Author Anne McCaffrey, best known for her Dragonriders of Pern series, died on Monday at her home in Ireland after suffering a stroke. She was 85.
McCaffrey, who was born in Cambridge, MA. and moved to Ireland in 1970, was an iconic writer in the science fiction and fantasy fields. She was also one of the first fantasy writers I ever read. Her original Dragonriders of Pern trilogy helped establish my love for the genre. She is very deserving of the honor of being the first woman to be awarded a Hugo Award and a Nebula Award. My favorite of her books, The White Dragon, was also the first scifi novel written by a woman to make the New York Times Bestseller list (1978).
She began writing in the 1950s and kept writing into the 21st century. Almost a hundred books were penned by this wonderful author. And while many were written with other folks, the vast majority were solely hers. I don’t think I ever walked into a bookstore without seeing a ton of her books on the shelf. Heck, in my bookstore, no less than thirty titles were in stock at any given time. Her popularity never really waned, it’s amazing to see someone hold their own for that many years. Her son, Todd, began writing with her several years back and has even written a few Pern novels without her.
Her writings were very instrumental in helping to grow the field of fantasy over the last few decades. What was once a very small field is now a major section in every bookstore the world over. Her tales are as unique as she was and will undoubtedly remain classics for generations. While I cannot claim to have read even half of what she wrote, I can honestly say that I enjoyed every single one I ever picked up.
Rest In Peace, Anne McCaffrey…you impacted thousands and thousands of readers from all walks of life. I’m sad that I never got to meet you, but I will treasure your stories forever.
April 1, 1926-November 21, 2011