Feeds

Dragonriders of Pern author Anne McCaffrey dies

Pioneering fantasy writer was 85

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Obituary Author of the Dragonrider series of books, Anne McCaffrey, died on Monday aged 85, having authored a huge number of books that straddled the border between science fiction and fantasy.

The author suffered a stroke at her home in Ireland on Monday, and passed away shortly afterwards. Her publisher, Del Rey, posted a notification and recent photograph of the author along with a forum which is already filling with fan tributes. She is survived by two sons and a daughter.

Starting with Restoree, in 1967, Anne McCaffrey wrote almost 100 published books during her life. In the last decade or two she increasingly lent her name to cooperative authors who worked with her to continue development of the remarkably rich worlds she created.

She was the first woman to win Hugo and Nebula awards, and is widely credited in cutting a path for female writers of science fiction, and the female characters featuring in such stories.

Most well-known of her worlds is Pern, where unpronounceably named characters mounted on dragons fight sky battles against extraterrestrial threads which burn all they touch. But the despite the action, the stories' focus was always on the politics of the time, and the people involved.

But in several interviews over the years, McCaffrey mentioned that the book of which she was most proud was The Ship Who Sang, about the use of people with disabled bodies as the central intelligence for mechanical ships (the disabled person is encapsulated in a titanium shell with multiple computer connections, thus becoming a "brainship"). The ships are manned by a single crew member (a "brawn"), the two of them working together but never able to meet as the "brainship" was inexorably integrated into the ship's workings.

Aside from her penchant for names that can only be pronounced by a cat coughing up a ball of fur ("F'nor" and "Mnementh" leap to mind) she was also accused of stereotyping and simplicity in her characters. Certainly the chaps in her stories tend to be square-jawed and righteous, while the women take control and organise, and McCaffrey's attempt at pornography (lots of science fiction writers were making money writing porn shorts, so she thought she'd have a shot) is slightly worse than one might imagine.

Anne McCaffrey wrote almost 100 books, along with numerous short stories and magazine pieces, but she'll always be remembered for the dragons, which is good thing 'cos Dinosaur Planet just isn't very good. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Not a loyal follower of @BritishMonarchy? You missed The QUEEN*'s first Tweet
Her Maj opens 'Information Age' at the Science Museum
Space exploration is just so lame. NEW APPS are mankind's future
We feel obliged to point out the headline statement is total, utter cobblers
Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy
'Tiffany' closes deal - 'it's more common to offer your wife', says agent
Internet finally ready to replace answering machine cassette tape
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells
FedEx helps deliver THOUSANDS of spam messages DIRECT to its Blighty customers
Don't worry Wilson, I'll do all the paddling. You just hang on
The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event
Nerve-shattering run-up to the pre-planned known event
Win a year’s supply of chocolate (no tech knowledge required)
Over £200 worth of the good stuff up for grabs
STONER SHEEP get the MUNCHIES after feasting on £4k worth of cannabis plants
Baaaaaa! Fanny's Farm's woolly flock is high, maaaaaan
Adorkable overshare of words like photobomb in this year's dictionaries
And hipsters are finally defined as self-loathing. Sort of
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.