director, and studied voice for nine years. This interest in theater and opera has been a recurring theme in a number of her novels.

McCaffrey has been writing since her school days, but success didn’t occur until 1967 when one of her stories was published in Science Fiction + Magazine. Subsequently, a novella entitled "Weyr Search," published in 1967 in Analog, earned McCaffrey the Hugo Award in 1968. She was the first woman writer ever to receive this prestigious award. "Weyr Search" eventually became the first quarter of one of McCaffrey’s most famous novels, Dragonflight. McCaffrey’s first full novel, Restoree, was published in 1968 and was written partly in protest against the weak women’s roles portrayed in traditional science fiction. In 1969, McCaffrey was awarded the Nebula by the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) for her trilogy, Dragonriders. Among other awards, McCaffrey has received the Skylark Award (1976), the Gandalf Award (1979) and the Science Fiction Book Club Award (on 8 separate occasions). Most recently, she received the Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Literary Achievement Award for her Dragonriders of Pern® series, as well as the Harper Hall Trilogy and the Ship Who Sang. Bestowed in June 1999, this award honors McCaffrey’s lifetime literary achievement in writing for teens.

McCaffrey has resided in Ireland since 1970. She currently lives in Wicklow County in a home of her own design, aptly named Dragonhold-Underhill, and operates a livery stable. Although arthritis has limited her riding and traveling, she is still writing and has produced over 65 novels to date with more scheduled!

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Writing Style

McCaffrey is a master storyteller. Her books are intricately crafted, well planned and finely detailed. She is perhaps best known for her Dragonrider novels, but the same quality is present throughout all of her works. Whether she’s writing about a semi-feudalistic society (Dragonriders series) or a futuristic society dependent upon the extraordinary mental abilities of unique individuals (Talent and Brainship series), McCaffrey has a way of drawing you into her worlds and making them seem real. When you finally put one of her books down, you may be surprised – and sorry – to find that you’re not still in a world of her making. Although some of her novels have been marketed towards a teenage/young adult audience, they have not been "dumbed down." I didn’t discover McCaffrey until well past my teen years, but I’ve still enjoyed her writing immensely. McCaffrey puts as much effort into character development as she puts into the creation of the various worlds her characters live in. She consistently creates memorable individuals who laugh, love, cry, learn and grow over the years. Occasionally, McCaffrey will collaborate with another author or venture into a field that is not Science Fiction/Fantasy-related. Almost without fail, these tales are every bit as good as her others. They have also served as introductions to other talented authors. McCaffrey is one of my favorite authors and I always look forward to her next book.

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Body of Work

Dragonriders of Pern® Series

Dragon Riders Of Pern 

Dragonflight (1968)
Dragonquest (1971)
The White Dragon (1978)

Harper Hall Trilogy 

Dragonsong (1976)
Dragonsinger (1977)
Dragondrums (1979)

Other Pern Novels

Moreta, Dragonlady of Pern (1983)
The Smallest Dragonboy (1973) (short story as part of the compilation Get Off The Unicorn)
Nerilka's Story (1986)
Dragonsdawn (1988)
The Renegades of Pern (1990)
All the Weyrs of Pern (1991)
The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall (1993)
The Dolphin's Bell (1993) (currently out of print)
The Girl Who Heard Dragons (1994) (short stories, one of which is set on Pern)
The Dolphins of Pern (1994)
Dragonseye (1997) (UK title - Red Star Rising)
The Masterharper of Pern (1998) (Science Fiction Book Club's 1998 Book of the Year)
Runner of Pern (1998) (short story as part of the compilation Legends, edited by Robert Silverberg)

Pern-Related Works

The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern (1989) (with Jody Lynn Nye)
The People Of Pern (1988) (artwork of Pern - with Robin Wood - currently out of print)
Atlas of Pern (with Karen Fonstad - currently out of print)
A Time When (1975) (Lord Jaxom's story)
Dragonholder - (1999) - compiled and written by Anne's son, Todd

Dinosaur Planet Series

Dinosaur Planet (1978)
Dinosaur Planet Survivors (1984)

The Planet Pirates

Sassinak (1990) (with Elizabeth Moon)
The Death of Sleep (1990) (with Jody-Lynn Nye)
Generation/Warriors (1991) (with Elizabeth Moon)

Crystal Singer Series

Crystal Singer (1982)
Killashandra (1985)
Crystal Line (1992)

Brainship Series

The Ship Who Sang (1970)
Partnership (1992) (with Margaret Ball)
Ship Who Searched (1992) (with Mercedes Lackey)
City Who Fought (1994) (with S.M. Stirling)
Ship Who Won (1994) (with Jody-Lynn Nye)
Ship Errant (by Jody Lynn Nye)
Ship Avenged (by SM Sterling)

Doona Series

Decision at Doona (1969)
Crisis on Doona
Treaty at Doona (1994) (with Jody-Lynn Nye)

Acorna Series

Unicorn Girl (1997) (an illustrated novel)
Acorna (1997) (with Margaret Ball)
Acorna's Quest (1998)
Acorna's People (1999) (with Elizabeth Ann Scarborough)
Acorna's World (2000)

Talent Series

Lady in the Tower (from the short story collection Get Off the Unicorn)
A Meeting of Minds (from the short story collection Get Off the Unicorn)
To Ride Pegasus (1973)
Pegasus in Flight (1990)
The Rowan (1990)
Damia (1992)
Damia's Children (1993)
Lyon's Pride (1995)
The Tower and the Hive (1999)
Pegasus in Space (2000)

Petaybee Series (with Elizabeth Ann Scarborough)

Powers That Be (1993)
Power Lines (1994)
Power Play (1995)

Freedom Series

Freedom’s Landing (1995)
Freedom’s Choice (1997)
Freedom’s Challenge (1998)


Get Off the Unicorn (1977)
Alchemy & Academe (1980)
The Girl Who Heard Dragons (1994)

Novellas in Limited Editions

The Coelura (1983) (Underwood Miller out of print)
A Time When (Nesfa Press, out of print)
Rescue Run (Wildside Press)
The Dolphins' Bell (Wildside Press)
An Exchange of Gifts (Wildside Press)
Serve It Forth (A cookbook, sequel to Cooking Out of This World - ROC Press)
No One Noticed the Cat (1996)

One-off, Non-Series

Restoree (1967)
Alchemy & Academe (1980) (Anthology)
Cooking Out of This World (Cookbook) (1973)
Black Horses for the King (1996)
Nimisha's Ship (1999)
If Wishes Were Horses (1998)
Space Opera (short stories with Elizabeth Ann Scarborough)
Dragon Lover’s Treasury of the Fantastic
A Diversity of Dragons (1997) (with Richard Woods and illustrated by John Howe)

Romances (not SF/Fantasy)

The Mark of Merlin (1971)
The Ring of Fear (1977)
Kilternan Legacy (1990) (aka Three Women)
Stitch in Snow (1984)
The Lady (1987) (aka The Carradyne Touch)
The Year of the Lucy (1986)


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