Ingeborg from the Netherlands wrote with a question about artwork featuring Anne’s dragons:
I was wondering if you have an answer to a question for me, or know where to find it. As a longtime fan of ms. McCaffrey I always wondered how much influence she has on the artwork of her books.
The reason I’m asking is that I’m currently re-reading her Pern novels and as I have American, British and Dutch versions, with many different artwork contributors, their view of the Pern world and the peole and dragons are very different, and, in some cases not anywhere near the descriptions of ms. McCaffrey.
I think one of the worst, imho, is one where the dragon had something resembling an equestrian saddle on it’s back and the rider is a “babe” in a leather bikini :-))))
So, the question is really, is there any version or artist that really comes close(st) to ms. McCaffreys inner picture of what it should be like?
With kind regards, Ingeborg
Here’s Anne’s response:
Unfortunately I have little to say about artwork, though I Complain. Actually, having Michael Whelan as my usual Pern artist has been great… his dragons are more reptilian than I imagined, as I thought them distinctly horselike in the face. I do have a very good replica done by the artist husband of another science fiction writer… you’ll please forget that I just can’t remember his name right now… data retrieval malfunction. I have his artwork in my front hall. I’ll send it to you when it pops back in my head. Which it just did. Colin Saxton who is British and connected with a gallery there.
Brom’s cover for The Master Harper is much better… and I also bought it once I’d seen the art proofs. Some of the early Whelan covers were also used on many of the translations. However, never did I suggest that dragons wear bridles… especially as they breath fire and what happens to hot metal when it gets in contact with very hot fire? No dragon would put up with that kind of cruelty nor would his rider. Dragons don’t need bridles but saddles are okay… even if they have to perch between two neck flanges. Riders do use a sort of harness to keep them where they should be sitting, by means of a heavy belt with clip fasteners connected to rings on the harness the dragons wear. The best reason to have some sort of padding is to reduce bladder infections or kidney problems from having one’s butt end in chill airs during a Fall.