Category Archives: Anne McCaffrey

Species Symbiosis: Pets in science fiction

IMG_0193Two new kittens tear across my feet, jump and land in a tussle of ferocious claws and fur, wrestling with each other. Tails flick, haunches wiggle and soon one is soaring through the air with a mighty pounce.Image 3

Nothing like two new cats  to distract my gaze from the wet, chill weather that has moved into the Northwest.

So, throughout history and even into fictional alien worlds has humanity attempted to bond with other species.

A treecat in David Weber’s Honor Harrington series springs to mind. A sense of communication and symbiosis wrapped around Honor’s neck much like a pelted scarf.OnBasiliskStation

Sky DragonsOr the dragons of Pern by Anne McCaffrey that humans imprint on the hatching grounds and forge a telecommunication link that can transcend even time.

Robin Hobb also carries out this theme of telepathic dragons in her own dragon series. The more recent ones being Blood of Dragons and City of Dragons. Also in her Farseer trilogy, the young boy hero bonds with a wolf.Royal Assassin

The Zero StoneAndre Norton’s The Zero Stone starts a series where the ship’s cat ingests a strange seedpod and evolves into an entity that names itself Eet and follows the hero as his companion into adventures.

Timothy Vaughn writes in Dragon and Thief about a dragon alien, named Draycos,  that blends onto the young hero’s back and legs, but can leap out into three dimensions to interact at need. Talk about getting a wild tat.Dragon and Thief

In the Liaden universe,  several family cats are cameoed and even a tree appears to communicate with the Delm of Korval, dropping magical seed pods whenever necessary.

John Scalzi’s hero, Jack Halloway,  battles to prove sentience in a small furry creature that he befriends in Fuzzy Nation.  Human and creature face off in a legal battle against the big business of  Zaracorp that has its own plans for their alien world.51CG59JWAeL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_

If you’re searching for a story of alien and human bonding, here are just a few samples of species symbiosis in science fiction .

Do you have any favorites?

We humans form friendships and alliances with other species on our own Earth, so why not with aliens from other worlds? From dolphins to horses, cats to dogs, many other species have enriched our life and eased the drear of coming winter with adorable gamboling and warm, cuddly affection.Kittens copy

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Filed under Alien and human bonding, alien life forms, Alien pets in science fiction, Alien worlds, Aliens in Science Fiction, Anne McCaffrey, award winning scifi, Best selling science fiction, C. J. Cherryh, Classic science fiction, dragons, Liandon Universe, science fiction series, Science fiction world building, Uncategorized

A Science Fiction Master: Inside stories

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.   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 finished the newest novel, Dragon’s Time, in the Pern Universe this week. Her son Todd has taken over the series, having lived all his life in Pern, and hopefully will be putting out more books.

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.

Here are some other books from the Universe I recommend. Looking at the books, I discovered a new one just out June, 2012. So here’s the latest…hot off the press.


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