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Old Apr 15 2013, 12:44 PM   #1
Plughto
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Default Please help. Reading order.

I am rereading The Dragonrider's of Pern, for the fourth time, but it's been over 10 years since I last read them. I'm having a bit of trouble with the newer books and short stories. I don't feel I NEED to read them in Pern's chrono order, but I just finished The White Dragon, and damn do I love all of those lovely folks. So I have Masterharper, Renegades, All the Weyr's, Dolphins & Skies on hold at the library. Skies was the last book available upon my last reading. After doing some research, I'm hearing I need to read A gift of Dragon's, The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern and something called New Era Pern... I can't find much information on such a book. Can anyone help me out? Should I also read The Atlas of Pern? How are Tood's books? I know I'll have to go back in the Pern timeline, which is cool, but are they any good? And what the heck am I going to read next? Any great Sci-Fi/fantasy series I should look into next?

Thanks for any help you can give me folks, I appreciate ya!
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Old Apr 16 2013, 03:54 AM   #2
Almaron
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Default Re: Please help. Reading order.

Hmm...let me think...

You might as well finish the Ninth Pass stories if you've just read the White Dragon...and it would seem you've reserved all the books in the series (bar Masterharper, which is a prequel to Dragonflight)! In fact, "New Era Pern" simply refers to the later books in the Ninth Pass. Although you might want to have a read of the First Pass stories before ATWOP (Dragonsdawn and First Fall), as the characters and events in those stories become more significant in the later Ninth Pass stories (in fact, ATWOP has a major spoiler for a part of Dragonsdawn). Come to think of it, you might want to have a read of "A Gift of Dragons" before starting Renegades (see below for why).

As for the other books...
*Moreta, Nerilka's Story, and the short story "Beyond Between" - it's part of the Legends II omnibus - all make up the Sixth Pass, and you can start those at any time because they're not explicitly connected to other books - well, aside from a brief mention in Dragonsinger that gives away most of the story.
*Red Star Rising/Dragonseye is a standalone (late First Interval/early Second Pass), and can also be read whenever.
*A Gift Of Dragons is a collection of four short stories from various points in Pernese history, some of which have been published before. The first two; "The Smallest Dragonboy" and "The Girl Who Heard Dragons" kind of fit between/around The White Dragon and Renegades (The Girl Who Heard Dragons is sort of a draft that got reworked into Renegades), and introduce characters who become vaguely prominent after Renegades. "Runner Of Pern" takes place during Dragonflight, and introduces characters who appear again in Skies of Pern. The last story, "Ever The Twain" is a standalone (most think it's taking place in the Second Pass).
*The Dragonlovers' Guide to Pern (get the second edition; it's got info about the later Ninth Pass books), The Atlas of Pern, and the People of Pern are for the most part just informative books about Pern and the people who live there, but they're still interesting to read. The Dragonlovers' Guide also includes a short story; the Impression, which shows F'lessan's POV as he Impresses Golanth, as well as the aftermath. It's cute, to say the least. All three books give greater insights into elements of Pern; the DLG talks about lots of characters and places that never appear in the books themselves, and also explains how Pern is supposed to work in places, although some of the information is faulty. The Atlas shows detailed maps of what many of the major locations on Pern are supposed to look like, but it hasn't been updated since the eighties so it's a bit out of date. People of Pern is just a lot of pictures of characters, and it also includes minor information about characters that doesn't always show up in books (for instance, did you know Lytol married and had two daughters after Larth died, but they got coveted by Fax and either died or fled?).

This leaves Todd's books...the ones that divide people. These books it's probably best to read last, since they retcon a lot of things from the older books (arguably for better as well as worse; some of the more infamous or illogical elements have been replaced with newer ones which suit the theories fans came up with years ago) which can make things confusing. People are also kind of torn on them because there's some plot points or characters that just aren't well thought out or written (Lorana comes off quite Mary-Sueish, for one). I think the general consensus is that the earlier of his books are better than the later ones - there's some strange love polygons going on in the later books, and the last three or four books have far too many scenes where nothing happens and the story gets slowed down as a result - but I'd still say read them, if only to learn what happened during this point in time.

Whew, that took a while to write! There's several other Pern things out there you could check out; there were two game books (think Choose-Your-Own-Adventure) written by Jody Lyn Nye released years ago called "Dragonharper" - kind of like a draft version of Masterharper of Pern, as was written years before Masterharper but contains a number of characters and settings that ultimately got used in it - and "Dragonfire" - Mirrim getting caught up in something after the events of the White Dragon. There was also a (non-canonical, I believe) video game called "Dragon Riders: Chronicles of Pern" that had you playing a Fort Dragonrider in the Seventh Pass, who ends up investigating areas of Pern when a sickness similar to the one encountered by Moreta springs up again.

If they're too hard to track down, though, you can always read the plot summaries on the Pern Wiki; http://pern.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page , which now has entries for all of these books (in fact, the main page lists each book in chronological order, in case you get confused)!
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Old Apr 16 2013, 05:07 AM   #3
P'ter
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Default Re: Please help. Reading order.

There's also a boardgame around: in fact there's one for sale on e-bay right now.
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Old Apr 16 2013, 09:42 AM   #4
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Default Re: Please help. Reading order.

For reading order you can download the document I made at Anne's request. It's up-to-date up to Dragonheart (2008)

http://www.pern.nl/library/Pern_reading_order_1.7.pdf
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