Todd McCaffrey

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Todd J. McCaffrey (born 27 April 1956 as Todd Johnson) is an Irish American author of science fiction best known for continuing the Dragonriders of Pern series in collaboration with his mother Anne McCaffrey.


Todd Johnson was born 27 April 1956 in Montclair, New Jersey[1] as the second son and middle child of Horace Wright Johnson (deceased 2009[2]), who worked for DuPont, and Anne McCaffrey (deceased 2011[3]), who had her second short story published that year.[4] He has two siblings: Alec Anthony, born 1952, and Georgeanne ("Gigi", Georgeanne Kennedy), born 1959.[5]

Except for a six-month DuPont transfer to Düsseldorf, Germany, the family lived most of a decade in Wilmington, Delaware, until a 1965 transfer to New York City when they moved to Sea Cliff, Long Island. All three children were then in school and Anne McCaffrey became a full-time author, primarily writing science fiction.[6] About that time, Todd became the first of the children to read science fiction, the Space Cat series by Ruthven Todd. He attended his first science fiction convention in 1968, Lunacon in New York City.[7]

Soon after the move, Todd was directed to lower his voice as an actor in the fourth-grade school play, with his mother in the auditorium. That was the inspiration for Decision at Doona (1969) which she dedicated "To Todd Johnson—of course!" The story is set on "an overcrowded planet where just talking too loud made you a social outcast".[8]

Anne McCaffrey divorced in 1970 and emigrated to Ireland with her two younger children, soon joined by her mother.[9] During Todd's school years the family moved several times in the vicinity of Dublin and struggled to make ends meet, supported largely by child care payments and meager royalties.[10]

Todd finished secondary education in Ireland and returned to the United States in 1974 for a summer job before matriculation at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.[11] He studied engineering physics and discovered computers but remained only one year. Back in Dublin he earned a Mechanical Engineering degree at the College of Technology (Bolton Street). Later he earned a degree at Trinity College, Dublin.[12]

Before Trinity College, Todd Johnson served in the United States Army from 1978 to 1982, stationed in Stuttgart, Germany, and determining to pursue civilian life. After Trinity he returned to the US hoping to work in the aerospace industry but found employment in computer programming beginning 1986. He earned a pilot's license in 1988 and spent a lot of time flying, including solo trips across North America in 1989 and 1990. Meanwhile, he sold his first writings and contributed "Training and Fighting Dragons" to the 1989 Dragonlover's Guide to Pern,[13] using his military and flight experience. Next year he quit his job to write full-time and in 1992 he attended the Clarion Workshop for new science fiction and fantasy writers.[12]

Writing under the name Todd Johnson until 1997/98 he specialized in military science fiction, contributing one story each to several collective works.[1][14]


As a boy, Todd accompanied his mother to her meetings with writers, editors, publishers, and agents; and had attended conventions from age 12.[15] He was exposed to Pern before its beginning: soon after the move to Long Island when he was nine, his mother asked him what he thought of dragons; she was brainstorming about their "bad press all these years". The result was a "technologically regressed survival planet" whose people were united against a threat from space, in contrast to America divided by the Vietnam War. "The dragons became the biologically renewable air force."[16]

About thirty years later, Todd McCaffrey recalls,[17][18]

the editor at Del Rey asked me to write a "sort of scrapbook" about Mum partly to prevent Mum from writing her autobiography instead of more Pern books. That was Dragonholder [1999]. The editor had also pitched it to me that someone ought to continue Mum's legacy when she was no longer able. At the time I had misgivings and no story ideas.

Soon after selling his first stories, he had contributed the chapter "Training and Fighting Dragons" to The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern (1989).[13] Mother and son had also discussed Pern and its setting for years, and she had suggested that he "write the military science fiction prequels" to the colonization, but that never progressed far.[19]

Todd McCaffrey's work on Pern started in earnest with Dragon's Kin (2003), co-authored with his mother. His first solo Pern novel Dragonsblood was published in 2005. Both books are set around the beginning of Pern's "Third Pass", about 500 years after human settlement on Pern and 2000 years before the "Ninth Pass" events chronicled in most of Anne McCaffrey's Pern books including the inaugural Dragonflight. Anne and Todd published two sequels to Dragon's Kin, Todd has published two sequels to Dragonsblood, and they co-authored two further sequels to the latter, Dragon's Time in 2011, and Sky Dragons in 2012.[20][21]

Todd McCaffrey was a Guest of Honor along with his mother at Albacon 2008, the annual sci-fi convention in Albany, New York.[22][23] He was Literary Guest of Honor at ConDor 2009 in San Diego[12] and at [citation needed]AggieCon 2009 in College Station, Texas. Todd attended DragonCon in Atlanta (September), where the 2011 Artist Guest of Honor was Michael Whelan, creator of cover art for some early Pern books including The White Dragon.[24][25][26]


McCaffrey recalls that he was first paid for writing in 1988: "an animated screenplay I got them ol’ Reptilon Blues Again Mommasaur" and the book Slammers Down! in a "choose your own adventure" series for Ace Books.[5] He published under his given name Todd Johnson until the late 1990s.[1]



As Todd Johnson[1]

  • Slammers Down! (Combat Command: In the World of David Drake's Hammer's Slammers) (1988)
  • "The Archimedes Effect", The War Years #1: The Far Stars War (1990)
  • "Dasher", The War Years #3: The Jupiter War (1991)
  • "Ploughshare", Bolo: Honor of the Regiment (1993)
  • "Legacy", Bolos 2: The Unconquerable (1994)
  • "A Question of Valor", Bolos: Last Stand (1997)

As Todd McCaffrey[1]

  • "Best Evidence" (1998)
  • Dragonholder: The Life and Dreams (so Far) of Anne McCaffrey (1999)
  • "The Dragons of Prague", (Doctor Who) Short Trips: Destination Prague (2007)
  • "Tribute", Jim Baen's Universe, August 2008 (2008)
  • "Tree" (2008)
  • "DragonCon: Trials and Tribulations" (2008)
  • "The Terrorist in My Kitchen" (2012)
  • "Robin Redbreast" (2012)
  • "Men!" (2012)
  • "Stone the Crows" (2012)
  • "The One Tree of Luna" (2012)
  • "Why I Shot My Car" (2012)
  • "Rhubarb and Beets" (2013)
  • "To the Nearest Planet" (2013)
  • "Red Roses" (2014)
  • "Golden" (2014)
  • "With Fones" (2016)



  • Todd McCaffrey (1999). Dragonholder: The Life and Dreams (So Far) of Anne McCaffrey by her son. New York: Ballantine. ISBN 0-345-42217-1
  1. ^ a b c d e Todd McCaffrey– – Summary Bibliography. Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  2. ^ A Letter From Anne Archived 2 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine. (17 December 2009). (c) Todd McCaffrey. Confirmed 2011-07-12.
  3. ^ [1](2012-11-21. (c) Todd McCaffrey. Confirmed 2011-11-24.
  4. ^ Dragonholder 9, 14, 36.
  5. ^ a b "Anne's Biography" Archived 21 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine.. Anne McCaffrey. (c) Todd McCaffrey. Confirmed 2011-07-07.
  6. ^ Dragonholder 10–11, 14, 36–37, 45–46.
  7. ^ Dragonholder 1–2, 58.
  8. ^ Dragonholder 2, 50.
  9. ^ Dragonholder 68–69, 74.
  10. ^ Dragonholder 71–101.
  11. ^ Dragonholder 98.
  12. ^ a b c 2009 Literary Guest of Honor: Todd McCaffrey Archived 1 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine.. CONDOR (San Diego convention). Updated 2011-07-13. Reprinted with "20 Questions" and answers by Todd McCaffrey as "Biography: A super short history (by Angel Adams)". Pern Home (official site (c) Todd McCaffrey). Retrieved 2011-07-13. See especially questions 4 and 12–13.
  13. ^ a b c Jody Lynn Nye with Anne McCaffrey, The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern, Ballantine, 1989, pp54-65.
  14. ^ "Publications" (no date). Todd McCaffrey blog. – McCaffrey's own list posted sometime 2010 or 2011.
  15. ^ Dragonholder 2, 58.
  16. ^ Dragonholder 3, 6.
  17. ^ "Which do you find to be the better route to selling your first novel, approaching publishers yourself or finding an agent?" (24 January 2001). Todd McCaffrey blog. Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  18. ^ In Dragonholder, Todd acknowledges "Shelly Shapiro of Random House/Del Rey" for suggesting that project. Of the motivation, Anne says "for those that can't come here, and to free myself up for the serious task of writing". Dragonholder vii, ix.
  19. ^ "Letter from Nathan" (26 December 2009). Todd McCaffrey blog. Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  20. ^ Anne McCaffrey (17 December 2009). "A Letter From Anne". Archived from the original on 2 May 2010.  Todd McCaffrey (8 July 2010). "Dragongirl, Dragon's Time, and Dragonrider".  Todd McCaffrey (7 July 2011). "Newsletter".  (responses 18 and 20). The title may be Dragon's School, a forthcoming audiobook title listed at and at Retrieved 2011-07-14.
  21. ^ Probably Dragon's Time was once to be the lone sequel to Dragonsblood. Before the release of his second solo Pern book Dragonheart, which is set primarily during Dragonsblood, the Pern Museum learned from the author that "To tell the full story that Todd wants to tell in all its glory he has realized he will need to write not just one very big book but four rather large books." Yet another Les Edwards Pern cover ... (April 2008). The Pern Museum & Archives: News Archive. Retrieved 2011-07-25.
  22. ^ Albacon. Accessed 4 February 2008. – obsolete for 2008 news (13 July 2011).
  23. ^ Anne McCaffrey has to cancel attending AlbaCon! (October 2008). The Pern Museum & Archives: News Archive. Retrieved 2011-07-25.
  24. ^ "Dragoncon 2011" (7 November 2010) and "Dragon*con" (by gorky with Todd McCaffrey reply 2011-07-07). Todd McCaffrey blog. Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  25. ^ McCaffrey, Todd (18 August 2011). Dragon*con Deferred. Anne McCaffrey blog. Retrieved 2012-04-12.
  26. ^ Dragonholder 107.

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