The First SF I Read Was by Anne McCaffrey

I heard last night from a friend that Anne McCaffrey had died.

It always hits me in a strange way when a writer I grew up reading dies. You half want to believe that the writer is immortal, and when they’re not, the realization that they and their worlds are now gone can hit you kind of funny. This is especially true when the writer is one whose work you’ve read and enjoyed (and occasionally snarked about) from the time you were a kid.

The first (or at least, one of the very first) science fiction novels I read was Dragonflight. I think I was probably eight or nine–maybe ten at the time. I borrowed it from a woman who lived next door and had a considerable collection of books crammed into every conceivable part of her tiny trailer. (She would be my main supplier for all things fantasy and science fiction until my parents finally let me get my first library card, and even after that, she could be relied on to supply me with my “fix.”)

Anne McCaffrey was my first  favorite writer, I loved The Dragonriders of Pern and the Harper Hall Trilogy. (I still have a soft spot for the first three books of Dragonriders of Pern and for the Harper Hall books.) I cried like a sad and sorry sap at the end of Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern, even though I knew what the ending of the story would be. I loved The Ship Who Sang and the collaborations she wrote with Mercedes Lackey, Elizabeth Moon and Elizabeth Scarborough.

Though I’m not quite as fond of her work as I was when I was a kid, I feel that she is still one of my favorite writers, and I’m going to miss her and her writing a great deal.


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