Tag: Anne McCaffrey

44 Days to Dragon*Con: My Nerdy Childhood, My Nerdy Parents

This past weekend I made a quick trip to Sarasota to visit my parents.  I don’t get back to my hometown nearly enough–much of this is because I tend to see my parents at other places, like family weddings or the High Holidays.  However, there’s nothing like visiting your childhood home and sleeping in your old bedroom.  Also, hanging out with my parents is super fun: we eat at lots of fun places and we take morning walks on the beach, and then sometimes I say something like “my flat iron is dying!” and then my mother says “I have this flat iron I don’t use because I have a WAY BETTER ONE do you want mine?!”  and then I take her flat iron and it is way better than my old flat iron was, even before my cat chewed on the wiring and compromised the heat transfer to the plates.  ANYWAYS.

Part of the reason I love going home is the chance to see all my old childhood stuff through my adult (“adult,” heh) eyes.  Even though my room has been converted to a guest room, a lot of my old paraphernalia, books, tchokes, and decorations are still lying about.  And, looking through these items, one can see that I’ve been on the road to nerd-dom FOREVER.  Behold:

That’s a corner of my bookshelf:  Anne Rice‘s Queen of the DamnedRobert Heinlein‘s Stranger in a Strange Land (I totally never finished that book, guys), The Subtle Knife which is the second book in Phillip Pullman‘s His Dark Materials Trilogy,  a couple Tolkien books, and Anne McCaffrey‘s Dragonflight and Dragonquest (told you I read those books a lot as a kid).  Also, The Agony and the Ecstasy , and on top, The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (not nerdy, per se, but a great book nonetheless!)   Consider all the possibilities in that mini-snap-shot of my bookshelf, and then consider this one:

A Star Wars art book, some sci-fi fantasy art books, and Crisis on Infinite Earth (My Dad gave me that one).

And then this, I mean, come on:

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is also a great book, y’all should read it.

We’ll now move from the bookshelf to the walls.  I dabbled in painting as a kid (I wasn’t very good at it).  Here are a few examples:

So those are some fairies in an enchanted forest (I know.  I was like, fourteen guys).  And then this is the best one, truly, it is:

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49 Days to Dragon*Con: Dragons Part II, The Dragonriders of Pern

One of my first introductions to an epic fantasy (or sci-fi, depending on how you look at it!) series was Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern.

I read them in middle school.  I started with the Harper Hall trilogy, and then read the original trilogy which had a lot of sex, but I didn’t realize that at the time.  I was a big fan of Lessa–I imagine a lot of young girls were big fans of Lessa.  I also read the Moreta stories, and the story about the original colonists of Pern–which is what tips the series from fantasy into science fiction, since Pern was colonized by a bunch of humans from Earth, so there you go.  These humans genetically engineered the Pern’s indigenous fire lizards (tiny little flying and fire breathing lizards) into big, rideable “dragons” that formed a telepathic bond with their chosen human.

These dragons are pretty great: when they hatch, they “impress” upon another human, and said dragon and human are bonded for life.  Dragons come in gold (female egg layers), bronze (alpha males who mate with the golds), brown (slightly smaller than the bronzes), blues and greens (the smallest and most common of the dragons).   The dragons were bred to combat Thread, which is this gross, acidic, fibrous substance that falls on the planet periodically and which destroys anything it touches.  Icky, right?

There is a Pern fan track at Dragon*Con–I’ve never attended, mostly because I haven’t read a Pern book in years.  I enjoyed them while I was reading them, but after awhile I decided to move on from the dragon world of Pern, to discover new worlds, and new fantasies.  Anne McCaffrey passed away last November after a long life and a prolific and wonderful career: she gave her readers a fantastic world, and it was quite a gift.

If you are a novice to epic sci-fi and fantasy, I’d highly recommend the Pern series–they’re a great introduction to the genre, and a fun read!