Well, to me anyway, and to others I’m sure. I’ve always been a big fan of Anne McCaffrey. I can remember laying in bed as a little girl, snug under the covers, while my mother read me Dragonsong about a far away planet called Pern, where dragons lived, and a young harper’s apprentice named Menoly. I loved it. I thought it was the greatest story ever and I wanted a dragon, actually, a fire lizard.
And I didn’t stop with Dragonsong, I read more and more of her books, going past the Harper Hall Trilogy and into the Dragon Riders of Pern, proper, then branching into the Brainship series with The Ship Who Sang and the Crystal Singer series, and Pegasus. Anything I could get my hands on through the years. And it didn’t just stop with Anne McCaffrey. She was my gateway author. At a time I found JRR Tolkien difficult and dull, I started reading Mercedes Lackey and Frank Herbert, more and more. And I started to write my own stories.
Anne McCaffrey wasn’t the only reason I began to write, but she was a big part of it. I like to think I draw a lot of inspiration from her work, hers and Mercedes Lackey, and Frank Herbert, and a good half dozen others. She was an amazing writer. I loved her tone, her descriptions. That woman could drag you into a story before you even knew you started to read.
And now she’s gone. She passed away yesterday. I’m in shock. I knew she was getting older, knew she had health problems. Her public appearances have been fewer and fewer. Dragon Con was the last one that I knew of. A co-worker who was going offered to take a book with her to get autographed. I wish I had. I wish I could have met her, told her how important and wonderful her work was to me. I’m sure she knew, not of me in particular, but in general how many young authors she’s inspired. I know Christopher Paolini was one of them. I had always dreamed I would meet her at the Writers of the Future gala if I ever won. Now it’s just a dream and I feel like I’ve lost an old friend.
But I haven’t really. Her work is still there, and it will live on and I will cherish each of her books, worn and tattered as they may be from years of love. Thank you, Anne McCaffrey, and farewell. May flights of dragons speed thee to thy rest.