Anne McCaffrey's Pern novels

tylenol4000

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I was about to pick up a Pern novel but realized I didn't known which to get because apparently there was a prequel written. I'd rather not read the prequel first. But I don't know where to start.

So, where should I start with the Pern books? And do you recommend the series?
 

Ray McCarthy

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In order they were published.

Certainly the first ones are very good. Esp. First six.
Dare I suggest she kept going to keep the fans happy? Though I've read nearly all of them and don't regret it.

The only "prequel" needed is the prologue in the first published one.

Menolly is my favourite character and the Harper Hall Trilogy is very good. Dragonsong I think is 1st, which is 3nd Pern book.

(I'm also fond of non-Pern McCaffery such as Restoree, The Ship that Searched, The Crystal Singer)
 
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Ray McCarthy

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From http://pern.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page

By Date of Publication (Novels)
By Date of Publication (Short Stories)
  • 1967 - Weyr Search (originally published in the October 1967 issue of 'Analog' Magazine)
  • 1973 - The Smallest Dragonboy (published in Get Off the Unicorn and A Gift of Dragons)
  • 1986 - The Girl Who Heard Dragons (published in The Girl Who Heard Dragons and A Gift of Dragons)
  • 1989 - The Impression (published in Dragonlover's Guide to Pern)
  • 1993 - Survey: P.E.R.N.c (published in Chronicles of Pern - originally published in 1993 as "The P.E.R.N. Survey")
  • 1993 - The Ford of Red Hanrahan (published in Chronicles of Pern)
  • 1993 - The Second Weyr (published in Chronicles of Pern)
  • 1993 - Dolphin's Bell (published in Chronicles of Pern - also published in Hard Cover in 1993 as a standalone novella by the Wildside Press. This edition contains illustrations and border decorations by Pat Morrissey)
  • 1993 - Rescue Run (published in Chronicles of Pern - also published in Hard Cover in 1991 as a standalone novella by the Wildside Press. This edition contains illustrations and border decorations by Pat Morrissey)
  • 1998 - Runner of Pern (published in Legends, Editor: Robert Silverberg and A Gift of Dragons)
  • 2002 - Ever the Twain (published in A Gift of Dragons )
  • 2004 - Beyond Between (published in Legends II, Editor: Robert Silverberg)
 

tylenol4000

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So she started the Harper Hall trilogy before she even finished the original trilogy? Interesting

After the original trilogy, are any the following books related to it? Or does the original trilogy stand on its own?
 

TitaniumTi

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After the original trilogy, are any the following books related to it? Or does the original trilogy stand on its own?
I read most of the earlier books, but I read them out of order, because many Australian booksellers make books sporadically available with no thought to series order (grr!). From memory, each book stood on its own, without any cliff-hangers or too much dependence on earlier books in the series. However, the world-building links the books together very well.

I particularly enjoyed the first three books and the harper books. My favourite was The White Dragon, but I think it was more YA than some of the others, and I probably fitted into the target audience when I read it. I haven't re-read any of the books in the last few years, because I'm not sure that I'd enjoy them so much now.

When I re-read the books in the 2000s, I was slightly troubled by how young some of the female protagonists were.
 

Overread

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Typically its best to read in publication order for most things.

Prequels set before the main events but published after tend to operate with the assumption that you've read the main books already. Thus the way they cover certain details is more revealing of latter events than it would otherwise be because the author is not trying to hide what will come in the future; the reader already knows it. So if you read them first they can spoil the latter parts of a series.

Also many series rely upon secrets to work; secrets which are often revealed within a prequel.

Consider, outside of books, Starwars. The massive plot twist in Empire Strikes back works fantastically! However it utterly fails for any who start Starwars at the first Episode. For those people the huge plot twist of Empire Strikes back is a muted event.
 

Ray McCarthy

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See
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriageable_age

The UK School Leaving Age only raised to 16 in 1972, 17 in 2003 and 18 in Sept 2015.

Also see
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_use_of_children

In many respects Pern while not actual Mediaeval has deliberately modelled it's culture on some Mediaeval aspects. While SF Future, the early novels have the mediaeval fantasy flavour.
  • 1968 - Dragonflight
  • 1971 - Dragonquest
I forget when Anne McCaffery came to Wicklow, Ireland to live from USA. She has a fiction drama book (not SF or F) inspired by her coming to Ireland, which I quite liked. Not sure how autobiographic any of it is (but deffo fiction, though realish places and kinds of stuff).
 

TitaniumTi

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Typically its best to read in publication order for most things.
That's true, and reading them out of order did have a spoilerish affect. I first read them pre-internet, so I had to read what was available to me at bookshops or libraries, but I would read them in order now.
 

BAYLOR

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In many respects Pern while not actual Mediaeval has deliberately modelled it's culture on some Mediaeval aspects. While SF Future, the early novels have the mediaeval fantasy flavour.).

Interesting. :)
 
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kythe

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I started rather inadvertently with the Harper Hall trilogy. These books overlap with the original series, but are told from a different perspective. I still prefer them over the original trilogy because I find the characters much more relatable.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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I loved the first two books, but as the series went on I became less and less interested, as it seemed to me she didn't do enough to advance the overall plot, and became caught up in prequels and side stories.

But I think for readers who fall completely in love with her world (and there are certainly some beguiling aspects) then simply revisiting it in later books would probably be enough.
 

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Pern is a bit like a few other series in that I feel the author found the novels turned into such regular income that it was impossible to put them down even once the spark of creation for them had waned. We see the same thing in TV shows very often - Simpsons and Stargate are prime examples of series gone way beyond their prime; but continued because they are now regular work and income for a large number of people so there is a great interest in keeping them going for a long long time to keep that regular work which would dry up were they to stop.
 

Ray McCarthy

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I like to think it wasn't just the money (for Anne anyway). She seems to have genuinely wanted to give the fans what they wanted and seems to have been fond of the series. I thing she keep horses (closest thing to a Pernese dragon?) and called her house in Wicklow "Dragonhold". I don't know much about Todd, her son, or how much input Anne had into the co-written books. She seems to have coupled her name with a few other authors over the years.

I bet it's not an easy decision to stop or continue if a series is popular for an author. A Studio or TV company is different. They will milk something to death. John Cleese only wrote 12 Fawlty Towers episodes. Though he famously needed the money he refused to allow any more to be created. There was an attempt to make a US setting version, but that's not the same thing as more episodes.
 

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Oh true money isn't everything; but I suspect it helps along with the fans with an author going further than they possibly should - when they might be better set to change hte setting and try something new; even if its still using similar elements as their first series.

Personally I think that's partly why authors like Robin Hobb write stories set in the same world but with different characters and different focuses. Her Farseer's series is not only differently cast, but differently written to her Liveships series.

And yes didn't the US version of Fawlty Towers get rid of Basil ?
 

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I like to read it: Dragonflight, Dragon quest, White Dragon
Then the Harperhall trillogy. I see it's not strictly publication order, but I feel that each of these sets should be read in their respective clumps.

I find the rest are a bit more 'stand alone'ish and their introductions paraphrase up the essential Pernes history needed to jump in both feet and injoy.

Since the introduction doesn't change much from one book to the next in the first trilogy, it was a few years of owning and loving the later books before I realized that the later books had different intros.

For that reason I recommend that where ever you chose to start, go a head and read the intro for each book. Yes lots of them are essentially the same, but the slight differences add that pinch of flavor that set tone and time before chapter 1 hits the ground running, making it easier to keep up.
 

BAYLOR

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Pern is a bit like a few other series in that I feel the author found the novels turned into such regular income that it was impossible to put them down even once the spark of creation for them had waned. We see the same thing in TV shows very often - Simpsons and Stargate are prime examples of series gone way beyond their prime; but continued because they are now regular work and income for a large number of people so there is a great interest in keeping them going for a long long time to keep that regular work which would dry up were they to stop.


The Simpsons hasn't been funny in may years and as for Stargate , it got a bit silly toward the end but at least it was entertaining.:D
 

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Simpsons has lost its bite because much of what they do now is pretty much already partly done before in their own series. But its a huge machine - games, TV show, merchandise - a lot of jobs rely on the income it generates.

Stargate to me not only got a little silly, but lazy and repetitive. I noticed that they'd fast dropped many alien cultures speaking anything but American and it got into a little rut of its own with Super-evil-bad-guy appearing every season. That and adding in Farscapes duo kinda sealed the madness (I forget his name, Chriton's actor is rather like Jonny Depp in that as soon as you see him you know chances are its going to be a silly role - or in Chritons case a somewhat insane guy)
 

JonLaidlow

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I agree that the first six books are the best - they were constant companions during my teenage years, even after I discovered "better" writers. The later books.... Well it's like checking back in on old friends. They may not have done much with their lives, and you may not be particularly interested objectively, but it's just nice to catch up and spend some time with them.

She wrote herself into a bit of a narrative hole with the main timeline, and the avenues out (Dolphins, All the Weyrs) weren't half as interesting as the original scenario, then she started jumping back to fill in the story from the perspective of other characters (Masterharper...) or earlier points in the timeline.

She went back and filled in the earliest storys of Pern, then the Todd books were set in a mid-point so they could make use of the main threat (Thread) without interfering too much with her own books. I haven't read them, but I've heard they are on a parr with her own later additions to the timeline.
 

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