Exploring the Southern Continent

The Renegades Of Pern (The Dragon Books) by Anne McCaffrey

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Series: Pern (Chronological Order) #22Pern #10 / Literary Awards: SFBC Award (1990)

Renegades of Pern, published in 1989, starts a decade before the events of Dragonflight and covers the time up to Dragondrums fairly quickly. We get glimpses of Piemur, but the main storyline is otherwise just touched upon briefly here and there and shown through different POVs. Knowing the first two trilogies will give context, I recommend reading those first anyhow, although the first trilogy has a seriously dated tone and attitude.

I really liked Jayge‘s storyline, even though…

He had found her! He loved her! He would help her. The Weyrs and the Holds be damned. Hold and Weyr could not provide her with safety. He could and would!

Page 288

The dreaded instalove makes an appearance…

Apparently Jayge himself will also keep making appearances in:

Looking forward to that!

The first half of the book has a rather episodic feel to it, with different POVs in every chapter. I figured that I was reading one of these in-between books one doesn‘t really need. 

However, by the middle of the book many of those strands came together. It got pretty interesting and added new things to the overarching story of the world of Pern. We cover not just new, but also important ground. I really enjoyed myself, especially when we started to spend serious time on the Southern Continent, which is always fun.

Not to be skipped when making your way through the Dragonriders of Pern!


Pern Re-read
I started a re-read of the series in 2020/2021 and plan to read all the available main novels that I have not read yet.
I am deleting, as I progress through the series, mostly in publication order. I am not too fussed about the order for the rereads, so I will diverge where it seems practical…

Publication Order — main novels / next
* 1991 – All The Weyrs of Pern
* 1994 – The Dolphins of Pern
* 1998 – The Masterharper of Pern
* 2001 – The Skies of Pern
* 2003 – Dragon’s Kin
* 2005 – Dragonsblood
* 2006 – Dragon’s Fire
* 2007 – Dragon Harper
* 2008 – Dragonheart
* 2010 – Dragongirl
* 2011 – Dragon’s Time
* 2012 – Sky Dragons

Pern Wiki mainpage: https://pern.fandom.com/wiki/Main_Page

Rehashed dragons

Nerilka’s Story & The Coelura (The Dragon Books Book 8) by Anne McCaffrey

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Nerilkas’s Story (176 pages)

Nerilka is a minor character in the novel Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern. This is her story, running parallel to the story told in the main book. Same as Moreta, I read this once in the late 80s or 90s and it was not a favourite. I recommend reading Nerilka after Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern, as it really feels like a companion novel and will make a lot more sense like that.

Nerilka tells her story in the first person and at the beginning is at times a fairly unemotional omnipresent narrator, as McCaffrey moves over the main points of the know plot from Moreta‘s book quite quickly. Some dialogue is even taken verbatim from that book, seen from a different point of view and narrator. By Chapter 6, around a third into this novel (novelette?) we finally start to cover more new ground.

Fairly simple, mostly a re-hash, too unemotional. It was ok, but if you are reading this series you can safely give this a pass. You won‘t miss much.


Pern Re-read
I started a re-read of the series in 2020/2021 and plan to read all the available main novels that I have not read yet.
I am deleting, as I progress through the series, mostly in publication order. I am not too fussed about the order for the rereads, so I will diverge where it seems practical…

Publication Order — main novels / next
* 1989 – The Renegades of Pern
* 1991 – All The Weyrs of Pern
* 1994 – The Dolphins of Pern
* 1998 – The Masterharper of Pern
* 2001 – The Skies of Pern
* 2003 – Dragon’s Kin
* 2005 – Dragonsblood
* 2006 – Dragon’s Fire
* 2007 – Dragon Harper
* 2008 – Dragonheart
* 2010 – Dragongirl
* 2011 – Dragon’s Time
* 2012 – Sky Dragons


The Coelura

This novelette is not related to the Dragonriders of Pern. No idea why it was combined with Nerilka‘s Story. I read the start, skimmed a little and read the ending. Not interested at the moment. Maybe I‘ll read it properly another time.

Moreta‘s Ride

Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern (Pern, #7) by Anne McCaffrey

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is the origin story of the ballad of Moreta‘s Ride, known from the books of the main timeline. An epidemic has hit Pern, the death toll is high. The search for a cure if frantic.

I think I have read this book maybe once, back in the late 80s or 90s. Back then I definitely didn‘t pick up on all those gay dragonriders or the family dynamics in the Weyrs. This was first published in 1983 and you can tell that McCaffrey evolved somewhat since the publication of the first book of this series in 1968, Dragonflight

I really enjoyed this. The story flowed nicely, the upbeat beginning at the Gather festival was a good contrast to the later devastation. I liked the relaxed and open attitude towards sex—I don‘t mean that there was a lo of it, but rather that it was portrayed in a very mature fashion, including the accompanying emotions. No eye-roll inducing soppyness and angst, as so often happens in specfic. There are some silly political shenanigans and some of the antagonists are a bit less well fleshed out than the main characters. The personal development of Moreta and Alessan throughout the epidemic was well done. Relationships between rider and dragon are maybe explored a bit more deeply. 

And knowing what was coming at the end did not help one little bit. I was ugly crying.


Pern Re-read
I am deleting, as I progress through my re-reads. For now in publication order. However, as the books are still surprisingly pricey and I need to buy them all again, I went with a collection of three novels that follow chronologically (On Dragonwings)… with the re-reads I am not too fussed about the order, so I will diverge where it seems practical…

Publication Order — main novels
* 1984 – Nerilka’s Story
* 1989 – The Renegades of Pern
* 1991 – All The Weyrs of Pern
* 1994 – The Dolphins of Pern
* 1998 – The Masterharper of Pern
* 2001 – The Skies of Pern
* 2003 – Dragon’s Kin
* 2005 – Dragonsblood
* 2006 – Dragon’s Fire
* 2007 – Dragon Harper
* 2008 – Dragonheart
* 2010 – Dragongirl
* 2011 – Dragon’s Time
* 2012 – Sky Dragons

Top Ten Tuesday — Adjective In the Title

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

http://www.thatartsyreadergirl.com/top-ten-tuesday/

This week‘s topic / March 22: Books With an Adjective In the Title

Tricky topic. Lets see what I can did up on my shelf. For variety‘s sake I‘ll start with the books I added to my shelves last and work backwards…

Under Fortunate Stars by Ren Hutchings — my latest NetGalley addition: Two Ships. One Chance To Save The Future. Fleeing the final days of the generations-long war with the alien Felen, smuggler Jereth Keeven’s freighter the Jonah breaks down in a strange rift in deep space

The Art of Cursive Penmanship: A Personal Handwriting Program for Adults by Michael R. Sull — A practice guide to improve one‘s handwriting. We start with a discourse on the history and technicalities of handwriting. There is instructions on the correct sitting posture, how to place the paper, how to use your writing implement, on fountain pens and so on. Chapter 5 is the beginning of the practical part. That‘s roughly where I am right now. Haven‘t started with the exercises yet…

Ancestral Night (White Space, #1) by Elizabeth Bear — not quite sure why I added this one to my stack: A space salvager and her partner make the discovery of a lifetime that just might change the universe in this wild, big-ideas space opera from multi award-winning author Elizabeth Bear.

Dying Earths: Sixteen Stories from the Ends of Times by Sue Burke and others — sounds depressing, but I want to read Sue Burke‘s story: The writers and contributors to the little corner of the web called SFFWorld.com have brought together a collection of stories about a dying Earth. 

Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes — this was a buddy read that I skipped. Everybody really liked it, so I got it after all: Titanic meets The Shining in S.A. Barnes’ Dead Silence, a SF horror novel in which a woman and her crew board a decades-lost luxury cruiser and find the wreckage of a nightmare that hasn’t yet ended.

An Easy Job by Carrie Vaughn — short story, read it already… Carrie Vaughn is worth mentioning again.

The Black Coast (The God-King Chronicles, #1) by Mike Brooks — another buddy read that I skipped and my reading buddies all loved it: When the citizens of Black Keep see ships on the horizon, terror takes them because they know who is coming: for generations, the keep has been raided by the fearsome clanspeople of Tjakorsha. Saddling their war dragons, Black Keep’s warriors rush to defend their home only to discover that the clanspeople have not come to pillage at all. Driven from their own land by a daemonic despot who prophesises the end of the world, the raiders come in search of a new home . . .

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim — I like the original fairytale and the cover is pretty, so I couldn‘t resist: Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control.

Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days by Alastair Reynolds — two novelettes set in Revelation Space. And the blurb of one of them is something aquatic. I had to get it: In the seas of Turquoise live the Pattern Jugglers, the amorphous, aquatic organisms capable of preserving the memories of any human swimmer who joins their collective consciousness. Naqi Okpik devoted her life to studying these creatures—and paid a high price for swimming among them. 

Digital Divide (Rachel Peng, #1) by K.B. Spangler — not quite sure why I picked this one. Genre bender with cyborgs: Rachel Peng misses the Army. Her old life in Criminal Investigation Command hadn’t been easy, but she had enjoyed it. Now, as the first cyborg liaison to the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police, Rachel is usually either bored senseless or is fighting off harassment from her coworkers.

Yes, not 100% certain that those are all adjectives… *shrugs*

What interesting reads have you added to your shelves recently?

My January 2022

And the first month of the year is over already! Here is what read, listened to and watched…

Activation Degradation ★★★★☆, audio, SF, not Murderbot, just ignore that. Different take on robots/cyborgs/AI.
Cursed ★★★★½, Alex Verus #2, ebook, UF, wizards in London battle it out, good fun.
Black Powder War ★★★☆☆, Temeraire #3, ebook, Fantasy, the way back from China to Europe over land, with stopovers in Istanbul and Prussia, set in 1806.
– Fruiting Bodies ★★★★★, short story, SF Horror, a little creepy.
– Life on Earth ★★★★☆, audio, TBR pile, David Attenborough narrates his book, natural history.
– The Sweet Rowan ★★★★¼, ebook, TBR, sweet Regency romance, set in Scotland, with a wee bit of magic.
– Saga #55 ★★★★☆, eComic, SF, finally back after three years of waiting.
– The Marrow Thieves ★★★☆☆, ebook, TBR, dystopian YA set in Canada. People have lost the power to dream, except for indigenous people, who are hunted for a cure.
– Tietjen auf Tour: Warum Camping mich glücklich macht, paper, DNF after 84 pages reading and skimming to 150 pages / 55%. Travel anecdotes, nice enough, but very repetitive.

Still reading, carry over into February:
Fire and Ice: The Volcanoes of the Solar System, audio. Fascinating!

Specfic Movies & TV watched:
– The Expanse, S6, Ep. 3-6 ★★★★☆ Season finished. They went off script quite a bit. Not sure yet how much I liked this.
– Foundation, S1, Ep. 4-10 ★★★★★ Season finished. Excellent!
– Venom ★★★¾☆ Entertaining and a little too silly.
– Kingdom, S1, Ep. 1-3 ★★★☆☆ Korean zombie series in a historical setting. Unintentionally funny at times. Different. The people in this have the survival instincts of gnats.

Some StoryGraph statistics:

(yes, the last and first page counts are different, I updates something in between screen shooting the stats… 😝)

China, the Golden Horn and Prussia on dragon‘s wings

Black Powder War (Temeraire, #3) by Naomi Novik

Rating: 3 out of 5.

New York Times bestselling Temeraire series that started with the beloved His Majesty’s Dragon which has won fans of Napoleonic-era military history, Anne McCaffrey’s Pern novels, and Patrick O’Brian’s seafaring adventures.

From the book blurb

The story picks up with Laurence, Temeraire and their crew still in China, after the events of book #2. They receive new orders and must make haste towards Istanbul, where they meet with unexpected problems. All the while Napoleon‘s war with Prussia is heating up.

I liked the plot very much. It was too much expositional writing for my taste though. I skimmed quite a bit of the denser text from the middle onwards. When there is action, it is very well written. I liked their trek to Istanbul and the last few chapters the most. 

The feral dragons were precious. The dragons go through a much more interesting development than any of the human characters in this book.

I know this is based on the Napoleonic period. I still wouldn’t have minded if the author had left out the institutionalized racism. 

Will I read the next book? Probably not. Books 2 & 3 were ok, not more.

New year, new opportunities…

So, I spent most of today sorting my reading shelves and looking through possible challenges and whatnot. This is what I came up with…

Planned reading for January:
– Buddy Read Cursed, Alex Verus #2, ebook, started today and made it to chapter 2.
– Buddy Read Black Powder War, Temeraire #3, ebook. I will pick this up after the above. More dragons!
– Saga #55, eComic, pre-ordered, pub date Jan 26. I can‘t possibly wait for the collected volume, after waiting for this since they went into their extended hiatus in 2018!

Also reading / ongoing:
– Life on Earth, audio, narrated by David Attenborough. I made it to chapter 9, all about birds of paradise. Fun chapter, but even so I feel a bit bored by this book.


I settled on a TBR Challenge for 2022 for the 217 owned books currently on my physical and digital shelves:

This reading challenge is for folks who have an obnoxiously large TBR (over 100 books) and need a kick in the pants to get it whittled down. These prompts will help you randomly select 24 books (2 for each month) from your TBR in the hopes that you pick up books you keep forgetting about or putting off. 

RULES:
1. You must start AND finish each book in 2022.  
2. A DNF still counts! The purpose of the challenge is to get you to at least try reading some books you might not otherwise pick up.
3.  Audiobooks count!
4. You must use a random number generator for each prompt. Here is an example of one you can use, but you can use any random number generator of your choice. 
5. You must use the first number that is generated every time you select a book for a prompt. 

Here is what I got from that numbers generator and my owned-books-shelf over at Goodreads:

1. January: Book 1 
Using the default order of the books on your spreadsheet (or my sorted-by-numbers GR list…), generate a random number from 1 to the number of books on your TBR. Use this number to find the book on the corresponding row in your spreadsheet.

– January #1 The Sweet Rowan

2. January: Book 2 (126 books added)
Sort your TBR by date added in ASCENDING order. Generate a random number from 1 to 100 and choose the book on the corresponding row. 

– January #2 The Marrow Thieves

I just realized that I didn‘t just pick between 1 and 100, but between 1 and all of my owned books. Never mind, not doing it again. So, we‘ll see how long I can keep up with this challenge!


And then there is my Pern Re-read:
I am deleting, as I progress through my re-reads. I made a nice dent in my list in December. Here is what‘s left! I probably won‘t get to the next one until February though, looking at my above plans.

Publication Order
* 1983 – Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern — part of On Dragonwings
* 1984 – Nerilka’s Story
* 1989 – The Renegades of Pern
* 1991 – All The Weyrs of Pern
* 1994 – The Dolphins of Pern
* 1998 – The Masterharper of Pern
* 2001 – The Skies of Pern
* 2003 – Dragon’s Kin
* 2005 – Dragonsblood
* 2006 – Dragon’s Fire
* 2007 – Dragon Harper
* 2008 – Dragonheart
* 2010 – Dragongirl
* 2011 – Dragon’s Time
* 2012 – Sky Dragons

I should not run out of ideas of what to read next, what do you think?

Last review of 2021, on dragon wings…

Dragonseye by Anne McCaffrey

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pern (Publishing Order) #14Pern (Chronological Order) #3

“The First Pass of Thread lasted nearly fifty years, and what scientific information the colonists were able to gather indicated that Thread would be a cyclic problem, occurring every 250 years as the path of the wanderer once again approached Pern.

This is what happened 257 years later.“

From the prologue

Dragonsdawn is the first book of the series, if you read in chronological order, followed by The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall, a collection of short stories. Dragonseye follows as book #3 (chronologically), set after the longer period of 250 years with no Threadfall. 

I am not 100% certain, but I think I have not read this one before. I do like the characters and the more serious tone, although the political shenanigans are a bit too drawn out. The stories of the portrait artist and the green rider were especially nice, as well as the storyline with the gay couple. The writing felt noticeably more modern—the book was published nearly 30 years after the first book of the series, which also resulted in stronger female characters. I am happy that I finally read this.

“For two centuries they had waited for this moment: centuries of training and lives lived so that dragons—and riders—would be here, right now, waiting to defend Pern.“

And so the Second Pass commences!

Just as an aside, Anne McCaffrey recommended reading her series in publication order. I tend to agree, as you start with the main storyline that way and the journey of discovery.

How the Dragonriders of Pern came to life…

Dragonsdawn by Anne McCaffrey

Pern (Chronological Order) #1Pern #9

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Pern Colonial Expedition had reached the most exciting moment of its fifteen-year voyage: the three colony ships, the Yokohama, the Bahrain, and the Buenos Aires were finally approaching their destination.

The story of how it all started. Three colony ships reach the planet of Pern, the colonists settle and all seems to be going well—until the first time deadly thread falls from the skies.

I read this shortly after it had been published in 1988 and then again around 2004. However, I didn‘t remember any of the plot. I knew the general storyline, but didn‘t recall any details. 

I could have done without the conspiracy. It would have been fine for me if McCaffrey had simply concentrated on the settlers‘ struggles to survive and establish their colony. However, that drama lead to one of the most exciting and emotional sequences in the book, so I shouldn‘t complain.

It‘s also a pity that McCaffrey is so conservative regarding gender roles. There are heroic women that fly shuttles and fight thread, but my general impression was that they were the unusual ones. Generally women and men here follow gender stereotypes that feel outdated. And there is an angry guy again, shaking a woman. What is it with the shaking of women?

On the plus side the book is filled with a plethora of unusual vocabulary that I had to look up. Very educational. Beragged (is that really a word or did she make that up?), vituperative, bollixed, primipara, carborundum, cadged… And I rediscovered the Panspermia theory of Hoyle and Wickramansingh.

Despite my misgivings I actually enjoyed myself. There was a complex plot or rather several overlapping plots with good pacing. I never felt bored or lacked action. I liked the main characters and there was just enough character development for them to stay interesting. I adored the dragons. This was a nice backstory to the story arcs of the major books with Lessa, Robinton and Co.


Review from 2004:

This is a re-read, I read it when it was first published, in 1988. 

Not set at the same time as most of the other Pern novels. Instead this is set in the time of the colonists coming to Pern from Earth a long time before that. A bit more Sci-Fi than the others. You find out how the dragons came to be and the dragonriders of Pern, why the dawn sisters are up in the night sky and you live through the founding of Landing – the site where much later Aivas is re-discovered. Some action, some drama and intrigue, something to laugh, something to cry – the usual reliable and entertaining Anne McCaffrey.

Harper Hall continued

Dragonsinger: Harper Of Pern (Pern: Harper Hall series)
by Anne McCaffrey

As a teenager in the 80s I read this many, many times. The Harper trilogy books belonged to my favourite books in that decade, together with The White Dragon. Menolly has always been my favourite character, besides Robinton.

This book picks up right after Dragonsong and I recommend reading them back to back. Menolly arrives at the Harper Hall and learns what it means to be a harper. She makes friends and enemies and finds her place in the world of Pern.

Next and final book in the Harper Hall trilogy is Dragondrums. This one tells the story of Piemur‘s coming of age.