I’m a little surprised at how much that hit me. I haven’t read one of her books in ages. But there was a time…
I first discovered McCaffrey and Pern when I was in high school and my high school boyfriend’s mom lent me books. She started me with the Dragon Singer trilogy and then I read the Dragon Rider books. My favorite was DragonQuest. I liked Brekke and F’nor better than Lessa and F’lar. I even wrote a sonnet from F’nor to Brekke in a creative writing class. Yes, I am that much of a geek.
In college, my roommates and I all read Anne McCaffrey: the Pern books, The Ship Who Sang, and others. On June 3, 1992, we went to the county south of us to a book signing. I didn’t realize then that I could have brought any book and she would have signed it, so I dutifully bought the book she was promoting. It’s a sequel to a book I hadn’t read, so I still haven’t actually read it, but there it is. She was utterly gracious to each person as we went through the autograph line, stopping to make a specific comment to each person. I’m sure I could find our exact conversation written in a journal from the time, but it had something to do with my first name which is a literary creation and somewhat less common in the US than it is in the UK, at least for people of a certain age.
McCaffrey, among others, is important as an early woman author in science fiction/fantasy, and, I think, in establishing strong character development in science fiction stories. Character development is my #1 criterion for books, so for that I salute her.