Blogs at Amazon

« Best Mystery and Thriller Books of | Main | Tips from the Pros: Kemp, Pauley, a »

A Personal Remembrance of Anne McCaffrey by her Longtime Editor, Shelly Shapiro


Anne McCaffrey was one of the major influences that shaped my love of science fiction, so when, early in my editorial career at Del Rey Books, I first met her in person, I was beyond thrilled. And nervous as hell. But Anne was so warm and welcoming and reassuring that she put me at east almost immediately. When I edited my first McCaffrey manuscript, I was thrilled, too. And nervous as hell! But again, Anne was warm and welcoming, humble and open to editorial suggestions. When I made my first trip to Ireland to work with her at her home, I was thrilled—but no longer nervous. I knew Anne would be warm and welcoming, and indeed, she made my husband and me feel like family. We visited almost every year after that, sometimes staying with Anne, sometimes staying nearby, but always being pulled into the warm embrace of the McCaffrey circle of family and friends—Anne drew people like the proverbial flame draws moths (except she never, ever burned them!). She cooked for us, arranged babysitters for us so the adults could go out to dinner, and even took my then-toddler daughter up with her on her horse for a ride around the paddock. She was also one of the most wonderful storytellers I’ve ever known.

As an editor, I often have to read a book several times, and her books never failed to draw laughter or tears from me no matter how many times I’d gone through the manuscript. One of my favorite lines in all her books is the last line in Dragonsdawn: “Admiral Benden, sir,” said Sean, rider of bronze Carenath, “may I present the Dragonriders of Pern?” 6a00e54ed05fc288330162fcc8d4e9970d-120wiTo this day, I can’t read that line without getting tears in my eyes. THAT is how special the Dragonriders of Pern books—and her Crystal Singer novels and, indeed, all her worlds and characters—have always been to me and to so many, many thousands of others whose lives and hearts have been touched by Anne over the years. Her novels have been translated into most of the world’s languages, and she has received countless fan letters from more places than are represented in some people’s stamp collections. She liked to say that she’d even been to space: She was so excited when astronaut Pam Melroy brought one of her novels up in the space shuttle! Right now, with her passing, everything seems a little darker, but really, the world is a much brighter place for Anne’s having been in it. And whenever I want to feel her close, I can always open up a book and begin to read… --Shelly Shapiro, Editor at Large


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The Dragonriders Of Pern was one of my firsts SciFi/Fantasy books I ever read back in the mid 80's when I was in the Army,away from home for first time.And thanks to Anne and Terry Brooks I was hook.I still can't make up my mind;do I want to be a Harper or a Dragonrider!I will always love her books and will always miss her.Anne may you always ride on the strong wings of your Gold Dragon!

Three of my very favorite authors are gone now: Andre Norton, Marion Zimmer Bradley and now Anne McCaffrey! All three women should be required reading - their talent knew no bounds and brought a world of entertainment that is unsurpassed in my opinion. They will be sorely missed by this reader.

Anne McCaffrey was a very good Sci-Fi writer, I enjoyed reading the Dragonrider of Pern when I was 14 years old. Thank You Anne!!!!

Dear Shelly,

Thank you for sharing your fond memories of Annie with us. I wouldn't expect less of a great editor than to find the right words and tell, in a few flowing sentences, how Anne McCaffrey was as an author and a friend. I have been priveleged in receiving the same hospitality, warmth and friendship as you describe and I will be forever grateful. I've said it many times before and will do so now: Anne McCaffrey has made my life richer in far more ways than with books and wonderful stories. I will miss her forever but know she's only a book away.

Hans van der Boom
Anne's Master Archivist at

I am so sad to hear this! It has been almost a month since her passing and I only found out by reading a newsletter. That does not seem right!

Thank you for sharing it! It's great to know that. Anne McCaffrey and Marion Zimmer Bradley are two authors who are so undervalued nowadays. Their books should be much more popular than they are.

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Omnivoracious™ Contributors

December 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31