Anne Inez McCaffrey (1926 – 2011) was an American-Irish writer known for the Dragonriders of Pern science fiction series. She was the first woman to win a Hugo Award for fiction (Best Novella, “Weyr Search”, 1968) and the first to win a Nebula Award (Best Novella, “Dragonrider”, 1969). Her 1978 novel The White Dragon became one of the first science-fiction books to appear on the New York Times Best Seller list.
In 2005 the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America named McCaffrey its 22nd Grand Master, an annual award to living writers of fantasy and science fiction. She was inducted by the Science Fiction Hall of Fame on 17 June 2006. She also received the Robert A. Heinlein Award for her work in 2007.
Anne McCaffrey‘s best-known works are the Dragonriders of Pern series. After colonists from Earth make a decades-long journey to a new planet (which they name ‘Pern’, from the report of the initial exploration of the planet. Pern is an acronym for “Parallels Earth, Resources Negligible”), a volcanic eruption and an extra-planetary threat called Thread force the original colonists to retreat into caves in the northern hemisphere of the planet, abandoning most of their advanced technology in the process. Adopting an agrarian lifestyle, the survivors of the original expedition create genetically-engineered ‘dragons’ from a native species of reptiles, and use them to fight back the encroaching thread.
The first Pern story, “Weyr Search”, was published in 1967 by John W. Campbell in Analog Science Fiction and Fact. It won the 1968 Hugo Award for best novella, voted by participants in the annual World Science Fiction Convention. The second Pern story, “Dragonrider”, won the 1969 Nebula Award for best novella, voted annually by the Science Fiction Writers of America. Thus she was the first woman to win a Hugo for fiction and the first to win a Nebula.
“Weyr Search” covers the recruitment of a young woman, Lessa, to establish a telepathic bond with a queen dragon at its hatching, thus becoming a dragonrider and the leader of a Weyr community. “Dragonrider” explores the growth of the queen dragon Ramoth, and the training of Lessa and Ramoth. Editor Campbell requested “to see dragons fighting thread [the menace from space]”, and also suggested time travel; Anne McCaffrey incorporated both suggestions. The third story, “Crack Dust, Black Dust”, was not separately published, but the first Pern novel (Dragonflight, published by Ballantine Books in 1968) was a fix-up of all three.
Agent Virginia Kidd and editor Betty Ballantine provided advice and assistance for its sequel Dragonquest. It was almost complete (and the contract for another sequel signed) before the 1970 move to Ireland. Both Ballantine and fellow writer Andre Norton made suggestions for the mutant white dragon.
The White Dragon was released with new editions of the first two Pern books, with cover art illustrated by Michael Whelan. It was the first science-fiction book by a woman on the New York Times best-seller list, and the cover painting is still in print from Whelan. The artists share credit for their career breakthroughs.
Anne McCaffrey – First Editions Identification Guide
Note: This list only includes works published prior to 1977.
|Year||Title||Publisher||First edition/Printing Identification Points|
|1969||DECISION AT DOONA||New York: Ballantine Books, ||Wrappers. First Printing: April, 1969 on © page. Ballantine Science Fiction 01576 (75¢). |
ALSO: [London]: Rapp + Whiting, . Boards. First published in Great Britain in 1970 on © page. First hardcover edition.
|1968||DRAGONFLIGHT||New York: Ballantine Books, ||Wrappers. First Printing: July, 1968 on © page. Ballantine Science Fiction U6124 (75¢). |
ALSO: New York: Walker and Company, . Boards. Published in the United States of America in 1969 on © page.
|1971||DRAGON QUEST||New York and London: Ballantine Books, ||Wrappers. First Printing: May, 1971 on © page. Ballantine Books Fantasy Adventure 02245-9-095 (95¢). |
ALSO: [London]: Rapp + Whiting/Andre Deutsch, . Boards. First published 1973 on © page. First hardcover edition.
|1977||DRAGONSINGER||New York: Atheneum, 1977||First edition so stated on © page.|
|1976||DRAGONSONG||New York: Atheneum, 1976||First edition so stated on © page. |
ALSO: London: Sidgwick & Jackson, . Boards. First published in Great Britain in 1976 on © page.
Note: Printed from plates of the Atheneum edition, but drops author's autobiographical sketch appearing on page .
|1977||GET OFF THE UNICORN||New York: Ballantine Books, ||Wrappers. First Edition: June 1977 on © page. Ballantine 25666 ($1.75).|
|1975||THE KILTERMAN LEGACY||[New York]: A Dell Book, ||Wrappers. First printing-December, 1975 on © page. Dell 7195 ($1.25). |
ALSO: [London]: Millington, . Boards. First published in Great Britain in 1976 ... on © page. First hardcover edition.
|1971||THE MARK OF MERLIN||[New York]: A Dell Book, ||Wrappers. First printing-May, 1971 on © page. Dell 5466 (75¢). |
ALSO: [London]: Millington, . Boards. First published in Great Britain in 1977 on © page. First hardcover edition.
|1967||RESTOREE||New York: Ballantine Books, ||Wrappers. First printing: September, 1967 on © page. A Ballantine Science Fiction Original U6108 (75¢). |
ALSO: London: Rapp & Whiting, . Boards. No statement of printing on © page. First hardcover edition.
|1971||RING OF FEAR||[New York]: A Dell Book, ||Wrappers. First printing-November 1971 on © page. Dell 7445 (75¢).|
|1969||THE SHIP WHO SANG||New York: Walker and Company, ||Boards. Published in the United States of America in 1969 ... on © page.|
|1975||A TIME WHEN||[Cambridge, Massachusetts]: Nesfa Press, ||820 copies signed by the author and illustrator Bonnie Dalzell. Two issues, no priority: |
|1973||TO RIDE PEGASUS||New York: Ballantine Books, ||Wrappers. First Printing: August, 1973 on © page. Ballantine Books 23417-Q-125 ($1.25). |
ALSO: London: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd, , Boards. First published in Great Britain 1974 on © page. First hardcover edition.
Anne McCaffrey – First Printing Dust Jacket Identification Points
Gallery of First state Dust Jackets of McCaffrey’s works. Only includes the first appearance in book form. Either the UK or US edition and does not include later printings.
- L. W. Currey, Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors: A Bibliography of First Printings of Their Fiction and Selected Nonfiction.