Content here is by Michael Still mikal@stillhq.com. All opinions are my own.
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These posts mostly relate to books I am reading or series I am collecting to read in order (I tend to collect the series and then read it in one block). You can see a see a list of the books I am currently seeking, as well as a list of all the books I've bothered to catalog if you're interested.


Sun, 12 Dec 2010



The Dolphins of Pern




    ISBN: 0345368959
    Del Rey (1995), Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
    LibraryThing
    This is quite a different book from most of the recent Pern books because of its leisurely pace. Its a nice read, although it feels like not much actually happens in the book. Unfortunately the plot is pretty much a cliche at this point -- child has special affinity for animal X, parents don't understand, child pursues said affinity anyways, falls out with parents, ultimately proves that animal X is actually super awesome and important for Pern, group hugs. So, this book is an ok read, but lazily plotted and nothing much happens.

    Tags for this post: book anne_mccaffrey genetic_engineering dolphin disability pern
    Related posts: The Renegades of Pern; Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern; Nerilka's Story; Dragonsinger; Dragonflight ; The White Dragon


posted at: 21:53 | path: /book/Anne_McCaffrey | permanent link to this entry


Fri, 09 Jul 2010



The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall




    ISBN: 0345368991
    Del Rey (1994), Mass Market Paperback, 336 pages
    LibraryThing
    This is an anthology of Pern stories. It doesn't really stand on its own though, you're much better off having read the other Pern books first. The stories are:

    • The Survey: P.E.R.N.: this story feels quite lazy. There are new characters, but they aren't well introduced. They find the planet later called Pern, and explore it, but the story is entirely descriptive with no real plot to speak of. A story that's only interesting if you're obsessed with all things Pern. Its especially important that you've read Dragonsdawn before this story.
    • The Dolphin's Bell: this story recycles characters introduced in Dragonsdawn to tell another side of the evacuation from Landing story. Its an ok story, but its not ground breaking.
    • The Fort of Red Hanrahan: covers the settlement of the second Hold on Pern. This story feels more like a real story, even if it is a bit shallow. Better than the previous two stories.
    • The Second Weyr: this is more of a traditional dragon rider story, and quite good. It doesn't feel as much like an afterthought as the other stories, and was a good read. The title is a bit of a fib, as this story explains the existence of the next three weyrs.
    • Rescue Run: this was a good story too, covering why the settlers were never rescued.


    Overall, I'd say this collecting was ok, but nothing particularly special.

    Tags for this post: book anne_mccaffrey anthology genetic_engineering dragon biohazard colonization pern pern_landing
    Related posts: Dragonsdawn; The Renegades of Pern; The White Dragon; Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern; Nerilka's Story; Dragonsinger


posted at: 00:48 | path: /book/Anne_McCaffrey | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 14 Jun 2010



All The Weyrs of Pern

posted at: 20:53 | path: /book/Anne_McCaffrey | permanent link to this entry


Fri, 15 Jan 2010



The Renegades of Pern




    ISBN: 0345369335
    Del Rey (1990), Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
    LibraryThing
    This book starts off in quite a disjointed manner, with the introduction of a variety of seemingly unrelated characters. The only thing that they all have in common is that they're holdless. However, as the book progresses these characters are all weaved together into a relatively cohesive story line. I say relatively because there are gaps in the story telling, which can be a little jarring.

    Interestingly, this book also clarifies some of the events of the others in the series. Most satisfyingly it includes more detail of the buried settlement at Landing than The White Dragon did, which ties in nicely with the introduction provided in Dragonsdawn. This gives me hope that later books will take the science fiction track I've been wanting them to for a while.

    Tags for this post: book anne_mccaffrey genetic_engineering dragon biohazard pern pern_landing
    Related posts: The White Dragon; The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall; Dragonsdawn; The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern; Dragonflight ; Dragonsong


posted at: 19:50 | path: /book/Anne_McCaffrey | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 08 Dec 2009



The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern




    ISBN: 0345412745
    Del Rey (1997), Edition: 2, Paperback, 260 pages
    LibraryThing
    I bought and read this book for the short story "the impression", which is ok but not fantastic. Overall the book isn't really my thing -- its mostly a potted history of Pern and a nearly exhaustive coverage of the various weyrs, holds and craft halls that inhabit the planet. To be honest, I'd rather learn that stuff as I read the series, instead of reading a summary. Overall I think this book isn't particularly great, although its nice to have read the short story at the right time in the sequence.

    Having just read Dragonsdawn, there are also some inconsistencies which grated a little (the use of HNO3 for example, and how much knowledge of the Oort cloud the survey team had string to mind as examples).

    Tags for this post: book anne_mccaffrey genetic_engineering dragon biohazard reference pern
    Related posts: The Renegades of Pern; Dragonsinger; Nerilka's Story; Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern; Dragondrums; Dragonsdawn


posted at: 02:33 | path: /book/Anne_McCaffrey | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 07 Dec 2009



Dragonsdawn

posted at: 14:34 | path: /book/Anne_McCaffrey | permanent link to this entry


Wed, 25 Nov 2009



The Ship Who Sang




    ISBN: 0345297687
    Del Rey (1981), Mass Market Paperback
    LibraryThing
    This book is good science fiction, in the sense that it explores something which we are not ready to address as a society -- in this case, would profoundly disabled people prefer that we could replace their disabled bodies? What if the replacement wasn't humanoid? The book is pretty old though, and that shows in some of the elements of the story. I don't feel it detracts though. The book is also composed of a series of independantish by related short stories, which was a common publishing technique for science fiction in the 1960s.

    One story -- "Dramatic Mission" -- did throw me a little. Its just too out there conceptually, and actually kind of dull until about the last three pages, where the controller poses some interesting questions of Helva. I feel that perhaps the lead up could have been better though.

    Tags for this post: book anne_mccaffrey space_travel disability cybernetics music brainship nebula award
    Related posts: Rendezvous With Rama; Dragonflight ; Red Mars; The Accidental Time Machine ; Dragonquest; Dragonsong


posted at: 20:57 | path: /book/Anne_McCaffrey | permanent link to this entry


Tue, 20 Oct 2009



Nerilka's Story




    ISBN: 0345339495
    Del Rey (1987), Mass Market Paperback, 208 pages
    LibraryThing
    This book takes place over almost exactly the same period as Moreta. However, its not a rehash of those events, as it is written from a different person's perspective. There are enough points where the two story lines meet for the books to make sense as a pair, and I'd recommend reading them back to back. This book is an incredibly fast read (I knocked it over in a few hours on a flight), and its a bit more positive than Moreta, which has a pretty sad ending. However, this book isn't the happiest book ever written either. I've seen commentary that says this book is mostly about how unattractive Nerilka is physically. I dispute that though -- the book is about how the human spirit is more important than breeding or good looks, and how Nerilka's efforts to do the right thing in a time of crisis have a lasting impact. I enjoyed this book.

    Tags for this post: book anne_mccaffrey genetic_engineering dragon biohazard pandemic pern
    Related posts: Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern; Dragonsinger; The Renegades of Pern; The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall; Dragonquest; Dragonsong


posted at: 13:05 | path: /book/Anne_McCaffrey | permanent link to this entry
Comment on this post.


Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern




    ISBN: 034529873X
    Del Rey (1984), Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
    LibraryThing
    Moreta is a book about a pandemic, and its hard to make those fun... If you've bothered to find out anything about the book in advance (or read the preceding Pern books, where it is referred to), you know that its not going to be a fun ride. On the other hand, the book is an interesting read, and its educational to find out how much knowledge has been lost in the Pern universe between Moreta and Lessa. For example, its clear in Moreta that everyone knows they moved from the Southern continent, whereas that is much less clear in the books set in Lessa's time. Its hard to say that a book about thousands of people dying is enjoyable. However, the story is a gripping one, and I'm glad I read it.

    Tags for this post: book anne_mccaffrey genetic_engineering dragon biohazard pandemic pern hugo award
    Related posts: Dragonquest; Dragonflight ; All The Weyrs of Pern; Nerilka's Story; Dragondrums; Dragonsdawn


posted at: 13:01 | path: /book/Anne_McCaffrey | permanent link to this entry


Thu, 10 Sep 2009



Dragondrums

posted at: 14:07 | path: /book/Anne_McCaffrey | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 07 Sep 2009



Dragonsinger

posted at: 04:09 | path: /book/Anne_McCaffrey | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 31 Aug 2009



Dragonsong




    ISBN: 0553258524
    Spectra Bantam (1977), Mass Market Paperback, 176 pages
    LibraryThing
    Dragonsong sits between Dragonquest and The White Dragon, although there is some overlap with The White Dragon and it doesn't matter what order you read those two in.

    Some friends and I were joking the other day that all McCaffrey books seem to involve a pained teenager coming to age. That's true with this book, although the story isn't as drawn out as The White Dragon, and I didn't find it quite as annoying to read. I think that's because McCaffrey didn't dwell on how terrible it was to be a teenager as much in this one.

    I really enjoyed this one, and thought it was better than The White Dragon, and on par with Dragonflight, although I do feel that The White Dragon opens up more interesting possibilities for the universe than this book did.

    Tags for this post: book anne_mccaffrey genetic_engineering dragon biohazard music pern
    Related posts: Dragonsinger; Dragondrums; The Renegades of Pern; Nerilka's Story; Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern; Dragonflight


posted at: 03:09 | path: /book/Anne_McCaffrey | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 10 Aug 2009



The White Dragon

posted at: 03:57 | path: /book/Anne_McCaffrey | permanent link to this entry


Sun, 17 May 2009



Dragonquest

posted at: 18:58 | path: /book/Anne_McCaffrey | permanent link to this entry


Mon, 11 May 2009



Dragonflight




    ISBN: 0345335465
    Ballantine Books (1986), Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
    LibraryThing
    This is the first book in the Dragons of Pern series, which I read a small part of as a child. Given that they're still being written, its not surprising that I'm pretty out of date on this series. This book is excellent for a few reasons -- the idea is unique and well implemented; its an amazing mix of fantasy with science fiction style justifications for the way things are; and its well written. The underlying premise is that a planet named Pern as a nearly neighbor on an eccentric orbit. When that neighbor comes near to Pern, spores from the other planet try to land on Pern. These spores breed by eating organic life, so they need to be neutralized or life on Pern will cease. There are however a few patches I had to re-read to make full sense of. I really liked this book.

    Tags for this post: book anne_mccaffrey genetic_engineering dragon biohazard pern nebula award npr_top_100_sf
    Related posts: Dragonquest; Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern; The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern; The White Dragon; The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall; Dragonsong


posted at: 21:02 | path: /book/Anne_McCaffrey | permanent link to this entry