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Anne McCaffrey

Born Anne Inez McCaffrey
April 1, 1926 (1926-04-01) (age 83)
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Pen name Anne McCaffrey
Occupation novelist
Nationality American
Writing period 1968–present
Genres fiction
Subjects Fantasy, Science fiction
Notable work(s) Dragonriders of Pern
Official website

Anne Inez McCaffrey (born 1 April 1926) is an author of science fiction and fantasy novels, best known for her Dragonriders of Pern series. Born in the United States, she is long-term resident of Ireland.



Anne McCaffrey was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts to George Herbert McCaffrey and Anne Dorothy McElroy. She had two brothers: Hugh (deceased 1988), a Major in the US Army, and Kevin Richard McCaffrey, still living.

Anne was educated at Stuart Hall, an all-girl boarding school in Staunton, Virginia. She then went to Montclair High School, Montclair, New Jersey, and graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College majoring in Slavonic Languages and Literature in 1947.

She studied voice for nine years, performed in the first music circus in 1949, once directed a play, and worked for a record label, Liberty Music Shop.[1]

She married H. Wright Johnson in 1950 and has three children: Alec Anthony, born in 1952, Todd, born in 1956, and Georgeanne (Gigi), born in 1959. She was divorced in 1970, after which she emigrated to Ireland with her two younger children. McCaffrey lives in a house of her own design in County Wicklow, Ireland and calls her home Dragonhold-Underhill.


McCaffrey's most famous works are the Dragonriders of Pern series. These are set on a planet known as Pern, settled by colonists from Earth. The technology has been lost and the people have reverted to a society similar to Earth's medieval times; but have also produced genetically engineered dragons. These dragons are flown by elite "dragonriders" who communicate telepathically with their dragons, and defend Pern against pernicious "threads" which cross space periodically from a nearby Oort Cloud and threaten to destroy all vegetation on Pern. The short story "Weyr Search" (published in 1967 in Analog Science Fiction and Fact), the initial story in the Dragonriders of Pern series, won a Hugo Award for Best Novella. McCaffrey thus became the first woman to win a Hugo for fiction.

At the 2005 Nebula Award ceremonies, McCaffrey was named the 22nd Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America organization. In 2006 she was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.


Federated Sentient Planets universe

While many of McCaffrey's most famous works are set in a universe which is governed by The Federated Sentient Planets or "FSP", these are not set in the same universe. The FSP is a story telling background that the author has found to be a useful tool for this series.

Dragonriders of Pern series

(became the first part of The White Dragon)
(called Dragonseye for U.S. release, ISBN 0-345-41879-4)

The Brain & Brawn Ship series

The stories of this series deal with the various adventures of 'shellpersons'—people who as young children or infants have had to be hardwired into a life support system, with sensory input and motor nerves tied into a computer. They serve as starship pilots or colony administrators while paying off their debt for education and hardware—and then in whatever capacity they choose, as free agents.

It should be noted that the Ship books are set in the same universe as the Crystal Singer books, as Brainship-Brawn pairings were characters in the second and third volumes of that series.

  • The Ship Who Sang (1969) (short story collection with stories from 1961, 1966, and 1969) ISBN 0-345-33431-0
  • PartnerShip (1992) with Margaret Ball, ISBN 0-671-72109-7
  • The Ship Who Searched (1992) with Mercedes Lackey, ISBN 0-671-72129-1
  • The City Who Fought (1993) with S.M. Stirling, ISBN 0-671-87599-X
  • The Ship Who Won (1994) with Jody Lynn Nye, ISBN 0-671-87657-0
  • This series also includes solo entries by Stirling and Nye:
  • Omnibus versions of the above novels:
    • Brain Ships (2003) (includes The Ship Who Searched and Partnership) ISBN 0-7434-7166-0
    • The Ship who Saved the Worlds (2003) (includes The Ship Who Won and The Ship Errant) ISBN 0-7434-7171-7
    • The City and the Ship (2004) (includes The City Who Fought and The Ship Avenged) ISBN 0-7434-7189-X

The Crystal Singer series

The Crystal Singer series revolves around the planet Ballybran. Under a permanent biohazard travel restriction, Ballybran is home to one of the FSP's wealthiest, yet most reclusive organizations—the Heptite Guild. Source of invaluable crystals vital to various industries, the Heptite Guild is known to require absolute, perfect pitch in hearing and voice for all applicants, especially those seeking to mine crystal by song...

  • Crystal Singer (1982) ISBN 0-345-32786-1 (first published in four parts in Continuum 1, 2, 3, & 4, edited by Roger Elwood)
  • Killashandra (1986) ISBN 0-345-31600-2 (includes a Brainship from the Ship series above, in a minor role. This was not a main character in any novel.)
  • Crystal Line (1992) ISBN 0-345-38491-1 (includes a Brainship from the Ship series above, although not a main character in any novel, and, furthermore, is not the same Brainship from 'Killashandra')

The Dinosaur Planet series

When the Exploration and Evaluation Corps team reached the planet Ireta, dinosaurs were not what they expected to find.

  • Dinosaur Planet (1978) ISBN 0-345-31995-8
  • Dinosaur Planet Survivors (1984) ISBN 0-345-27246-3
Mystery of Ireta (2003)—omnibus edition of Dinosaur Planet and Dinosaur Planet Survivors, ISBN 0-345-46721-3

The Planet Pirates trilogy

All is not well in the FSP: pirates attack the spacelanes. In this series, survivors on Ireta and survivors of space pirate attacks join forces.

The Planet Pirates (1993-10-01)—omnibus trade paperback collection of the above trilogy, ISBN 0-671-72187-9
Note: The Planet Pirates and Dinosaur Planet books share the same universe and certain characters. The events of Dinosaur Planet overlap with the final chapters of The Death of Sleep, as does Dinosaur Planet Survivors with Sassinak; Generation Warriors continues and concludes the storylines of both series.

Standalone novels

  • Restoree (1967) ISBN 0-552-08344-5
  • The Coelura (1983) ISBN 0-312-93042-9
  • A Diversity of Dragons (1997) with Richard Woods, illustrated by John Howe
  • Nimisha's Ship (1998) ISBN 0-345-43425-0

The Coelura is short novel in the same universe as Nimisha's Ship.

The Coelura is usually printed together with Nerilka's Story.

The Talents universe

The Talents universe involves a society built around the Talents of telepathic, telekinetic individuals who become integral to the connectivity of interstellar society.

The Talent series

The Tower and Hive series

The Doona series

Two civilizations in near-identical circumstances - an overlarge, lethargic population and a tragic history with sentient aliens - end up attempting to colonize the same planet by accident. What the humans don't know is that the people they've misidentified as nomadic natives are actually more technically advanced than themselves - and under no such illusions regarding 'them'.

  • Decision at Doona (1969) ISBN 0-345-35377-3
  • Crisis on Doona (1992) with Jody Lynn Nye, ISBN 0-441-23194-2
  • Treaty at Doona (1994) with Jody Lynn Nye, ISBN 0-441-00089-4 (Originally Treaty Planet)
  • Doona (2004) an omnibus edition of the latter two books of the trilogy, ISBN 0-441-01131-4

The Petaybee Series

Powers trilogy

The Twins of Petaybee series

The Freedom series

  • Freedom's Landing (1995) (based on the 1970 short story "The Thorns of Barevi")
  • Freedom's Choice (1996) ISBN 0-441-00531-4
  • Freedom's Challenge (1998) ISBN 0-441-00625-6
  • Freedom's Ransom (2002) ISBN 0-441-01020-2

The Acorna series

Acorna's Children series

Short Story Collections


  • The Mark of Merlin (1971) ISBN 1-58715-493-5
  • Ring of Fear (1971) ISBN 1-58715-016-6
  • The Kilternan Legacy (1975) ISBN 1-58715-793-4
  • Stitch in Snow (1985) ISBN 0-8125-8562-3
  • The Year of the Lucy (1986) ISBN 0-8125-8565-8
  • The Lady (1987) ISBN 0-345-35674-8

Three Women contains the first three listed in an omnibus edition.

Fantasy for Juveniles

  • An Exchange of Gifts (1995) ISBN 1-880448-48-3
  • No One Noticed the Cat (1996) ISBN 0-843959-03-7
  • If Wishes Were Horses (1998) ISBN 0-843959-12-6
  • Black Horses for the King (1998) ISBN 0-152063-78-1


  • Serve it Forth: Cooking with Anne McCaffrey ISBN 0-809500-94-9
  • Cooking out of this World; Edited by Anne McCaffrey, a collection of cookable SF-Recipes ISBN 1-880448-13-0


  1. ^ Biography Anne McCaffrey Website
  2. ^
  • Brizzi, Mary (Mary A. Turzillo). Reader's Guide to Anne McCaffery, Starmont Press (Reader's Guide Series) 1986.
  • Lennard, John, '"Of Modern Dragons: Antiquity, Modernity, and the Descendants of Smaug", in Of Modern Dragons and other essays on Genre Fiction, Tirril: Humanities-Ebooks, 2007. ISBN 978-1-84760-038-7
  • McCaffrey, Anne, "Retrospection", in Denise DuPont, ed., Women of Vision, New York: St Martin’s Press, 1988. ISBN 0-312-02321-9
  • McCaffrey, Todd, Dragonholder: The Life and Dreams (So Far) of Anne McCaffrey by her son, New York: Ballantine, 1999. ISBN 0-345-42217-1
  • Roberts, Robin. Anne McCaffrey: A Critical Companion, Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996. ISBN 0-313-29450-X

External links

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