Dragon Flight by Anne McCaffrey

I might be convinced to read another book in the Dragons of Pern series if someone gave me a strong recommendation, but I would not read this book again. Although I am willing to read another book by Anne McCaffrey. For this reason I give Dragon Flight three out of five stars.

Who might like this book? Readers interested in the history of sci-fi/fantasy literature. After all McCaffrey was the first woman to win the Hugo and Nebula awards. Who else might like this book? Readers who read McCaffrey when they were young and have fond memories of the experience. Anybody else? Readers who like stories about dragons. I myself fall under the first category. I never read McCaffrey before. And I am not that interested in dragons. But I picked up a copy of Dragon Flight from the local library based only on the author’s name.

Who might not like this book? Pretty much everyone else not mentioned above. Why? For me it was a struggle to get through this book in places. There were good parts. Just not enough of them. Or maybe it is fairer to say that the links between the good parts were weak.The story, despite its fantastic setting where men (and women) ride dragons to burn threads of some kind of alien spores that fall from the sky, just did not hold my attention.

*** Spoiler Alert ***

Back in the 60’s when this book was written, time travel might have been a relatively new concept for a book. But after Back To The Future and hundreds of episodes of Dr. Who, the way time travel is portrayed in Dragon Flight seems a little contrived. I mean flying a dragon back in time to solve a problem that exists in the present. Okay. It is sci-fi/fantasy. But are there any repercussions? Not really. Alright then, let’s just solve all of our problems this way.

And I just don’t get the idea of dragons wanting to be flown by humans. People who love this series have explained this idea to me. There is a link, a bond that is formed between human and beast when the dragon is a hatchling. But to me it goes against the very nature of what a dragon is or should be. And to top it all off, after hours of riding the dragons as they chase down the dangerous threads in the sky falling to the ground, the riders in the story are the ones that are tired and needing rest.

Also, it may be a small point, but did anybody else feel sorry for all the deer and animals that the dragons feasted on between flights? No? I just couldn’t imagine how there could be any deer left in the area when so many dragons were nesting nearby. Or why wouldn’t these animals just run away from this dangerous place?

In the end, if human technology brought them to Pern where they discovered threads that fall from the skies and turn the land into a wasteland. If that technology gave them the ability to create a race of dragons to help rid the skies of these spores. Then why not use that technology to just pick up and go to another planet where there are no threads? What makes Pern such a great place to live?

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