V is for Verse in Books

I don’t often encounter verse in the books I read. There may have been more poems in the books I read as a child; I don’t really remember.

The first one that stayed with me, the first poem I really liked in a novel, was in high school. The novel was Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey. This whole series is especially prone to poems and songs, because the main character is a singer.

But I like it. I’ve taken it out just to read the poems sometimes.

“The little queen all golden
Flew hissing at the sea.
To stop each wave
Her clutch to save
She ventured bravely.

As she attacked the sea in rage
A holderman came nigh
Along the sand
Fishnet in hand
And saw the queen midsky.

He stared at her in wonder
For often he’d been told
That such as she
Could never be
Who hovered there, bright gold.

He saw her plight and quickly
He looked up the cliff he faced
And saw a cave
Above the wave
In which her eggs he placed.

The little queen all golden
Upon his shoulder stood
Her eyes all blue
Glowed of her true
Undying gratitude.”

I think I just really, really like the imagery in this poem. (Even though I read the scene that inspired this poem and it was, well, this is a good summary.)


RIP: Anne McCaffrey

  I read online Anne McCaffrey might have passed away and my reaction was: please don’t let her be dead.

Than I read on GalleyCat she was dead.

I loved her books. Still do. In fact, I have a couple in hard cover. That’s pretty amazing, considering how few physical books I actually own. A dozen, maybe, all told. Most of the physical books I own are paperback. Maybe three or four are hard cover.

I’ve held onto them for a long, long time and despite preferring ebooks, I am not likely to get rid of them anytime soon.

So yeah. She was – and remains! – one of my favorite authors.

My first Anne McCaffrey book was Dragonsong. I was 14 and I hadn’t read anything quite like it. I loved the dragons, the fire lizards, the harpers, everything.

I read it as fantasy and discovered later the author described them (them being all the Pern novels) as science fiction. I am pretty sure that was the first time I discovered the writer could mean a book to be one thing and the fans another.

Lyon’s Pride was probably the first book I read about characters with telepathy.

Her Brain and Brawn books were pretty amazing and I still reread them every so often. I mean, the idea of an otherwise crippled person flying through space? I loved it.

And I still haven’t read anything else quite like her Crystal Singer stories.

I spent a good chunk of my teenage years reading Anne McCaffrey’s books. Maybe it’s because I hadn’t read a lot of science fiction before her, but she was a lot of firsts for me.

From what I’ve seen online, a lot of people start reading SF in grade school. So maybe 14 is a bit to really start reading a lot of fantasy/science fiction, but aside from the odd children’s book, I didn’t really read much SF until high school.

I am pretty sure Anne McCaffrey is one the reasons I love to read SF.

She’s written so many books. I haven’t read them all, but I’ve read most and it’s hard to pick out just one. Dragonsong is still probably the one I reread most often.

I am very sorry she won’t be writing anymore. RiP, Anne McCaffrey.

fantasy · reading

How I Fell in Love with Dragons

I love dragons. They remain my favorite fantasy creatures.

I don’t remember where I first encountered dragons. It could be on TV or in books. In fact, it was probably TV, because I wasn’t the biggest reader when I was 5. Or 6. Or 7. Or even 8. LOL

But I know the first time I read The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley, that was when I fell in love with dragons. I read the story over and over and over again in 6th grade. It was different somehow. Dragons were different.

I don’t think I’d ever seen them as medium-sized pests before. They’d always been huge menacing beasts in my head. And, yeah, there is a big dragon in the book. But the little ones came first and that made all the difference.

The big one was pretty magnificent, too. But more normal, you know? More what I pictured when someone said dragon.

That same year I discovered the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by  Patricia C. Wrede and it turned every princess story I’d ever watched on its head. I never imagined dragons could be like that!

A couple of years later (when I had my adult library card) I found the Pern books. I’d never seen dragons like that, either. They could talk, they needed to chew something to make fire and they could travel back in time. You could fly on the dragon! They were genetically engineered, but that was a minor detail.

I wanted to fly on my own dragon. I read the dragon rider books and dreamed of what it would be like to ride my own dragon.

Writing is the closest I’ve ever come to that feeling. If that makes sense. Maybe it doesn’t; dragons aren’t real after all.