Beloved science fiction author Anne McCaffery died this week at the age of 85. It happened on Monday, November 21st at her home in Ireland, and other details beyond confirmation of her passing have not been forthcoming. Her publisher Random House, has however, issued an official statement confirming her death.
McCaffery’s writing career began in 1967 with the publishing of Restoree. But she will be forever remembered, most of all, as the Dragonriders of Pern author. The series, which told the story of a far flung human colony where dragons are created with genetic engineering to fight a deadly lifeform which falls from space, spawned dozens of books which have captured the imagination of readers for decades, and will continue to do so.
Her 1967 Pern novel Weyr Search won the prestigious Hugo Award and in 1968 Dragonrider won the Nebula Award. She’s subsequently won or been nominated for more awards than I can count, ensuring her place in science fiction history as one of the great SF masters.
Born in the United States, she emigrated to Ireland in 1970, where she lived until her death in a home she designed herself. She called it Dragonhold–Underhill and from there Anne interacted and talked with fans right up until her death, communicating regularly through her blog.
My introduction to McCaffery was Dragonsdawn, a prequel to the Dragonriders series, which tells the story of the dragon’s creation and man’s first arrival on the planet of Pern. I stumbled on it, purely by chance one day in my High School library, and instantly became a fan for life. She may be gone, but her work lives on.