Monday, February 9, 2015

Dragonholder: The Life and Dreams (So Far) of Anne McCaffrey by Todd McCaffrey

Release Date: December 23, 2014
Publisher: Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Author Website:

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Anne McCaffrey thrilled thousands with her tales of adventure and dragons through her many stories and novels. Many of them award-winning, they were her world away from the trappings of normal life - although many times her life wasn't the type of normal everyone expected. From her precocious childhood to the first book sold, the book followed her rise to fame and the thought process behind bringing her dragons to life.

Included in the book were introductions from both Anne and Todd, the most recent written in 2014. Along with highlights from the many stories and books written by Anne, her son related special moments that helped to shape the worlds and characters in her writing. 

Having grown up reading many of Anne McCaffrey's works, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to read this novel when offered at NetGalley. Nowadays there are a lot of books which delve into the world of dragons and magic, but back when Anne first began to create the world of Pern and its many inhabitants, there weren't many. Very few Science Fiction writers who created such worlds were women, putting Anne ahead of the game in many respects. This book chronicled much of Anne's life from her parents' beginnings to her childhood to nearly the end of her many mortal years.

While a great deal of the novel's focus was on Anne and her written works, there were moments when her family, friends and even pets shared the spotlight with her. It was easy to forget how small the Science Fiction community was when it first began to gain traction. Many of the big names such as Isaac Asimov, Robert Silverberg, David Gerrold, and others became a family of sorts as they met at various conventions over the years. This second family helped sustain Anne during some of the rough years when the words refused to be put on the pages. Anne's marriage and children were ever present in the book, shaping and molding many of the characters or storylines within her books.

From the first paragraph of the introduction, it was made clear that this book was more of a scrapbook of Anne's life than a cut-and-dry type of biography or memoir. There wasn't a lot of pages in the book, but each page was filled with intimate insights into her life. Pictures helped to put faces to names that were mentioned throughout the entire book. I didn't find a rise or fall to the pacing of the book because it was clear that this was one to have a steady pace from the very beginning of the book. In fact the anecdotes and revealing looks into her home life helped to keep the story moving, whether they were about Anne, her children or a number of different pets they had throughout their lives.

Throughout the entire book, it was plain to see that much of Anne's life could have mirrored that of many struggling writers in the beginning of their careers. To see her go through much of the same ups and downs made her easier to relate to in my eyes. It was also very interesting to see how the Science Fiction community grew on both sides of the pond, especially once Anne moved to Ireland. I liked the little inside jokes and special memories that were also shared in this book. No matter how much or little you know about her written books, this memoir helped to explain the origins and the journey to complete the world of Pern as it's known today. If you're a fan of Anne McCaffrey or a curious fan of Science Fiction writers, this is a delightful memoir that should be on your reading list.

Dragonholder: The Life and Dreams (So Far) of Anne McCaffrey by Todd McCaffrey is currently available at many online retailers and local bookstores. It can be purchased in hardcover, paperwork and Kindle editions. The following link is for the book's page at Amazon.
Dragonholder: The Life and Dreams (So Far) of Anne McCaffrey by Todd McCaffrey

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