Letter from Araelia

Todd,

I read Dragon’s Kin within two days of buying it, and must say that I absolutely loved every word of it. I must agree with other reviews, though, in that Kindan seemed a bit forced in some areas. Aside from that, I found the book to be utterly delightful. I’ve been a Pern fan for a few years now, and my entire Christmas list was comprised of McCaffrey books… count on relatives to only give me three -.-

I have a question that I’ve been storing up for quite some time. How do you visualize the dragons from the book that you and your mother write? Is there a specific picture or book-cover that you think portrays them better than most?

I know that I most often think of the one on the cover of the paperback copy of “Dolphins of Pern” or “The Skies of Pern.” There are minor differences between my views and the pictures, but those are the closest ones. I had imagined them more stream-lined than they appear in most pictures, and with longer wings so they could support the body weight. I just wanted to see which one you hold with the best, and, if you know it, which one your mother thinks is closest to her image.

As it seems that many people are asking for more about whers, I’d like to second that opinion, and add my own. I’d also like to learn a bit more about the fire-lizards. They are the ones that started it all, and I think that merits them a book or two that revolves around them as Dragon’s Kin is to whers. I realize that the Harper Hall trilogy, as well as DragonsDawn were very much about these creatures, but it seems that we never learned too much about them.

Finally, I’d like to ask one last question, though I’m not sure if it would best be put to you or your mother. No matter, I’ll ask anyway. Why is it against the copyright restriction to write Pern fanfictions, or to Roleplay these wonderful books?

It seems like that is smothering a large group of fans, and I know that, had I not been roleplaying (on an authorized site) these books for a year between book publishings, I might have actually let my high opinions of this series fade. I know it has happened to a few of my friends (though I’ve pushed them right back to re-read the books until they became avid fans once more).

Thank you for taking the time to read and answer all of these letters, as I know it must be time-consuming.

Araelia

Araelia,

Wow, thanks for your letter. I’m glad you liked Dragon’s Kin. We’ll see more of Kindan (all grownup) in Dragonsblood. There may be some more YA books that take place between the end of Dragon’s Kin and the start of Dragonsblood (which starts about fourteen Turns after Dragon’s Kin ends). I always felt that Kindan was more ‘squeezed’ by events than ‘forced’ but I might not have got that across.

As to your first question — I don’t particularly visualize dragons anymore, they just are. My favorite picture of a dragon was done by Colin Saxton. I love the Michael Whelan covers because they were so beautiful — but his dragons were far too lizard-like compared to Pern dragons. I will say, that when I was flying my Piper Tomahawk, I had a feel for what it would be like on something as small as Ruth. (One of these days we’ll get a flying blog set up and I’ll upload some pictures.)

As to more about fire-lizards — in Dragonsblood you’ll find out why there were no fire-lizards in the Northern Continent at the start of the Ninth Pass.

I’m definitely the wrong person to ask about restrictions on Pern fanfiction and role-playing. There does seem to be an answer in Mum’s FAQ (go to annemccaffrey.org and click on FAQ). I do believe that on-line roleplaying and on-line fanfiction open up a gray area of copyright law — has a writer relinquished copyright if the writer allows such activities? Apparently, the argument goes both ways — and the cost of litigation (successful or not) is always very high. My understanding is that the current rules are an attempt to allow some activities without destroying the chance of getting a TV or film deal for the Dragonriders of Pern. But again, you really need to consult Mum’s website.

Cheers,
Todd

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