Dragonriders of Pern

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Dragonriders of Pern is a science fiction series written primarily by American-Irish author Anne McCaffrey,[a] who initiated it in 1967. Beginning 2003, her middle child Todd McCaffrey has written Pern novels, both solo and jointly with Anne. The series (as of June 2011) comprises 22 novels and several short stories. Most of the short fiction has been collected in two volumes or incorporated in one of the novels, so Dragonriders of Pern is sometimes identified with the 24 books.[b][1] Two of the novellas included in the first novel, Dragonflight made McCaffrey the first woman to win a Hugo or Nebula Award.[2]

Overview[edit]

Life on Pern as presented in the novels resembles a pre-industrial society with lords, holds, harpers (musicians, entertainers, and teachers), and dragons, with the occasional examples of higher technology (like flamethrowers, telegraphi, chemical fertilizers, and powerful microscopes and telescopes).

Pernese people are described as belonging to four basic groups: Weyrfolk (including Dragonriders) who live in the Weyrs, the Holders who live in the Holds (cities, towns and farms), the crafters who live in Crafthalls (or are assigned to work their crafts in certain Holds), and the Holdless who have no permanent home (including traders, displaced Holders, and brigands).

One of the main threats to Pernese civilization in the series is Thread, which is described as a mycorrhizoid spore that periodically rains down on the planet due to the orbit of the Red Star. The Red Star is set out to be a rogue planet in the Rukbat system. The Red Star, characterized as a "Sedna-class inner Oort cloud object", has a 250 Turn (or Pernese year) elliptic orbit around its sun. Thread can reach the planet Pern for about 50 Turns while the Red Star is at perihelion. Thread is described in this series as an agent that consumes organic material at a voracious rate, including crops, animals, and any humans in its path.

The Pernese use intelligent firebreathing dragons and their riders to fight Thread. The riders have a telepathic bond with their dragons, formed by Impression at the dragon's hatching. Later books deal with the initial colonization of Pern and the creation of the dragons through genetic manipulation. The lengthy time period covered by the series as a whole (over two and a half millennia) allows room for new stories and characters, explored by each new novel released by the authors.

Publications by the McCaffreys[edit]

This list is arranged in publication order. For Pern historical order see the chronological List of Pern books.

There are 23 Dragonriders of Pern novels and two collections of short stories through July 2012. Anne McCaffrey once requested reading the works in the order they were written.[3] That differs greatly from Pern historical order, for several reasons. The McCaffreys have published stories set in several different periods of Pern's history from initial exploration to more than 2500 years after landing (AL). Multiple stories feature the same events from different viewpoints. Some stories feature travel between times, even across centuries. Todd McCaffrey, writing alone or with his mother, has specialized in an early time period.

Awards

Weyr Search won the inaugural Hugo Award for Best Novella in 1968 and Dragonrider won the Nebula Award for Best Novella in 1969. (Both were finalists for both awards.) Dragonquest, The White Dragon, Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern and All the Weyrs of Pern were among the five annual finalists for the best novel Hugo Award.

Original trilogy[edit]

These stories take place immediately before and during the Ninth Pass, about 2500 years after landing (AL).

  • Dragonflight 1968, by Anne McCaffrey (1968; composed in part of McCaffrey's first two Pern novellas, Weyr Search and Dragonrider, originally published in 1967)
  • Dragonquest 1970, by Anne McCaffrey.
  • The White Dragon 1978, by Anne McCaffrey (1978; although published prior to Dragondrums, The White Dragon continues the adventures of certain Dragondrums characters; McCaffrey recommends reading Dragonsong, Dragonsinger and Dragondrums before The White Dragon; The White Dragon incorporates McCaffrey's story "A Time When")

The trilogy was released 1978 in omnibus edition titled The Dragonriders of Pern by Nelson Doubleday Science Fiction Book Club.[4]

Harper Hall trilogy[edit]

These stories take place immediately prior to and concurrently with those depicted in Dragonquest and The White Dragon.

The Harper Hall trilogy was released 1984 in omnibus edition titled The Harper Hall of Pern by Nelson Doubleday Science Fiction Book Club.[5] Dragonsong was subtitled "Volume One of The Harper Hall Trilogy" on the front cover of the Bantam Spectra edition, March 1986.[6]

Other fiction by Anne McCaffrey[edit]

"On Dragonwings", an omnibus containing Dragonsdawn, Dragonseye and Moreta, was published in 2003.

Books by Todd McCaffrey or both[edit]

Since 2003, Anne McCaffrey and her middle child Todd McCaffrey have developed the history immediately before and during the Third Pass, about 500 Turns after landing (AL).

  • Dragon's Kin (2003, Anne and Todd McCaffrey; set prior to the Third Pass)
  • Dragonsblood (2005, Todd McCaffrey; set after Dragon's Harper and also 400 Turns earlier, a few decades after Dragonsdawn)
  • Dragon's Fire (2006, Anne and Todd McCaffrey; set during and after Dragon's Kin)
  • Dragon Harper (December 2007, Anne and Todd McCaffrey; set after Dragon's Fire )
  • Dragonheart (November 2008, Todd McCaffrey; set during Dragonsblood)
  • Dragongirl (July 2010, Todd McCaffrey; sequel to Dragonheart and Dragonsblood)
  • Dragon's Time (June 2011, Anne and Todd McCaffrey; sequel to Dragongirl)[c]
  • Sky Dragons (July 2012, by Anne and Todd McCaffrey; sequel to Dragon's Time)

Books in progress[edit]

  • After the Fall is Over (long in progress; sequel to The Skies of Pern) – set after the Ninth Pass in "New Era Pern", the latest in Pern historical order.[d] This book will be finished by her children.

Awards[edit]

Weyr Search won the inaugural Hugo Award for Best Novella in 1968 and Dragonrider won the Nebula Award for Best Novella in 1969. (Both were finalists for both awards.) Dragonquest, The White Dragon, Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern and All the Weyrs of Pern were among the five annual finalists for the best novel Hugo Award.

Other works[edit]

Gamebooks and companion books[edit]

Graphic novel[edit]

In 1991 Dragonflight, the first Pern book published, was released as a set of three graphic novels by Eclipse Books of Forestville, California. The first two were illustrated by Lela Dowling and Fred Von Tobel, the third by Lela Dowling and Cynthia Martin. The story was adapted by Brynne Stevens.

Music of Pern[edit]

There is a CD of music relating to the important Teaching Ballads and the work of Masterharper Robinton, made in 1998 by Anglo-Alaskan duo Tania Opland and Mike Freeman in collaboration with Anne McCaffrey at her request. "The Masterharper of Pern" project began as an idea to include written music in the book of the same name, printed on the inner faces of the cover. By the time the composers had written and auditioned the early drafts at the author's table it was clear that making the songs a reality to their creator's satisfaction was finally possible. The CD project was completed some eighteen months later and released to the approval of the author and most fans of the series.

A second CD pertaining mainly to the work of Pern's other favourite harper, Menolly, was completed in December 2008. Entitled "Sunset's Gold," this features Opland and Freeman with a host of world class musicians from the USA and as far afield as Australia, and comprises twelve tracks of music recorded from 2006 through 2008. The CD includes the ballad, "Four Hundred Turns," written by Anne McCaffrey shortly after she completed "Dragonflight." It was placed in a desk drawer where it lay forgotten for almost forty years until the author rediscovered it just as the CD project was underway. It has never been seen or published before.

Songbooks are also available containing the music from each of these projects.

Television and film adaptations[edit]

Prior to 1995, the motion picture and ancillary rights to the literary property were optioned by various entities, including Robert Mandell (for a cartoon series adaptation that was eventually redeveloped into Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders[7]) and Kerry Skogland.

In 1996, McCaffrey sold the motion picture rights to an Irish company, Zyntopo Teoranta, who entered into a co-production agreement with Alliance Atlantis, covering development including advanced 3-D animation and compositing effects for television budgets. Distribution pre-sale efforts failed, and Zyntopo Teoranta entered into an agreement with Ronald D. Moore as showrunner to present the project to Warner Brothers Network.

  • In 2002, Warner Brothers Network and writer Ronald D. Moore had completed sets and casting for a pilot episode, and were within a few days of filming. Moore had sent the pilot episode to Warners for final approval. It was returned with so many changes to the basic structure of Pern – making it more like Buffy: The Vampire Slayer – that it no longer much resembled the world created by Anne McCaffrey. As a fan of the Dragonriders of Pern series, Moore refused to continue. Filming was canceled, and rights ownership remained with Zyntopo Teoranta's assign, Kua Media Corporation (Canada).[8]
  • In May 2006, it was announced that rights to the entire Dragonriders of Pern series were optioned by Oscar-winning production company Copperheart Entertainment.[9] Copperheart announced their intention to bring Pern to the big screen. On 12 April 2011, Copperheart announced signing David Hayter as screenwriter and Don Murphy as executive producer for a film version of Dragonflight, with production expected to begin in 2012.[10][11]
  • On July 29, 2014, Warner Bros. optioned all 22 volumes of the book for a feature live-action film.[12]

Games[edit]

There have been several games released based on the Pern series.

  • In 1983 Mayfair Games created a board game Dragonriders of Pern featuring cards with Pern characters and locations. This game is now rare and valuable to Pern collectors.
  • In 1984, Gallimard published Dragonriders of Pern: The Book Game, a game in which 2 players use illustrated books to resolve aerial engagement against the "threads".
  • In 1983, Epyx released a video game Dragonriders of Pern for the Atari 800 and Commodore 64 in which the player could battle Thread and engage in diplomacy on Pern.
  • In 2001, a video game Dragon Riders: Chronicles of Pern was created by Ubisoft Entertainment for the PC and Dreamcast under license from zyntopo teoranta (Irish corporation); the owners of the motion picture, gaming and ancillary Rights. This game follows a dragonrider as he Searches for young women to be candidates for Impressing a new gold dragon, and battles the "bad guys" on an adventure across Pern.

A number of online MUD-style games have been created exploring the Pern universe, most notably PernMUSH. These are unofficial and tend to centre on role-playing rather than combat.

Fandom[edit]

Pern fandom consists of a large variety of fan communities. The largest part of fandom is made up by clubs that allow their members to 'play' Pern by creating original characters within the setting of Anne McCaffrey's world. To avoid conflicts with Pern canon and trademarks, each club typically chooses a particular location and timeline as a unique setting different from Anne McCaffrey's established history of Pern. Most commonly, clubs are named for the main Weyr chosen as playing location.

Historically, the first clubs started out publishing printed fanzines containing fanfiction and artwork. With the advent of the internet, clubs using online technology such as roleplay via chat or email (PBeM) became popular. Text-based online virtual reality games, primarily MUSH and MUCK variants such as PernMUSH, have modeled Pern since the early 1990s. In the mid '90s, stringent rules were placed on the creation of new clubs and the governance of existing clubs, resulting in legal action against some fans.[13] For example, no new fan-created MU* games were allowed while the game rights were licenced to Ubisoft for the development of the Dragon Riders: Chronicles of Pern computer game (released in 2001).

In November 2004, Anne McCaffrey relaxed her fandom rules significantly and allowed Pernese fanfiction to be posted freely throughout the Internet. Soon after, fanfiction sites such as FanFiction.net started offering the opportunity to post and read fanfiction based on Anne McCaffrey's works. The relaxing of the rules also resulted in the appearance of message board-based games as another popular club type. Fan sites no longer require approval and are not bound to the formerly strict canon rules, resulting in fan clubs testing out alternatives such as new dragon colors or off-Pern scenarios.

From 2000 until 2005, Anne McCaffrey's website offered a popular discussion forum and chat (The Kitchen Table) for fans to interact with each other and with the author. After its discontinuation in January 2005, several fan-organized discussion forums have taken its place as an outlet for fan activity.

Offline, the largest Pern fan gathering is [WeyrFest], held yearly at Dragon*Con since 1992. Over the last few years, Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey were frequent attendees at WeyrFest, offering fans a chance to meet the authors in person. Anne was originally scheduled to attend the 2011 Dragon*Con, but had deferred her appearance until the 2012 event due to heart problems, just a few months ahead of her death in late November.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ McCaffrey 1999, pp. 54–55, 68–71, 74: McCaffrey lived in the vicinity of Dublin, Ireland from September 1970 - when she emigrated from greater New York City at age 44, with the second Pern book (Dragonquest) nearing completion and a contract for the third – until her death in November 2011.
  2. ^ The 24 books are distinct: they exclude omnibus editions and the separate publication as books of the longest works later collected or incorporated. The short stories not collected are "Beyond Between" by Anne McCaffrey (2003) and "The Impression" (1989) by Jody Lynn Nye and Anne McCaffrey.
  3. ^ They had drafted two sequels to Dragongirl by December 2009, then called "Rider" and Time" rather than vice versa. Anne McCaffrey (17 December 2009). "A Letter From Anne". 
    • By summer 2010, their editor (Shelly Shapiro) suggested and all agreed to the switch of titles. Todd anticipated, "the gap between Dragon's Time and Dragonrider is just about the same as the gap between Dragongirl and Dragon's Time", which was 11 months. Todd McCaffrey (8 July 2010). "Dragongirl, Dragon's Time, and Dragonrider". Retrieved 9 October 2011. 
    • In a foreword to Dragon's Time, Anne calls the collaboration "helping Todd wrap up this very dramatic part of Pernese history." She also confirms the forthcoming title: "I think that Dragon's Time is one of our best and we're both eager to get started on the next one, Dragonrider." Anne McCaffrey (2011), "Letter to Readers", Dragon's Time, page ix.
    • On the other hand, Amazon.com lists Dragon's School by the McCaffreys, an "Audiobook, CD, Unabridged", for release 1 June 2012. The very short "Book Description" seems authentic but does not seem likely to wrap up this epoch. Amazon.com: Dragon's School. Retrieved 2011-10-09:

    Leadership of these dragons and riders falls to Xhinna, female rider of a blue dragon, who must earn the respect of all who follow her and solve the problem of how to get sufficient numbers of dragon eggs, all while protecting her people and baby dragons from the predators and, worse, traitors!

    Barnes & Noble lists a CD "Dragon's School by Anne McCaffrey" expected December 2011.[1]. Confirmed 2011-10-09. Soon after release of Dragon's Time, Todd corrected that early date for the next book and did not comment on its title or completion of the epoch. Todd McCaffrey (7 July 2011). "Newsletter".  (responses 18, 20, 24).

  4. ^ Hans van der Boom reported 2008/2009 that McCaffrey at age 82 had warned its completion may not be possible: "with recurring health problems, it is very hard to find the energy ...". The Pern Museum & Archives. Hans van der Boom. Retrieved 2011-07-21. See "Booknews: New solo Pern book by Anne put on hold!".
    Todd McCaffrey (15 May 2010). "Question from J.J.". 
    • Recently (2011), regarding collaboration with Todd, Anne McCaffrey says "I still am a bit possessive when it comes to the futures of F'lar and Lessa.["After the Fall"] ... Not only have I enjoyed helping Todd wrap up this very dramatic part of Pernese history, but my own creative juices have been flowing thick and furious: I've been writing up a storm on my own, too."
    "Letter to Readers", Anne McCaffrey, Dragon's Time, page ix.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dragonriders of Pern, ISFDB.
  2. ^ Publishers Weekly review of Robin Roberts, Anne McCaffrey: A life with dragons (2007). Quoted by Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-07-16.
  3. ^ Renegades of Pern Author Note
  4. ^ Dragonriders of Pern omnibus publication contents at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 2011-11-14.
    Dragonflight was subtitled "Volume I of The Dragonrider of Pern" on its front cover no later than its fourth US printing, June 1974. Dragonflight 4th US printing publication contents at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 2011-11-14.
  5. ^ The Harper Hall of Pern omnibus publication contents at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 2011-11-14.
  6. ^ Dragonsong title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Dragonsong 4th US printing publication contents at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 2011-11-14.
  7. ^ "The Dragonriders of Pern. The Best Series We May Never See Filmed". Observationdeck.io9.com. 6/13/14. Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  8. ^ "Ron Moore’s "Pern" a No-Go". Sci Fi Wire. 5 April 2001. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  9. ^ Kit, Borys (25 May 2006). "'Pern' booked for big-screen flight". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 3 May 2008. Retrieved 3 January 2008. 
  10. ^ McCaffrey, Anne (12 April 2011). "The Dragonriders of Pern to be adapted for the big screen". Retrieved 7 July 2011. 
    Chitwood, Adam (12 April 2011). "David Hayter to Adapt Dragonriders of Pern Series". Collider. Retrieved 7 July 2011. 
  11. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0808236/ Dragonriders of Pern
  12. ^ "Warner Bros’ New Franchise Play: ‘Dragonriders of Pern’ Book Series". deadline.com. July 29, 2014. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Letter concerning Dee's Dragonrider Art Gallery". Chilling Effects. 1 April 1997. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
Citations – books
Web sites
  • Dragonriders of Pern series listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 2011-10-09. Select a title to see its linked publication history and general information. Select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents. Note the "Dragonriders" and "Harper Hall" subseries.

External links[edit]