Small Realities

Inside the mind of Lance Schonberg

RIP, Anne McCaffrey

It’s fairly common knowledge by now, I think, but Anne McCaffrey died on Monday, November 21st.  I learned this on Twitter yesterday, had it reinforced on Facebook, and by now, I’m fairly certain that anyone with an internet connection and a passing familiarity with genre fiction is aware.

Ms. McCaffrey’s books were an important part of my formative genre reading. I discovered the early Pern books in my school library in September of grade 6 at the tender age of 10 (my birthday is very late in the year).  During that school year, I read Dragonflight, Dragonquest, and The White Dragon several times each.

I’ve continued to read her work for a little over three decades now, buying just about every book as it comes out and slowly filling in earlier titles.  A quick check of my shelves shows nearly sixty books with her name on the spine, and something close to half of them in hard cover (when I was younger, had no children, and got a 30% discount at bookstores owned by the company I worked for, I could afford to buy my favourite authors in hard cover).

Of all the books I have paper versions of, only the Heinlein and Foster sections come near the same size, but neither of them quite match the McCaffrey shelf.

I’ve never written her a fan letter or sent an e-mail and I missed a chance to see her at a signing many years ago due to my work schedule at the time, but I’ve certainly read her books, many of them more than once, and some of them more times than I can easily count.  Anne McCaffrey had a huge influence on my reading for a long time.  Through her collaborations, I discovered other authors as well.  And while 85 is a good age, I wish she could go on writing new stories for me to read forever.

The dragons have all gone quiet for the moment and it might take them a while to recover.

Rest in peace, Anne McCaffrey.


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