Dragonwriter, a tribute to Anne McCaffrey and Pern

By August 13th, 2013

Each season we announce our new titles individually, each in their own post, to give you a little extra background behind the book. If you’ve missed any, you can check them all out here. All of Spring 2013”²s intro posts are here.

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DragonwriterToday is the official pub date for Dragonwriter: A Tribute to Anne McCaffrey and Pern, edited by Todd McCaffrey.

There’s something different about working on a tribute volume, compared to our usual anthologies.  All of our books are, in some ways, about passion–about fictions that impact the real world, that make us think and feel, that become frameworks in which we re-examine our own lives. But a tribute volume comes with another layer of responsibility–to do the work and the person being honored justice.

Anne McCaffrey was one of the writers who featured most memorably in my teenage reading; The Rowan and Damia still hold a place of honor in the one box of the books I always unpack, when I change homes. (Somehow I overlooked Pern. No Wikipedia to look entire book catalogs up on, back then.)

Still, when she passed in November 2011, I was surprised how hard it hit me–and, reading the eulogies and memories posted in the days after, how hard it hit so many, fans and writers both. In fact, it wasn’t until after starting work on Dragonwriter that I really grasped exactly how much impact Anne–Annie–had on SFF, as a community and a genre.

(Tribute volumes are also different in the way it feels to work on them. I am excited about all our titles; feeling honored to have been a part of them is a little more rare.)

Dragonwriter is a tribute to Anne McCaffrey. It’s an anthology of her fellow SFF writers, her friends, her fans, and her family, all writing about, and paying homage to, her work. But I think, most of all, Dragonwriter is the story of Anne McCaffrey’s impact of the world, in large ways and small ones.

There’s a lot that stands out for me about this collection–not least of which is Michael Whelan’s cover, based on a sketch he made to Anne’s description of a scene more than twenty years ago, and the collection of Pern cover sketches he graciously dug out of his archives for the book’s color insert. But when I think of this book, it’s individual, personal moments that I think of first:

Lois McMaster Bujold standing in Anne’s home office, looking out over the Irish countryside.

Anne, that year’s BaltiCon Guest of Honor, cheerfully typing its attendees’ nametags as Steve Miller and Sharon Lee look on.

Angelina Adams reading The Ship Who Sang at her newborn’s ICU beside, the machines keeping her daughter alive humming and beeping in the background.

Todd and his sister Gigi and brother Alex at their mother’s wake, telling terrible jokes in her honor.

Charlotte Moore in her room, with her computer, wrung out from crying, reading “The Smallest Dragonboy” aloud into the speakers.

I learned a lot about Pern–its music, its (arguable lack of) religion, it’s evolution, and it’s influence–and about the ways it and Anne McCaffrey’s other work changed science fiction. But I think I learned even more about the ways a person can, through their words (and, sometimes, their motorized wheelchair), impact another person.

The result is a portrait of a woman I can’t help wishing I’d gotten the chance to meet–and one that, through this book, others will get to know even better.

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You can get a free excerpt of Dragonwriter (in this case, it’s Todd’s introduction and David Brin’s essay), by signing up for our book mailing list, either on the book page (where you can also see the table of contents, including the incredible full list of our contributors), or right here:


We’ll also keep you up to date on anything we do around the book–any giveaways or special events or signings.

You can also now get the book anywhere books are sold–online at Amazon.com, B&N.com, or IndieBound, and also for Kindle, Nook, and iBooks, among others. We hope you’ll come back and let us know if it touched you as much as it did us!

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