From SCI FI Wire:
12:00 AM, 17-JANUARY-08
Best-selling fantasy author Todd McCaffrey--whose new novel Dragon Harper was written in collaboration with his mother, Dragonriders of Pern creator Anne McCaffrey--told SCI FI Wire that the book is set in the world of Pern and is a prequel to his solo novel Dragonsblood.
"The story tells of a plague--very much like the great influenza epidemic of 1918-'19, which changed the course of the world," Todd McCaffrey said in an interview.
The Pern series is about a distant planet where Dragonriders roam the skies on the backs of mighty winged beasts. In Dragonsblood, a young man named Kindan, who dreamed of becoming a Harper, sees his wish come true. "[But] he's having second thoughts," McCaffrey said.
"First, there's Vaxoram, the senior apprentice, who has no time for Kindan and torments his friends," McCaffrey said. "And then there are Kindan's misfit friends: the too-smart and too-young Verilan and the talented girls who sing and write better than the other apprentices. ... [And] just when things seem that they can't get worse, a young lad, Conar, arrives from a distant hold with news of a strange new illness spreading across Pern."
McCaffrey avoided the whole concept of collaborating with his mother--and writing anything in the Pern universe at all--for a long time, he said. "I have my own stories to tell. However, the idea of writing a story with Mum was intriguing," McCaffrey said. "I knew I could learn a lot from her. So when I was interviewing her for the semi-biographical Dragonholder: The Life and Times (So Far) of Anne McCaffrey, we tossed around some ideas for a collaboration."
Pern holds a lot of meaning for many people--Todd McCaffrey included, he said. "When the idea was first broached back in the early '80s, I declared that I would never write on Pern," he said. "What I learned from that is that people should always make their words sweet so that they won't taste bad if they ever have to eat them." --John Joseph Adams