I first saw the news of Anne McCaffrey’s passing last night via a Rob Sawyer tweet and it kind of stunned me. I was never a big reader of Anne McCaffrey‘s, not because I didn’t like her work, but mostly because I hadn’t gotten around to reading the bulk of it. What I have read of her work (in particular, “Weyr Search” in the October 1967 Analog) I enjoyed. I think I was stunned because for me, there are some names in science fiction that have always been around, that I think of as alive and well even if they are long dead, and it is a jolt to the system when you realize that they are finally gone. Anne McCaffrey is one of those names.
When I really started getting into science fiction as something more than just a passing interest, I joined the Science Fiction Book club. I was allowed to choose a certain number of books at the beginning and pay only a few cents for those first half dozen books or so. Among the books I selected was an omnibus edition of the first three Pern novels by Anne McCaffrey and that book still sits proudly on my shelf along with half a dozen other McCaffrey books (some in collaboration with others). She was to have a story, “The Bones Do Lie” appear in the infamous The Last Dangerous Visions, a volume which never ended up appearing. The story ultimately appeared in The Girl Who Heard Dragons.
Anne McCaffrey has been part of science fiction for my entire life and that it is why it is such a jolt that she is gone. I have heard many good stories about her but never had the chance to meet her in person. I wish I had.