Posts tagged ‘Dragonflight’

December 30, 2013

Dragonflight (Pern Series #1) by Anne McCaffery

Publisher: Ballantine PressDragonflight cover

Copyright: 1968

Pages: 309

Formats: e-format, paperback, hardcover

 

A couple of months ago I was doing some research into the first woman to win the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award when I came across the name Anne McCaffrey. Of course, this wasn’t the first time I came across the name but this time my interest was piqued to read a book written by her. I decided to go with Dragonflight because it is the first in a series and when possible I like to read the first book in a series.  I was able to download a copy from my local library and dived right in; and diving really is the best verb to use because once you get started it moves quickly from one big drama to the next. Dragonflight is a socially conscious adventure romance science fiction story.

 

Anne McCaffrey was an American-Irish author who lived from 1926 to 2011. She is best known for her Dragonrider series that takes place on Pern, a planet that is colonized by humans in the future. The original Dragonflight is the merging of two novellas “Dragonrider” and “Weyr Search.” Weyr Search” was originally published in Analog Science Fiction and Fantasy magazine in October of 1967 and it won the Hugo Award in 1968. “Dragonrider” was published in December of 1967 in Analog Science Fiction and Fantasy magazine and won the Nebula Award in 1969. Dragonflight as we know it now was published in 1968 by Ballantine Press.

 

I’m a sucker for a heroine that is both smart and romantically handicapped and Lessa, the heroine of Dragonflight, is just that type of character. Lessa is a smart, bold, passionate woman with a warrior’s heart and mind and these characteristics stay with our heroine through the story and prove to be her biggest assets and weakness. Her warrior’s heart gives her the strength to forge a complicated plan of revenge against the evil lord Fax that took over her home by killing her parents while at the same time it makes it difficult for her to let down her guard and be with F’lor, the leader of the dragon riders. Over time with gentile care from F’Lor her character grows and is able to open up and form a bond with F’lor which allows them to defend the people of Pern against the threads and internal threats.

 

Dragonflight is science fiction not fantasy even though it has dragons.  When I started the story I thought it was a fantasy because it has dragons but it turns out that if a dragon is genetically altered it is considered science fiction. Dragons and their ability to connect with humans telepathically are essential to the plot. Also time travel is an important part of the plot because it provides the heroes with a way to save the day. Mccaffrey gives a very good explanation about how it happens and even plays with the idea of crossing time lines.  The story takes place on a distant planet called Pern far in the distant future when humans have been forced to vacate the earth. The language and culture are similar to that of Europe in the middle ages with feudal systems creating the template for the social structure.

 

Because this is two novellas put together the flow of the story is different but none the less thrilling. A novella by nature is a longer version of a short story but not as long as a novel, so the main action will come sooner.  By combing two novellas there are two main action sequences so there is two times the intensity. Two of my favorite scenes from the first part or “Weyr Search” are the fight scene between F’lor and Flax for its vivid language and the intense scene when Lessa connects with Ramoth for the first time.  In the second part or “Dragonrider” there are several important firsts such as Ramoth’s and Lessa’s first flight and the first fight against the threads.   Talk about action packed.

 

Unfortunately, I did not like the ending to the second part. I like clear endings. Yes, I like a cliff hanger to keep me coming back to the next book but I didn’t feel the story ended or at least I wasn’t expecting that ending. The current story between F’lor and Lessa comes to a conclusion and the problem of how the people will fight the threads is resolved, but the story ends as they go off to battle. I would have preferred an ending where they weren’t about to go off to battle.

 

Overall, I recommend this book. McCaffrey’s word choice creates vivid images of the people and places. The story moves along quickly so you don’t even notice the number of pages. The idea of being able to telepathically connect with and bond for life with a dragon is an interesting idea. And for those that aren’t sure how they feel about science fiction but enjoy fantasy, this is a good book for trying out science fiction and vice versa.

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September 2, 2013

#Dragonflight

Things are heating up in Dragonflight.

Dragonflight is the first in the Pern series by American-Irish science fiction writer Anne McCaffrey originally published in 1978.  From the very first page, you know that you are about to be witness to something amazing. The first paragraph sets a mood that carries over for the whole story. “Lessa woke, cold. Cold with more than the chill for the everlastingly clammy stone walls. Cold with the prescience of a danger stronger than the one ten full Turns ago…”  dragonflight1

There is no preamble of what life was like before, McCaffrey thrusts the reader head first into the unknown with no forgiveness. Okay there is some warning for those willing to do a bit of mental guessing. The introduction serves as a quick summary of the world’s history in broad strokes and the brief poems that begin each chapter reinforce the mood.

I’m about 70 percent through the book and I’m having a really hard time putting it down.  Lessa has demonstrated her ability to be a worthy adversary for every male character. I’m absolutely loving it. She’s not taking any crap from F’lar, R’gul or Fax. At every turn she proves that she is steps ahead of the men.  As the slave to Fax, Lessa contrived to keep herself undesirable by even the lowest standards. As the Weyrwoman, she uses her intelligence to manipulate the men to her end.

The dragons are pretty cool and provide a necessary levity.

I’m at the point in the story where the first Threads have started to fall and everyone is just trying to take it in. There has been a couple of “battles” where the Dragonmen have gone out to fight the Threads and men and dragons have been injured. Lessa and F’lar have paired up as a result of their dragons pairing up (which can I say is a bit weird.)  They are not a true couple in that they are romantically involved; F’lar has demonstrated more interest in Lessa, which I like because it’s often the woman who is pining after the man and trying to win him over.

The Dragonmen will persevere and save the world but because this is a series I’m not sure who will die. There must be a sacrifice for the story. So maybe F’nor will die, the brother to F’lar, but I think that would be too soon.  I’m really not sure who will die, but I’m sure someone will.