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Dragonflight (Pern: Dragonriders of Pern, #1)
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Nicole (NikkiSticks) | 413 comments Mod
What are your thoughts on the February read?

RogueHireling (rogue_hireling) | 23 comments Figured I would post my review:

But basically I read this book when I was a teenager and remember loving it soooo much. In fact this is one of those books that got me into reading more science fiction and fantasy. So it really has huge significance for me.

Which means I was excited to reread it. Turns out I really though it was terrible. The writing is stilted, the characters are irritating, and women are soooo terribly treated. UGH.

But in the end I just had too many fuzzy feeling left over from back in the day to hate it too much. I am going to try and reread some of hte sequels. I'm hoping that they are better and will restore some of my faith in my teenage self. =P

Samantha Holloway (samanthaholloway) | 1 comments TFG, I feel your pain. This was one of the very few books that seemed amazing at exactly the right time to make me start reading, and a owe it the entire subsequent trajectory of my life, but... yeah. It's socially outdated, I'd say. It gets better as the series moves through the seventies into the eighties and nineties, though.

Well, until her son takes over writing them, but that's another thing all together.


Jeni De Jesús (NerdyGeekWife) | 11 comments I did not really care as much for the book as an adult as I did as a pre-teen. A fuller review is located on my blog at

Greymalkin | 6 comments I was bracing myself for awfulness, but actually I enjoyed rereading this.

The writing wasn't amazing but I've read much, much worse, especially in the sci-fi romance genre. I caught at least three typos which made me giggle.

I never liked F'Lar, I thought he was annoying and now I see he really was an arrogant twat. I actually feel that Lessa was smarter than I thought she was when I was a teenager- it's not her fault she was given very little information to make her conclusions from. Of course she acted like a petulant tyrant, but at least she had a plan, thought big, and did what she could to make it happen by herself instead of waiting for someone to tell her what to do. That's more than can be said for a lot of scifi females (sigh).

Even as a teenager all the shaking really bothered me. It bothers me even more now. If you watch korean dramas it's like the wrist-grab-and-haul-heroine-up-5-flights-of-stairs but worse. I didn't really understand the whole rape thing since the emotional components of sex and abuse were still very abstract to me (I was a pretty sheltered kid) but now it just makes me even more disgusted at F'Lar. Wow, so she had a traumatic first sexual experience with you and so to make up for it you just KEEP HAVING SEX WITH HER even though she doesn't want it or respond? What a great guy.

I did always like F'Nor and he really gets shafted in this book. More than I realized as a teenager. Always referred to as "half brother", being sent off to live in an abandoned continent with awful people for 10 years and to find out that it wasn't necessary with no apologies made? Lame.

But despite all this- just like TFG, I still felt that teenage glee at the idea of being bonded to a dragon and flying through space and time. I remembered the days I spent thinking about being in that world. I've read almost all the Pern books, even the Get Off the Unicorn short stories and Nerilka's Story. So the world still feels like going back to a childhood neighborhood filled with lots of good memories and the hazy golden light of nostalgia.

Of course now if I want to read a well-written book with dragon companions I read Naomi Novik's Temeraire series. Aerial dragon battles FTW!

Heather Schilling (hmschilling) | 3 comments I have to agree with others on this one. I had read this back in middle school and it was one of the books/series that got me into reading fantasy. When I first started re-reading it I was really excited and enjoyed it. I thought Lessa had the potential to be a really strong female character. However, once I got past Ramoth's mating flight, I struggled with reading the rest. Lessa's character really lost purpose and became really weak.

I didn't much care for F'lar (but never really did). I had a hard time with some of the time travel, too. But, oddly enough, found it easier to accept the 400 year leap than the shorter timeframes. The short time jumps just seemed like an easy out to solve the thread/dragon problem, while the longer one was definitely riskier and more interesting.

Even though I had a hard time getting through it this time, I still enjoyed the book. Without it, I don't think I would've ever read much fantasy. It also helped instill a love of dragons in me, so it still has place on my shelf.

message 7: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cymaiorca) When I look at this book historically, it was groundbreaking. When it was written, Science Fiction was dominated by male authors when it came out and women existed primarily as extensions of or accessories to men. Lessa was neither. She was a character in her own right, and although she was not as developed as I would prefer in today's era she acted rather than reacted. She made her own decisions rather than relying upon F'lar to guide her in what to do.

Romance novels of the day were full of "seduction" through rape stories. I have a feeling that those influenced McCaffrey's writing. I don't like the rape scene but can understand why it is there.

Ultimately, I give McCaffrey credit for what she accomplished by breaking into this genre, while appreciating that other authors came behind her who could add maturity to the field.

Elisabeth | 49 comments Yeah, this is one of those things that has always bugged me about romance in any form. It is so important that the heroine be a virgin, and that she not want/enjoy sex (it's dirty!!) that you end up with rape or otherwise traumatic sex. Stupid, offensive, and entirely beneath women.
So I tend to ignore the romance angle entirely in books like this, and just love the dragons, and the awesome powerful character Lessa is behind the adolescent drama.

message 9: by RogueHireling (last edited Feb 29, 2012 09:51AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

RogueHireling (rogue_hireling) | 23 comments I'm so glad you mentioned this Cheryl, because I was really starting to wonder how I ever liked this book. Historically it really was amazing.
It was published in 1968, but was released as a short story long before that. So maybe she wrote this in the early 1960s. Was anyone else writing anything like this back then?
I certainly dont want to dismiss the incredible impact that Ann McCaffrey had on me as i am sure she had on many young women. I dont know nearly enough about the history of women fantasy writers but I am guessing she paved the path for quite a few of them also. =)
It just occurred to me that maybe she could only get her book published by turning it into a pseudo romance. Pure speculation on my part. =)

RogueHireling (rogue_hireling) | 23 comments I forgot to add that I found it incredibly difficult not to compare the book to modern fantasy literature.

Maybe I should reread it with a more historical perspective in mind. =)

Nicole (NikkiSticks) | 413 comments Mod
You all have such great insights on this book. Thank you so much for sharing them!

message 12: by Tracey (new)

Tracey (stewartry) What troubled me even more than the "romance" of Lessa and F'Lar (not that that didn't bother me) was the constant abuse of "drudges". Especially given what we learn about the forbears of the Pernese, I found it deeply disturbing that it was perfectly ok to beat servants - and even that there was a designated servant class at all.

I was also always more than a little ticked off that there's no artists'/painters' guild.

Elisabeth | 49 comments Tracey - there is. It doesn't get a lot of air time but a painter is the main character in one of the Pern short stories. Sorry I can't remember the name right now...

Laura (lauralh05) | 13 comments Greymalkin wrote: " it just makes me even more disgusted at F'Lar. Wow, so she had a traumatic first sexual experience with you and so to make up for it you just KEEP HAVING SEX WITH HER even though she doesn't want it or respond?"

What I found troubling about this bit in the book, was that the paragraph starts out talking about how F'lar regretted not knowing she was a virgin & letting himself get carried away the first time. If he regrets it and feels bad about it, then what the hell?

All I can figure is that, as someone mentioned over in the Facebook discussion thread, they are living in a different time & culture than we do. It's clear that many in the book are treated poorly & not in a manner considered acceptable in modern day.

In spite of the book's problems, I did enjoy it. I am considering reading the next book because I felt that once Lessa & F'lar took over as Weyr-leaders, they both seemed to want to change their culture for the better. I'm curious to see if they continue to work on changing their society in future books, or if that is forgotten as the series moves along.

message 15: by Tracey (new)

Tracey (stewartry) Elisabeth wrote: "Tracey - there is. It doesn't get a lot of air time but a painter is the main character in one of the Pern short stories. Sorry I can't remember the name right now..."

Really? I must never have come across that one. (Obviously) I know it was never mentioned in discussions through the novels; I was in art school during at least one of the rereads, and I was on the lookout. Huh. Thanks, I'll have to poke around for it.

Rachel | 15 comments I really appreciate those of you who put the book in historical perspective--you can do so much more intelligently than I can. I tend to remember Scarlett and Rhett in Gone With the Wind, which is a similarly almost abusive type of relationship that also is meant to be superbly romantic and a perfect match.

The drudges have also always stood out to me, and when I was first reading the series (not in any particular order, so this was not the first one I read), I assumed they were some other type of being, and perhaps somewhere more pet-like in background. Later I realized they were people and also wondered where they had come from--especially since my first book in the series was Dragons Dawn.

Elisabeth | 49 comments Tracey, here it is:

The painter Iantine is one of the primary characters in this one. As I recall there is some discussion of the artists' guild and the work that artists do on Pern.

message 18: by Tracey (new)

Tracey (stewartry) Thanks!

message 19: by Tracey (new)

Tracey (stewartry) Normally I've found fantasy-novel-inspired music to be a little scary, but I just discovered an album of Pernese music - including Robinton's First Whistle Tune (which is absolutely gorgeous) and Lessa's Ride and The Question Son - by Tania Opland and Mike Freeman in conjunction with Anne McCaffrey. I haven't bought all the tracks yet, but what I've listened to is very well done - music and voices both are excellent. (It's on iTunes, too.)

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