Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Anne McCaffrey R.I.P.

Science fiction and fantasy writer Anne McCaffrey passed on 21 November 2011 at the age of 85. The cause was a stroke.

Anne McCaffrey was born on 1 April 1926 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She graduated from Radcliffe College with a degree in Slavonic languages and literature. In 1952 her first short story was published. It was in 1959 that her story "The Ship That Sang" was published. It would be succeeded by five more short stories that she would eventually weave into the novel The Ship Who Sang. It was in 1967 that the first novella in the series that would gain Miss McCaffrey lasting fame would be published. This novella and the second would become the novel Dragonflight (1968), the first of the "Dragonriders of Pern" series. In all 22 novels would be published in the series.

Although best known for The Ship Who Sang and "The Dragonriders of Pern," Anne McCaffrey would publish several other books, including Decision at Doona (1969), To Ride Pegasus (1973),  The Crystal Singer (1982),  Freedom's Landing (1995), and The Unicorn Girl (1997).

While I cannot say Anne McCaffrey was one of my all time favourite writers, I can say that I always enjoyed her books a good deal. She had a very brisk, easy to read style and tended to avoid the wordiness of many science fiction writers. She also had a gift for creating believable characters, in particular strong women, as well as a knack for creating believable worlds. She was a very talented writer and it is quite understandable why she developed a following over the years. In fact, I rather suspect she could be the most successful female science fiction writer of all time.

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