Anne McCaffrey, Queen Dragonlady of Pern, flew with incredible speed from the Hyatt to her signing at the Marriott. Although she rode astride a scooter instead of a golden dragon, she kept her entourage running to keep up with her. I managed to keep up with Ms. McCaffrey, and she graciously satisfied my curiosity on a few points.
Why did she decide to write science fiction? “Because I could say more and do more.” Well, she’s certainly done and said a lot, starting with the novel she wrote when she was in Latin class. According to Ms. McCaffrey, she titled it Eleutheri, the Dancing Slave Girl. Wow. That tells it all. She wrote it when she was 14 or 15 years old, and “still got an A in Latin.” She saved it for a long time, but unfortunately for her fans, this gem “got lost somewhere along the way.” And which authors most inspired her when she was young? “Carolyn Dale Snedeker, who wrote about Greek and Roman culture, Rudyard Kipling, and Zane Grey.” Quite a variety. Maybe that explains why Ms. McCaffrey can write it all.
I’ve loved Ms. McCaffrey’s books ever since I first read Restoree, and I’m not sure I could pick a favorite – they’re all so wonderful. Her favorite? The Ship Who Sang. But what about Pern? What inspired her to create that fantastic planet and its marvelous dragons? “I wanted a planet I could like, so I wrote one. This one is too messed up.” And the dragons themselves? Drawn from “cats and horses.”
So, what does the future hold? She’s got a few things in mind, she says with a twinkle in her eye, including a sequel to the Ship series. We’ll just have to wait and see.