George Herbert McCaffrey. In addition to handcrafting the Nebula Award trophies, her responsibilities included production of two monthly newsletters and their distribution by mail to the membership. Ireland had recently exempted resident artists from income taxes, an opportunity that fellow science-fiction author Harry Harrison had promptly taken and helped to promote. There she met British reproductive biologist Jack Cohen , [20] who would be a consultant on the science of Pern. The first "Freedom of the Race", about women impregnated by aliens was written in when she was pregnant with her son Alec.

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As a child, this was one of my favourite Pern novels, and I can see why. The strengths, as with a lot of SF, lie mainly in the ideas. When the book As a child, this was one of my favourite Pern novels, and I can see why.

When the book swings toward action, the workmanlike prose and rapid pace of development work well, as does the overwhelming, paranoia-inducing concoction of infodumping and red herrings. The author also deserves considerable credit for her ambition.

There are several loose ends and unexpected turns in the plot, a huge cast, and some bold choices in what she chose to depict such as the scene where a female POV character is giving birth, something that most genre novels keep firmly off-page. The decision to begin shortly before the moment of initial colonisation rather than some years later allows a hugely powerful dynamic of discovery, settlement, and reconstruction as many of the colonists are scarred war veterans ; and indeed perhaps a third of the novel is devoted to this exploration of settlement.

And then, of course, there has to be an attempt to fight back, with, and again no real spoiler here, the arrival of the great dragons of Pern. And there are some volcanic erruptions, too. The problem is At times, particularly at more emotional or sexual moments, and particularly in dialogue, she slips entirely and a few lines are laughably bad. Her characterisation is at best cartoonish - the sort of strong-strokes simplification that can work well in a businesslike short story, but that ends up much too thin across a sprawling epic.

There are serious problems in pacing, not only with the slow beginning but also with the cramped end, and when it comes to the finale the author is boxed in by how much has already been established in the series. This is not the content of one book. It cannot fit in one book. It would probably make for a really great TV series, if done right, spread across a couple of seasons.

The result is an overwhelming sense of a lack of time: not only the voluminous backstory but even major events in real time have to be infodumped to force us through the whole thing in her allotted word count, and few scenes are given time to breathe or blossom. No wonder characterisations are thin! No wonder the prose sometimes has to bear more pressure than it can withstand! Certainly it seems to have been more than this author could handle. Oh, and then there are the Problems.

And this was written in ! See how many different types of people are in my story! Everybody has equal value no matter who they are! It may even be good for people to explore books like this, and for some, who are into that sort of thing, the fetishistic oddness of the novel may actually be a bonus.

And for many, these Problematic elements may actually be a problem.


Anne McCaffrey





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