Anne McCaffrey

From Fanlore
Jump to navigation Jump to search
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 (novel), Doona, and other fictional worlds. The name of her official newsletter was "Starfire Weyr".

She passed away in November 2011.

McCaffrey's Involvement with Fans and Fandom

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

From's FAQ (date unknown, likely mid-1990s):

It is the understanding of the author of this document that, due to some of the concerns raised in the previous section, Ms. McCaffrey's lawyers have advised her not to read this newsgroup. Evidence to the contrary has also surfaced, so it is uncertain whether or not she actually reads, or has articles of interest forwarded to her by other parties. [1]

Regarding the closing of the popular forum, Kitchen Table Bulletin Board, in 2004, fans were told:

We'd like to faciliate the close relationship between Anne and her fans with the addition of a blog to Anne's website. It will allow her to keep in touch and give her fans a chance to read the inside scoop on upcoming books, events and personal information as well as give Anne a place respond to selected emails. This will be a wonderful opportunity to experience the wit and whimsy that is Anne. [2]

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. [3]

Views on Fanworks

In 1975, she gave her approval for a proposed zine, one which, for unknown reasons, did not make it off the ground: "Ms. McCaffery has given the green light and her best wishes. For this fanzine, DRAGONFEN, to succeed, the editors are requesting that anyone who would like to participate in it get in touch with us. They will need help on it, as they can't do it alone. A format has not been chosen yet. They're waiting to see what kind of response the idea gets." [4]

Despite this early nod to fanworks, McCaffrey often 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 more information on McCaffrey's views and stance on fanworks, see:

The most current stance on fanworks:

Fan Fiction Rules

Dear All,

I know that many of you have enjoyed my works so much that you have written your own fan fiction, created your own fan art, and built your own online role-playing games.

I worked very hard to create my worlds and I am so glad that you like them so much that you have followed the old adage, Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

But I have to be concerned that none of this imitation could expose me to the loss of control of those same much-adored works. Along with many of you, I would dearly love to see DRAGONFLIGHT, or any of my books on Pern, turned into a movie. To realize that dream requires that I handle all fan-related material very carefully sometimes more carefully than I would like.

Now, I believe that with your help I can relax some of those restrictions, by establishing some guidelines/rules which I believe will both protect me (and you) and allow you to engage in fannish activities.


1. Fan Fiction, Fan Art, and online RPGs based on any of my literary works will now be permitted so long as they occur on a non-commercial basis.

2. With respect to Fan Fiction, Fan Art and transcripts of online RPG activity, care must be taken to ensure that such material displayed on these sites can only be downloaded or accessed for personal, non-commercial purposes. Owners of websites supporting Fan Fiction, Fan Art, and RPGs must take every step possible, including, but not limited to, posting appropriate and prominent notices to ensure compliance with these restrictions. Any reference to the mark “Dragonriders of Pern ®” must be accompanied with a trademark notice indicating registration and my ownership of the mark. You may wish to consult your own attorney about online and Internet law and the rules governing copyright and trademark notices.

3. Mindful that many fans take advantage of free web space requiring operators to display banner ads, I will not consider such sites as engaging in commercial activity, even if the ads contain click-through sales features, so long as displaying the ads are a condition of securing the web space and the website creators do not use sites to sell, or assist others in selling, McCaffrey related derivative merchandise. Fan operated sites are not ‘licensed’ by Anne McCaffrey, are not approved by Anne McCaffrey and do not create an agency or joint venture relationship with Anne McCaffrey, even though they may be maintained with Anne McCaffrey’s permission.

4. Participation in any site promoting such Fan Fiction, Fan Art, or online RPGs must be entirely free to participants. No membership fees or other charges may be levied in connection with these sites.

5. Pornographic sites, based on any of my literary works, are expressly forbidden. But I’m sure you know that. I’m a grandmother, after all.


1. I ask that anyone creating a site for Fan Fiction, Fan Art, or online RPGs endeavour to use good taste. I will not interfere with the internal affairs of fan sites, nor intervene in disputes, or manage them in any way, other than to enforce the rules above.

2. Fans who have read my books know fully well what can and cannot take place on my various worlds and need no reminder. While I would prefer that my well known rules be followed, I will not insist that you conform to such implicit rules so long as my explicit rules are observed.


1. I will be creating an online database that will allow fans to register their Fan Fiction, Fan Art, and RPG sites with The Worlds of Anne McCaffrey, Ltd. This database will, in turn, be used to create a page on the Worlds of Anne McCaffrey website to allow fans the opportunity to share or discover these online resources.

2. In the event rights to any of my literary works are granted or sold for film, television, or other media exploitation, licensees may, at their option, choose to restrict Fan Fiction, Fan Art or RPGs. While I cannot protect fan websites from restrictions my licensees may impose, I will notify my licensees of the registered sites in our database, described in (1) above, that have complied with our reasonable restrictions, and encourage licensees to permit the continued existence of those sites. I wish we could offer more protection, but quite honestly this is all I can reasonably do.

3. Fans operating sites must understand that they are solely liable for their content and that The Worlds of Anne McCaffrey, Ltd., assumes no responsibility for them, for their administration, operating policies, or activities.

4. I reserve the right to change these rules, guidelines, and caveats at any time without prior notice.

Finally, I hope you continue to enjoy the time you spend in my worlds. Please, as I have told my grandchildren, play nice.

Yours very sincerely, Anne McCaffrey[5]

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 (1998-ish)

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.[6]

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

Her Death

She passed away November 21, 2011.[7]

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.[8]

Fan Sites

Further reading