The beautiful planet Pern seemed a paradise to its new colonists until unimaginable terror turned it into hell Suddenly deadly spores were falling like silver threads from the sky, devouring everything and everyone in their path It began to look as if the colony, cut off from Earth and lacking the resources to combat the menace, was doomed.Then some of the colonists noticed that the small, dragonlike lizards that inhabited their new world were joining the fight against Thread, breathing fire on it and teleporting to safety If only, they thought, the dragonets were big enough for a human to ride and intelligent enough to work as a team with a riderAnd so they set their most talented geneticist to work to create the creatures Pern so desperately needed Dragons I think this is my favorite of all the Pern books It s especially satisfying to read after the original trilogy it explains how things got they way they did It s fascinating to reflect on what would cause a high technology, space travelling society to revert to a feudalistic state. This is one of my all time favorite Pern novels It tells the story of how people came to Pern to colonize the planet, how the first appearance of Thread almost destroyed them and the measures they took to survive It is a wonderful story that includes the creation of the Dragons from the fire lizards, some of the top people that locations were named after, and a view of how a lot of the culture and traditions began I love the science that is included in this book, but I don t think it is so science y that most people would be overwhelmed It has just enough to set the stage for people coming from an advanced technological society to a agrarian lifestyle, and to fill out the background of the world of Pern and what they discover about Thread.I guess I like it so much because it fills in so many little holes Reading the entire Pern series chronologically, the careful reader will find some holes and inconsistencies in the story However, the story itself is so intriguing, the characters so diverse and yet at heart so human, that I just gloss over them and enjoy the story as it is I have most of the series and it is one of my favorite fallback series when I need to grab a book real quick. Okay, yeah, I still love this one I have to not think about science or villain logic or much of anything at all, but I love this book I m still not sure how Pernese society got from here to what we see in Lessa s time other than twenty five hundred years of increasingly feudal society, but damn , but a lot of the, hm, cultural issues I have upon adult rereadings of the Pern books women are only good for breeding except in rare cases and even if they re kind of useful we hate it when they get uppity I m looking at you Mirrim Bloodlines are everything and certain people dragons are of higher rank by birthright and natural order I think we re all white are much less prevalent in this book or are even explicitly negated I did love how everyone in the crazy early utopia years is explicitly from varied originating cultures Avril Bitra is still the dumbest villain I ve run across in a long time seriously why would she come to Pern in the first place , and I do not understand why the bad guys were given names of Holds that exist in Lessa s day Does anyone want to remember Nabhi or Bart or Avril No I m still not sure I understand Tarvi and Sallah, and Sallah s death still seems horrible and egregious and a step beyond even for Avril I still don t care about most of the other politicking that goes on.Who am I kidding I m here for the Sean and Sorka Show, and I would read about them until the herdbeasts come home Still adore them Lots. This is the story of how people came to Pern, the discovery of threadfall, and the genesis of the dragons.The first 47 pages of this book contained some of the most boring sentences that I have ever read The entire time they are on the spaceship, I didn t care I can sum up the first 47 pages for you right now A bunch of colonists get in a spaceship and fly far enough away that there is only enough fuel for it to be a one way trip As they approach Pern they start waking everybody out of hypersleep or whatever Then they land on Pern via many trips by shuttle Did that take 50 pages No, it didn t I suppose that there was character developing information in there, but it was such a snooze fest that most people are better off reading my summary and starting on page 48 Now between page 48 and the end, there are many sections of boredom, but they are interspersed with things that I care about, like fire lizards and dragons and thread Sorka and Sean saved this book from being tossed on the reject pile. Confession this one is a re read for me However, I started reading McCaffery in my teens, and I suspect I was about 20 when I read this one I figure that 20 years or so down the road still counts as reading I must say that time gives perspective I recall thoroughly enjoying McCaffery in my teens, and being entranced by her world of dragons that were than simply goad hoarding, fire breathing monsters Looking back now, I suspect that on some level, my enjoyment came out of the fact that her world was, in some ways, much simpler than my own In addition to all of the usual teenage world ending quandries, I had a fairly rough home life Growing up with alcoholics makes for a chaotic environment I had forgotten how clear cut McCaffery s world was there is very little grey in her characters, people are easily seen as either good guy or bad guy , and the bad guys motives are even fairly pure In Dragonsdawn , pure greed is the motivator for the primary bad guy, to the exclusion of all else, for another, it is simple fear The good guys are all admirable, likable people the sort you want to be friends with, and invite for dinner, not the sort whose decisions you would criticize much This sort of black and white world can be very appealing to a confused 14 16 year old who really wished she could understand the motivations of the people around her As an adult who has a much better grasp of the complexity of human nature, I m not certain how much it will continue to hold me At the outset, I had planned to re read all of the adult Pern novels largely because I think I may have missed one or two in the first pass Now, I m not so certain They do, however, give my poor tired brain a break between chapters of textbook style material Anne McCaffrey is my mom s all time favorite author, so she pushed this book onto me I knew this was not the first book in the series, but she assured me that it shouldn t matter This book takes place in the beginning of the timeline, with the people traveling to and colonizing Pern I still had a hard time getting into it There were so many characters for me to keep track of and there wasn t a whole lot happening at parts I get the feeling that those who read the other books would not have been confused as I was I had to keep taking breaks and read other books, as this book wasn t keeping my attention It s not a bad book I like the general plot and the merging of science and fantasy Also, dragons I just wished I could ve liked it. I love this book sooooo much I love Sorka and Sean so much I didn t forget that that, but it s been years and years since I read it, so I was primed to fall in love all over again I listened to it as an audiobook, which is usually something that takes me a while to get through, but I did not want to stop listening It does not entirely hold up to the test of time, though McCaffrey s non hero women aren t portrayed in the best light And the science and tech is now dated. As a child, this was one of my favourite Pern novels, and I can see why.I can also see why I don t still read Pern The strengths, as with a lot of SF, lie mainly in the ideas The excitement of interstellar colonisation, the hints at a broader future beyond the limits of the Rukbat system, the dragons, and above all the visceral horror of Thread, which at times is really skin crawling and saying skin crawling makes me think about Thread again, and now my skin s crawling When the book swings toward action, the workmanlike prose and rapid pace of development work well, as does the overwhelming, paranoia inducing concoction of infodumping and red herrings The author also deserves considerable credit for her ambition There are several loose ends and unexpected turns in the plot, a huge cast, and some bold choices in what she chose to depict such as the scene where a female POV character is giving birth, something that most genre novels keep firmly off page Above all, it s a hugely ambitious concept To take a bestselling fantasy series, and then to flash back thousands of years in time, and simultaneously flash forward hundreds of years in terms of technology and culture, to depict the far future space colonist progenitors that will become the distant past of the mediaeval fantasy world we ve come to know that s a hugely bold turn in and of itself, that allows the author to attempt to recontextualise much of what we think we know, and that allows for a sort of resonance that few books can produce as when a scene between two characters gains significance by virtue of being set in an uninhabited location that we know will eventually become one of the most important settings for the events of the other books The decision to begin shortly before the moment of initial colonisation rather than some years later allows a hugely powerful dynamic of discovery, settlement, and reconstruction as many of the colonists are scarred war veterans and indeed perhaps a third of the novel is devoted to this exploration of settlement Then there s the and this really shouldn t be a spoiler to anyone by now arrival of Thread, one of the genres greatest villains, and even terrifying when first encountered by innocent settlers who don t know what s hit them So add First Contact to Deadwood And then, of course, there has to be an attempt to fight back, with, and again no real spoiler here, the arrival of the great dragons of Pern And there are some volcanic erruptions, too add in some WWII movies and whatever your favourite volcano film is The novel extends through the gamut from utopian dream to body horror armageddon to epic triumph, and that s before you add in the multiple romantic subplots, and a couple of sinister threads no pun intended it follows a range of characters both old and young, and its events span about a decade.That s an ambitious novel, for a pulp genre book.The problem is that s an ambitious novel, for a pulp genre book McCaffrey s prose may serve the tenser moments, but she isn t able to fill the quieter moments, or structure them to avoid sagging particularly early on At times, particularly at emotional or sexual moments, and particularly in dialogue, she slips entirely and a few lines are laughably bad Her characterisation is at best cartoonish the sort of strong strokes simplification that can work well in a businesslike short story, but that ends up much too thin across a sprawling epic There are serious problems in pacing, not only with the slow beginning but also with the cramped end, and when it comes to the finale the author is boxed in by how much has already been established in the series But the underlying problem other than the author s own limitations is simply the ambition This is not the content of one book It cannot fit in one book It would probably make for a really great TV series, if done right, spread across a couple of seasons But it can t all go in one not that long novel The result is an overwhelming sense of a lack of time not only the voluminous backstory but even major events in real time have to be infodumped to force us through the whole thing in her allotted word count, and few scenes are given time to breathe or blossom No wonder characterisations are thin No wonder the prose sometimes has to bear pressure than it can withstand No wonder there s no elbow room to craft the pacing and the structure optimally which means that some sections, particularly early on, feel both rushed and slow at the same time nothing happens, and it happens at a hectic rate It s a book that a lot of epic fantasy novelists should read, because in a way it s a wonder that McCaffrey manages to squeeze as much as she does into one mid length novel a novel that has enough content to fill out entire doorstopper cycles in other hands But that doesn t necessarily mean that compressing it all into one novel was necessarily a good idea Certainly it seems to have been than this author could handle.Oh, and then there are the Problems I m not going to go into them all here It s McCaffrey Suffice to say that the pervading honestly no its not rape they all want it really obsession, while much less prominent than in some of her novels, has not gone away with at least one scene intentionally turned into a rape for absolutely no plot or character reason other than that the author seems to be unable to imagine anything being romantic if it s not also non consensual , and it underpins a shockingly regressive attitude toward women that belies the author s reputation as a feminist pioneer in the genre If anyone ever talks as though representation of women and minorities were the most important thing in fighting prejudice, they should be made to read McCaffrey a female author with intelligent female protagonists, intentionally trying to combat sexist clich s of the genre, yet whose hysterical, inept background characters, sexist worldbuilding assumptions forced domestic chores are a great and appropriate legal punishment for, and only for, female criminals Seriously And every female on the planet is expected to have than an average of 1 baby never seen or heard from again every 2 years, and if they re not pregnant by the time they reach 21 they need to worry that they re broken , stone age condemnations of female sexuality I m guessing this links into a wider network of Issues that might explain a lot about her work and strong protagonist women who invariably crave loud, violent, dominant men who will treat them like a child , all make the sexual dimension of this novel uncomfortable, and bizarre, than a lot of thoughtless male SF of the thirties and forties And this was written in 1988 The same general issues could also be raised, to a lesser extent, regarding her admirably progressive decision to give us a diverse, multiethnic and multiracial cast of characters It s all very well saying look at me, I m progressive See how many different types of people are in my story Everybody has equal value no matter who they are no really, it IS all very well, it s a breath of fresh air But representation is not the same as liberalism, and stuffing a book with a bunch of second hand tokens shorn of any real understanding and imbued with a spirit of essentialism and a baffling fondness for the word ethnic runs the risk of doing harm than good, in my opinion Now, some of these Problems are probably a large part of why the book, and the series, have so many fans, and in particular why it s always appealed to so many teenage girls In that respect, it s probably a healthier read than Twilight it may be messed up than Twilight, but it s also surely weirder and conflicted and complicated and morally contradictory than Twilight, and that s a good thing It may even be good for people to explore books like this, and for some, who are into that sort of thing, the fetishistic oddness of the novel may actually be a bonus But at the very least, it can become a dangerously distracting element in a novel that really can t afford anything less than full hearted engagement if it s to succeed at all And for many, these Problematic elements may actually be a problem.Overall, then, I think it s a frustrating novel with a great deal of potential, hamstrung by over ambitious compression and the limitations of the author, and given a rather peculiar aftertaste by the author s evident Issues.And if you want to hear what I really think about it, I have a much longer review up on my blog. Weer een geweldig boek in deze serie waarbij we helemaal teruggaan naar het begin van het verhaal Een grote groep mensen komen naar de planeet Pern omdat zij een nieuwe maatschappij willen oprichten waar meer gelet wordt op zelfredzaamheid en een minder technische manier van leven Dus veel landbouw en veeteelt Het verhaal is spannend en ook het ontstaan van de eerste draken is fijn om te lezen Een 9 maar hier een 10.