RIP Anne McCaffrey

I don’t remember how old I was the first time I read one of Anne McCaffrey’s Pern novels, but I was definitely no older than fourteen. I do remember that I’d confused DragonSong, which I loved, with Lizard Music, which I hated, for the longest time, and that probably kept me from reading them at first.

I have fond memories of a chilly night in a rented vacation home in Inverness, California, sleeping on a bunk overlooking the forest and the ocean beyond, reading long past the time I should have been asleep, because the house was strange, and too quiet, and the bookshelves held first editions of ALL of the Pern books.

Later, of course, much later, I stumbled into the world of MUSHes and MOOs and found myself playing a dragonrider on a Pern-themed role-playing game. I met Fuzzy that way, and many of my other friends.

Even later than that, I learned about McCaffrey’s incredibly odd views on homosexuality (which I will not go into here), and finally, I realized I’d grown out of Pern, though never out of science fiction.

When I heard, a few hours ago, that she’d passed away yesterday at her adopted home in Ireland (a self-designed house named Dragonhold – Underhill), it affected me enough that I had to pause a moment, and take a breath, and send her love and light as her spirit is consigned to whatever eternity may be.

Dragonriders of Pern

I never knew the woman.

But I knew her stories, and I knew her books, and they gave me hours of pleasure and led me to the man I love, and some amazing friends who are among the most talented people I know.

And I know that she was the first woman to win a HUGO award, that she was one of the few women who was active and successful in Science Fiction/Fantasy when it was still very much a male-dominated genre, and that she served as a writing mentor to a collection of authors who went on to write amazing stories of their own.

So, rest in peace, Anne McCaffrey. Maybe this weekend I’ll read one of your books as a form of remembrance.

Ms. McCaffrey’s publisher has posted a statement about her death. You can see it here.

Mini-Review: Lassiter

Readers Imbibing Peril (art by Melissa Nucera)

Paul Levine

This is a mini-review, because the real one will be over at All Things Girl later this month, but I just finished reading Lassiter, which is one of my entries for RIP. It’s a little more violent than I usually like in a mystery, but really a compelling read, an old-school detective novel, in a decidedly modern setting.

I’ve got to go back and read all the first books in this series…because Lassiter (the character) is awesome.


Paul Levine
Bantam, September 2011
304 pages
Buy the book from >>