Letter from Nathan

Letter from Nathan


I have recently been re-reading the Pern series and I’ve been wondering if you, as the inheritor of the authorship of this series, have considered a story that would explore the issues that would arise from the discovery by the Federated Sentient Planets (Or at least Earth) that Pern was not actually destroyed just after colonisation?

I have been pondering the idea, and I vaguely imagine having it set in Lord Jaxom’s 5th or 6th decade (a year or two before the end of the last pass). The cause of their rediscovery could be accidental, the Nathi mentioned in Dragonsdawn could be making a quiet resurgence and a scout ship could be shot down and land dramatically in Benden Weyr during a hatching. Depending on how the various stories mix an alien (possibly Hrruban?) pilot would impress a dragon.

It would take a few years for the Nathi to find Pern and an invasion and defence would make for a good story. I imagine the Nathi as a cross between Babylon 5’s “Narn” and Star Trek’s “Species 8472”.

The scout would have sent off a distress signal/becon and the Pernese would know they only have to hold until the FSP/Earth comes to stem the tide, but it could be milked quite well.

I hope I’ve not just wasted five minutes of your life with this because I can’t give it back!

What do you think?

Kind regards,


G’day Nathan,

The idea of telling more stories about the Nathi has been discussed by Mum and myself on and off for years. She asked me years back, long before we started collaborating, to write the military-sf prequel(s) to Pern. I’ve got many ideas on the subject but, truth be told, I think less people would be interested in reading those stories than stories set directly on Pern. The military-sf people would likely be concerned that it was set in the realm of Pern, the Pernese fans would probably be concerned that the stories took place off Pern.

Also, here’s the open secret of writing a good book — the author has to invest himself in the book. And by “invest” I mean that the author really has to want to take the journey that the book represents because books — or, at least, good books — change people, the author most of all.

I’ve developed a lot of Nathi lore and background, I’ve developed a whole bunch on the Eridani as well and I can see what sort of stories would come of that writing. One day, perhaps, I’ll go there because they are quite interesting but I think it’s a pretty dark story with the happy ending really coming with Dragonsdawn (and that, come to think of it, is more of a bittersweet ending).

For the time being, there are more interesting stories to tell on Pern and in my own unique worlds.


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