Famous fantasy novelist Anne McCaffrey is dead at the age of 85, Random House confirmed Tuesday afternoon. Anne McCaffrey was much beloved for all of her fiction works, but most especially adored for her long-lived Dragonriders of Pern series.

Born in 1926, Anne McCaffrey’s esteemed career as a fantasy writer launched in 1967 with the publication of Restoree — written as a defiant rebuttal against the stereotypical treatment of women in science fiction. McCaffrey’s most popular series was undoubtedly the Dragonriders of Pern, which featured a world inhabited by dragons and their riders fighting against an extraterrestrial danger called ‘Thread’. However, her favorite novel was The Ship Who Sang, which told the story of a disabled girl who conquers her limitations to become to mind of a starship free to fly among the stars.

“I think the best story I ever wrote was ‘The Ship Who Sang’. It still causes people to cry, including me,” McCaffrey said in an interview with Locus in 2004. “I remember reading a story — I can’t remember the name or that of the author — about a woman searching for her son’s brain, it had been used for an autopilot on an ore ship and she wanted to find it and give it surcease. And I thought what if severely disabled people were given a chance to become starships? What if they wanted to do that? I thought, ‘Hey, that would be a gorgeous idea.’”

One of the brightest memories of my young adulthood was meeting Anne McCaffrey in person at DragonCon in Atlanta years ago. She was such a spark of fire and light. When I thanked her for writing such wonderful novels that kept a young girl company during lonely times, she smiled and told me she believed that was what she was born to do.

Anne McCaffrey continued to write even as her health deteriorated, partnering with her son Todd McCaffrey to keep the Dragonriders of Pern series alive into the future. Even just a few weeks ago, McCaffrey was still corresponding with readers on her website.

According to a post by Random House, Anne McCaffrey died at her home in Ireland, surrounded by her family and beloved pets, on November 21st after suffering a stroke. She is survived by two sons and a daughter. R.I.P.


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