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Jan 10

Flashback Friday…Dragonflight

I’ve decided that in honor of all the Throwback Thursday things people have been doing online, I’m going to begin a Flashback Friday post where I review a novel I read back when I was a child. Sort of a mix of book review and a throwback.

Dragonflight

Dragonflight / Anne McCaffrey

One of the first SF/F novels I ever read as a child was Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey. I discovered this book through my friend, Melissa, whose bookshelves overflowed with a wide variety of science fiction and fantasy. I was still bored in the land of classic Nancy Drew and other generic YA novels…and I say “bored” because that is what I was. Bored. The books didn’t challenge me. They didn’t lead me to question the world around me or ponder the meaning of life (42!).

Not that Dragonflight is the most thought-provoking novel–it’s definitely a novel of its time–but for me, it opened a doorway into a broader world. Published in 1968 by Ballantine Books, it was part of a set of novellas that led to Anne McCaffrey being the first woman to win a Hugo. It is the first of 24 Pern novels, and the first one I read.

While fairly juvenile in its character development (not to mention chauvinistic in places), it was my first real venture into fantasy. Reading this was so fun, I spent the summer of my 6th grade year writing a 400 page novel that honestly, was fan-fiction. My younger self thought I was being revolutionary in writing new adventures involving telepathic, teleporting dragons, but it was fan-fiction for sure. (Those who’ve read Pern novels will get this: In my first novel, instead of Ruatha Hold (from Pern), I had the city of Routh. Fan-fiction. Yep.)

Despite my rough venture into writing, the joy of writing such a novel is what spurred me into a career as a writer. I continued writing pseudo-Pern until high school, when an awesome computer science teacher noticed my gift for words. When Linda Donahue wasn’t teaching, she was writing SF/F. In joining her critique group and attending a few conferences, I didn’t just learn how to write, but I learned to find my own voice. (She’s an amazing writer, by the way!)

I also learned the unfortunate lesson about who to trust when I teamed up with an adult named Scott to co-write a novel. He took the novel and ran once we were finished. I didn’t let this set-back stop me. The writing continued.

Twenty-four years later, I am still writing. Still learning. And still remembering the novel that began it all.
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Want to read other Flashback Fridays? Click here to see the list in this series.

About the author

Raven Oak

Bestselling science fiction & fantasy author Raven Oak is best known for Amaskan’s Blood, Class-M Exile, and the collection Joy to the Worlds: Mysterious Speculative Fiction for the Holidays.

She spent most of her K-12 education doodling stories and 500 page monstrosities that are forever locked away in a filing cabinet. When she’s not writing, she’s getting her game on, enjoying cartography, or staring at the ocean.

She lives in Seattle, WA with her husband, and their three kitties who enjoy lounging across the keyboard when writing deadlines approach.

4 comments
Eric Souza
Eric Souza

I love this idea. The books I read as a child left such an impression, and revisiting them to post comments really appeals. Great post!

kaonevar
kaonevar moderator

@Eric Souza Child readers tend to become lifelong readers. Some of them even become writers. ;) Instead of just old photos a la Throwback-Thursday on Facebook, I wanted to go for a throwback of a different sort and dig deeper into why I read and write. :)

Tony Mc
Tony Mc

I *loved* this book/series. Just got goosebumps now remembering it. It was a strong favorite in my teen years. And I have nearly all of the paperbacks and some hardbacks still. :)

kaonevar
kaonevar moderator

Me too. I actually have all of her books in print, even the non-SF/F ones. Oldies but goodies for sure.

Trackbacks

  1. […] ← Flashback Friday…Dragonflight […]

  2. […] 7th grade that I would pick this book up again—this time after I’d already long since discovered Pern and other SF/F […]

  3. […] all of fantasy literature. I recall finding that statement rather dubious, especially having read Anne McCaffrey, but I was willing to give it a […]

  4. […] Not only did my land possess dragons out of Anne McCaffrey’s Pern, but now it held dwarves and elves as well. Read more about that here: http://www.ravenoak.net/flashback-friday-the-hobbit/%5B…%5D

  5. […] space explorers and captains. They could be leaders. (You can read more about her influence on me here, in my first Flashback […]

  6. […] you’ve read my Flashback Friday on Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey or my Book Cover Throwback on Michael Whelan‘s cover for […]

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