Sunday, September 02, 2007

All the Weyrs of Pern

All the Weyrs of Pern

Anne McCaffrey

Date: 24 October, 1992   —   $7.99   —   Book

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Fiction, Science Fiction

All the Weyrs of Pern should be the final Pern book. It's a good triumphal ending, and has a definite sense of closure. There's a few spurs past— Dolphins of Pern, for example, goes on past the ending of this book, but really, it should end here. I would be perfectly happy of Anne McCaffrey (and now Todd McCaffrey) were to go and play around in Pern's history rather than carrying the "present" forward.

Hmm. I wonder how Todd McCaffrey feels about writing the character of Jaxom, who is mildly based on him.

At any rate, the technological level of the characters is rapidly accelerated under the guidance of an artificial intelligence system, so that they may be able to end the scourge of Thread once and for all. The main tension in the novel comes not from the worry that they won't learn enough quickly enough, but from the understandable culture shock which afflicts certain people on Pern. I am reminded of a story by Spider Robinson called "The Time Traveller," in which the method of travelling through time is nothing technological, but the mere result of being imprisoned and forgotten in a Third World jail for almost two decades. The poor prisoner has to contend with a world that has changed beyond recognition in the time he has been out of touch, and the culture shock almost overwhelms him.

When things chage too quickly, there is a backlash. (We can see that as well in our own world; things change far too quickly for most people's comfort. Some people are adaptable, but others react against change strongly.) And this backlash is against the artificial intelligence and against the dragonriders as the agents of change.

Again, though, BIG TRIUMPHAL ENDING. Good close to the series, even if it isn't the last book.

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