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Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey

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“Dragonflight” is a 1968 science fiction novel by Anne McCaffrey. It is composed of 3 novellas about a young woman who rises from displaced servant girl to queen of an army of planet defending dragons.

I know… you’re probably wondering why I am including a “fantasy” novel here, right? Well, I had always categorized this book as fantasy too, until I read it. I didn’t know that it was composed of 3 shorter stories, which were published in the late 1960s in the magazine Analog Science Fact & Fiction. Anyway, now that I have read the book I realize that it is technically SF because it is set on a planet far from Earth and far in the future. So even though it reads like a fantasy story it does have a few science fictional elements and is very cool so I wanted to share my thoughts on it with all of you.

Non-Spoiler Summary

Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey

These are the stories of Lessa, with the first one telling how she was chosen to become the dragon queen. It seems that the hold (castle) where her family lives was invaded several years ago by an evil tyrant who lives nearby. (Isn’t that almost always the case?!) She was the only surviving bloodline so she disguised herself as an old woman and was living her life as a servant woman, until the dragon riders of Pern came seeking a young woman to bond with the as-yet-unhatched queen dragon. And so, through a bizarre and adventurous series of events Lessa is chosen, becomes the queen’s care taker and rider, and gradually works her way up to full partner with the leader of the dragon riders. Yeah, I left a lot of details out, but you get the picture.

My Two Cents

  • Story: 4 stars – At first I thought it would be a typical fantasy story about dragons, but it turned out to have a few surprises. The last third of the book was really cool and involved such fun ideas as flame-throwers and time travel!
  • Writing: 5 stars – Anne McCaffrey is a great writer and she does and excellent job with the stories here. There is a little bit of disconnect between the first 2 stories, but the rest of the novel flows well.
  • Fun Factor: 4 stars – Once again the last third of the book was the coolest part. Yet I enjoyed many parts of the stories – from detailed descriptions of the dragons and how they function to intense conversations about the history of Pern and how previous humans dealt with similar struggles.

Where To Find Dragonflight

  • The first 2 stories in this book first appeared in 1968 editions of Analog Science Fact & Fiction.
  • If you want to read parts of “Dragonflight” (perhaps to try it out before you buy?) you can do so at Google Books.
  • You can get this famous and decades old book many places, including your local library – or you can grab a copy from Amazon.com.

Craving More SF Stories Like This One?

If you enjoyed "Dragonflight" then you might also like “Turjan of Miir” by Jack Vance – about a far future wizard who travels to another world to learn about his craft from a true master.