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ghyle Apr 15 2005 02:51 AM

Best books
Which, in your opinion, is the best book written by Anne, and why? I don't mean your favourite (though it could be that), I mean which reads as the best, is the most mature, with the best plot, best dialogue, best characterisation, and so forth. What I want is excellence, not what book you enjoy for the sake of enjoying.

To give you an idea of what I mean, although I enjoy Masterharper, I would argue that of the books I've read the best is Moreta. The characterisation is well-done; I care for the characters, and I can envisage them as real people. The plot is good, too: it has the right amount of tension, emotion and interest. It's also lean writing, with no flab or glaring inconsistencies. Finally, it doesn't feel as if the ending is an obligatory happy one. It is alloyed: the deaths of Moreta and Orlith temper the joy of the hatching, so that, although the major players have gone, Pern continues, albeit diminished somewhat by the tragedy of her passing.

I'd love to hear which book you feel is the best.

edith Apr 15 2005 03:41 AM

Re: Best books
its hard but probably Restoree despite the confusion with the "death ray"

Anareth Apr 15 2005 06:11 PM

Re: Best books
Er. Well, I haven't read every book Anne has written, so it's hard for me to say.

In terms of Pern, with which I'm most familiar, I don't think there's any question that Moreta stands head and shoulders above the rest. Plot, characters, setting, Anne was firing on all cylinders when she wrote that one. (And I look at book like Renegades and wonder, "What happened?") In general...er, taking into account when things were written and what was in fashion and what else was being published at the time, I'd have to say the best true science fiction she's written is "The Ship Who Sang." As a series of novellas it is a touch disjointed, but it's thought-provoking and based around science, not quasi-science (sorry, Pern is at the very most science fantasy with science retconned into it.) Since the ostensible point of sci-fi is to raise questions, scientific and moral, I'd say TSWSang succeeds better than her other books, and doesn't rely on demi-science like telepathy or sentient planets. TSWSang is plausible, and it raises a lot of moral questions, and does it with a compelling lead character.

On the romances, I've only read "The Lady/The Carradyne Touch" and so can't comment.

Brenda Apr 16 2005 12:25 PM

Re: Best books
I think The Ship Who Searched is better than the Ship Who Sang. It was written as a novel, not as separate stories put together in a book. You care about the characters, the plot is intriguing, and the science was pretty believable to me.

Anareth Apr 16 2005 02:00 PM

Re: Best books

Originally Posted by Brenda
I think The Ship Who Searched is better than the Ship Who Sang. It was written as a novel, not as separate stories put together in a book. You care about the characters, the plot is intriguing, and the science was pretty believable to me.

But it's a flop as serious sci-fi. It's just another romance-dressed-up book, while TSWS has the issue of fixation, but without a neat wrap-up with a body, now yippee, all our problems are solved and we can have sex! resolution. Honestly, I think Helva's "If you didn't do it now, Niall, you never will" is vastly more poignant than anything in TSWSearched, even if some of it reads a trace dated (if you read a lot that was published at the same time, it's not outside the mainstream for SF of the day.) Searched doesn't raise any real moral or scientific questions (the archaeology is shallowly written at best, and while I understand because real archaeology is mind-bogglingly tedious, that still does mean it's just window-dressing) and relies pretty much entirely on a romance-novel fobidden love issue. Because Sang is combined novellas (as Dragonflight is), it's not as strictly adherent to the English-class rule of rising action-climax-denoument, but in its sections it's very effective.

Basically, "...Searched" is fluff SF, "...Sang" is probably the closest to hard SF Anne's ever gone in a book-length story, and it has the advantage over most hard SF that the characters get as much attention as the plot. (Possibly a topic for an issue of how is Anne as a woman a different kind of author than, say, Asimov.)

geishagirl Apr 16 2005 10:47 PM

Re: Best books
Wow, thats deep!

Bagpuss Apr 17 2005 07:21 AM

Re: Best books
The Crystal Singer series.....

Dragonsqueen Apr 20 2005 07:53 PM

Re: Best books
Very tough question! Prehaps Dragons song, although that might be a bit bias since it's my second favorate book, bt if it was the first book I picked up of hers, I'd think it was excellent.

Larra Dragonrider May 9 2005 01:16 PM

Re: Best books
i really couldn't say, i'll have to do some more "research" ;)
I've only read acorna and pern.
so far i'd say dflight or MHop

granath May 9 2005 03:16 PM

Re: Best books
Of the Pern books, Moreta without question. I also agree with Anareth re: The Ship Who Sang. Although it's got psi in it, Pegasus in Space is without question the best book Anne's written after 1995 IMO (I haven't read all the Acorna or PTB books, but those have major input from the co-authors as well). I like Crystal Singer and Killashandra, which are also sci-fi, albeit with a strong romance element, but Crystal Line's an utter mess.

McClance May 9 2005 11:41 PM

Re: Best books
Well, I've only read Pern so far.

Of those, I'd say the Harper Hall books. Those were the first books by Anne that I've read. :)

monkeysrule May 14 2005 02:26 AM

Re: Best books
It would be Dragonsdawn. For one, the characters are very well developed and rounded. Many of the sub-plots are well written. It explains a lot about Pern (like why queens can't chew firestone) and is just...great overall. But Moreta comes in close second.

geishagirl May 14 2005 11:25 PM

Re: Best books
You know what I don't know which one would be my favorite. I did love Moreta and DragonFlight but I also love alot of the other ones too :confused:
I will have to think about that one :read: :think:

Sandi Jun 10 2005 09:29 PM

Re: Best books
As far as raising moral and other types of questions, I'd have to vote for the Freedom series. The part when Zainal & Co. sneaked in on the Eosi and killed them off with chemical weapons has made me ponder quite a bit. The things they did go against everything I've been taught most of my life. But then, how else could they ever have overcome those evil beings? When does the end justify the means. Does it ever? I know these books have some glaring problems (nightcrawlers being among them) but this aspect of the story still deserves some consideration.

DRAGONROSE Jun 13 2005 08:59 AM

Re: Best books
has anybody read
"Black Horses for the King"
I found it quite different
to any of her others.

Greenrider Tresa Jun 20 2005 06:11 PM

Re: Best books
Only thing I'm sure of right now is that this is my 500th post! :)

I've never really given it much thought...but Power Lines was very well written, I had strong feelings about the good and bad characters. I could visualize the scenes very well, and I didn't want to put the book down til the end even the third time through. Oh, and I felt just as strongly about the characters the third time as I had the first.

If I have to exclude co-written books, I might have to agree with ghyle on Moreta.


Unregistered Nov 23 2005 03:01 PM

Re: Best books
I can't decide between the crystal singers and the riders of pern, Lessa is my hero!

McClance Nov 23 2005 06:08 PM

Re: Best books
I would like to add The White Dragon, The Dolphins of Pern, and Decision at Doona to my nominations for Anne's best books. ;)

Myt Dec 31 2005 08:39 PM

Re: Best books
Have to say Pegasus in Flight. I enjoyed it heaps, it was possible to follow (though I had to read it twice to do so) and it has great characters. But I haven't read all her books.

Lady Maelin Dec 31 2005 09:13 PM

Re: Best books
I have realized that I have an McCaffrey charactor that is myfavorite of any of the books, I have always loved Helva, the original brainship. She was the most amazing charactor that I have ever read of all the books that I have read. I have read Clark to Herbert, and many places in between. Helva is the most intriuging of them all to me. I would love to be able to fly the sea of stars between world as she did.

Becky Apr 20 2006 11:01 PM

Re: Best books
I'm going to say that Stitch in Snow is another well written book. I think mainly that is because Anne travels so much herself that she could put a lot of personal experience into this one.
Moreta and Ship Who Sang are also well written books.
Of course, I enjoy just about all of her characters and her descriptions put me into the story in just about every book she writes. So I think the majority are very well written. :D

tameeria Nov 13 2006 10:09 PM

Re: Best books
I haven't read much beyond the Pern series yet (although I did read "Black Horses for the King" and enjoyed that quite a bit), so I don't really feel qualified to comment outside of Pern.

However, of the Pern series, I have to agree that it's definitely Moreta. Why? Because it actually is a true story with a definite ending and not just a chapter in the neverending to-be-continued saga of events in certain characters' lives. The main character's actions turn her into one of the great tragic heroes in Pern's history. End of story. That in itself makes it a stand-alone classic.

Mousie Nov 14 2006 04:11 PM

Re: Best books
Yes Moreta was a well written book, but Dragon Quest and the second book of the harpers get my vote. Ms McCaffrey was able to make you feel you were there when F'nor was falling from the sky and every dragon and every firelizard when to save them. I cried when I read both of these books, not just the first time through but on the second and third reading.
I like reading books that carry the character's forward and not just leaving them gone and forgotten.

mawra Mar 23 2007 09:58 PM

Re: Best books
my favorite was Dragons Dawn and Dolphins of Pern. You can just feel the terror the first time thread fell in Dragons Dawn. In dolphins of Pern the way the dolphins were protrayed was brillant.

Lady Maelin Mar 24 2007 01:40 PM

Re: Best books
I think that the best writen book of the Pern series was perhaps Dragondawn...It has very well dicribed characters... the story grows nicely as the colony grows... with very interesting small sideline storys that meld together well to bring a very emotional and heartrending climax.

Mary Mar 24 2007 05:21 PM

Re: Best books
Oh gosh, this is very difficult. First off I thought Restoree before I read anyone comments but you all have very valid points. I would exclude the harper hall trilogy and the co written books from my selection as the harper hall trilogy is definitely writter for the YA market. And I agree that Anne's books are not very Si-Fi no matter what she says herself.

Allana Mar 24 2007 09:02 PM

Re: Best books
I would have to choose Dragonsdawn!

sjslack Mar 26 2007 04:35 PM

Re: Best books
I think I'm inclined to agree, (since I've only read the Pern Series) that Moreta is the best written book in the series. As has been previously stated, I feel the character development was very well done, and as someone has afore mentioned, I actually felt for the characters. I also think that there is a lot of information regarding the day to day life on Pern that seems to be missing from most of the other books...although to confirm that I'll have to re-read it...^^;

McClance Apr 4 2007 12:48 PM

Re: Best books

Originally Posted by McClance (Post 23217)
I would like to add The White Dragon, The Dolphins of Pern, and Decision at Doona to my nominations for Anne's best books. ;)

Check that.

The whole Doona trilogy was brilliantly written! :bouncy: :good:

Rho Apr 4 2007 04:16 PM

Re: Best books
Of the Pern books I would choose Dragonsdawn, however, overall I would have to say Restoree. It's absolutely ages since I've read it but it really struck me.

mawra Apr 4 2007 09:57 PM

Re: Best books
I liked the Doona books as well

bats Sep 7 2009 01:23 AM

Re: Best books
The book that really changed my reading ,,to where I found my World
into Fantasy Books ,,after reading The Aztec by Garry Jennings,,other books
on SF etc ,were so boring,,the lady at the bookshop said try ''Anne mcCaffery'
Charles De-Lint ,or Raymond E Fiest,'',I told her I really wasn't into THOSE
sort of books ,,but I 'll give them a try:brow: just try and take them off me now:roll:

Thank you Aztec you put me on a more exciting Road of reading.

Brenda Sep 14 2009 01:46 PM

Re: Best books
Bats, I think you missed the point of this thread...

D. M. Domini Sep 19 2009 04:41 PM

Re: Best books
Necro-post! In more ways than one, as I tried to post this just as they moved servers...this is the post that shouldn't have lived, if I didn't compulsively ctrl + A, ctrl + c. :D

To get back on topic...I have a hard time saying which I like best (although the comments about The Ship Who Sang and Pegasus in Space are interesting...particularly since I didn't like PiS too much, so it makes me wonder what you like about it, Granath).

I'd say it's something of a tie between The Ship Who Sang, To Ride Pegasus, Pegasus in Flight, The Rowan, Damia, and Killashandra for me. The Ship Who Sang *is* probably the best (and hardest) true sci-fi AMC's written, but I personally like the others a lot. I'm not sure which is better than which, however. But they all share pretty strong initial Ideas and Characters, and they complete in a satisfactory way.

I keep getting the impression (no pun intended) that AMC's strength is short stories and once-off novels, and that by working with series she gets a bit over-extended...

granath Jun 6 2018 07:27 AM

Re: Best books
Resurrecting an old, tired thread, but never mind.

I think PiS is a more coherent story than most books that Anne wrote after 1995. It's certainly a much less confusing read than TTaTH, which I think was a bit of a disappointing conclusion to my favorite AMC series. I'm still amazed that her editors didn't catch the Admiral Tohl Mekturian/Mekturian Tohl switch in the middle of TTaTH. I just think that more linear storytelling and a smaller number of characters worked better for Anne in her late career.

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