Month: May 2004

Letter from Doug

Letter from Doug

I write to relieve boredom, and because I have two sleep disorders. Is there some sort cast of characters timeline? I am having problems keeping track of who’s who.

If I ever come up with something I think anyone ever would want to read, I’ll forward it to you. As I said, I write these tales for personal amusment.

I have two comments, and a question.


I am glad someone is pitching in to help Anne. Family businesses often close when the owner retires. I hope this means Pern will remain open.

We need more books on the sea. Fishing, knowing what we know now about the importance of the oceans, could be illustrated well on Pern. Also, there could be really interesting creatures in the oceans of Pern. If there are Fire Lizards on land, what may exist in Pern’s great oceans? One of my stories look into that.

Return to my question:

Who was master(?) when? Why, or when were certain crafts lost? Is there a definative timeline? I own every book ever written concerning Pern (by you or your mom). If I have to compile the darn thing I will, but I have to believe it already exists.

Hi Doug,

I’m sorry to hear about your sleep disorders. I’m glad that you’re writing but, please, if you’re writing about Pern do NOT send your stories to me. I have stories of my own I want to tell on Pern, although I’m happy to consider requests. I believe Mum has a fan fiction forum on her website to let people share what they’ve created and I know there are several independent groups who create and share Pern stories for their own amusement.

The trouble with reading any fan fiction written on Pern is that it leaves open the possibility that some fan may decide that a story I evolved all on my own was actually theft of their idea — and the subsequent bad vibes, let alone potential lawsuit, is just too much to deal with.

This sort of thing happens a lot with films. There was a famous case where someone tried to sue Steven Spielberg over ET, claiming it was theft of an earlier idea they’d pitched. The claim was eventually dismissed but not before both sides spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. I don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars lying around, and if I did, I’d want to use them positively rather than frivolously waste them away fighting lawsuits.

As to your question — some of the information you seek is to be found in “The Dragonlover’s Guide to Pern.” However, it’s not authoritative mostly because the only information available is what has already been written — and a lot of Pern’s history hasn’t been written yet (or there’d be no more Pern stories).

Mum’s Dragonseye, set in the Second Pass on Pern, goes a bit more into the establishing of Crafts, particularly the Harpers, but, being a story, it only covers what’s relevant to the tale.

When a particular Craft (or bit of knowledge) is lost may become background or the subject of a particular book yet to be written. Again, that’s unknown. My rule is that there has to be a good story to tell, else why bother.

I do know that Mum is trying to build upon the “Who’s Who on Pern” and create a definitive (for the moment) list of characters. However, that’s difficult. For example, in the revisions to Dragonsblood over a half a dozen characters have been dropped. Mum’s problem is that she’s chasing a moving target.

I have been toying with building a LDAP directory for a similar project but I want to build a completely cross-indexed set of lists with special super-user powers that allow me to create new characters and dragons without having to worry that the rider or dragon has already been created. However, that’s for a later day.

I’ve also wondered about compiling something along the lines of a “Pern Companion” which has chapters of information relevant to each book. However, that doesn’t lend itself easily to a trade paperback format. It would best be served by having a loose-leaf binder which could accomodate new sections for new books and for revisions. But that seems a bit unwieldy. I suppose a Pern Companion website on a subscription basis might work although it’s still not quite the same as curling up with a book. Hmm… (can you tell I’m brainstorming?) Perhaps the best is a set of “Pern Companions”, one for the first three adult books (Dragonflight, Dragonquest, The White Dragon), another for the Harper Hall trilogy, a third for the books following after “The White Dragon” and so on. Ah, but the trouble with that is then you have to consult a stack of books when you’re seeking an answer. Well, it’s a problem to be solved.

I have had several people wanting to see more on the dolphins of Pern, so I’ll bear your request for more sea stories in mind.


Letter from Aimeee

Letter from Aimeee

Did you know that there is really a program called, “MetaSynth” ? … It’s for the MAC only… ( I’ve tried for years to get it for the PC and it’s a no go. ) … I experienced an earlier version of this program when I was taking a multimedia class at an Art School back in 1997-98…

When I started reading your mom’s books again (at the beginning of the year), it took a several books before I thought of the program and her metasynth ( actually took the Chronicles and a few after that with the metasynth info in it before “I got it”… *looking sheepish* … It’s a ‘recent occurrence’ for me in putting 2 and 2 together.) … I will bring the info on it to the writer’s workshop if you are interested/curious….


Hi Aimee!

I’m not surprised that there’s a program called “MetaSynth”, it’s a good name. Mum didn’t know about it when she wrote Dragonsdawn — possibly because the program was written after 1989 (when Dragonsdawn was published). Anyway, as I recall, metasynth is a drug or enhancement regimen, not a computer program.


Letter from Alyssa (with PS)

Letter from Alyssa (with PS)

Hello Mr. McCaffrey/Johnson.

This maybe redundent, but will there be additions to the story in Dragon’s Kin in Dragonsblood? It is probably selfish of me to ask, but I would like to know what happens to Natalon’s uncle, to his daughter, and to Kindan. I so very much enjoyed the story.

Thank you ever so much,

P.S.: Is there any way that you are planning to come to Minnesota anytime?

Hi Alyssa,

I prefer Todd to Mr. McCaffrey or Mr. Johnson.

Dragonsblood is set fourteen Turns after the end of Dragon’s Kin. A lot has happened since then. Dragonsblood is also a more adult novel while Dragon’s Kin was supposed to be a young adult novel, like Dragonsong. However, you will see something of Nuella and Kindan in Dragonsblood.

At the same time, there is a lot more to tell about Nuella, Zenor, Kindan and many others immediately at the end of Dragon’s Kin. Mum and I are hoping to do some more collaborations in the young adult vein to tell those stories. I don’t want to say more because, as Shakespeare said, “There’s many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip!”

As for coming to Minnesota, I’m afraid that I’ve got nothing on my immediate plans but who knows? I do know that there’s a great writing community in Minneapolis/St. Paul and that Lois Bujold is part of it, so I’d certainly love to get out there someday.


Letter from Tan

Letter from Tan

From what I heard, Dragonsblood would be about a disease that affects dragons, fire-lizards, etc. I wonder if there would be any of those scenes where a rider would try to encourage his or her dragon to recover just like how Orlith encourage Moreta to get better?


You’re right about the basic premise. I don’t want to give too much away and, frankly, with the book at the publisher’s until they’ve got more comments I’m trying to keep a distance from the book — so that when I see it again I’ll be able to look at it with fresh eyes.