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Dragonflight (Pern: Dragonriders of Pern, #1)
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This is our discussion of the Classic SF novel...

Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern, #1) by Anne McCaffrey Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
(1968)

Dragonflight was originally published as novellas in Analog magazine: Weyr Search (1967, Winner of Hugo Award) and Dragonrider (1967, Winner of the Nebula Award.)


message 2: by Susan (new)

Susan Kite | 57 comments McCaffrey's first Pern books were marvelous! I most enjoyed the Dragonsinger books, but all of the early ones were great. I began to become disinterested when the plague theme began to show up more than once. McCaffrey was a wonderful author and left a great body of work.


Rafał | 5 comments First of all, happy New Year everybody!

To be honest I´m disappointed with 'Dragonflight'. Just like 'Dracula', but in a different way, this book just failed the test of time. The plot is way too shallow compared to contemporary fantasy books and what I noticed the constant use of adverbs so that you end up reading something similar to 'He looked at her sternly, she walked away furiously and then they all laughed happily´. After a while it gets really annoying. I rated it 3 out of 5 stars and I'm pretty sure, this was the only book from the Dragonriders of Pern series I've read.


message 4: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 01, 2018 07:00AM) (new)

I included Dragonflight's prolog in the Off to a Good Start list of openings:
“When is a legend legend? Why is a myth a myth? How old and disused must a fact be for it to be relegated to the category 'Fairy-tale’?”
Galadriel offers similar thoughts in The Fellowship of the Ring, though not at the opening...
"Much that once was is lost. For none now live who remember it."
“And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for two and a half thousand years, the ring passed out of all knowledge.”
and more recently similar in the opening of the Wheel of Time
"The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again."
The idea of forgotten but important lore turns up quite a bit in fantasy and scifi.

Anyway, I liked the first paragraph. :)


message 5: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 01, 2018 07:29AM) (new)

Rafał wrote: "I noticed the constant use of adverbs so that you end up reading something similar to 'He looked at her sternly, she walked away furiously and then they all laughed happily´. After a while it gets really annoying. ..."

There was once a "Tom Swifty" craze (I guess we call it a viral meme these days :), named for that adverb-heavy style in the Tom Swift juvenile scifi books (from the early 1900's.) The idea was to use the adverb as a pun, as in "'I'm coming,' Tom said swiftly." E.g. "'They had to amputate them both at the ankles,' said Tom defeatedly," "'Bingo,' Tom exclaimed winningly,", and "'I have no flowers,' Tom said lackadaisically."


Rafał | 5 comments G33z3r wrote: "Rafał wrote: "I noticed the constant use of adverbs so that you end up reading something similar to 'He looked at her sternly, she walked away furiously and then they all laughed happily´. After a ..."

oh I haven't known it. It's just that having read Stephen King's "On writing" I'm somehow over-monitoring the use of adjectives in books.


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Andrea | 2662 comments Only starting the book today but I've read it before many years ago. My first introduction to Pern was actually the Harper Hall trilogy as it was on my high school summer reading list. Must admit we had very enjoyable selections on those reading lists, it didn't just introduce me to Pern but also Dune and maybe not so amazingly, Xanth. Yeah...the first Xanth book was on my high school reading list LOL

Much as I'm not a fan of King's writing (not his use of language but his inability to keep his writing concise, which is just as big a flaw) but too much adverb usage is definitely annoying. It's something I associate with books that were self-published without an editor. Must admit I don't recall that but then again I haven't read this book since high school :)


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Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 337 comments Notice how ... icky dragons make sex. Essentially if you can get the dragons in on it rape becomes entirely possible; consent goes over the side. No wonder the local population dislikes dragonriders; it must be like having an entire community of Roy Moores next door. I don't know how deeply McCaffrey thought this through; IMO she was just writing at speed and not considering the implications of it all.


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Andrea | 2662 comments At the time, I thought it was kind of cool how the humans and dragons shared the experience, and I don't recall that there was a rape aspect to it (though I do recall some Lord or other that was into rape, no dragons required...maybe that was Dragonsinger?) so will be interesting to read this again as an adult.

I always thought the other people didn't like the dragonriders because they kind of leeched off the communities, requiring tithes, but didn't provide anything useful in return except transport for important people as there hadn't been a Threadfall in a long time.


message 10: by Erin (new) - rated it 1 star

Erin (erinm31) | 63 comments Brenda wrote: "Notice how ... icky dragons make sex. Essentially if you can get the dragons in on it rape becomes entirely possible; consent goes over the side. No wonder the local population dislikes dragonrider..."

Agreed and this ruined the books for me — not that a story can’t deal with rape but to me, everything in this book says that it’s okay so long as it’s done to a woman (the men are separated when their dragons mate, apparently). The heroine could have reacted against this misogynistic culture, but instead she falls in love with the abuser who shakes her whenever he is angry and not forcing himself on her.


message 11: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 337 comments Yeah, I didn't like the undertone of violence that F'lar brings to his physical relationship with her. Shaking is abusive; if he really went to town with it on a smaller person (and Lessa is consistently described as very petite) he could easily inflict neurological damage.

There are vague and distant hints in the later books of men having dragon-linked sex with men (green dragons can be ridden by anybody, apparently) but McCaffrey mostly didn't go there. And the image of a half dozen men chasing the one queen rider around the room is ucky.

Of course the local population despised tithing and handing vast assets over to these parasitical people. But that of course is a driver of the entire plot. It's the picking up of girls and hauling them off to the weyrs that's really creepy though -- note that there's no mention of taking failed candidates back home; they apparently make a one-way trip and if they fail to Impress then they're sex slaves or kitchen workers.


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) I started this a couple days ago and I'm liking it OK so far. I remember trying to read this book or maybe one of the others in the series when I was in high school or maybe even younger and just not caring enough about it to finish it.


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Andrea | 2662 comments I do recall being turned off by the treatment of Menolly in the Harper Hall, to the point where I didn't like that trilogy very much.


Roger I haven't read this for years, I'm going to give it a read pretty soon and join in the discussion


Donald | 157 comments Andrea wrote: "I do recall being turned off by the treatment of Menolly in the Harper Hall, to the point where I didn't like that trilogy very much."

I read most of these books 20+ years ago and that triggered a pretty strong memory in me. It was just unpleasant.

I also remember this one being a lot more shallow than the later books, having read them in a fairly sporadic ordering (IIRC The White Dragon came first for me, then Dragonsong and Dragonsinger before finally starting from the beginning).


Allison Hurd I do have a vivid memory of F'lar discussing sex with Lessa to be "no better than rape" and wondering (at the tender age of 10) why he continued to do that, then. There's a lot of abusiveness in these books that's very in keeping with "the times" and also ties in with the "dragon carrying off young virgins" trope.

But I also have a fondness for it as being one of the first fantasy (okay, okay, sci-fi) books I read, and frankly, after The Belgariad, which was my first intro, it didn't shock me that people wrote like this.


message 17: by Phil (new) - rated it 1 star

Phil Jensen | 329 comments This is one of the most negative reviews I've ever written:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

The rape angle is a problem, but the incompetent writing style was the larger issue for me.


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Noor Al-Shanti | 68 comments Re-reading so I can join in the discussion here. Mainly because I was very interested to hear everyone else's opinions on the disturbing relationships that I remember from when I first read it years ago...

However, as the prologue was mentioned I thought I would chime in on it... it's weird, but I don't even remember it being there. Or... I remember some kind of prologue, but I don't remember it revealing this much about the planet's past... maybe I just skipped or skimmed it the first time around. Anyway, aside from that first bit about myths, which I agree was an interesting opening, I don't really like the rest of the prologue much.

I remember I very much enjoyed the opening chapter with Lessa the first time I read this, though, so hopefully it still holds up...


message 19: by Phil (new) - rated it 1 star

Phil Jensen | 329 comments Noor wrote: "I remember some kind of prologue, but I don't remember it revealing this much about the planet's past."

Maybe you read it as a novella before it was fixed up into a novel?


message 20: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 02, 2018 06:11AM) (new)

Noor wrote: "However, as the prologue was mentioned I thought I would chime in on it... it's weird, but I don't even remember it being there. Or... I remember some kind of prologue, but I don't remember it revealing this much about the planet's past... ..."

I had exactly the same experience; I didn't remember the novel having that much info on Pern's origin. I'm re-reading the same 1970 printing I read back in 1970 (and I'm pretty sure I re-read at some point in the intervening five decades), so it was clearly there all along, not something added on years later after McCaffrey settled on her backstory.

Maybe I skipped it the way I often skip Introductions & such. Dunno.


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Noor Al-Shanti | 68 comments Phil wrote: "Noor wrote: "I remember some kind of prologue, but I don't remember it revealing this much about the planet's past."

Maybe you read it as a novella before it was fixed up into a novel?"



No, I'm pretty sure I read the full novel version both times I read it in the past. I think it just comes down to it not sticking in my memory at all...


G33z3r wrote: "Noor wrote: "However, as the prologue was mentioned I thought I would chime in on it... it's weird, but I don't even remember it being there. Or... I remember some kind of prologue, but I don't rem..."

It's interesting to hear I'm not alone in that, though...


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Andrea | 2662 comments Noor wrote: "However, as the prologue was mentioned I thought I would chime in on it"

I didn't remember it either, but I thought it was interesting because it makes a point that this is an SF setting, dragons notwithstanding, though many still call these books fantasy. It was only about 2 pages long though, so easy to forget.

I'm 68 pages in, definitely darker and more brutal than I remembered it. Why would an advanced colony revert to medieval treatment of women? They are either drudges or sex toys for important men (including the more "civilized" dragonmen) It was pretty horrible to read.

I do love the personalities of the dragons though, the gentle giants that can't quite figure out us humans. That's what I ended up originally taking away from my original reads, my mind wiped out the nasty bits. Maybe that's why I was more disturbed by the Harper Hall trilogy since there wasn't the dragon aspect there and you're force to deal with the human-human interaction more.


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Haaze | 55 comments Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey (Kindle version) is on sale today! How convenient!

https://www.amazon.com/Dragonflight-D...


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Noor Al-Shanti | 68 comments Andrea wrote: "I'm 68 pages in, definitely darker and more brutal than I remembered it. Why would an advanced colony revert to medieval treatment of women? They are either drudges or sex toys for important men (including the more "civilized" dragonmen) It was pretty horrible to read."

Yes! I am noticing this as well. It is really irking me that the language used to describe women in these first few chapters is always either as someone's possession "his woman" etc or plural and very condescending.


(view spoiler)




Another thing that I hadn't noticed before that is jumping out at me this time is the whole "Bloodlines" thing... in like every other sentence. Even the Dragonriders are obsessed with the person they choose not being "tainted by common blood" or whatever. O.O


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

Noor wrote: "Even the Dragonriders are obsessed with the person they choose not being "tainted by common blood" or whatever. ..."

I actually thought of this as a plus, not for the dragonmen but for the story. The dragonmen aren't wonderful paradigms of modern liberty & equality. They're stuck up, arrogant, obnoxious snobs, obsessed with their imagined status and rituals. On Search, F'lar instantly dismisses any thought of the "drudges" because their clothes are tattered and faces smeared with dirt (i.e., they work for a meager living.)

They need Fax to give them someone to seem better than.


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Andrea | 2662 comments Noor wrote: "Andrea wrote: "I'm 68 pages in, definitely darker and more brutal than I remembered it. Why would an advanced colony revert to medieval treatment of women? They are either drudges or sex toys for i..."

I was wondering about that too, both the fact they didn't need to look for boys and the fact that the Weyr itself should have their own children, and the fact that there is apparently only one strong woman on the entire planet. And I'd get it if they didn't have the dragon "Power" they kept mentioning, that could be rare, but seemed like none of the women even had any braincells to rub together.

I didn't recall that Power also allowing dragonpeople to "blur" their image. Sounded like Lessa could affect people's mind's such that they would see what she wanted them to see. I know there's a telepathic bond with the dragons but I thought the dragons were the power behind that, didn't think the humans would also need some latent telepathy too.

On the other hand, McCaffrey isn't saying here that this treatment of women is ok. Fax is definitely cast as the bad guy (I haven't gotten to the Weyr treament yet, she just dismounted Mnementh in F'lar's bedroom, which is indeed a weird place to drop her off). However at the same time I'm not feeling that she's really making a point about the treatment either, not like say in the Handmaid's Tale.


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Andrea | 2662 comments G33z3r wrote: "Who Started Using Apostrophes in SciFi/Fantasy Names?"

I always thought it was unfair that women didn't get the same name treatment though L'ssa doesn't exactly roll off the tongue :) Moreta could have been M'ta though.


message 29: by Phil (new) - rated it 1 star

Phil Jensen | 329 comments UKL put out an interesting idea in her afterward to The Tombs of Atuan. She deliberately chose not to have a badass swashbuckling heroine because that did not reflect the reality of the 1970s. Instead, she wrote about a heroine who is given strictly symbolic power while being trapped in a social construct that is separate and inferior to the male-dominated power structure.

It could be that McCaffrey was using a similar thought process in the treatment of women in Dragonflight, but the execution is so botched that it's hard to tell what the point was.


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Noor Al-Shanti | 68 comments Phil wrote: "It could be that McCaffrey was using a similar thought process in the treatment of women in Dragonflight, but the execution is so botched that it's hard to tell what the point was."

I had never thought of that, but I think you might be on to something. Especially in the second part where Lessa just sits there submitting to the boring lessons and chafing mentally against their stupidity she doesn't actually do much to challenge the role that she's been given, but she does use her power/influence to try and "solve" the problem of not enough food and to make annoying people leave her alone, etc. So maybe McCaffrey was trying to do the whole "trapped in a male-dominated power-structure..." thing, but like you said, it was definitely not presented well enough to be anything more than annoying.

Also, that still doesn't explain a lot of the things that are allowed to slide and not commented on at all. (For example them purposefully keeping from her the nature of the mating flight. Not explaining other stuff, I can live with, but that turned the whole situation really ugly.) Another example is how F'Lar keeps shaking her and we never get to see her raging or chafing against that even internally, like it's normal or something. Part ii just ended with F'lar gaining some affection/respect for Lessa and so instead of whatever he was planning to angrily do to her... he gives her "an affectionate shake" WUT?

I think if she was trying to work with the kinds of realistic personalities/people at her time that would be fine, we can even see F'lar changing his view of her and gaining a little bit of respect for her as the story goes... not much but a little... but if that was what she was going for then I think McCaffrey should have more clearly commented on it through Lessa's voice.

I completely agree with Andrea when she says:
Andrea wrote: "On the other hand, McCaffrey isn't saying here that this treatment of women is ok. Fax is definitely cast as the bad guy (I haven't gotten to the Weyr treament yet, she just dismounted Mnementh in F'lar's bedroom, which is indeed a weird place to drop her off). However at the same time I'm not feeling that she's really making a point about the treatment either,"

I'm going to be looking out for whether the shaking/physical "handling" from F'lar decreases at all as the story progresses.


G33z3r wrote: "Noor wrote: "Even the Dragonriders are obsessed with the person they choose not being "tainted by common blood" or whatever. ..."

I actually thought of this as a plus, not for the dragonmen but fo..."


You make a good point, but I think for me personally in order for it to be a plus for the story I would need to see at least ONE character being better than that. They rebel against everything else so why can't just one person second guess the class structure or the treatment of women? Even if they don't do too much about it or succeed in changing the world, just showing them think differently or be better in their own interactions with others would be nice...

Andrea, the blurring was a surprise for me too! That was another thing I had completely forgotten about. It's interesting because it definitely strays a little bit further into "magic" territory...


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Andrea | 2662 comments Ok, I'm a little more than half way through and I'm on F'lar's side here. Lessa is acting like a spoiled brat. She put herself and Ramoth at risk because she was bored. If it was just her and her dragon at risk F'lar's response would have been over the top, but you have to remember, Ramoth is the only gold dragon left, if she dies before producing another gold egg the dragon species will go extinct. And if the dragons go extinct, you lose the only defense against Thread, with the result of killing everyone on Pern. So if he's feeling the need to shake some sense into her I kind want to let him do it (even as a girl myself), it's not like he's knocking her around because she won't sleep with him or do his laundry.

Or maybe I just have a thing for these arrogant, but otherwise good guys that have to deal with flighty females (see my comments in Uprooted, LOL). Although I like Agnieska and completely defend her actions, unlike Lessa who I want to kick in the backside. Maybe arrogance is built into the DNA of those with the Blood...

That said, her misbehaving is of course a plot device to discover that dragons can travel not just through space but also time. Must admit, I find it hard nobody figured that out before, it's so easy to picture a place the way you last saw it (time of day, the season, the weather, where people/things were in the background at that time, etc) that I'm surprised most between trips don't jump in time :)


message 32: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 337 comments The other thing to keep in mind is that McCaffrey was working with a lot of romance-novel tropes. (See her do it more overtly in her earlier novel RESTOREE.) A lot of the stuff is gothic-novel standard material. The girl squirreled in a strange castle. Not knowing what's going on. The only one with the key to the hero's heart/the inheritance/the war with the other family. The downtrodden girl becoming suddenly the main person with power and prettiness.


message 33: by Brendan (new)

Brendan (mistershine) | 743 comments At least in later books Lessa expanded her role... to fill the harping, overprotective mother trope. Yeah, not great.


message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

Brenda wrote: "The other thing to keep in mind is that McCaffrey was working with a lot of romance-novel tropes.)... A lot of the stuff is gothic-novel standard..."

I'll have to take your word for that :)


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Noor wrote: "Andrea, the blurring was a surprise for me too! That was another thing I had completely forgotten about. It's interesting because it definitely strays a little bit further into "magic" territory... ..."

Much of this book involves magical stuff, which is why I think I'd forgotten the prologue made it so explicitly science-fiction. We have telepathy (including the ability to influence others' behavior, Use The Force, Lessa.) Teleportation, time travel. At the very beginning we first encounter Lessa when she goes outside because she senses danger (from the Red Star. My spider sense is tingling.)


message 36: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 337 comments G33z3r wrote: "Brenda wrote: "The other thing to keep in mind is that McCaffrey was working with a lot of romance-novel tropes.)... A lot of the stuff is gothic-novel standard..."

I'll have to take your word for..."


I don't at all recommend RESTOREE, which is far more irritating and has none of the redeeming virtues of DRAGONFLIGHT.

One thing this book did break new ground on was, it made the sex crucial to the SFnal culture. The way the dragons have to reproduce controls how the humans have to live with and manage them. Previous to this point sex was sort of to one side, assumed to be of importance but we didn't talk about that.


message 37: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2227 comments Brenda wrote: "The other thing to keep in mind is that McCaffrey was working with a lot of romance-novel tropes. (See her do it more overtly in her earlier novel RESTOREE.) A lot of the stuff is gothic-novel stan..."

Good to know. I remember Restoree fondly as the first McCaffery novel I ever read. I found it at my grandmother's. She was a romance reader & it was the only thing that looked interesting. I liked it & went on to read quite a few by McCaffery. I was thinking about rereading it, but I think I'll just keep my happy memories. Some books don't age well.


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Noor Al-Shanti | 68 comments Just finished and because of this discussion I noticed some things...

(view spoiler)

And it made me realize. Maybe this isn't a sci-fi or fantasy novel. Maybe it really is just a romance story. A not very well-executed attempt to show the main hero realizing that he should respect the heroine and can't control her, but should think of her as a partner instead... Again, I don't think it was well done at all... there's all that shaking which doesn't go away even at the very end, and I don't think their characterizations or the development of the relationship was done at all smoothly, but I think that may be what McCaffrey was actually going for more than the dragons and stuff.

And maybe that's why I liked some of the other Pern novels more when I read them years back... they were actually more about the world and the dragons and fire-lizards and stuff like survival than Dragonflight was...not a romance fan ... (I'm thinking Dragonsdawn and the White Dragon and the runner and watch-wher focused ones and the very first one with Menolly finding the fire-lizards, but I avoided the Harper Hall ones for some reason)


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Andrea | 2662 comments G33z3r wrote: Much of this book involves magical stuff, which is why I think I'd forgotten the prologue made it so explicitly science-fiction. We have telepathy (including the ability to influence others' behavior, Use The Force, Lessa.) Teleportation, time travel"

It's funny that the three things you listed are things I usually associate with SF. Star Trek for example has all three. In fact I rarely see time travel or telepathy in fantasy novels, whereas telepathy is very handy in SF to get past the language barriers of alien species. Teleportation I would say is about equal in both.

I'm nearing the end of the book now, and with the Thread action the characters seem much more settled now. F'lar and Lessa getting along so we get to focus on the puzzles of the past. However the book confirmed my memory of wanting to have a dragon, but not wanting to actually live on Pern :)

Interesting thought - we cringe as F'lar gives Lessa a "friendly" shake (I'm assuming F'lar is not yanking her back and forth till she gets whiplash here...also, were the risk of shaking known when this book was written? Maybe it seemed more affectionate then, but less now that we know it can be dangerous even in adults) but if he were to punch F'nor in the face we'd probably be ok with it. Isn't this a form of sexism too? Are women such fragile snowflakes they can't handle even the slightest forceful contact? Would we be ok with a fistfight between Lessa and Kylara? We would definitely be ok if Lessa punched F'lar in the face. Don't get me wrong, I am well aware that men are stronger and so can cause more damage to a smaller woman so the risk of abuse is so much higher, but does that mean women need to be treated as if they were made of fine china?

I must admit even personally, when reading a book with a female swordswoman fighting a man (e.g. one Conan story comes to mind), I have no problem with her landing blows on the guy, but still cringe when he lands blows on her, even though she is trying to kill him so he's totally justified in defending himself with full force. Even two girls fighting always comes off weird for me. I guess some expectations are just hard to shake.

Noor wrote: "and I don't think their characterizations or the development of the relationship was done at all smoothly"

Actually my reaction was "didn't they just hate each other two pages ago? Now she's flirting with him?". There is a bit in the book where Lessa learns to go Between and Ramoth lays her eggs and finally the Thread falls where the timeline jumps so fast that scenes that must have been weeks apart I took to be in the same afternoon so I got all confused. So yeah, "smooth" is definitely not the word I would use :)


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Andrea | 2662 comments Finished the book with a few final comments:

1 - Ah yes, I remember now that Robinton was my favorite character, can't wait to get to Masterhaper of Pern, I stopped reading the series before I got that far.

2 - Two of us in this thread commented about them not Searching for boys, but turns out they do. Still no explanation why the entire planet of Pern had only one intelligent female though. Or why the Weyr had enough boys available but needed to find a girl from outside. Were they fine with substandard male riders? ;)

3 - After I commented on the plot hole where if it was so easy to jump time why hadn't it happened before, F'lar himself wondered the same thing, but it remained unexplored.

4 - There was a scene where F'lar was thinking he needed to talk to Lessa about what he was realizing was near rape, that she only got interested in him when the dragons were involved. But that conversation never took place. Must admit the four-way sex thing is an interesting conundrum. The dragons don't seem to care who their riders spend their nights with, but the dragons have a huge effect on their riders!

There was one more, don't remember it now.


message 41: by Brendan (new)

Brendan (mistershine) | 743 comments Andrea wrote: "The dragons don't seem to care who their riders spend their nights with, but the dragons have a huge effect on their riders!"

McCaffrey had some pretty wild theories about homosexuality that as far as i know she never renounced.


message 42: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 337 comments Jim wrote: "Brenda wrote: "The other thing to keep in mind is that McCaffrey was working with a lot of romance-novel tropes. (See her do it more overtly in her earlier novel RESTOREE.) A lot of the stuff is go..."

The one that was really really awful was DECISION AT DOONA. I bought that one after reading DRAGONFLIGHT and was so irritated and annoyed that I actually dropped the book in the trashcan.


message 43: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 337 comments Oh, and the other way to think about the dragons? Sex aids. That you can fly on. Think about it: it's boring in bed unless the dragons are involved. They're a sort of meat-eating Viagra.


message 44: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2227 comments Brenda wrote: "Oh, and the other way to think about the dragons? Sex aids. That you can fly on. Think about it: it's boring in bed unless the dragons are involved. They're a sort of meat-eating Viagra."

LOL! Thanks. I needed an afternoon chuckle.

"Doona' sounds familiar. Was that part of the awful PTB thing?


message 45: by Cat (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cat | 343 comments I enjoyed this book, it was a bit shallow in terms of plot and it's definitely a product of it's age, but sometimes something that you don't have to think too hard about is a nice change of pace.

I like the concepts in the world building and the challenges this book set up for the rest of the series. I feel like this was bit of a setting-up novel rather than something with substance. Perhaps that's why it seemed more shallow than most books published nowadays which has intrigue and convoluted plot twists thrown at you from the get-go.

Leesa wasn't exactly my favourite character - she felt more like a foil for the male characters rather than a heroine. And her and F'Lar's relationship was, um, odd. Seriously what was with all the shaking!? Otherwise, the characters were inoffensive...there could be some really interesting ones eg Robinton but we didn't spend much time with them. It was just the setting of the stage rather than character development.

The dragon-sex-rape thing isn't a particularly pleasant concept but I didn't feel like it was focused on to the point of it putting me off reading, there wasn't any graphic descriptions or anything. It felt like McCaffrey kinda felt it was an issue but then just put it to one side (see F'Lar thoughts on needing to talk about it but never doing so).

As for the lack of intelligent women thing - have you forgotten Lady Gemma? Her courage and intelligence were clearly pointed out - F'Lar even thought she would have made a good Werywoman (apart from the whole too old and pregnant thing). Leesa is not the only intelligent woman out there -she's merely the only one that they located that fitted the other parameters. Also, it seemed like they only looked in limited kinda areas. And Madara! Despite only making a brief appearance, she was clearly intelligent as well.

For a clearly misogynistic society that McCaffrey depicted, I think that the roles etc depicted fitted with that. The issue I have is that no one really addressed it. All the female characters acted within those constraints and no one challenged them. Well, except perhaps Leesa and she was bit of an idiot with how she went about it. She really wasn't the most interesting thing in this book. I was far far more interested in the concepts that McCaffrey was setting up and the challenges of the Thread. I am going to continue reading the series because I did enjoy it and I hope that there is some actual character development!


message 46: by Cat (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cat | 343 comments Brenda wrote: "Oh, and the other way to think about the dragons? Sex aids. That you can fly on. Think about it: it's boring in bed unless the dragons are involved. They're a sort of meat-eating Viagra."

Definitely the best description! Hahaha


message 47: by Andrea (new) - added it

Andrea | 2662 comments I remembered what that last thing was, I liked how there is a little science slipped in. As the Red Star approaches some of the signs were increased tides and volcanism, which is what one would expect as a large object such as another planet approaches your own (as in the other group read, The Wanderer). Of course on Earth we don't have restless dragons as an additional hint something is coming :)


Rachel | 524 comments First of all - I’m totally unable to separate this book from the larger arc as I had read them so many times when younger.
Secondly (and avert your eyes if you don’t like swearing cause I need to say this: Kylara is a ducking b!tch and I could only dream of Lessa giving her a beat down!

I think about the gender roles...I think we see a resurgence of dominant capable females as the world is explored and expanded. This book shows what WAS to contrast with what is to come, IMO


message 49: by [deleted user] (new)

Brenda wrote: "note that there's no mention of taking failed candidates back home; they apparently make a one-way trip and if they fail to Impress then they're sex slaves or kitchen workers. ..."

I noted the other day that it's stated as one of the Holds' complaints, during the failed attempt to march on Benden Weyr, that none of the Search candidates ever return home. I don't recall what's done with them, and I don't know why they don't just send them back.


message 50: by [deleted user] (new)

Noor wrote: "Another example is how F'Lar keeps shaking her and we never get to see her raging or chafing against that even internally, like it's normal or something. Part ii just ended with F'lar gaining some affection/respect for Lessa and so instead of whatever he was planning to angrily do to her... he gives her "an affectionate shake" WUT? ..."

It occurs to me that McCaffrey may have something different in mind by "shaking" than the violence folks seem to envision. Especially since, as you point out, McCaffrey refers to an "affectionate shake".


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