Dragonflight (1968)
Spine Front Cover Book Details
Anne McCaffrey
Publication Date 1988
Format Leather-bound (225 x 145 mm)
Publisher The Easton Press
Genre Science Fiction
Product Details
Series Masterpieces of Science Fiction
Edition Signed Edition
No. of Pages 337
Paper Type Acid-neutral paper
First Edition No
Personal Details
URL This book on Amazon.com
Rating 10
No. of Reviews 118
Frontispiece/Illustrator Michael Whelan
Introduction/Foreward Gordon R. Dickson
Maps Bob Porter
Original Details
Original Publisher Ballantine Books
Original Publication Year 1968

To the nobles who live in Benden Weyr, Lessa is nothing but a ragged kitchen girl. For most of her life she has survived by serving those who betrayed her father and took over his lands. Now the time has come for Lessa to shed her disguise—and take back her stolen birthright.

But everything changes when she meets a queen dragon. The bond they share will be deep and last forever. It will protect them when, for the first time in centuries, Lessa’s world is threatened by Thread, an evil substance that falls like rain and destroys everything it touches. Dragons and their Riders once protected the planet from Thread, but there are very few of them left these days. Now brave Lessa must risk her life, and the life of her beloved dragon, to save her beautiful world. . . .
Collector's Notes

Dragons have a peculiar grasp on the human imagination. Dragons roar and fly through the literatures of almost every culture, from the oriental to the occidental. An anthropologist might wonder -whether dragons actually existed at least as ancestral recollections of encounters with creatures that have since died out, such as the dinosaurs. But, of course, the dinosaurs were extinct millions of years before humanity came along.

Perhaps, then, dragons are only myths, but potent myths that speak to needs and fears buried in the human subconscious. A psychologist might speculate about what the persistence of these myths says about the people who read and write about them.

Dragons are most often encountered in fairy tales and fantasy, but science fiction also has dealt with dragons. One such story, Jack Vance's The Dragon Masters, introduced a dominant alien race evolved from lizards that humans breed into different kinds of dragons; another, Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight and its sequels, turns telepathic, teleporting dragons into humanity's best friends and indispensable allies.

In a much later novel, Dragonsdawn (1988), McCaffrey provided the background for the alien world named Fern and how human settlers found dragonlike creatures and developed them into huge, flying mounts for humans. And when the dread scourge Thread falls from a passing cloud of interplanetary matter, the dragons, with their power of teleportation and ability to breathe flame, are the difference between survival and total destruction for the human settlement.

Dragonflight describes the world that develops from those early struggles. That world has all the appeal of fantasy, with its "holds" and hierarchical social system, flying dragons and their apparent magic, but it also has the rational appeal of science fiction, which evokes the real world with a naturalistic explanation for everything that happens. When the two short novels that were combined to form Dragonflight were first published in the magazine Analog, "Weyr Search" (1967) won a Hugo Award and "Dragonrider" (1968) won a Nebula. Although McCaffrey had written an excellent novel before and wrote many afterward, the dragons made McCaffrey's reputation and fortune.

Shortly after Dragonflight was published in 1969, McCaffrey moved her residence to Ireland, where she has continued her career as "the dragon lady" and operates a thoroughbred horse stud farm. Among her other novels are Restoree (1967), Decision at Doona (1969), The Ship Who Sang (1969), Dinosaur Planet (1978), Crystal Singer (1981), The Coelura (1983), Dinosaur Planet Survivors (1984), and Killashandra (1985). Her short stories have been collected in To Ride Pegasus: A Time When (1975), Get Off the Unicorn (1977), and The Worlds of Anne McCaffrey (1981).

Readers fascinated by McCaffrey's dragons, as hundreds of thousands of other readers have been, may want to go on to the other dragon books: Dragonflight, Dragonquest (1971), and The White Dragon (1978) form a trilogy describing a time of crisis when dragonriders discover they can travel through time as well as through space; Dragondrums (1979), Dragonsong (1976), and Dragonsinger (1977) are a series about the same world for younger readers; Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern (1983) and Nerilka's Story (1986), like Dragonsdawn, go back to earlier periods in the history of Pern.

In addition to encountering the imagination that created the lovable dragons of Pern, readers will also discover in Anne McCaffrey an international-class storyteller.

Easton Press has commissioned, for this edition, a special introduction from a major storyteller in his own right, Gordon R. Dickson. Dickson has been president of the Science Fiction Writers of America, has won numerous awards and honors, and has written nearly seventy books, including the ambitious series of novels called the Childe Cycle, which towers a millennium of human evolution from the 14th to the 24th century.