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Anne McCaffrey's Pern Novel Series

Updated on July 10, 2012

When the Dragonriders of Pern series began, the citizens of Pern knew little about their origins, knowing only that their world was plagued by a periodic fall of dangerous threads from the sky. The fall of Thread was combated by the dragons, ridden of course by dragonriders. Beyond that, they were a low-technology society who knew little about their own past, or even their own planet.

As the series evolved, the residents of Pern learned more and more about their past and their present- including where they came from and how the dragons came to be. In Dragonsdawn, the surprising answer to the entire dragon question is revealed as the novel explores the colonization of Pern centuries before. The Pern world in the present is brought back again in further novels, as the current generations cope with rediscovering their surprisingly technological past. Through archeological excavations, they discover the technology that was left behind by their ancestors.

The Latest Pern Novels

Anne McCaffrey herself wasn't as involved in the last few novels. Her son, Todd McCaffrey has took over some of her duties and is listed as a co-author in the last few novels. The latest crop has largely dealt with how the simple societies of Pern have dealt with their new knowledge of the past. Not surprisingly, gaining so much knowledge so quickly has caused shockwaves across their fragmented society.

Coping with the changes isn't easy for most Pern residents, and their culture understandably erupts into fighting over what to do with the new knowledge. Should the new technology be kept and used to benefit society, or would it change too much too quickly? Can knowledge gained ever really be lost again? Their struggles to make sense of the new discoveries mimic our fast-changing technology that creates epidemic problems before we’re even aware of them.

The Characters of Pern

One of the things that mot people love about Pern and its dragons is how likable the characters are. There are villains, of course, but most of the characters are interesting, flawed, strong people. Another interesting thing about the series is that there are varying points of view available.

There are Pern novels told from the perspective of young people, older people, boys, girls, members of the lower class and the equivalent of a prince. This makes the series accessible to anyone interested in dragons or the progression of an alien society that isn't so alien after all.


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