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The Dragonriders of Pern
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Wildflower



Joined: 03 Mar 2005
Posts: 6832
Location: Shuttling between France and the US

PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 3:38 pm    Post subject: The Dragonriders of Pern Reply with quote

I've been reading some of the Pern books I hadn't read yet. Mostly those written after 2001. I had stopped at the discovery of AIVAS (Artificial Intelligence Voice Activated System) and the Terran origin of the first colonists. Now I'm enjoying this mixture of fantasy and hard science fiction, with the telepathic dragons on one side and high tech computers and advanced technology, complete with antimatter, on the other. Very Happy

I particularly enjoyed the one ("The Skies of Pern") where F'lessan has a starring role. I like F'lessan and thought that he had been cast aside in favor of Jaxom for a number of books and was glad to see him take central role at last.

Of course my favourite character is Lessa. Small and slightly built, but a force to be reckoned with. Made of stainless steel she is, under a fragile exterior. I identify a lot with her. Especially as she, like me, chose a mate tall and strong - and loving.
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Kerowyn
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:47 pm    Post subject: Re: The Dragonriders of Pern Reply with quote

Wildflower wrote:
I particularly enjoyed the one ("The Skies of Pern") where F'lessan has a starring role. I like F'lessan and thought that he had been cast aside in favor of Jaxom for a number of books and was glad to see him take central role at last.

To which Laurelluin responded this by email coz the site was closed:

<<lol, I thought F'lessan a bit of a chump.>> bleh

[I added the smilie!]
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Wildflower



Joined: 03 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:44 am    Post subject: Re:The Dragonriders of Pern Reply with quote

Wildflower wrote:
I particularly enjoyed the one ("The Skies of Pern") where F'lessan has a starring role. I like F'lessan and thought that he had been cast aside in favor of Jaxom for a number of books and was glad to see him take central role at last.

From Laurelluin:

Wait--you read The Skies of Pern before reading All the Weyrs of Pern? You miss a few majorly important timeline plot points there--kind of like skipping GoF and then wondering how on earth Voldemort came back from wherever he was in CoS and PoA!
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Wildflower



Joined: 03 Mar 2005
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Location: Shuttling between France and the US

PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:50 am    Post subject: Re: The Dragonriders of Pern Reply with quote

Laurelluin wrote:
Wait--you read The Skies of Pern before reading All the Weyrs of Pern? You miss a few majorly important timeline plot points there--kind of like skipping GoF and then wondering how on earth Voldemort came back from wherever he was in CoS and PoA!

I know I did it backwards, but I had enough background knowledge of the discovery of AiVas, and there were enough clues and hints in "Skies" that I managed to follow the plot without too much trouble. I had already read enough in a previous book to piece things together.

I chose to read "Skies" first because of F'lessan. I know the character is not one of the best, but I always had a weakness for the son of F'lar and Lessa. I also feel it should have been he, not Jaxom, who became Lord Holder of Ruatha - of course he wasn't born when Lessa ceded her title to the son of the usurper who massacred her family because she became Weyrwoman, and no one could have foreseen that Jaxom would become both Lord Holder and Dragonrider - but I still think Jaxom had a really lucky break there, which was denied F'lessan.
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Lyanna



Joined: 12 Oct 2013
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:01 pm    Post subject: Re: The Dragonriders of Pern Reply with quote

Laurelluin wrote:
Wait--you read The Skies of Pern before reading All the Weyrs of Pern? You miss a few majorly important timeline plot points there--kind of like skipping GoF and then wondering how on earth Voldemort came back from wherever he was in CoS and PoA!

Well, if it makes you feel better (though I don't think reading Skies and Weyrs in reverse order was as bad as skipping GoF), now that I've finished Weyrs, I think I'll re-read Skies. Very Happy

There's too much "hard science fiction" for a book featuring dragons (not that I don't like hard SF, but here it seems incongruous, and McCaffrey tries too hard to put in all that technical stuff that can get boring.) I preferred the straight fantasy book, or even the book where they discovered the Aivas, but here, all the stuff with antimatter, geosynchronous orbits, EVA, space suits and the like... I don't know, it doesn't ring true. I prefer either straight fantasy or straight hard SF, the mixture is kind of disturbing...
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Laurelluin



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2014 7:34 pm    Post subject: Pern & stuff Reply with quote

I don't mind the mixing as much, maybe because I grew up reading Piers Anthony's books about the parallel worlds of Phase & Proton. The first in that series is called Split Infinity. I do recommend his works, he's a good author imo.

As to Pern--have you considered reading Anne's collaborative works with her son, Todd? They go back to an earlier pass, before the discovery of the AIVAS, around the time the fire-lizards were either banished to the Southern Continent or sent to live on the remote coastlines away from humans. It has to do with the same kind of plagues that are in Moreta's story, only threatening the native draconic species rather than the humans and herdbeasts.

There is a lot more about the watch-whers in these works, too. You gain an understanding of why the Ruathan watch-wher at the very beginning of Dragonflight was so very protective of Lessa.

I find them enjoyable if a bit formulaic. Always there is illness, always the imminent threat of Thread (this is leading up to and at the beginning of an earlier Pass--the Fourth or the Sixth Pass of the Red Star or something), always a huge fuss about there not being enough dragons to fight thread. Just like in Dragonflight. And always, the solution is to go between times. It gets repetitive! But I think Todd does a good job with characterization, and with the relationships between Weyrs and Holds and Crafthalls. Also, since Anne's death not too long ago, there's no-one left to officially write of Pern. And I've found that Pern fanfic is really, really bad! There's some good HP fanfic, and some good Middle-Earth fanfic, but I've yet to see a decent Pern fanfic (other than the one I myself wrote in tenth grade. Which is probably not really a good fanfic, plus it's a crossover fic with Stephen Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, of all things. and probably not even close to canon-compliant with either series).

Okay now I'm rambling. This is what happens when you get an introvert going on a topic she can be passionate about! The complete opposite effect of asking me about weather, sports, fashion or celebrity gossip!
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Lyanna



Joined: 12 Oct 2013
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 1:03 am    Post subject: Re: Pern & stuff Reply with quote

Laurelluin wrote:
As to Pern--have you considered reading Anne's collaborative works with her son, Todd? They go back to an earlier pass, before the discovery of the AIVAS, around the time the fire-lizards were either banished to the Southern Continent or sent to live on the remote coastlines away from humans. It has to do with the same kind of plagues that are in Moreta's story, only threatening the native draconic species rather than the humans and herdbeasts.

I've seen the books Anne wrote in collaboration with Todd, but I haven't been tempted to read them, for some reason. I haven't read Moreta's story either, though I know "Moreta's Ride" is famous, and I know she died - at one point in "The Skies...", F'lessan wonders whether she would have died if she had "timed" it.

I'm still into Pern books, though. I've just started Dragonsdawn. But for the moment, I like it less. This is the arrival of the original colonists from Earth, and there's more hard SF than fantasy. I like the first books, that were pure fantasy, better. As I said before, I don't like mixing the two. For example, I enjoy Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Larry Niven or James Hogan's hard SF books, and I enjoy pure fantasy books, but somehow I'm not comfortable with the mixture of the two.

Quote:
There is a lot more about the watch-whers in these works, too. You gain an understanding of why the Ruathan watch-wher at the very beginning of Dragonflight was so very protective of Lessa.

That should be interesting. I thought it was because Lessa was "of the Blood" and had taken refuge with the watch-wher. Which also sensed her when she went back in time accidentally and was there on Ramoth the night that Fax invaded her Hold and murdered her whole family.

On a tangent, I'm non-plussed at some families being said to be "of the oldest Blood on Pern" - The colonists all came together in the three ships, so no one had ancestors older than others, had they? It doesn't make sense. Like you said elsewhere, Laure, if we all descend from Noah, we're all one big family, and the Pernese should be the same. They all descend from the original colonists, though it was as an afterthought that Anne McCaffrey added some Asian or Arabic names. In the first books, it seems they are all white, and they certainly all speak English! Very Happy
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Laurelluin



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:58 pm    Post subject: More on Pern Reply with quote

Though I think it may have been a year since I read a Pern book...

McCaffrey was never as concerned with, nor as good at, consistency and continuity between her works as, say, Tolkien or Martin are. There are plenty of details in the first four books that don't really match up with the later works if you really pick them apart, and the blood purity and bloodlines concept is one of them. I think it must be something that developed later--after one of the great plagues, perhaps, where suddenly it mattered if you were from Telgar or Ruatha or maybe even Fort, since those are the oldest Holds. It seems strange for them to look down on people of Bitra or Benden or Keroon, though. Those are names of well-admired people from Dawn, but only Ruatha and Telgar really go into the couples who founded the holds (Sallah and Tarvi, and Sorka's parents. The Hanrahans). I hope this isn't spoiling for you Lyanna Wildflower, I've no idea how far into the book you are!

I don't remember the bit in Skies where F'lessen is speculating on Moreta timing it, but Moreta did time it. Extensively. That's why she and the dragon she was riding were too exhausted to make it back home safe to Fort Weyr after delivering all the medicines to all the Holds that needed them.

As to Asian and Arabic names in Pern--no, they have their own naming conventions, as explained in First Fall. I thought there were some similarities with Asian culture in the Seahold in Menolly's stories, though. Maybe I only see them that way because of my white American perspective on them, though.

Watch whers--they can bond to humans, but not the way dragons do. You have to prove yourself to a watch wher, and it has to trust you. But it can transfer its loyalty, instead of dying when its rider does.
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The three trials, The three Terrors
The Bard who plays the Night into Song


Last edited by Laurelluin on Fri Aug 01, 2014 2:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Lyanna



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:49 pm    Post subject: Re: More on Pern Reply with quote

Laurelluin wrote:
I hope this isn't spoiling for you Wildflower, I've no idea how far into the book you are!

I'm only at page 75 or so, but I don't mind spoilers. In fact, I'm the kind that peeks at the end to see who does what, who lives, who dies... Plus, reading the books in reverse order as it were, I already know some things, like Sallah Telgar heroically dies at the controls of the Yokohama - I don't know doing what yet. I also already know that Sean will be one of the first dragonriders. That can be guessed from the start, actually, when he and Sorka discover the "dragonets".

Quote:
I don't remember the bit in Skies where F'lessen is speculating on Moreta timing it, but Moreta did time it. Extensively. That's why she and the dragon she was riding were too exhausted to make it back home safe to Fort Weyr after delivering all the medicines to all the Holds that needed them.

I don't quite remember the context now, but I think it was during or after the tsunami in "Skies". F'lessan and Tai did something or other, and F'lessan wondered whether doing the same thing would have saved Moreta's life. As I said, I haven't read Moreta's story, so...

Quote:
As to Asian and Arabic names in Pern--no, they have their own naming conventions, as explained in First Fall. I thought there were some similarities with Asian culture in the Seahold in Menolly's stories, though. Maybe I only see them that way because of my white American perspective on them, though.

I was thinking of names like Wind Blossom or Kenjo (can't remember his last name but it's definitely Japanese), who named his Hold "Honshu". I haven't read Menolly's stories either, so I can't comment on similarities with Asian culture. There are also some names that look like they want to sound African, and even someone who speaks something else than English!

It amused me when Aivas first addressed Lessa as "Madam" and she didn't know the word!! The Pernese of 2500 years after planetfall knew "Lady" but not "Madam".
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Laurelluin



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 3:05 pm    Post subject: Re: More on Pern Reply with quote

If I recall correctly, Kenjo's family name is Fusaiyuki.

I highly recommend both Moreta's story and Menolly's, they're both better than Skies imo.

And in Menolly's Seahold, it's the sort of collective family dynamic and the strong respect for elders, I think, that made me think they were more like Asian cultures than European or American. Weyrs, land-bound Holds, and Crafthalls all have different cultures, though. Some of the things about Half-Circle (Menolly's home) seem more like a Hold culture, others more like Crafthall culture.

I wonder if the thread is edging toward where it ought to be split into a separate thread just for Pern!

Books I've read lately have basically all been either Bible woman novels, or non-fic books about Autism Spectrum Disorders and Asperger's syndrome. My obsession with dragons might be another indicator--maybe dragonlore is my Aspie "special interest." If I am an Aspie. Of this I am not sure, but many indicators point in that direction...
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The Turning Tower
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The Bard who plays the Night into Song
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