Anne McCaffrey, a Prolific Writer, also known as The Dragon Lady.

Anne McCaffrey (1926-2011) is one of the more prolific writers I know of.
I am mostly familiar with the “Dragonriders of Pern” series, and a part of the Acorna series.
At the Eurocon covention in Copenhagen, 2007, she was the main Guest of Honour, and the main reason I went to my first larger convention. At the reading she read from her story “The Ship Who Sang”, and that was a great convention experience. I still have to read more of the Brain Ship series, but there is so much to read/watch/listen to.
There is simply too much material to mention here, so I recommend visiting the Wiki page to get to know more about her work, but here are a few facts.
She was the first woman to win the Hugo award, voted by World Science Fiction Convention in 1968. This was with a novella of the Pern series, “Weyr Search”, later incorporated in the first Pern novel “Dragonflight”.
She was also the first woman to win the Nebula award in 1969, by the Science Fiction Writers of America. This was for her second Novella in the Pern series, “Dragonrider”, also later incorporated into the Dragonflight novel.
At the Eurocon she humorously told how she found having trouble handling the rocket shaped Hugo Award, because she found that it resembled a phallus symbol. Interesting how things have changed since then.

Also, at the convention she was very approachable at the table, and at the signing, where I got my hard cover copy of “The White Dragon” signed.

Anne McCaffrey CPH

Anne McCaffrey at Eurocon, Copenhagen 2007

This was Anne McCaffrey’s last convention, ever, and I consider myself lucky to have met the author of one of my favourite book series, before she passed beyond the Rim.
Later I will tell more of my own experience with her work, a bit about the Acorna series, and in more detail, about the Pern series.


My little contribution to the Eurocon

A family member of mine in Denmark is a young writer (my niece). It does not come from strangers, both her parents have books published.

She writes short stories in the SF and Fantasy genre – and as far as I know, she is writing on a fantasy novel. She has had a few short stories published in Denmark – in collections with other writers.

In 2004 and 2005 she won a Danish SF award in the category 17 – 20 years old writers – and in 2006 at the Eurocon in Kiev the Danish delegation made a presentation on her behalf, and she was awarded an Encouragement Award for New Writers. I had to find thet out by looking into the list of award winners, because she never told me. Imagine my surprise at seeing only two Western European names among the long list of Eastern European writers, one of them hers.

At the Eurocon 2007 she was asked to contribute an English language short story for a “Fanzine” short story collection to be released in connection with the Eurocon. Since she does not write very well in English, she asked me to assist with a translation. The story is only 6 – 7 pages long, so I got started. Not as easy as most people would think, since I wanted to translate the sense of the story, not just the words.

So there you have it – my own little contribution to the Eurocon 2007.

The book has the title “Science Fiction – The Danish Fanzine!” (Issue 15/2007)

On another note, I was talking to another participant of the ‘con and, since he had the book, I mentioned the story and he immidiately went to my young niece and asked her to sign the book. He argued that young writers should be encouraged. I should have been quick with the camera (I wasn’t), because this was a first time experience for her.

As an aside, she had another short story in a book released at the ‘con , albeit in Danish. That book is titled “Lige Under Overfladen” (Just Below the Surface) and is a collection of short stories from young European writers (not yet well known, but who knows if and when ?)

Actually I made a second contribution by taking photos at the convention and delivering 2 CDs with all pics taken on the Friday and Saturday of the convention.

A large selection of those have been published here .

Impressions from Eurocon 2007 (5)

Sunday : Anne McCaffrey and Zoran Zivkovic readings :

Anne McCaffrey chose to read the short story “The Ship Who Sang” (is the title afaik) , a beautiful and very emotional story that I had not yet heard or read. The story, she told, was written in response to the too early death of a close relative, and she told the audience that this was the first time she could read through the story without breaking down.

For me the surprise of Sunday was the reading of Zoran Zivkovic from Serbia. A BBC recording of his story about a conversation with God (though strictly speaking not quite Science Fiction) was very humorous, and I will try to get some more of his work for reading.

Finally a talk by Lene Kåberbøl, a Danish author of childrens books and fantasy books. What she said about the role of translators of stories struck a cord with me, since I have attempted such a thing myself – and know some of the difficulties of making a good translation – not of the words – but of the essence of the story.

Impressions from Eurocon 2007 (4)

Saturday (2) : More Anne McCaffrey :

An hour long Q&A session and the speech as Guest of Honour with Anne McCaffrey again showing us a *very* lively “Dragon Lady”, telling her story as an author and as a person.
I took the opportunity to get a single book signed by this excellent author : “The White Dragon” , the 3rd book of the Dragonriders of Pern series, and in my view one of the very best of the extensive series.

Also the “” had an open coffee meeting . The rest of the day – until the banquet was spent chatting along with other fans – getting to know some new people.

Since I did not have a ticket for the banquet I was watching a quite amusing film about convention goers and their quirks. The title esacapes me, but it was a BBC production.

Impressions from Eurocon 2007 (3)

Saturday :

A good lecture on the mysterious “Dark Energy” , which is thought to take up ab0ut 70 % of the Universe . Most of the remaining part of the Universe is “Dark Matter” , so all we can see of the totality is about 5 % of it . A bit scary, isn’t it ?
In the presentation we heard that two teams had – at the same time – found some surprising results during surveys of supernovas in the furthest corners of our universe. This particular type of supernova was known (or assumed) to have a rather limited range of luminousity – and a lot of light coming from them – meaning that the distance to them could be estimated with a rather good certainty. Other sources of error (such as dust clouds) could be eliminated, and the result was that the expansion of the universe looks like accelerating in stead of slowing down – as we would expect due to gravity. So what we have is a sort of anti-gravity – but only on very large distances. Later other surveys in different fields gave similar results , so the scientists are rather certain that the effect exists. There is just no clue as to the cause of it. Rather exciting to listen to.

More on the Saturday later …

Jan from Denmark

Impressions from Eurocon 2007 (2)

This was only my second Scifi convention, the first one being a Star Trek convention in Fresno,California about 15 years ago.

Thursday night :

Already on Thursday evening at the pre-registration there was convention activity. The organisers were quite happy that I offered to make some photos at the con, so they are receiving a CD with photos for every day of the con.

A nice talk with frequent convention goer – and volunteer – Wilf from the UK was already a good start for me. A quite knowledgeable fellow with a solid scientific angle as well.

Friday :

Panel with Guests of Honour. Anne McCaffrey arrived a little late and, when asked, insisted on going up the stairs to the stage (in spite of the handicap) – hats off. A few words from the guests of honour. Harry Harrison is a veteran guest of con’s and has quite a few stories to tell.
Anne McCaffrey, too is very experienced in conventions and could tell of her first con’s where she had good advice from (then) experienced writers, and expressed her advice to new writers : in short , if you want to write , make youself sit down and write … every day.

Scientific lecture on Solar eruptions. This has had my interest for a long time, being a licensed radio amateur. For me the content was not new, but a condensed version of what I already knew. Only difference was – this came from a scientist’s point of view.

There were lots of other presentations during the day , but these stand out for me. A lot of time went with meeting other fans and discussing science fiction, science and fantasy .

A little fun thing is a photo I made : Anne McCaffrey is also involved in the “Writers of th Future”, a quarterly competition, where the winners get their stories published in collections. One moment a Star Wars Stormtrooper in full gear was “standing guard” right behind the famous author, link to the picture .

more to come …

Jan from Denmark

Impressions from Eurocon 2007 (1)

I have been attending the Eurocon 2007 in Copenhagen this year , and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

The con had just over 400 registrered members , and some people just came and registrered on the spot, so possibly about 700 – 1000 people in total attended.

For me the main reason was the visit by Anne McCaffrey, who appeared on a panel discussion, at an interview, for a book signing and finally a reading by the author herself.

I took quite some photos at the con and will post a few of them when they are ready.

Other Guests of Honour were Stephen Baxter and Zoran Zivkovic and the artist David A. Hardy. Harry Harrison was there as well.

Several lines of presentations, readings and also scientific lectures were in the program.

I enjoyed lots of talks with other fans en between , but after 3 days of 10-24 (or more) con activity I am rather tired and will continue my “Impressions” in the coming days.