Anne McCaffrey was my very first favorite author. I don’t remember when, exactly, I picked up one of her books for the first time. It may have been at the school library, or our tiny little public library in New Gloucester. I may have discovered it in one of the paper grocery bags full of books that various acquaintances and family members would sometimes give to me, knowing how much I loved to read. All I know is, Dragonsong hooked me into the world of Pern. Once I realized that it was part of an intricate series, I hounded “my” librarians to find every single book that had been written up to that point. Then I watched and waited and pounced on each new book as it came out. I have read and re-read the entire series – around twenty novels and a variety of short stories – more times than I can count. The White Dragon endures as my favorite still to this day.
In between Pern books, I INHALED all of her other works – I really don’t think I’ve missed even one, and I own most of them. The Lady is still my favorite romance novel, ever (and is the root of my life-long dream to visit Ireland). I’ve read, and re-read, and re-re-read Three Women (which contains The Mark of Merlin, Ring of Fear, and The Kilternan Legacy) so many times that it has literally fallen apart. I may buy a new copy (if I can find one), but I’ll never get rid of the original.
I’m actually tempted to go upstairs and dig it out again, right now.
Beginning with The Ship Who Sang, I absorbed all of the Brainship books – the premise of which I still find to be utterly fascinating. I wanted to BE Killashandra of the Crystal Singer trilogy. The Talent series kept me hooked from To Ride Pegasus all the way through The Tower and the Hive. The Powers That Be series pulled me in with compelling characters and the concept of a sentient planet.
Anne was the reason I fell in love with Science Fiction and Fantasy. She transported me, so many times, to so many different places. She provided the foundation for every criteria that I now consider necessary to be a good book. Her contributions to literature are innumerable – not just her skill as an author, but her role as a mentor and role model as well. She was the first woman to with the Nebula Award, and the first woman to win the Hugo Award. She blazed the way for female authors in the male-dominated world of Science Fiction.
The impact of her loss hasn’t even begun to be understood, yet.
How I wish I could have met her.
So, thank you, Anne. Thank you for the impact you made to my life, the broadening of my imagination, and the color you added to my dreams.