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June Book Discussions > Dragonflight

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message 1: by Donna (new)

Donna (donnahr) I was a huge fan of Pern back in the day but it's been a number of years since I've revisted the series. I finished Dragonflight last night. It certainly has that mid-century misogynistic flavor to it (Lessa and F'lar's relationship is really rather disturbing) and the story seemed rushed to me.

(view spoiler)

But with all that being said, re-reading this was a very enjoyable experience--it goes into that category of "comfort reads". It brought back to me those very positive feelings I have for the world of Pern and made me put this series onto the TBR list.

Somewhat off topic: Does anyone else look for the cover of the edition you remembering reading or is that just me? When I added this book I looked at the cover and thought "No, that's wrong" then went and found the one I read the first time. For me it's not the edition on our group page, it's the one with the green cover. I do this a lot. I will say that not having covers to look at is one of the biggest things I miss with ebooks.


message 2: by Charles (new)

Charles (nogdog) Hmm...I find it interesting that the last two times I've seen the word "misogynistic" were both by women in reference to books written by women. Do you really think it portrays "hatred of females" (which would, in theory, imply self-hatred by the author)? Or is it merely(?) holding up a mirror to the way things were as perceived by the author?

It's been a long time since I read this, and I don't know if I'll get around to re-reading it or not, so I have zero recollection about it other than it involved dragons and the riding thereof. :-) Not being female, I'm sure there are situations and characterizations I don't notice that a woman would, just as I might miss things people of other ethnic persuasions might deem to be slurs against them.

So now you've piqued my curiosity and given me a tad more impetus to re-read this, just to find out if I think it's truly misogyny, or -- to me, anyway -- more like a reflection of society as it was when the book was written (or none of the above).


message 3: by Donna (new)

Donna (donnahr) In thinking about your definition, I would say "misogynistic" is probably overstating it. Not hatred of women by any means but women treated in that stereotypical way; they are mostly cooks, maids and baby makers. F'lar calls his sex with Lessa rape (but hey, she comes to love him anyway *eyeroll*).

Lessa is strong from the start, but the point about her is that she is totally different from the other women around her. During the impression of the queen dragon, all the other candidates scream and cry and cower in fear (because that's what women do); only Lessa shows any guts. Her toughness is at odds with all the other women characters.

As I was reading, I was cringing a bit at how the women were portrayed but on reflection, I think that McCaffrey, writing in the 60's, was actually trying to break those stereotypes as she has strong females in all her books. The difference for me is that in more current writing, women are (mostly) equal from the start, they don't have to fight to prove themselves. They are just part of the story which is how it should be. In these re-reads of older books though, the treatment of women is noticeable to me.

So, bottom line, "misogynistic" was too strong, but as a woman old enough to remember my school requiring girls to wear only dresses, my radar is (overly?)sensitive to this.

Kudos to you Charles, for making me think harder. :)


message 4: by Charles (new)

Charles (nogdog) If it makes you feel any better, I cringed a lot when I tried to read Naked in Death which I did not finish -- in part due to the whole idea that the female lead, a supposedly strong woman and experienced cop, lost all self-control when around the Roarke character, a primary suspect at the time.

On the one hand, it felt like the author -- another woman in this case -- was saying that she didn't think a woman could act logically when around a strong, handsome, rich, and self-confident man. On the other hand, based on the book's popularity, I also cringed at the idea that apparently a lot of readers (probably more women than men) loved this book and its many sequels. (On the third hand, it may be that I was also jealous of Roarke. ;-) )

I suppose this begs the question: when writing SF or fantasy, where the author can create new societies out of whole cloth, how much should s/he try to downplay gender, racial, age, or other types of discrimination as a sort of "political correctness" to set a good example; versus reflecting the fact that humans, in general, always practice such forms of discrimination to varying degrees throughout its history?

PS: I don't have an answer, just the question.


message 5: by Donna (new)

Donna (donnahr) Charles wrote: "...when writing SF or fantasy, where the author can create new societies out of whole cloth, how much should s/he try to downplay gender, racial, age, or other types of discrimination as a sort of "political correctness" to set a good example; versus reflecting the fact that humans, in general, always practice such forms of discrimination to varying degrees throughout its history?"

I think all those topics are still addressed in current SF writing and it's actually a great venue for exploring those questions. The Honor Harrington series by David Weber comes to mind. Over the course of many books, it delves into gender issues, religious wars, bigotry of various flavors, and the whole gamut of political corruption and power struggles. It also does it while telling a great story which is its appeal for me.

I'm sure that having the god-like power to create you own universe/future is what attracts many writers to the SF genre and experiencing these worlds is of course what attracts us as readers. It will be interesting to see what we think about today's books in another 30 years.


message 6: by Donna (new)

Donna (donnahr) Jaq wrote: "Now that I'm on the last planend book for it, I'm thinking I can't give it up and will have to write more in that world ..."

Ah...the god becomes addicted to her own world...sounds like a story! ;)


message 7: by Bigal-sa (new)

Bigal-sa | 28 comments What's sad to me, after reading all the comments, and the reviews of this book, I thought it might be an interesting read - then I found the ebook is not available to me due to publisher restrictions :(


message 8: by Charles (new)

Charles (nogdog) Bigal-sa wrote: "What's sad to me, after reading all the comments, and the reviews of this book, I thought it might be an interesting read - then I found the ebook is not available to me due to publisher restrictio..."

Yet they complain about e-book piracy? :rolleyes:


message 9: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Michael | 99 comments I remember reading this (as I did all the Pern books) some years ago and while I do have some of the Pern books on my permanent bookshelves, didn't have this one.

I do remember Lessa ... who is, actually, one of my favorite Pern characters ... and I remember how disciplined and clever I thought her character was the first time I read it. The last of her family ... surviving despite everything.

Taking the series as a whole, I see the characters in the earliest books (time wise, shortly after the landing) as being more 'modern' ... women are seen as more equal and are among the scientists, etc. After generations, post-landing, in an agrarian and much more primitive society, there has been a return to a culture much like pioneer American, for example ... because of physical requirements, men have the positions that in general, require more physical strength ... women contribute more by doing things that do not require as much physical strength so you see more of them in those positions, cooking, child rearing, some of the teaching/music positions.

In the books along the later timeline you again see a return to somewhat more equality, particularly with the younger generation of women. As more technology is re-discovered and there isn't such a dividing line between occupations requiring physical strength and those where it is less important, I seem to remember a shift where the lines are less strictly drawn.

In subsistence societies, which the majority of the Pern books deal with, the division between women and men and their occupations ... and how they are viewed by that society ... are very different from an industrialized/ technology based society.


message 10: by Donna (new)

Donna (donnahr) Thanks for those observations, Sharon. I really want to do some more re-reading in this series but I know I have some of the books in paperback at home. I'm away from home base for the summer (teacher on vacation!) so I'm going to wait to see what I have as the books are all $7.99.


message 11: by The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears (last edited Jun 18, 2012 03:37PM) (new)

The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears (thefountainpendiva) Here's the thing: the first time with F'lar wasn't due to "OMG I'm in love with him", but because of the mating flight of dragons--which are ANIMALS. I think that gets lost a lot because the dragons are sentient creatures. We're talking about having one's will completely taken over by the animal instinct, which means there's not going to be wine and flowers, LOL. Also bear in mind that Lessa's going to have issues with intimacy since she watched her entire family destroyed by Lord Fax. She's not a warm and fuzzy character, but I liked that about her.

Was the Pern society misogynistic? Not in my opinion. They had hidebound ideas, true, especially when it came to dragons, but as time went on and things happened (such as Menolly and Mirrim), they evolved. Like any good civilization. And frankly, I prefer Lessa to a lot of so-called "heroines" being tossed about today--especially in romance *shudder*

Going to have to re-read these as soon as I'm done with the Black Jewels series, LOL.


message 12: by James (new)

James Dyer (technomancer) | 3 comments I remember reading this book as the second in the Pern series. My library had it, but it was checked out so I didn't get to read it first. My first exposure to Pern was The White Dragon. I fell in live with the series then and HAD to find book one to see how much I'd missed. Once I got out of high school and got a job, this series was my first book series I bought. Now I have two different paperback copies of this trilogy, but I also have a Sci-Fi Book Club edition in a single volume in hard cover. I also purchased the Audible edition for my daughter (since she's dyslexic and loves books) and I will on occasion listen to them while driving. Haven't purchased the ebook yet due to lack of funds, but it is on my Nook wish list.


message 13: by Donna (new)

Donna (donnahr) James wrote: "I remember reading this book as the second in the Pern series. My library had it, but it was checked out so I didn't get to read it first. My first exposure to Pern was The White Dragon. I fell in ..."

Now that's a true fan! :) Very cool passing on the love of Pern to your daughter. If she hasn't read/listened to The Harper Hall trilogy, The Harper Hall of Pern yet, it has a great female lead; it was my favorite Pern series back in the day; I've read it a few times and I'm not a big re-reader.


message 14: by James (new)

James Dyer (technomancer) | 3 comments She liked the first two books in that trilogy. She didn't like Piemur's story as much. If I could just get my oldest to try them, she'd like them too.


message 15: by Bigal-sa (last edited Jun 22, 2012 12:18AM) (new)

Bigal-sa | 28 comments Jaq wrote: "Your library probably has a hard copy. "


This is an ebook group :D

I've actually followed the path alluded to by Charles ;)


message 16: by Al "Tank" (new)

Al "Tank" (alkalar) | 231 comments I admit it. I'm not reading the eBook copy. I've had this in my physical library for decades. I'm not very far into the book just yet.

What a joy to open it up after all these years. Unlike the first time I read it, I'm seeing things I missed the first time around, such as Lessa's subtle interference in the things that are going on around her along with the political intrigue and subtleties that AMJ wrote into the story.

Familiarity doesn't breed contempt, it allows you to focus better on what you missed during the first blush of discovery.


message 17: by Serena (new)

Serena Dracis (serena_dracis) | 2 comments I read and re-read the Pern series so many times! I loved the world Anne McCaffrey created, but it has been many years since and I have often wondered if they'd look differently now through the lens of 20+ years experience. Interesting use of 'misogynistic' and I'd have to agree with the others who have said it's an accurate portrayal of labor division in an agrarian society.

When F'lar is comparing sex to rape, he's referring to those times their dragons aren't involved, implying there are times when Lessa is more responsive to him. He's regretful and wishing he could find a way to get through to Lessa on his own, without pressure from their dragons.


message 18: by Al "Tank" (new)

Al "Tank" (alkalar) | 231 comments Vixenne wrote: "Was the Pern society misogynistic? Not in my opinion. They had hidebound ideas, true, especially when it came to dragons, but as time went on and things happened (such as Menolly and Mirrim), they evolved. Like any good civilization. And frankly, I prefer Lessa to a lot of so-called "heroines" being tossed about today--especially in romance *shudder*..."

On re-reading this, I see a lot of resemblance to formula romance books. The ones where a relatively strong heroin meets a hunk who seems smarter and more possessed than she is.

Usually, the hunk does not rape her, even if they manage to have sex at some time. But other than that, the "B" story in this book follows the formula to the normal conclusion.

[For those unfamiliar with the term, a "B" story is a plot within the main (or "A") plot/story. A "C" story is the journey of a major character than changes the character's personality (say from cowering coward to brave soldier).] Both major characters have a "C" story, but that discussion should take place in a "spoiler" thread.

But in spite of that, the entire novel hangs together beautifully and is one of the better novels in the genre (IMHO). I put it in the top 10th percentile of all the SF books I've read. Pure reading pleasure.


message 19: by Carro (new)

Carro | 46 comments @ Donna re covers.

Yes, I like to see the "original" cover. Many years ago I lent out Dragonsinger and it didn't come back. (Especially saddening as I bought it with hoarded pocket money :( ).
A few years later at a bookstall at a convention, there was Dragonsinger with the right cover. Pounced on that.


message 20: by Bigal-sa (new)

Bigal-sa | 28 comments Well, I'm about quarter of the way through and have a feeling this one is heading towards my abandoned pile. I'm getting tired of paging back through the book to try and figure out who's who with the strange names given to the dragonriders.


message 21: by Donna (new)

Donna (donnahr) McCaffrey's naming system has been a sore point for readers since the beginning, even with her fans. I had to stop and think a few times between F'Lar and F'Nor too.


message 22: by Bigal-sa (new)

Bigal-sa | 28 comments Thanks Donna at least that makes me feel like I'm not (being/getting/am) senile.

It's also the first ebook I'm doing on a tablet which is rather different if, like me, you're used to a Kindle.


message 23: by Al "Tank" (new)

Al "Tank" (alkalar) | 231 comments Bigal-sa wrote: "Well, I'm about quarter of the way through and have a feeling this one is heading towards my abandoned pile. I'm getting tired of paging back through the book to try and figure out who's who with t..."

Just ignore the "F'" and focus on the rest of the name and it gets easier.


message 24: by Bigal-sa (new)

Bigal-sa | 28 comments Al, would be wonderful if it was that easy, but when you hit a paragraph with R'gul, C'gan, T'bir, D'nol and K'net in virtually the same sentence you do feel a bit baffled.


message 25: by Al "Tank" (new)

Al "Tank" (alkalar) | 231 comments Bigal-sa wrote: "Al, would be wonderful if it was that easy, but when you hit a paragraph with R'gul, C'gan, T'bir, D'nol and K'net in virtually the same sentence you do feel a bit baffled."

Heck, I don't remember any of those names (I'm the world's worst person for remembering names, including my own) and I just finished the book a couple weeks ago. Fortunately, they're "minor players" and can probably be ignored.

This particular naming "convention" invaded the SF world about two decades ago (or more) and became quite popular for a while. Fortunately, it seems to be tailing off (thank God). I guess that if we want to read some of these otherwise fine stories, we have to wade through the morass.

I'm currently arguing with an author over one of his upcoming books. He's got a number of characters in one story line within the book who's names all start with a "T". That's one of "keys" I use to remember who's who and I can see others having trouble with this particular group of characters.

Al Philipson's multi-generational Children of Destruction used an interesting naming convention for his race of aliens (the parallel story line in the book). Male names within a family line all started with the same letter. It made it easier to keep track of who was related to whom. For instance, Devlin's great grandson's name was Deval (or something like that, I don't remember exactly).


message 26: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 147 comments Remember that every author is a product of her time. We live and breathe in the era we're born in, the way fish swim in water, hardly aware of the suppositions that support us. DRAGONFLIGHT reflects both McCaffrey and her time -- the original novella came out, what, in the '60's. That it feels a little dated is no surprise. Pick up a work of the same time period -- say, an Ian Fleming James Bond novel -- and you will see the same uneasy role of women.


message 27: by Michelle (new)

Michelle O'Leary (michelle_oleary) | 5 comments The whole series is definitely a comfort read for me, Donna! Read them when I was young and impressionable--basically fell in love with the dragons. And their little cousins. For the longest time, I wanted my very own dragon to bond with.
(Hmm...probably still do. lol)
-Michelle


Brenda ╰☆╮    (brnda) | 155 comments Me too, Michelle!
:D


message 29: by Paul (new)

Paul Spence (paulbspence) | 20 comments Dragonflight was the first book I ever read. It will always hold a special place in my heart.

I reread the entire series every couple of years. I find little things I missed before, even after reading it so many times.


message 30: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan (jsharbour) Freedom's Landing is another book by Anne McCaffrey with a female protagonist. The overall plot is derivative, with a twist, and not very believable (an alien race skilled enough to build FTL spaceships surely can measure all of the habitability levels of a new planet). But ignoring the fatal errors in the larger plot, the story is quite good.


message 31: by Nick (new)

Nick Wyckoff | 4 comments Donna wrote: "I was a huge fan of Pern back in the day but it's been a number of years since I've revisted the series. I finished Dragonflight last night. It certainly has that mid-century misogynistic flavor ..."

I think Dragonflight was the first book she wrote for the Pern series (besides several shorts) that may explain a bit why it felt a bit rushed compared to the other books that came later.

I guess you could also make the assumption that because reader XX has read all of the other books, it's easier to spot the gaps in the story.

I've always thought on a whole however, that her series was an excellent read for young adults, they had several of her shorts in my 7th grade classes as homework. By and large they were enjoyed across the classroom, male/female.

In terms of degrading female behavior at the impression. I've encountered this challenge in creating a "world" in the past. You have a vision of what you want your char's story arc to be and that drives the environment they have to exist in.

In Lessa's case (obviously imho, never talked to McCaffery), she was caught up in three classic storyline tropes.

- Coming of age: I went from holdgirl to dragonrider
- Approaching judgement: Threadfall
- Rallying the troops: Spoilers

Those three story arcs encompassed multiple books in the series before being overshadowed later on by the larger Harper story arc and eventually Jaxom.

In order to really put together an atmosphere that lends itself the reader's belief that she was accomplishing something exceptional, her environment must demonstrate that she is exceptional.

In this case she was a standout from her fellow candidates, she came unexpectedly into the weyr and she became the head dragonrider (female).

So if you are the writer (IMHO), you have to address this through a few specific methods.

you create an world. Lords/ladies. Holders/weyr folk, Imminent danger in the form of small dragon clutches and threadfall. They hide in rock holds. It's a dangerous world.

By setting up a caste system, in a male dominated society the author can create a tension for the char to fight against. So the male dominating society looks down to a certain respect on females.

in the case of F'Lar, you have to think of it from his perspective, which may be challenging if you aren't perhaps a person who has been in a leadership role or uh male. His dragon mates, now he's weyr leader and has a de facto wife. Pretty significant change. Additionally the person he is attached too is from a different social order (holder if i recall), so in some respects he may look down on her somewhat from that perspective.

but earning his love/trust is just another tension for her char to battle through.

So to sum up, since i'm rambling a bit. It's important to realize when we are talking about worlds that are significantly different from ours that sometimes things like sexism, age discrimination, and even racism are important to include so that the protagonist has something to battle through.

If she had been the "chosen one" from birth, it would be a boring story. But since she had to struggle to succeed, the story is more enthralling, you pull for her harder.

Somebody should have whispered that in george lucas's ear before the Phantom menance, but i digress :P

Sorry this went on a while, my first post in this forum so i'm not quite sure what's an appropriate level of discourse. (Pretty new to Goodreads as a whole actually)


message 32: by Paul (new)

Paul Spence (paulbspence) | 20 comments Welcome to Goodreads, Nick.

We really need a like button. Great post.


message 33: by Donna (new)

Donna (donnahr) Welcome Nick, and thanks for a very thoughtful post. You make some interesting points. The revival of this thread recently has made me want to re-read some more of the series.


Brenda ╰☆╮    (brnda) | 155 comments Hi Nick.
Thumbs up!


You have said a mouthful.

I've never been able to put it into words, but what you have stated is pretty much my feelings on this.

If the characters had it easy....the book would be over in a chapter, and we wouldn't have anything to talk about.
;)
The bad.... brings out the good in us. Well...that is, if we are rooting for the right side.
;)


message 35: by Fayley (new)

Fayley Dragonflight was the book that really started me reading and introduced me to the world of SF. I'm scared to go back now and re-read and risk spoiling such a fond memory.


message 36: by Donna (new)

Donna (donnahr) Fayley wrote: "Dragonflight was the book that really started me reading and introduced me to the world of SF. I'm scared to go back now and re-read and risk spoiling such a fond memory."

I know what you mean. In the past few years I've gone back and re-read several SF and Fantasy favorites from way back when. Most have held up well, but a few, as you said, somewhat spoiled the good memory I had of them. It is definitely a risk but there is a lot of joy in re-visiting old favorites.


message 37: by Donna (new)

Donna (donnahr) This is an interesting article about the history of trying to get a film/TV version of the series made, posted a couple of days ago at io9:

The Dragonriders of Pern. The Best Series We May Never See Filmed


message 38: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 147 comments One of the fun things about the book is that it was originally published as two novellas, I believe in ANALOG. You can still see it in the book, the front part, the shorter center bit added later as a bridge, and then the long back part.
The two novellas not only appeared well separated in time, they won quite different awards -- one a Hugo and the other a Nebula.


message 39: by Nick (new)

Nick Wyckoff | 4 comments I actually went back and reread the series a couple of years ago (and the crystal singer series, which plays to the part of my brain that keeps convincing me to pan for gold when i visit my cousin in alaska). I didn't feel like it was "that big" a let down.

I honestly enjoyed the series better before they rediscovered technology. Once that happened, the "modern" aspects they discovered jar to heavily with where we are now in terms of tech.

Short list
Asphalt roads
The computer printed things out
the computer was a whole room

which had some modern things mixed in as well.

I always wondered if the modern bit of her pern series every really linked over to the other modern stories she wrote with Elizabeth Moon involving heavyworlders and all of that. Dinosaur Planet springs to mind as a surprisingly short story that was still pretty entertaining.

I'm a bit of a collector of groupings of a given author, so i end up chasing down all of the work of one if i find one i like...which is kinda rare these days.


message 40: by Al (new)

Al Philipson (printersdevil) | 41 comments Paul wrote: "Welcome to Goodreads, Nick.

We really need a like button. Great post."


Yes, very insightful. I think I also detect a bit of formulaic romance novel in the story as well. I don't know if it was intentional or just a byproduct of McCaffrey's female outlook on things, couple with her awesome, fertile mind.


message 41: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 147 comments She was on the romancey side of the spectrum, along with other greats like Catherine Asaro. This shows more in the later books. Also, if you've ever read her other works (RESTOREE comes to mind) she was deliberately straddling the romance line.


message 42: by Nick (last edited Jun 17, 2014 04:42PM) (new)

Nick Wyckoff | 4 comments I think her world was also somewhat difficult to assimilate into the modern narrative because most of the readers of her books are from urban areas as opposed to rural areas. The majority of those readers don't really have much beyond a romanticized version of rural life that makes the world seem more fanciful. The impressive thing is that she managed to make it interesting for all readers.


I spent a long time thinking of the ground rules of my world for my first foray into science fiction.

My book was set in the near future in space. Not many of my readers have been in space or any environment like it, so I was left with the challenge of addressing the following questions.

- Why would my chars want to go where they went.
- what incentive is there for them to be there (money, fame etc)
- how do they handle being forcibly split from family, friends and the comforts of home
- how did they get the money together to make the push into space
- what is the external force(s) that drives the story. It could be man vs environment, but adding bad guys always makes it fun.
- Tech (In this case spaceships, in her case dragons that can teleport and breath fire whilst communicating with their partners telepathically)

without thinking through those kinds of questions i think you can get wrapped up in telling a story and forget to keep it internally consistent.

There are parts in her series where the consistency breaks down (specifically later, how dragons visualize a jump) but as whole, the relationships between holder/weyr/crafter stay consistent and i think it's that consistency that enables her story arcs to succeed so well.

But i think a lot of the reason some books don't stand up to repeated readings is they don't answer the who/what/why/where questions BEFORE they outline. As a result, the writer ends up doing a lot of rewriting and it gets a little complex at time to keep the story square with what they originally created.

So I guess what i was trying to say is that whether she had soft pieces in her story telling like "romancy" or occasional narrative holes the fact that the story as whole had solid fundamental underpinnings made it easier for her to stitch in new stories into the world.

Something that can be demonstrated by the fact that her son Todd has managed to keep the series alive post mortem.


message 43: by Nick (new)

Nick Wyckoff | 4 comments Also posting from my phone is not a recommended way to write lengthy posts ha.


message 44: by Al "Tank" (last edited Jun 18, 2014 10:09AM) (new)

Al "Tank" (alkalar) | 231 comments Brenda wrote: "She was on the romancey side of the spectrum, along with other greats like Catherine Asaro. This shows more in the later books. Also, if you've ever read her other works (RESTOREE comes to mind) sh..."

I've read quite a few of her books (most, I think) and I agree with both of you that she tended to write romances into her books, but she never made it the focus of the story (kind of a side story).

Now, a rather large percentage of science fiction has one sort of "he'n and she'n" going on in them because good fiction is about PEOPLE and people have a tendency to couple with the opposite sex, either casually or on a more permanent basis. But ROMANCE books have a "feel" all their own (almost a formula) and I also see that "feeling" in parts of her workds.


message 45: by Paul (new)

Paul Spence (paulbspence) | 20 comments The short story "Rescue Run" has a Fleet vessel pull some of the survivors of the original colony off the planet. The system was quarantined.

Pern was one of the first Earth colonies.

In Sassinak, humans have been colonizing worlds for about 1100-1400 years or so, which puts it about contemporary with Dragonflight through Weyrs of Pern.

I always wanted to see the two settings joined. Sigh.


message 46: by Ciara (new)

Ciara Ballintyne (ciara_ballintyne) | 17 comments I always regarded the nature of the relationships in the Pern series (between dragonriders) as a reflection of the way dragonriders were affected by the lusts of their mating dragons.

Apart from that, F'lar and Lessa's relationship at the beginning was complicated by personalities (particularly hers) and the political situation of the Weyr (in that F'lar needed her to control the Weyr rather than out of any personal desire). their relationship did later transform into something very different.

There is stereotypical treatment of women in the culture, but it's also probably consistent for the level of technology/development the world has. Characters need to fit in the world, and while I can't really speculate as to the reasons patriarchy developed the way it did, I think technology had some role to play in the freedom of the modern woman.


message 47: by Al "Tank" (new)

Al "Tank" (alkalar) | 231 comments Ciara wrote: "There is stereotypical treatment of women in the culture, but it's also probably consistent for the level of technology/development the world has. Characters need to fit in the world, and while I can't really speculate as to the reasons patriarchy developed the way it did, I think technology had some role to play in the freedom of the modern woman. "

If you want women who aren't second-class citizens, read her Chrystal Singer series or her Rowan books.


message 48: by Al "Tank" (new)

Al "Tank" (alkalar) | 231 comments Or her Ship that Sang


message 49: by Valery (last edited Oct 30, 2014 08:49PM) (new)

Valery (valerygolsen) | 1 comments I wish I could say that Dragonflight was my first Anne McCaffrey book but it wasn't. I actually started with Dragonsdawn which tells the whole backstory of the start of the colony. That being said, I didn't find Dragonflight to be misogynistic in the least.
If you look back at the first publication date of the book, 1968, You'll realize that it was an entirely different era for women still and people tend to write about what they know and understand. There are several other books like The Rowan, Crystal Singer, and Sassinak that empower women and treat them as equals to men.

Thinking back, I always thought of Lessa as a strong and independent woman, not some waif of a girl that was completely frail and utterly dependent on a man for everything. My impression was that she was trying to break the mold of women on Pern by regaining her families legacy and proving herself as a leader.
Even after she became Weyrwoman she was always fighting against the standards women were held to, which was very consistent with women's suffragists ideals in the 1960's. I think McCaffrey was toeing a fine line at the time and breaking the mold as a female author.


message 50: by James (new)

James Baddock | 4 comments I've read Dragonflight quite a few times over the years (more than any of the sequels) and I've always thought of Lessa as being a strong feminine character, fighting against inequality in what was, basically, a medieval society. However, I often wonder how she would have reacted if another dragon had 'flown' Ramoth (i.e. if she hadn't ended up with F'lar). It might have been more interesting in some ways if Lessa had been in the situation where her mate was less progressive than F'lar - how would she have acted then? As it was, she pretty much got lucky in that respect.
On a slightly different tack, there were elements of dragonrider society that McCaffrey hinted at in later books, but didn't explore, in particular the fact that green dragons were also female and went on mating flights, when both riders involved would be male. A step too far for the time, perhaps?


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