N. Renee Brown

Part-time Author, Full-time Book Junkie

MacCaffery, the queen…

I posted about Anne McCaffery’s passing over on Unleaded Writing (A dragon of a woman…), but I wanted to take a moment here and expand on what I said there and share (what I think are) a few wonderful stories that center on her.

Anne began publishing her works in 1950’s, under a name that could not be mistaken for male (unlike others) which I applaud her for…but did you know, she didn’t start publishing novels until she was 40? Yup, she was middle aged by the time she stumbled upon what worked for her in the writing world!!! The minute I heard this, I smiled. There was/is hope for me yet, I just need to put my butt back in the chair.

I have a friend that read Dragonflight recently, and bemoaned the fact that the book was about yet another set of talking dragons. She shook her head at the lack of imagination on the part of the author…and lumped her among all the others that had followed the same story arc. That is until someone pointed out the copyright date on Dragonflight.

{BTW, Do you realize it was published in 1968? 1968!!!}

She’s not another in a long line of people telling dragon stories…she’s the Grandmother that all the other stories trickled down from! Dragonflight is the original from which these other poor copies have derived!

Renee's Water Dragon Tattoo

While I am sure quite a few of you have seen my “waterdragon” tattoo, I’m not sure so many of you know that one of the major reasons I got a dragon was to honor Anne McCaffrey and the Dragonriders series I love so much.

Finally, two years ago, during Christmas time…my wife asked me what I wanted more than anything else in the world. After a few flippant answers I said… “I want a signed copy of Dragonsdawn”. And I really did want it. The moment it came out of my mouth, I knew that I was hoping more than anything to get that as a gift. And I did…but even better…my wife then bought me tickets to DragonCon on the off chance that Ms. McCaffery might be there. (Sadly, she was not, but Dragonsdawn…my old beat-up paperback copy…went anyway, and held a place of pride among my corsets and hats.)

So, again I say, it is a sadder world now…less gold and bronze and brown and blue and green…now that my favorite author is gone. BUT my children will know her name, they will fall asleep with the sound of mommy’s voice reading words that shaped her world and impacted her life and touched her soul.


P.S. Found this quote on Wikipedia as I was doing research which just seals the deal for me:

“I was so tired of all the weak women screaming in the corner while their boyfriends were beating off the aliens. I wouldn’t have been—I’d’ve been in there swinging with something or kicking them as hard as I could.” –Anne McCaffrey

I hope always to be the kind of woman that would be kicking aliens as hard as I could!


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