The first time I read a Pern story I was in high school, and I generally grabbed my father’s Analog and read it cover to cover before he even had a chance to see it. In October 1967 there was a short novel, called “Weyr Search,” by Anne McCaffrey. It was followed in December and January by a serial called “Dragonrider.” The following year the two were put together in a book called Dragonflight, and the Pern series was on its way.
I haven’t read everything by Anne McCaffrey, and probably won’t. Some of her collaborations, in particular, just don’t interest me. But the story of Pern fascinates me, and I enjoy keeping track of the characters and their relationships. I wish Ms. McCaffrey were still here, to let us know how the story of Toric and the Abominators came out.
Just for the heck of it, I once worked out how the various Pern books and stories fit into the internal timeline. Here’s what I came up with, with the aid of the timeline in First Fall. The years are approximate; even the Pernese couldn’t quite get them right!
“The Survey: P.E.R.N.”, in First Fall. ~200 years before colonization.
Dragonsdawn. First 10 years of the colony; Thread; breeding of dragons from fire-lizards.
“The Dolphins’ Bell,” in First Fall. Overlaps end of Dragonsdawn.
“The Ford of Red Hanrahan,” in First Fall. Year 19, founding of Ruatha, whose bloodline produced many dragonriders.
“The Second Weyr,” in First Fall. Year 28, founding of Benden Weyr.
“Rescue Run,” in First Fall. Year 49, the result of Ted Tubberman’s emergency beacon.
Dragonseye. Year 258, beginning of second pass, the star stones.
Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern. Year about 1505, near the end of the 6th pass. The plague.
Nerilka’s Story. Overlaps Moreta, from a different point of view.
The Masterharper of Pern. Robinton was born about 50 years before the end of the second long interval; this book goes through the beginning of Dragonflight.
Dragonflight. Covers Lessa’s Searching and Impression of Ramoth through the end of the long interval 3 years later. Book ends about 2408.
Dragonquest. Year 2415, 9 years into ninth pass. Problem of oldtimers.
Dragonsong. Overlaps Dragonquest; starts Harper Hall emphasis. The Masterharper of Pern was actually written considerably later., though it is set in an earlier time.
Dragonsinger. Overlaps Dragonquest.
Dragondrums. Overlaps The White Dragon.
The White Dragon. 2420 through 2425; 12th through 17th years of ninth pass. Includes discovery of Aivas.
The Renegades of Pern. 1st through 17th years of ninth pass.
“The Girl Who Heard Dragons,” in The Girl who Heard Dragons. This short novel was reworked and modified into The Renegades of Pern.
All the Weyrs of Pern. Ninth pass, 17th through 21st years. First appearance of the Abominators.
“The Smallest Dragonboy,” in Get Off the Unicorn. This was first published in 1973, but the names of dragon and rider make it clear that this was the Impression of the same K’van and Heth that appear in The Dolphins of Pern, though the story is somewhat changed there.
The Skies of Pern. Ninth pass, 31st year. More about the Abominators, and the threat of planetary impacts. What will dragons do when there is no more Thread?
I have not included the books with Todd McAffrey; sadly, I have found it a chore to finish those I’ve bought. If anyone knows of books or stories I’ve missed, please let me know.