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Dragonsdawn cover.jpg
Whelan cover of all US editions[a]
AuthorAnne McCaffrey
Cover artist
CountryUnited States
SeriesDragonriders of Pern
GenreScience fiction novels
PublisherDel Rey Books
Publication date
November 1988
Media typePrint (Hardcover & Paperback)
Pages431 (first US hardcover)
Preceded byNerilka's Story 
Followed byRenegades of Pern 

Dragonsdawn is a science fiction novel by the American-Irish author Anne McCaffrey. It was the ninth book published in the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne or her son Todd McCaffrey. It was published in 1988, by Del Rey in the US and Bantam in the UK.[1]

While the Dragonriders of Pern series is recognized as science fiction (due to its origin discussing the nature of the star Rukbat and its planetary system), many of its elements in the earlier books were primarily fantasy in origin. Dragonsdawn' establishes the science fiction nature of the series by defining the science behind McCaffrey's dragons.

Plot summary[edit]

The planet Pern seemed a paradise to its new colonists—seeking to return to an agrarian-based simpler way of life, Admiral Paul Benden, Governor Emily Boll and the rest of the colonists had selected Pern as a place to leave their recent wars and troubles behind. Shortly after arriving on the planet, however, a new threat appeared – Thread.

With time running out and the colony's destruction imminent, geneticist Kitti Ping Yung and her granddaughter Wind Blossom set out to bio-engineer Pernese lifeforms that appear to instinctively react to the Thread – the dragonets that colonists have adopted as pets. In order to ensure the survival of the newly designed species, as well as reduce the possible threat they may have to the colonists by going rogue, they are created with an ability to bond with humans. By the end of the book, Sorka Hanrahan and Sean Connell and a few other young colonists become the first of the dragonriders.


  • Food
  • Dragons
  • Childbirth (both human and dragon, both literal and metaphoric)
  • Survival


Dragonsdawn placed third for the annual, juried John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel published in the USA and seventh for the annual Locus Award for Best Novel.[2]


  1. ^ Dragonsdawn title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database lists only Michael Whelan cover artist for US editions as of 2011-10-12; Steve Weston for early UK editions; plus May 2006, Les Edwards (UK).


  1. ^ Dragonriders of Pern series listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
  2. ^ "McCaffrey, Anne". Locus Index to SF Awards. Archived from the original on 2011-10-15. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
    • The Locus awards are voted by Locus magazine readers and the Campbell award is selected by a panel of nine (as of 2011) science fiction authors, critics, and scholars. From any Locus Index entry, select the award name for details of the annual result; then select "About" for general information about the award.

External links[edit]

Dragonsdawn title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database