Anne McCaffrey

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Name: Anne McCaffrey
Also Known As:
Occupation: Writer
Medium: Books
Works: Dragonriders of Pern
Official Website(s):
Fan Website(s):
On Fanlore: Related pages

Anne McCaffrey is the creator of the Dragonriders of Pern, Crystal Singer, Doona, and other fictional worlds.

McCaffrey was very involved in her fandom -- replying to questions, attending cons, and answering their questions.

A fan remembers: "This September 2011, I met her son, Todd McCaffrey. I’ve read several of his collaborations with his mother, and was pleased to find that Todd is a wonderful person who inherited her big heart. I shared with him the story of my experience with his mother [when she agreed to an interview], and he nodded sagely as he walked with me. “She’s that way because of me, you know,” Todd said. “What do you mean?” I asked him. “When I was a kid, I was really into [a science fiction series which name eludes me]. I stood in line to meet the author, get his signature, and he blew me off,” Todd said with a hint of long remorse. “Ever since then, mum vowed she would always take care of her fans.” [1]

McCaffrey also sometimes had a fractious and restrictive relationship with fanworks and fans, and she adopted several positions regarding fan fiction, some of which have softened over time.

For much, much more on McCaffrey's views on fandom and fanworks, see Dragonriders of Pern.

Her Most Famous Series

Dragonriders of Pern is a book series set in a lost colony on the planet Pern.

The series began as a novella called 'Weyr Search' published in the October 1967 issue of Analog, a professionally published science fiction magazine of considerable prestige, edited by John W. Campbell. A second novella, 'Dragonflight', was published in the December issue that same year. 'Weyr Search' won the Hugo for Best Novella, and 'Dragonflight' the Nebula in the same category.

Notably, Anne McCaffrey is the first woman to win either award, breaking a science fiction glass ceiling.

The two novellas were collected for publication as one novel, Dragonflight. The Pern series continues to this day, with new novels being published by her son, Todd McCaffrey. Fandom is widely derisive of these new novels as being 'non-canonical' and full of unrealistic Mary Sue characters.

Having an organized existence since the late 1960s, Pern fandom is contemporaneous with many older First Fandoms, including Star Trek and remains active. The lure of dragons which cause mindless sex, canonical implied slash, and powerful female characters with archetypal roles help to explain this series' enduring lure to some fans.

Like many science fiction authors of her time, McCaffrey was uncomfortable with fanworks, and the battle over fanwork has shaped fannish practices. Due to pressure from Anne McCaffrey and her heirs, most fannish expression in this fandom involves the creation of original characters using the setting.

For much, much more on McCaffrey's views on fandom and fanworks, see Dragonriders of Pern.

Tentpeg Statement

Anne McCaffrey is the infamous creator of The Tent Peg Statement, a wank so offensive that even the non-fannish know of it.


A Fan's 2011 Comments and Speculation Regarding Fanworks, Permissions, and Legacy

And now here we are, in 2011, after two solid decades of mismanagement of the world she created. Half a dozen companies have owned the rights to make a movie, or a TV show - the most notable failure being Ron Moore, post-DS9 and pre-Battlestar Galactica. As in so many of the great SF book franchises, a son took over the writing of the novels and ran them into the ground. The active parts of Pern fandom are tiny compared to what they once were in large part through the hounding of its fandom to give up the fanfiction and fanart and RPG. Yet the memory of Pern lingers in the media conscience, on the tips of people's tongues. 'Don't Daenerys' baby dragons remind you a little of...' and 'Those soul-bonded pterodactyls in Avatar were almost like...' I've been in Pern fandom almost fifteen years, and I've seen the best and worst of it. Her legal team sent me a C&D for running a Pern RPG when I was thirteen. I'll never forget it - I came home from my Bat Mitzvah in Paris to find the email sitting in my inbox. And I was lucky, because I took down the site right away and they stopped pursuing me. People who had sold Pern art or Pern crafts at cons often weren't so lucky. I've seen fans sell out other fans to her legal team in exchange for positions of 'power' as online enforcers. I've seen people backstab each other for bits of code, or one of the all-special 'permission letters' which would allow you to run an online game. It was an era when that sort of fandom micromanagement wasn't uncommon, but she earned a deserved reputation for it... I've also seen the women who became artists because they started drawing dragons, and the ones who went on to careers in game design and software, the ones who said 'to hell with it' and made their own worlds in their own novels. Perhaps her strangest, most enduring and necessary legacy to fandom is the Organization for Transformative Works. I have no doubt that when naominovak gave the seed money to start the group, the former PernMUSH wizard thought of McCaffrey's campaigns against fandom amongst others. In the end, all of Ramoth's golden daughters flew away and founded Weyrs of their Own. Allowing people to write Pern fanfic and play on Pern RPGs and books aimed for children hasn't brought them back. They win Hugos and Nebulas, they work for Blizzard and Ubisoft and they've all left Pern far behind them.[2]

For much, much more on McCaffrey's views on fandom and fanworks, see Dragonriders of Pern.

Her Death

She passed away November 21, 2011. [3]

Anne Inez McCaffrey was the first woman in science fiction/fantasy to win the Hugo and the Nebula Awards in the same year, cementing her place in fannish and feminist history. The works she won them for would eventually be joined together as a novel, Dragonflight - the first book in the beloved Pern series. With the exception of Verity Lambert, McCaffrey is one of the few women who can claim to have created an enduring media fandom - even today there are young children who dream of impressing one of Pern's magnificent dragons and hop online to write their story, just as many young authors began with the magic blue box. For children of a certain age, Pern is a window into a better world, where they are loved. It's this power among others that make it one of SF's enduring series and fandoms. [4]

Fan Sites

Further Reading


  1. comment by kindan, shortly after McCaffrey's death: Good Bye, Anne - A Meeting of Minds - An Anne McCaffrey Discussion Forum, Archived version (November 2011)
  2. skywaterblue. The Long, Strange Legacy of Anne McCaffrey; archive link, posted to Dreamwidth November 22, 2011. (Accessed November 28, 2011)
  3. Dragonriders of Pern and Anne McCaffrey resource site: the Pern Museum & Archives, Archived version
  4. The Long, Strange Legacy of Anne McCaffrey by skywaterblue, posted November 22, 2011, accessed November 28, 2011