Lea Day was a long time close friend of Anne McCaffrey’s. I e-mailed her and asked if she had a few stories that might be fun to relate about this Grand Dame of Science fiction. Here’s what she wrote:
“She loved going to conventions, and she had friends everywhere that she looked forward to seeing in person. When I was PA for her, I made sure that she had a full table of folks at lunch and dinner to talk to and catch up on. It was like Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner all rolled up together. What got me is that some of the highly professional folks could be a fan girl or a fan boy. It was great. It didn’t matter who they were in life, but if they were interesting and could carry on a conversation, they were there.”
Sounds like Anne was a very social person and this comes out in the wonderful human interaction in her stories. She also had a sense of humor as Lea relates in this next episode:
“One of my favorite incidents was when we were in the Dublin Airport, and Anne was being pushed in a wheelchair to the airplane by an attendant (she really couldn’t walk that far then without getting exhausted) and the man says “so, you are Anne McCaffrey?” and Anne replied “Yes I am”, and then he asks “but are you THE Anne McCaffrey?, the one that writes books?” We just cracked up over that. From then on out, I would use it as her title. THE Anne McCaffrey. (And when we got back to DragonHold, Anne sent the attendant signed copies of a couple of her books)”
Not only a sense of humor, but a thoughtful person also. A lot of times authors and writers are voracious readers.
I am one.
I started writing because I loved the stories. Looks like Anne was a big, big reader also, as this incident relates:
“She had a great appreciation of life, and did a lot of things with enthusiasm. She loved to read, and if we went into a bookstore, she didn’t buy one book, but swept through the shelves buying her favorite authors and anything that looked interesting. Fiction, nonfiction, new authors, old favorites… whatever caught her eye. One time she bought out every copy they had of Elizabeth Moons’ “Speed of Dark”, because when she recommended a book, she would back it up with a copy of it. Shopping with her anywhere was a marathon event; we would need our own Sherpas.”
Helping each other is one of the traits that I have found among authors, whether beginning or otherwise. There is a group that has started a website to help and advance the Indie author. Here’s a link to a sneak peek of “Cosmic Entanglement”, one of mine. http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2012/05/19/sneak-peek-cosmic-entanglement-alysian-universe/#more-9305 They have contests, interviews. sneak peeks and likefests.
Check it out if you are an author on the web.
Sometimes it’s as if these worlds dwell in our head and we are only the conduit to another universe. This was very much the case for Anne. As Lea explains:
“Pern was fully formed in her head, how it worked and the people in it. She was just the storyteller. When Todd started to write in Pern, they would sit together for hours talking about the people, the places and the dragons as if they were in the next county over. Todd grew up with Pern experiencing it as an everyday place.”
Now Anne wasn’t a saint or perfect person. Like the rest of us, she had a few flaws. As Lea recounts:
“She had a rep for being a bad driver… and in Ireland that’s saying a lot. The “back up until the car stops, then go forward” type of parking lot escapades. Then there was the time she stole her own car … (after she wasn’t allowed to renew her drivers license).. and of course, rear ended a truck…”
Oh my. Giggle.
I enjoyed revisiting the Pern Universe of dragons and thread.
It was like meeting old friends again.
The writing is easy to read and the characters feel real with their emotions and struggles. My main criticism was that there were so many of them with such odd names. Every dragon rider, once he impresses, puts an apostrophe and shortens his name. So even familiar characters have a name change that you have to get used to all over again. I often got lost as to who was who. And the living arrangements were for the open-minded. Fiona, weyrwoman, had both a lover Kindan and a leader T’man that enjoyed her bed. For me, that was rather sweet, but some might object.
Then, as much as I like time travel, it became confusing. Part of the reason was that much had to be kept secret from the past so as not to create an anomaly in the future. Time was bent and cheated, but not broken–as they kept saying. For me, it was hard to keep up with what time frame they were in.
Still, I enjoyed it and would recommend it to any long time fan who has read the other books and knows the essential story.