My first awareness of Anne McCaffrey came through a fantasy and science fiction book club in about 1978. One of the featured books that could be ordered (in hardback no less – quite a treasure for a younger sister used to hand-me-downs) was The White Dragon. As you probably know, this was just one of many books in the Dragonriders of Pern series, and after reading the story of the little dragon who could, that nobody thought would amount to anything but that proved his worth, this twelve-year-old was hooked.
I went back and read all the Pern novels that were available at the time and many of the ones that came out after. Again and again the stories of bravery, of unexpected strength from those who society shunned, spoke to my heart. And the magic! I wished for a dragon of my own to soar with through the skies, who would be my lifelong companion, and to live in a simple society where things were made by hand and the homes were cozy and comforting.
I read The Ship Who Sang and many of her other tales, each of them similar in message. Maybe it sounds corny or trite, but honestly, Anne McCaffrey helped this girl along during some awkward teenage years when it seemed nobody wanted her. Maybe, I thought to myself, there was something special about me, too. Some bit of magic overlooked, that would blossom someday, so that I could prove my worth and belong somewhere.
So thank you, Ms. McCaffrey, for giving me hope and helping me along a little farther down my own path. We never met, but know that part of the reason I write is because of you. Because you showed that not only can women write fantasy, but that women can write brilliant fantasy full of imagination, wonder, hope and deep meaning. You are one of my role-models and a source of inspiration for girls who aspire to become writers. Your life and your works live on. Thank you.