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Old Jun 17 2006, 05:41 PM   #1
edith
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Ages back, in the Pern section I came up with the idea to do a science of Pern...
nice and easy I thought, read a few books, get one of those free websites...
so this summer I decided to have a go...
I HATE the Red Star. I'm not even halfway through dragonflight and I've realised that this is going to take some work...
oh well! I wanted something to do this holiday!
it's just a little more than I thought!
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Old Jun 17 2006, 05:55 PM   #2
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Sounds like a wonderful idea for a site though Edi! I hope you do get somewhere with it!
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Old Jun 17 2006, 06:41 PM   #3
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Yep, good luck with the project. I wish you every success.

Don't forget that you'll have to cover a lot, from astrophysics to animal behaviour.
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Old Jun 18 2006, 06:23 AM   #4
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I know how hard it is to be original on the net with a subject like Pern... but you found an interesting, original angle!

Don't get me wrong, I wish you every bit of success but if that website never amterialized I'd gladly accept you as an editor for the Pern Encyclopedia The job doesn't pay but eternal fame will be yours

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Old Jun 18 2006, 08:57 AM   #5
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Sounds great!
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Old Jun 18 2006, 12:25 PM   #6
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Edith, I'm going through Dragonsdawn right now with a fine-tooth comb (building up an ultra-thorough character database) -- did you want be to note down any and all chapter/page/line refs to the RS as I go? Are there any other things that you need cites for?
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Old Jun 18 2006, 12:57 PM   #7
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Kath, not to make light of your work, but that's been done years ago (Anneli, Cheryl and me did by request from Anne herself who send me her own, original character lists).

What would be most interesting is general note taking and/or a geographical database.

Just a remark, again, you will have your reason for the operation and there's no objection to doing it again
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Old Jun 18 2006, 01:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans
Kath, not to make light of your work, but that's been done years ago (Anneli, Cheryl and me did by request from Anne herself who send me her own, original character lists).
You're talking about the cast list on Cheryl's site, right? Or something else? That one's more than adequate in terms of a simple cast list, but I'm after a bit more detail than that. More like the kind of entries you have in your encyclopedia for Debera and Chalkin, rather than those you have for the original 18.
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Old Jun 18 2006, 03:14 PM   #9
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As said Kath, we have made a character list for Anne, at her request. She sent her orighinal lists to me with about 1100 names on it, we expanded it to about 1500 which I believe are ALL characters in all Pern publications. The original files (Excell) list name, dragon, firelizard, rank/occupation etc., books in which they appear and for the majority a short description.

It was our aim (Anne's mainly) to have it published but neither Del Rey nor Transworld were interested at the time she asked. Maybe now with the movie deal new interest will be generated.

The descriptions/remarks column does not hold such extensive descriptions as I did for Chalkin though, so if you are doing thos that's great. However, we fully realise that is not possible for each character as sometimes not much is known.

We also covered all UK adn US publications. As you might know UK Dragonsdawn holds about FOURTY! more characters than the US publication. Such things are all noted in the Who's Who on Pern, as are all names for persons as well as for dragons, that are in dragondexes (while sometimes NOT present in the book), all misspellings and all names of dragons and firelizards (Anne sent me several separate lists).

All name are in the Pern Emcyclopedia although some, as you rightfully surmised, just have a name. I did recently add the names from the latest short stories and the Pern book co-authored by Todd but not Dragonsblood nor Dragonsfire yet.

In addition Anne gave me written permission to come up with persons or make up relationships as I saw fit for my Pern Bloodlines and there are one or two cases in which she gave me name in correspondence (like Alemi's firelizard Sailor) which are not in the book but do appear in the Who's Who on Pern.

If you are doing extensive character descriptions (what I also still have to do for a lot of persons is the simple facts like colour of hair, eyes, skin tone etc.) would you please consider "donating" them to the Pern Encyclopedia? As said earlier, it pays nothing but you do get your name at the end of every entry as contributor
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Old Jun 18 2006, 06:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans
As said Kath, we have made a character list for Anne, at her request. She sent her orighinal lists to me with about 1100 names on it, we expanded it to about 1500 which I believe are ALL characters in all Pern publications. The original files (Excell) list name, dragon, firelizard, rank/occupation etc., books in which they appear and for the majority a short description.
I would so LOVE to have a copy of that!
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The descriptions/remarks column does not hold such extensive descriptions as I did for Chalkin though, so if you are doing thos that's great. However, we fully realise that is not possible for each character as sometimes not much is known.
Exactly. There are certainly a few characters (e.g. the Kaarvan who may or may not be playing the harmonica one night) that just seem to exist as one-off background scenery. I'm trying to get as much detail put together so I can be as accurate in my own fanfic as possible, but sometimes, that just can't happen! My who's who project has two sections - the canon-accurate part, and a second section for all the little extras I've had to make up as I go along. While I want a decent record of both, I don't want the two getting mixed up!

Quote:
If you are doing extensive character descriptions (what I also still have to do for a lot of persons is the simple facts like colour of hair, eyes, skin tone etc.) would you please consider "donating" them to the Pern Encyclopedia? As said earlier, it pays nothing but you do get your name at the end of every entry as contributor
Oh sure! I'm double checking everything I find against Cheryl's cast list and your encyclopedia, but all those other little facts are being added. I'm paying particular attention to background details as well as the ongoing events of the story, but full character descriptions are going in as well. (Incidentally, your entry for Sallah Telgar has gone AWOL...) Anyway, you're more than welcome to make whatever use you want of it, when it's done.
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Old Jun 19 2006, 11:56 AM   #11
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Hans, I would be ever so greatfull for any of the characters personal features information that you have gathered ??? I am still very interested in doing some of the character portraits for your encyclopdia, as we talked about before.

I have been trying to find all the personal information for Sallah, and Tarvi , from the Dragonsdawn book as those are the first two that I wanted to start with.
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Old Jun 19 2006, 05:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kath
Edith, I'm going through Dragonsdawn right now with a fine-tooth comb (building up an ultra-thorough character database) -- did you want be to note down any and all chapter/page/line refs to the RS as I go? Are there any other things that you need cites for?
yes please! the red star is proving very interesting!
Also any other sciency things- and that goes for anyone- if anyone has spotted any science/technology they want explaining from the books- PLEASE tell me! I'm partway through DQ now so it'll take me a while even at the speed I read!
I haven't done any planetary physics but Mum has so we spent a while the other day trying to work things out!
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Old Jun 19 2006, 05:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans
I know how hard it is to be original on the net with a subject like Pern... but you found an interesting, original angle!

Don't get me wrong, I wish you every bit of success but if that website never amterialized I'd gladly accept you as an editor for the Pern Encyclopedia The job doesn't pay but eternal fame will be yours

I'll bear that in mind!!!
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Old Jun 19 2006, 07:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
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yes please! the red star is proving very interesting!

Okay, do you want me to pm what I come across, or post it in its own thread?
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Old Jun 20 2006, 06:11 PM   #15
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errrm...
not sure!
I've got some stuff at home
errrm...
do what you think is best! I'll send you what we've got when I've got a bit more done!
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Old Jun 20 2006, 06:48 PM   #16
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sorry to double post!
but...
Do you reckon I could and should write to Anne over the whole phosphine thing. It's really getting complicated now! me and Mum have been reading organic chemistry books but phosphine is not just poisonous it's not usually found in rocks. The only time it can be extracted from a mineral is when one substance reacts with water!
I'd be interested to know where she got it from! Cos it's not exactly logical.
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Old Jun 21 2006, 04:15 AM   #17
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You can always mail her but, although I hate to say it, I would not mail her with questions about issues like the one you are tackling. She probably doesn't even know how or what since she doesn't have notes for the beginning period (something to which she admits she should have done).

And - to be completely honest - it sometimes seems Anne doesn't even understand us fans who are so involved with her imaginary world that we want to know such things and/or are delving so deep.
Even some other fans think that and are convinced we are ruining the pleasure we could get out of the books and stories by approaching it all so seriously.

I'm really not sure how much fanmail Anne reads, let alone answers, nowadays. Gigi took over that task years ago and what her criteria are for passing mails and/or questions on to Anne I don't now.

On the other hand, mailing never hurt and cost nothing
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Old Jun 21 2006, 08:44 AM   #18
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thanks.
I'll have another read of organic chemistry first. then have a go.
I did manage to do something last night. I drew one of Fandarel's devices!!!
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Old Jun 21 2006, 09:28 AM   #19
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Wonderful!

Which one?
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Old Jun 21 2006, 06:02 PM   #20
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the agenothree sprayer- only in diagram form, but I've worked out valves and things. I'm going to do the distance writer next, I'm tempted to do the thread catching pan but that'd only be for fun as there ain't much science in that! Nothing to talk about anyway!
I've no technical drawing training though! So my diagrams are probably a bit odd!
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Old Jul 2 2006, 10:13 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Maelin
I have been trying to find all the personal information for Sallah, and Tarvi , from the Dragonsdawn book as those are the first two that I wanted to start with.
Well, I've just hit the half-way mark with Dragonsdawn (and I've got the prospect of most of chronicles on top of that as well), and there's a real wealth of information in there which can be connected up.

Tarvi's actually very well described, but Sallah really hasn't been so far - but seeing as we've seen things from her point of view, it's hardly surprising. Aside from having long hair and a figure softened by motherhood at the time of her death, about all I've come across that might be useful descriptively is Tarvi calling her his "golden girl" and "emerald eyed". As for all the other characters - I'm noting down as much as I possibly can!

Last edited by Kath; Jul 2 2006 at 11:44 AM.
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Old Jul 2 2006, 03:13 PM   #22
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That's fabulous! Great
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Old Jul 3 2006, 02:25 AM   #23
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Kath, that is exactly what I have been doing, when I come across an entry having to do with a characters looks, I have been writing it down in a special book. There are odd bits here and there, but not a lot on like you said on Sallah. Since those two(Sallah and Tarvi) were suggested to me as a place to start, that is who I am looking for, anything that fleshs them out.

Thank's for making notes on them also, at some point we should compare notes on what we both have dealing with those two characters.
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Old Jul 3 2006, 06:19 AM   #24
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I've just got past the bit with the caves now.
Is there any plot difference (extra paragraphs etc) in the uk version, or just the names?
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Old Jul 3 2006, 06:40 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edith
I've just got past the bit with the caves now.
Is there any plot difference (extra paragraphs etc) in the uk version, or just the names?

A few little things can be tidied up with the UK version (like the Betsy who encourages Sorka at the hatching being a candidate (Betsy Patrick) rather than the botanist-worker Betty Musgrave-Blake), but I don't think it hugely impacts on the story. I posted a huge spiel in a quick reply, but got timed out and lost the lot. Oh well. I'll fill in the details another time.
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Old Jul 3 2006, 06:43 AM   #26
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thanks!
So its not going to make much difference me searching for science in a UK edition!
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Old Jul 3 2006, 06:47 AM   #27
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I doubt it. If anything, the UK editions seem to have more in them rather than less, so you're probably better off working on this project from our side of the pond.
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Old Jul 3 2006, 06:59 AM   #28
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yep, except Anne appears to be trying to be too clever over comets and planets here without reading stuff properly! her dragonflight description of the red star is the best one so far! the cometary tail thing is causing me problems!!!
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Old Jul 3 2006, 07:04 AM   #29
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I think in Dragonsdawn that's explained pretty well. The RS drags a huge amount of Oort material with it, in a nebulous tail which covers a wide expanse of space around and behind it, and eventually diffuses all the way through the inner system. The cometary description refers solely to the RS's orbit, which has it spending the bulk of its time way out around the Ooort cloud - at least Anne got Kepler's laws used correctly there! So, even though the RS is in and out of the system within 5-15 years, the thread-spores and icy junk remain littering the system for the full 50 years of the pass.

It's quite interesting really. The first fall of a pass can be predicted pretty well, but the last will be very hard to pin down. By right, the last years of a pass should have very feeble, intermittent falls, which gradually tail off to nothing.

I've just had a further thought - Lessa's use of the Red Star to guide her jumps forward across the long interval. By the end of the pass, the red star will be so far out that it'd be no more visible that Saturn is to us, and likely more like Uranus/Neptune. And until it starts swinging back towards Pern for the missed-pass, it'd be similarly too faint to see. There's really not that large a timeframe when it's close enough to be useful as a timestamp for the 5 weyrs' visuals - mid way through, yes, and in the run-up to the 9th pass, but certainly NOT on every 25-year hop. Chalk it up to Anne not applying Kepler correctly in that case!
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Old Jul 3 2006, 10:20 AM   #30
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yep, luckily I'm starting with phosphine with the write up.
Just finished DDawn.
If I see Hoyle-Wickramansingh one more time...
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Old Jul 3 2006, 09:38 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kath
Tarvi's actually very well described, but Sallah really hasn't been so far - but seeing as we've seen things from her point of view, it's hardly surprising. Aside from having long hair and a figure softened by motherhood at the time of her death, about all I've come across that might be useful descriptively is Tarvi calling her his "golden girl" and "emerald eyed". As for all the other characters - I'm noting down as much as I possibly can!
I don't know about physically, but we do know that her... grandfather, I believe... was Alaskan - a packrat - and she had to get rid of a ton of stuff before leaving for Pern. This was when she volunteered to stay up in the Yokohoma for the weekend.
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Old Jul 4 2006, 10:30 AM   #32
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here's what I've done so far...

Phosphine/ Firestone

Phosphine, the gas produced when dragons chew firestone was first introduced in the very first Dragon-rider story Weyrsearch, published in 1967 which was later incorporated into Dragonflight (published 1968). It has appeared in nearly all the dragon-rider books since then.
The first time phosphine is mentioned by name, although “phosphoric air” (Dragonflight: pg 8, Rapp and Whiting 1969; pg 16, Corgi 1981) is mentioned, is in a description of how L’tol became dragonless.

“An ill-timed swerve during the Spring Games had brought L’tol and his beast into the full blast of a phosphine emission from S’lel’s bronze Tuenth.” (Dragonflight, pg 17, Rapp and Whiting 1969; pg 22, Corgi 1981).

The passage goes on to say that L’tol’s dragon died of phosphine poisoning.

So, what is phosphine, and why is such a poisonous gas a good choice for the fuel for the Pernese dragons’ fire?

Phosphine (PH3) is a hydride of phosphorous; it is a colourless, odourless gas in its pure form, although more usually it has a fishy odour (the firestone stench which is often mentioned in the books) due to the presence of substituted phosphine and diphosphine (P2H4). It is the common name of phosphorous hydride and is also known as phosphane and phosphamine.
Phosphine can be safely mixed without ignition with pure oxygen unless there is a sudden reduction in pressure, when it explodes. (Which explains why dragons don’t blow up, as the phosphine in the stomach must be at a greater or equal pressure to the atmospheric pressure.)
The gas reacts with oxygen when it ignites and produces phosphoric anhydride and water.

2PH3 + 4O2 = P2O5 + 3H2O

Phosphine is obtained in several ways, though the most relevant method in this case is by the hydrolysis of a metal phosphide such as calcium phosphide (Ca3P2).

CaP2 + 6H2O = 3Ca(OH)2 +2PH3

It is probably one of these metal phosphides that is the key ingredient in the firestone the dragons digest to produce phosphine.

However, phosphine is highly toxic and although only one character is mentioned as dying of phosphine, even a relatively small dose is fatal. However, there is one reprieve for the Pernese, it is possible to build up a resistance to it, as has been shown by the high level of resistance developed by pests in Asia and Australia, so, as, especially in a pass the average Pernese is liable to be exposed to a very low level of phosphine, all is not lost.


References

A Higher School Certificate Inorganic Chemistry (second edition), Adlam and Price, London October 1940.

wikipedia

It'll take forever before its ready to go online properly though!
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Old Jul 4 2006, 10:49 AM   #33
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If a job's worth doing, it's worth doing well.

Looks good so far. I'd mention that LArth's cause of death was slightly different according to MHOP and DF.

As far as the poisoning issue goes, we know that the dragons vmoit up the residue, and presumably they try not to inhale their own gases. In Larth's case, with a deep burn the phosphine would have got right into his bloodstream/tissue, so it's a more hazardous scenario than simply chewing/flaming. Presumably, the second stomach acts as a fairly impervious container for the chewed stone/gases. It's also a good thing that Porth and [mental blank] didn't continue to try chewing until their bleeding tongues had been sorted out.
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Old Jul 4 2006, 10:50 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brenda
I don't know about physically, but we do know that her... grandfather, I believe... was Alaskan - a packrat - and she had to get rid of a ton of stuff before leaving for Pern. This was when she volunteered to stay up in the Yokohoma for the weekend.

Got all that and a whole lot more

But cheers anyway.
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Old Jul 4 2006, 10:52 AM   #35
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I was thinking more of the riders dropping dead!
I haven't got as far as MHOP!
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Old Jul 4 2006, 11:58 AM   #36
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I was thinking more of the riders dropping dead!
I guess the way dragons/firestone are designed means that:

--un-chewed firestone isn't poisonous, unless you do something stupid like eat it!
--the phosphine produced by the dragons ignites safely before it can poison anyone.
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Old Jul 6 2006, 04:34 PM   #37
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yeah, I'd sort of decided on that before I found out about building a resistance to it!
Haven't done much more. On ATWOP now!
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Old Jul 21 2006, 03:23 PM   #38
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Woohoo!
Just finished Skies of Pern!
That means I have done all the books (no short stories though) except for Red Star Rising which I've had to borrow from the library as somehow I've never actually got round to buying it- which is odd since I enjoyed it!
Dragons kin and Dragonsblood whixch I'm debating whether to do or not! I suppose I ought to, it being a science of Pern.
I'm going to type up my list next!
I've also discovered that I can't stand Masterharper of Pern!
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Old Jul 22 2006, 08:56 PM   #39
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You are not the only one. I enjoy portions of the book, like Robinton's doomed love with Kasia, and the episode with the Wall People, but everything together just grates against something in me.
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