Friday, November 25, 2011

Farewell Anne McCaffrey

Proviso: some of her books are more suitable to older teens / adults.

For decades, my family have been Anne McCaffrey fans. I think I can blame my mother for that fact. To prove that I do love Anne McCaffrey’s work – the majority of it, anyway – the photo is of my Anne McCaffrey books. I did stop buying them when I started working in the library.

I remember being the first in the family to read the brand-new All the weyrs of Pern book – I was the fastest reader. The rules were: read fast, hand it on to the next family member, and DON’T say anything about it. The problem was, it was really sad at the end. And I handed the book to my mum, drying tears. She asked me what was wrong and I said I’d promised not to tell. When my mum finished it, she yelled at me for not warning her. I said ‘but you told me not to!’ My mum then passed the book on to my brother, wiping away tears, and the same sort of conversation happened. Next, to my sister-in-law, who yelled at my brother for not warning her what had happened. And so it went on.

My brother-in-law teased my sister for crying while reading Dragonsdawn. So, when it was his turn, she’d sneak peaks to see where he was up to… and then watched while he got to the crying bit. And then saw him suddenly need to leave the room. I remember re-reading it on the bus and thinking that I should stop – right now – before bawling my eyes out in front of strangers. But, it was so compelling – even on a umpteenth re-read, that I just kept on reading, and tried to cry so no one noticed.

Many Anne McCaffrey books are among my comfort-reads. You know, those books you have on your shelves, and read them again when you’re feeling a bit down. For the last week, her Tower and Hive novels have been calling me. Maybe it’s time to break them out. One of my favourite McCaffrey titles is Restoree. I’ll probably be re-reading this one again, soon.

Thank you Anne, for your years of writing, from the publication of Restoree in 1967, to Dragon’s Time (co-authored with her son Todd) published this year. Thank you for the worlds you introduced us to. Thank you for characters that became part of our hearts. Thank you for providing fodder for heated debates – science fiction or fantasy? If it has dragons, must be fantasy – to be countered with, but they’re genetically engineered creatures, that’s science fiction.

Thank you. Rest in peace.

And a time to every purpose under heaven.

- Annie

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