Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Little Corner of Geek

I'd like to think everybody has that thing they get all geeked up about.  Star Wars, Twilight, Harry Potter.  World of Warcraft.  For me, it's a fictional place called Pern.

I was hooked on Pern when, in 6th grade, we read the first book in a trilogy, Dragonsong.  The main character, Menolly, was the daughter of a craftsman in the Fishcrafthall.  Her true passion and talent, however, was for music.  When she sliced her hand gutting fish, her mother - an expert healer - purposely stitched it up incorrectly to prevent Menolly from becoming a harper (musician).

Menolly lives on a planet called Pern, where the biggest threat to life comes in the form of Thread, which falls from the sky like rain and kills any living thing it touches.  The only thing which can kill Thread is flame, and the most effective warriors against it are dragons.  Each dragon has a rider on whom they've impressed, or bonded telepathically.  The political structure of the Weyrs (groups of dragons and their riders) is as ornate as it is interesting, as is the manner in which the Weyrs fit into the overall structure of Pern.

Each citizen of Pern belongs either to a Weyr, to a Hold, or to a Crafthall.  Each Hold (somewhat like a city) has its own Lord, or governing official.  The Holds pay a tithe to the Weyrs for protection from Thread.  The Crafthalls train professionals in areas such as harpers, fishers, farmers, miners, and printers.  These craftsmen are then assigned to various Holds to carry out the duties which they've learned.  The Hold supports the craftsmen in their area.

There are over 25 books set on Pern in various periods of the planet's history.  I've read them all, many more than once.  Even now as I think of it, I am a bit mentally lost on Pern.  I remember characters like Moretta who risked her life to go back in time to bring forward several Weyrs to save Pern when Thread unexpectedly returns.  That I remember any detail at all is a testament to how much I love these books.  Ask me the name of the characters of the book I finished earlier this week, and I likely can't tell you.

So why am I getting my geek on today?  Anne McCaffrey, my favorite author of all time and creator of Pern, passed away at the age of 85.  It's just kind of weird.  I never really thought of her as a person before.  Just a name to spout in answer to the frequently asked question.

In tribute, I am going to read a book of hers that I've not yet read, The Ship Who Sang.  It isn't a Pern book, so I've not yet come across it.  But I owe to Anne McCaffrey my early love of science fiction and fantasy, and I want to do something to honor her legacy.

Thank you, Anne McCaffrey, for creating my little corner of geek.

Such a geek am I that I'm worried those of you not familiar with Pern will think the things on the cover of Dragonsong with Menolly are dragons.  They aren't.  They're firelizzards.  Just sayin'.


Unknown said...

While I don't share your love of Anne McCaffrey, I can understand being geeky about a book, as you well know. Most recently my geekiness has been focused on the Eragon Series entitled the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paloni. His latest book (which I have if you want to borrow) inpired me to make my interpretation of Brisingr, the main character's sword.

coryshay said...

Loved that book in 6th grade! I've thought about it a lot since then but I had no idea there were 25 books! Better get crackin'!