Tuesday, November 22, 2011

In memoriam: Anne McCaffrey

One of the grand masters of fantasy and science fiction writing has died.

Anne McCaffrey wasn't just the inventor of Pern, the world where a whole society is based on dragon-riding. She was also an incredibly influential author who helped transform the way science fiction and fantasy authors wrote about women, and the way all of us thought about bodies and selfhood. She was the first woman to win a Hugo Award and a Nebula Award, as well as a Grand Master of science fiction.

Besides the Pern books, McCaffrey wrote the classic space-faring novel The Ship Who Sang, in which a severely disabled girl becomes the core of a starship, or Brainship, with her mind controlling all its major functions. McCaffrey's novel provided a startling new way to think about personhood and the nature of the mind/body connection, but also helped pave the way for a whole subgenre of posthuman space opera, in which heavily modified humans explore space.

There's more at the link.

I grew up with Anne McCaffrey's books, particularly her Dragonriders of Pern series. Her writing gave me a great deal of pleasure over the years, and was much enjoyed by my parents as well.

May she rest in peace.



Morris said...

I'm saddened to hear she's passed on. I got a great deal of enjoyment from most of her work, but especially enjoyed her "Ship" books.

It was not at all hard to relate to Helva (iirc) the cyborg protagonist.

Dirk said...

A belated comment...

Anne has been one of my favorite authors for a very long time. In my personal "pantheon", she ranks right up there with Heinlein, Asimov, Bradbury, Silverberg, and E.E. "Doc Smith". Though I was greatly saddened to hear of her passing, she certainly left her mark in the world, in so many ways.

I can't wait til my kids are old enough to read the Pern books, though I'm about to let my daughter start on the Dragonsinger series.

Hm... Captcha was "essinged"