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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

so long and thanks for all the fish

R.I.P. Anne McCaffrey


News surfaced last night, first on twitter and then as confirmed by Random House, that Anne McCaffrey died this Monday at the age of eighty-five. The award winning author of the Dragonriders of Pern series (most famously) and the Acorna books (most personally to this writer), is survived by two sons, a daughter, and legions of fans and fan-authors who were touched by her writing and her personality. Says Neil Gaiman, to pick but one example:

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. 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. Over the years I’d get occasional emails or messages from her, and they were always things where she was looking out for me — letting me know about a foreign publisher who had money for me but no address to send it to, that kind of thing.

The last time I saw her was in 2005, when I was toastmaster at the Nebula Awards. I was as happy to see her as she was to see me. It made me foolishly happy when I heard that she had passed away to realize that there are some photos of us together. So many times, it’s not until people are gone I realise that there weren’t any photos…

Regardless of how you feel about her books, Anne McCaffrey has done a number of inarguably impressive things: she was the first person to hit the New York Times Bestseller list with a science fiction title, and was the first woman to win the Hugo for fiction, as well as the first woman to win a Nebula for anything. Her first published novel, Restoree, “written as a protest against the absurd and unrealistic portrayals of women in s-f novels in the 50s and early 60s,” to quote from the biography on her own website.

So long, Ms. McCaffrey, and thanks for all the dragons.

(via many tipsters.)

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  • Anonymous

    I feel more for this news than I did for Steve Jobs, oddly enough …

  • Anonymous

    I’m having a hard time putting into words how I feel about this – like so many others, she had a huge influence on me, and the way I feel about female characters in the books that I read. As I was thinking about all this when I heard the news via Twitter last night, it struck me that I had read an article linked just hours before from The Mary Sue about strong female characters – the one that compared Bella from Twilight with Daernys from A Game of Thrones (neither of which series I’ve read, in full honesty). The gist of the article was that in order for these two women to have some kind of power, they had to go through this terrible, traumatizing birth process, which ultimately left them barren. They relinquished their fertility for strength and power. 

    The thing about McCaffrey’s women, though, (or at least the ones that I’ve read – I’m thinking primarily of Lessa from Pern and The Rowan from… The Rowan) is that they didn’t really have to give up *anything*. In fact, these women began feeling alone, as though they did have to sacrifice something that was important to them in order to have the power that they’d been given, but as the series/book progressed, they were not only able to find love and companionship, but also have the family they’d always wanted, too. All while being 100% equal to the men that surrounded them.

    I always loved that about those books, and those women. I just found it interesting that the previously-mentioned article would help me shine a light on the matter with such unusual timing.

  • Anonymous

    Susana, I am with you on Acorna.  I have tried to drunkenly explain my love for that series to my husband, thusly:  “Babe, do you understand?  DO YOU?  She was a unicorn GIRL.  That is all my favorite things!”

    And funnily enough, I just got him to read the Freedom series and am now rereading it myself. 

    RIP, Anne, I hope there are horses (and dragons!) in heaven!

  • http://www.facebook.com/1shewolf JoAnna Luffman

    The Ship Who Sang. The Dragonriders. I started reading her in middle school, and when the books ran out, I found Dragonlance, which led me to D&D. 

    Because of her, I found the guy I’d marry, in a roundabout way. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Codi-Brooke-Berry/1158512990 Codi Brooke Berry

    Huzzah for finding more Acorna Fans. I cannot believe that someone who was so integral to my childhood is gone!

    I have already told my husband that the day Leonard Nimoy dies that I will not be leaving the bedroom for a week.

  • http://hypable.com Selina

    This is horribly, horribly sad. I posted this on The Geek Girls yesterday as well, McCaffrey truly revolutionized the sci-fi genre in favour of us females: http://thegirlgeeks.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/iconic-female-sci-fi-author-anne-mccaffrey-passes-away/

  • Anonymous

    Seriously! Acorna was actually the first McCaffrey book I ever read, and people always give me flack for it. That series really resounded with me in all my burgeoning-adolescent-female glory, as well as the Other-ness I often felt growing up. It was a great gateway book into McCaffreyLand.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sarahdurand77 Sarah Durand

    As do I, but I know its because I’ve been reading her works year after year, multiple times a year since I was around 12 years old, so that’s going on 22 years, while i know that Steve Jobs had an impact that was massive, I did not FEEL it emotionally as I did with our Dragon Lady’s passing.  Her books will always have a piece of my heart :(

  • Francesca M

    Dragonflight is the first sf/fantasy book I remember making a tremendous impact on me. It was given to me of course by my father. Thanks to her books I would later meet people who would become some of my dearest friends. They are people that I still know very well. While I grew away from her books, I will always treasure her memory for the people she inadvertantly connected me too.