Audiobook+ Giveaway & Interview: Terry Maggert, Author of Heartborn

MaggertHeartbornEveryone, please welcome Terry Maggert to the blog today. I really enjoyed his suspenseful YA angel novel, Heartborn. A big thank you to Jess at The Audio Book Worm for setting up this book tour. Swing by the tour page to catch more interview, reviews, giveaways, and guest posts. If your interested in the giveaway (and who wouldn’t be?), scroll to the very bottom to learn how to win an Amazon GC, an audiobook copy of Halfway Dead by Terry Maggert, or a bluetooth speaker. On to the interview!

*Author’s note: these are great questions, and it’s high time someone considered my feelings about draconic issues.

Would you rather have a dragon, or be a dragon? 

Have, and my reasoning is purely selfish: I want to experience the majesty of having a dragon as a friend– think of the things it would lead to. Never search for a parking space. Avoid the DMV forever. No pesky TSA, or the need to check your broadsword before you board a cruise. Those are all things of the past. Additional fun: Think of the speaking engagements. “Terry and Banshee, thank you for being here. Could you tell us a little about your”—

“ROOOOAAAAARRRR.”

“Banshee would like me to tell you to never give up on your dreams. Did someone say there was an open bar?”

I’m don’t see a downside to this. Ever.

If you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

I could blather on about some obscure French film but that would just be posturing. In film, it has to be Star Wars because I was nine years old and it was the closest thing I’d ever seen to my dreams made real. I was a little boy when the Apollo missions went to the moon; I’d stand in our front yard (I’m from Florida) and watch those enormous rockets blaze upward and it was like I was onboard. If that doesn’t kindle your imagination, nothing will.

For books, it has to be The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey. It is, and will always be my first printed love. I’ve bought, re-bought, and bought them again because I wear them out. Seriously.

If you were sent on a magical quest which other 4 fantasy authors would you take with you?

This is EASY. Magical quests are always filled with things that have tentacles and fangs and whatnot. So, as follows:

Larry Correia (GUNS!).

Jim Butcher (KNIVES!)

Ursula K. LeGuin (Diplomacy/Magic)

And, there’s an up-and-coming British writer named J.K. Rowling who, I’m told, might be able to contribute magic systems and *possibly* finance the whole mission, although we’ll have to see if her books become popular. I’m pulling for her.

Which ancient or historical works have you not read and periodically kick yourself for not having made time for them yet?

As a writer and history prof, this question brings me great shame. Among the numerous classics I *should* have read by this stage in my life, I think the most important one is Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. He was an emperor who found time to write. I should find time to read it, in between eating cookies and goofing off. Oh, and I need to re-read Frankenstein because my love for monsters has been like a fire in my imagination.

To sum up: Yes, I feel shame.

If you were asked to create the syllabus for a college class in SFF literature, what books would be on there as required reading? As passing discussion?

This is one of the most hotly contested subjects I’ve ever discussed at author events; it’s much like arguing about the greatest baseball player or singer or whatnot.

*Author’s note: my choices are Ted Williams and Freddy Mercury, respectively.

But, on to the topic at hand:

For sci-fi, I say start deep in the past. Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs are an absolute must. They led to the explosion of what we call genre fiction, and thus, we have the golden era. I’d say, given twelve books in SFF?

  1. Journey to the Center of the Earth, Jules Verne
  2. John Carter of Mars, Edgar Rice Burroughs (the origin of Star Wars!)
  3. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. LeGuin
  4. The Passage, Justin Cronin
  5. Startide Rising, David Brin
  6. American Gods, Neil Gaiman
  7. A Spell for Chameleon, Piers Anthony
  8. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
  9. Outlander, Diana Gabaldon
  10. Sunshine, Robin McKinley
  11. The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkein
  12. Dune, Frank Herbert

Of course, we will now let the arguments begin.

Care to share an awkward fangirl/fanboy moment, either one where someone was gushing over your work…..or one where you were gushing over another author’s work?

This is actually one of my high points. I was signing at LibertyCon this summer, and paired with Todd McCaffrey for an autograph session. Some points to know:

He is the son of my favorite writer, Anne McCaffrey.

He now writes my favorite series.

I’ve carried a copy of Dragonsong with me for more than 35 years.

I brought my tattered old book with me (given to me by my buddy Tim when we were kids), and Todd didn’t just sign it (he’s an incredibly nice guy), but chatted with me about his mom and their books. Aside from my parents, the McCaffrey family is the longest relationship I’ve had in my life. Here is the evidence:

Terry Maggert's favorite book.
Terry Maggert’s favorite book.

Then, for my fanboy moment, he signed MY dragon book, Banshee, which is dedicated as follows: “To Tim, who gave me Anne, who gave me dragons.”

I was, and am, giddy.

Terry Maggery with Todd McCaffrey
Terry Maggery with Todd McCaffrey

What are the top 3 historical time periods and locations you would like to visit?

Let’s consider this for a moment, based on something I say as a history professor. “The good old days weren’t very good.”

I love things like dentistry, clean water, and air conditioning. With that in mind, if I’m going to visit the past and have a return ticket, I say:

Stonehenge. I MUST know who built it, and why.

Machu Picchu during its peak. Can you imagine a city in the clouds?

Paris in the 1880s— Ain’t no party like a Parisian Belle Epoque Party cuz a Parisian Belle Epoque Party don’t stop. The art. The culture. The intrigue. The wanton alcoholism and nudity. It’s all there.

You have to run an obstacle course. Who do you invite along (living or dead, real or fictional)? Will there be a tasty libation involved?

We will run and drink mead, as the Gods intended. And by we, I mean, “Me, Leif Ericson of the Norsemen, and the Celtic warrior queen Boudicca, because I’m not just going to run that course, I’m going to WRECK it.”

AuthorTerryMaggertAbout Terry Maggert:

Born in 1968, I discovered fishing shortly after walking, a boon, considering I lived in South Florida. After a brief move to Kentucky, my family trekked back to the Sunshine State. I had the good fortune to attend high school in idyllic upstate New York, where I learned about a mythical substance known as “Seasons”. After two or three failed attempts at college, I bought a bar. That was fun because I love beer, but, then, I eventually met someone smarter than me (a common event), and, in this case, she married me and convinced me to go back to school–which I did, with enthusiasm. I earned a Master’s Degree in History and rediscovered my love for writing. My novels explore dark fantasy, immortality, and the nature of love as we know it. I live near Nashville, Tennessee, with the aforementioned wife, son, and herd, and, when I’m not writing, I teach history, grow wildly enthusiastic tomato plants, and restore my 1967 Mustang.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~Facebook ~ GoodReads

MaggertHeartbornSynopsis of Heartborn:

Her guardian angel was pushed.

Keiron was never meant to be anything other than a hero. Born high above in a place of war and deception, he is Heartborn, a being of purity and goodness in a place where violence and deceit are just around every corner.

His disappearance will spark a war he cannot see, for Keiron has pierced the light of days to save a girl he has never met, for reasons he cannot understand. Livvy Foster is seventeen, brave, and broken. With half a heart, she bears the scars of a lifetime of pain and little hope of survival.

Until Keiron arrives.

In the middle of a brewing war and Livvy’s failing heart, Keiron will risk everything for Livvy, because a Heartborn’s life can only end in one way: Sacrifice.

Fall with Livvy and Keiron as they seek the truth about her heart, and his power, and what it means to love someone who will give their very life to save you.

Audible        Amazon

JuliaWhelanNarratorAbout the Narrator Julia Whelan:

Julia Whelan has appeared in many films and television series, most notably ABC’s Once And Again. After receiving a degree in English and Creative Writing at Middlebury College and Oxford University, Julia began narrating audiobooks. She’s recorded hundreds of novels across all genres and has received multiple Earphones and Audie Awards. She is repeatedly named one of Audiofile Magazine’s Best Voices and was Audible’s Narrator of the Year.

IMDB ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ GoodReads

GIVEWAYS!!!

There are 3 different giveaways for this tour. You can enter any of them or all of them. These giveaways are hosted by The Audiobookworm and the prizes provided by the author. Enjoy!

Giveaway 1: A $10 Amazon Gift Card

Heartborn Audiobook Blog Tour

Giveaway 2: A Digital Audiobook Copy of Halfway Dead by Terry Maggert
Halfway Dead Digital Audiobook

Giveaway 3: Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

Mini Bluetooth Speaker

Bloggity Award and Other Stuff

Lynn over at Books & Travelling with Lynn blog recently nominated me for the Real Neat Blog award. I tend to enjoy blog awards because it forces me to be a little more personable and chatty. Plus, we all get to talk about books.

The Rules:

    • Thank and link the blogger that nominated you.
    • Answer the 7 questions that the nomination has provided you.
    • Create 7 questions for your nominees.
    • Nominate 7 other bloggers.
    • Bend said rules

1. If you could meet any author, from any time (past and present), who would that be and what would be your most pressing question?

That’s a tough one. Andre Norton (Forerunner Foray, Timetraders, etc.), Alan Dean Foster (for his Pip & Flynx series), Isaac Asimov (for his Lucky Starr series), and Anne McCaffrey (for her Dragonriders of Pern series) all an impact on me as a kid and it would be cool to get a drink with them and find out what books, authors, or artists had an impact on them.

2. Who is your absolute favorite character, ever. I know you’re probably groaning and rolling your eyes but there must be one character that springs to mind immediately – probably followed by a host of others – but, I want that first knee jerk reaction please and why!

I find that if you ask me this today, you’ll get one answer and if you ask 6 months from now, you’ll get another. I’m easily swayed by whatever I’m reading and thoroughly enjoying at the moment. Let’s go with Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only practicing wizard PI. I like how he can think out side of the box and come up with crazy polka powered T-rex zombie type solutions to messed up situations.

3. What is your favorite series out of all the books you’ve read?  The series you would recommend without hesitation.

I will always adore Jacqueline Carey’s Terre D’Ange Cycle. The epic fantasy, the alternate history, breaking so many standard tropes! However, I’m not sure I would recommend it to everyone because of the sex. I love the sex, and that’s part of what breaks so many dated, sexist standards in fantasy fiction, but is everyone ready for it? Personally, 9/10 people I recommend this series to, has enjoyed it.

4. What’s your preferred reading format, book or e-reader?

These days I do a lot of audiobooks. I dabble in other formats, but find that my deep fatigue from illness makes concentration an issue. Audiobooks are great for me because I don’t get hung up on typos, grammatical errors, large words that I once knew but now find difficult to connect meanings to, etc. The story continues with an audiobook no matter what issues the book may or may not have.

5. The book you were most looking forward to but ended up being really disappointed with?

Station 11 by Emily St. John Mandel. Wow! This book was a bit of a snoozer for me. The main character that ties it all together, that everyone knows or is tied to in some manner, is pretty darn boring. I kept on with it to the end hoping it would get better. There’s plenty of interesting side characters and I liked the slower pacing than usual for the fall of modern society story. But instead the book really is about this one guy who is pretty bland.

6. Blogging – what do you love/not love – any embarrassing moments?

I love that I don’t have a schedule. I blog when I feel like it (or when I feel up to it) and can take a break from it when I don’t. I like that I have kept it small and just blog what I want to blog about and don’t try to force myself into being glitzy, trendy, or the first to post a review on the latest hot ARC. There’s plenty of blogs that do focus on those things, and I’m glad they’re out there because I read them.

So far, I haven’t done anything too embarrassing. I know my typos and such have gone up this past year while I have been sick. But in the big scheme of things, that’s rather small.

7. Most anticipated book for the remainder of 2016?

Kevin Hearne is coming out with his first epic fantasy, I think. Hooray! I really enjoy his Iron Druid Chronicles (urban fantasy). Scott Lynch may be releasing his next Gentleman Bastards book (hooray!). As far as I know, there’s no release date yet for Peace Talks by Jim Butcher. Henry Hertz & his two sons have at least 2 more kids books coming out this year – they’re always so well illustrated! Of course, the next A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin. I always look forward to something new from Jim Bernheimer. I’m hoping Domino Finn does another Sycamore Moon book. I’ve really enjoyed the first 3 Jonathan Shade urban fantasy books by Gary Jonas and I’m hoping he puts more of the series out as audiobooks. Joe Hempel does a great job narrating them.

Here’s my 7 questions:

If you could be an extra on a period piece (Outlander, Spartacus, etc.) what would it be and what would you be doing?

What makes you cringe?

What’s the most interesting gross fact you know?

It’s time for you to host the book club. Who do you invite (living, dead, fictional, real)? And what 3 books will you be discussing?

If you had to choose someone to rescue you from the jaws of certain death would it be a superhero, supernatural creature, or a space alien?

If you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

If everyone came with warning labels, what would yours say?

Bonus Question: If you were asked to create the syllabus for a college class about your favorite genre, what books would be on there as required reading? As passing discussion?

While I will mention some favorite blogs below, I’m going to leave this open mic. If you find the questions (or my answers) amusing, feel free to chime in down in the comments or create your own blog post answering them – if you let me know you did so, I’ll swing by and check it out.

I like to visit author David Lee Summers blog for the steampunk – most definitely for the steampunk. Viviana, Enchanstress of Books is doing a lot of cool audiobook stuff this month. Broken Teepee has a fun mix of home gardening, book reviews, and info on home brewing kits and such. I’ve found Home Cooked Books by narrator Karen White to be a fun place with lots of interesting bits on what it’s like to make an audiobook. Violin in a Void is constantly expanding my world of books, and I like her focus on African authors and book blogs. Mike Powell is a photographer and he focuses on nature. I especially love his photos of herons. Evelyn Aster, who writes mostly contemporary romance (which, admittedly, is a bit outside my favorite genres), regularly posts pics of her fancy nails and her fancy drinks.

On a personal note, I haven’t been as involved as I normally am due to chronic illness. 2015 was one of the toughest years of my life and 2016 is shaping up to be as well. However, just last month I finally got a diagnosis! Hooray! Turns out I have many, many tiny blood clots throughout my lungs. Because the blood clots have been tiny, the condition didn’t present with the normal sharp pains to the chest, etc. Various scans and doctors missed it, and I was often misdiagnosed as having an asthma exacerbation. Now my doctors suspect the blood clots could have been going on as long as 2 years, with my lungs absorbing at least some of them. Because it went on so long, I have a moderately high case of pulmonary hypertension, which in turn has enlarged my heart. So, I have lots of work to do to get better and it will take many months. I’ve been on 24/7 oxygen since January and will be for at least a few more months, perhaps longer.

So, if you pinged me about something and I haven’t responded, feel free to ping me again. I’ve been hypoxic for probably about 12 months now and when your brain doesn’t have it’s regular stream of healthy oxygen, you get stupid, tired, and forgetful.

Giveaway & Interview: Rebecca Chastain, Author of A Fistful of Fire

ChastainAFistfulOfEvilHeya folks! Please give a warm welcome to urban fantasy author Rebecca Chastain! We’re hear to chat about her latest book, A Fistful of Fire, which is a sequel to her book A Fistful of Evil. We also talk about temp jobs, Firefly, fantasy book clubs, and plenty more. There’s also a spiffy giveaway so scroll to the bottom of the post to check that out!

If you could be an extra on a period piece what would it be?

Does a futuristic show count? If so, I’d love to an extra on Star Trek: Voyager and get to work with Captain Janeway. I’m a big fan of the themes the Star Trek TV shows have covered. I’m a sucker for books and movies with themes revolving around a group of people working together to accomplish more than they could singularly, the strong bond of friendship making life better (even if it sometimes makes life harder, too), and a pursuit of knowledge without leaving behind humanity and ethics.

It’s time for you to host the book club. Who do you invite (living, dead, fictional, real)? And what 3 books will you be discussing?

The best things about book clubs are getting to discuss fun reads and socialize, so with those criteria in mind, I’d invite:

  • Phèdre nó Delaunay (from Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Legacy series), for her insatiable quest for knowledge; I imagine she’d raise a lot of interesting points.
  • Rupert Giles (from the Buffy the Vampire TV series), who seems like he’d have insight and amusing anecdotes.
  • Temeraire (from Naomi Novik’s popular series), for his fresh perspective, and because any chance I can include a talking dragon in one of my clubs, I’m going to jump at the chance.

Our three books for discussion would be E-Squared by Pam Grout, A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, and Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey. The first to see what sort of wonderful things we as a group could manifest, the second because I imagine everyone would be fascinated and come to the science from very different perspectives, and the third because it’s a great novel that I think would appeal to everyone in the group—and getting a dragon’s take on a dragon-origin novel would be entertaining.

ChastainAFistfulOfFireIf you had to choose someone to rescue you from the jaws of certain death would it be a superhero, supernatural creature, or a space alien?

Definitely a supernatural creature. In my scenario, I’m rescued from drowning by a friendly kelpie who I can converse with telepathically. She and I form a great friendship, and she introduces me to a whole wonderful supernatural world. Having always been horse crazy and also yearned to speak telepathic with animals, this fantasy satisfies the eight-year-old me and makes the current me want to write a novel…

If you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

Firefly. For its very brief lifespan, the show packed in so much. I’ve rewatched the series many times now, but… The first time the reavers are seen on screen was one of the creepiest things I’ve watched in a long time (I’m not a horror fan, too, so it almost turned me off the show). Now, I’ve spun the story so many different directions in my head—where I’d take the characters, how I’d redo different character arcs, what I’d like to see in all-new episodes if I could write/watch them today—that it has lost the novelty I felt during the first viewing.

What has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?

For a few months after I graduated college, I worked temp jobs. The worst position was at a non-profit doing cold calls to businesses to try to get the managers and CEOs to participate in a fancy dinner, during which they would make cold calls to their business associates to get them to donate to the non-profit. The process combined several of my least favorite things: talking on the phone with strangers, asserting myself while asking for something, and extreme, endless monotony while simultaneously being mildly panicked by the whole experience.

In A Fistful of Evil, I gave the main character, Madison Fox, a temp worker background, though it’s only referenced and never seen on the page. It was a minor tribute to a hellacious time in my life, one which every day I’m enormously grateful is far in my past. The only comparison I can make between that job and writing is that they are the exact opposite. Now, I spend my days talking with a bunch of people I’m intimately familiar with because they exist and were created in my head, I get to decide when they say yes or no to my plans, and the days are never boring.

ChastainMagicOfTheGargoylesIf you were sent on a magical quest which other 4 fantasy authors would you take with you?

  1. Brandon Sanderson: He creates great magic systems that are unique, and he might have something special up his sleeve to help our quest.
  2. Ilona Andrews: (is this cheating, since Ilona Andrews is two people?) For sheer bad-assery.
  3. Kim Harrison: The way she weaves big-picture and smaller plot points together makes me think she’d be great with any puzzles we encountered along the way.
  4. Robert Asprin: Because you always need a little humor in your quest.

What were you like as a kid? Did your kid-self see you being a writer?

I’ve known I was a writer for pretty much my whole life. I’ve always made up stories to entertain myself—during road trips, in class, at recess, while riding my horses, and especially while dressing up my cats. My kid-self was more intense than I am now: a lot shier and more serious. I’ve overcome some of my shyness, though I still need more solo/down time than my more outgoing friends. I know my kid-self would be in awe of the life I lead now and very impressed that I have three books out for sale. But she’d also be disappointed that it took me so long to get here. (She expected to be a New York Times bestselling author by the age of eighteen.)

Thanks for the great interview!

AuthorRebeccaChastainAuthor Bio:

Rebecca Chastain is the International Amazon Fantasy Bestselling author of A FISTFUL OF EVIL and MAGIC OF THE GARGOYLES. She has found seven four-leaf clovers to date, won a purebred Arabian horse in a drawing, and once tamed a blackbird for a day. Dreaming up the absurd and writing stories designed to amuse and entertain has been her passion since she was eleven years old. She lives in northern California with her wonderful husband and two bossy cats.

ChastainAFistfulOfFireBook Blurb for A Fistful of Fire:

Madison Fox survived her first week as California’s newest illuminant enforcer, defending her region against imps, vervet, hounds, and one lascivious demon. If her grumpy boss, Mr. Pitt, was impressed, he hasn’t told Madison. In fact, there’s a lot her boss has been closemouthed about, including the dark secret haunting his past.

But Madison’s problems are just igniting. Neighboring regions report an uncharacteristic flare-up of evil, fire-breathing salamanders blaze unchecked across the city, and Black Friday looms. Trapped doing cleanup amid mobs of holiday shoppers, Madison watches from the sidelines as dubious allies insinuate themselves in her region.

As suspicions kindle and the mysterious evil gains strength, Madison must determine who she can trust—and whose rules to follow—before her region and career go up in flames.

Sizzling with adventure and sparking with magic, A Fistful of Fire is fused with Madison Fox’s trademark blend of humor and ass-kicking action.

Places to Find Rebecca Chastain

Website

Facebook

Twitter

GoodReads

Amazon

GIVEAWAY!!!

As part of the book blog tour, Rebecca Chastain is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card. Just enter via the Rafflecopter link below. Hurry because this giveaway ends October 16, 2015 midnight EST. Good  luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway & Interview: Jennifer Anne Seidler, Author of Dry Land

SeidlerDryLandFolks, it is my pleasure to have Jennifer Anne Seidler on the blog today. I very much enjoyed her scifi romance, Dry Land, and it was a real treat to interview her. Today we chat about hard scifi, best & worst jobs, show chickens, scifi romance, and much more! If you’re interested in the audiobook giveaway, scroll to the bottom.

If you could be an extra on a SF series or movie,  what would it be?

I love this question! I would say I would love to be someone in a control room at a launch of some important mission, whether it be from Earth or as a controller guiding ships from some distant planet. I would suppose that if I were actually part of the mission, I wouldn’t be an extra. So, give me a uniform and a pair of headphones, a mic, and some sort of display to watch, and I’ll be happy. That, and I can use my Chuck Yeager voice, do the countdown, and say “roger that.”

Reality in my fiction: how important is it? How does this feed into your idea of hard science fiction?

I love Space Opera, but my preference is for hard sci fi. I prefer that in most of my reading, to be honest. I love created worlds but I really love it when a writer can take our world and make it fantastic. I read Michio Kaku’s books about science in the future and mankind in that future and it is amazing the potential this world has – both for the amazing and the frightening. I find it fascinating to explore that in books and in the things I write. There’s a rule that technology the way it’s going now renews itself, turns over every eighteen months. Part of me wonders if the fantastical future will happen during my lifetime. If not, I can die knowing I’ve at least dreamt and read a taste of it.

What has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?

I don’t think I’ve had a job that I can say is the “worst.” Perhaps it was one of my first jobs out of law school, when I was relegated to a desk, reviewing documents day in and day out. Important for the litigation, maybe, but boring as hell for me. I prefer to be “out there.” My favorite job was when I was deeply involved with the legal aspects of arson investigation – getting out in my grubby clothes and slogging around fire scenes, tagging behind some of the most brilliant minds in fire investigation. That was some amazing stuff. But, yes, it’s true that none of that compares to writing. Dry Land is my first touch into published fiction, but I do feel that I have to write every day. If I don’t write in some form or another I go a little stir. 🙂 Whether it is throwing down ideas for more Ted and Colby or hobby writing with some of my writing partners, writing gives me a sense of peace, accomplishment, and sanity.

Dogs, chickens, rabbits, & a hamster! Who gets fed first? Are any of them show animals, or purely for family enjoyment?

The dog gets fed first. 🙂 The chickens and rabbits, my husband takes care of. I do go out there and help him clean things up every few weeks (gross!) but the care and feeding is his bailiwick. We did show chickens for a few years. My oldest son, Ian, won junior showmanship a few years back at the Lodi Fair — something he was pretty proud of. My daughter tried her hand at showing rabbits, but it wasn’t her thing. Unfortunately, there’s a bit of a moratorium on showing poultry at fairs this year because of that bird flu, but… maybe next year.

If you could sit down and have tea (or a beer) with 5 fictional characters, who would you invite to the table?

A beer. Definitely a beer. I would invite: Eugene Wrayburn, Thursday Next, Lord John Grey, Hercule Poirot, and Captain Jack Harkness. How’s that for a crowd?

If you were asked to create the syllabus for a college class in science fiction romance literature, what books would be on there as required reading? As passing discussion?

OOH! I think I’d devote entire units to Anne McCaffrey, Lois McMaster Bujold, Jasper Fforde, Rob Shearman, Ursula K. LeGuin, KM Herkes, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Jennifer Roberson; and then to the indies, of course, and there are so many of them that I love! I’ve probably forgotten some, therefore, I will leave room in the syllabus for my students to do independent studies on their favorite SFR authors.

What is a recurring or the most memorable geeky argument or debate you have taken part in?

Of course, to quote Weird Al, “Do I like Kirk or do I like Picard?” That and… which is better – Star Trek or Star Wars? And finally… why does everyone love Loki so much when he’s a psychotic mass murderer?

What is the first book you remember reading on your own?

I had this volume of poetry and fairy tales called “Young Years.” I remember my grandmother challenged me to read through it, and I did. And I loved it. I still have that book to this very day, although I have passed it on to my daughter. I still vividly remember the illustrations.

SeidlerDryLandDry Land Book Blurb:

When mankind toys with nature, nature fights back. Astronaut Ted “Shakespeare” Hardiston is setting off on the adventure of a lifetime — for the rest of his life. He reluctantly leaves behind his wife, an android/human hybrid, to command the first base on the surface of the moon. Ted and the crew of Space Shuttle Liberty complete their mission, gifting the Moon with gravity and an atmosphere. In doing so, they cause mass destruction on the Earth below. By Ted’s side during this ordeal is Codie-5, another hybrid and a genetic duplicate of Ted’s wife. Ted, Codie, and the crew must work fast and make sacrifices to save the world — and for Ted, to return to the love of his life.

Places to Find Jennifer Anne Seidler

Website

GoodReads

Facebook

Giveaway!

The author is offering 1 Audible USA copy of her book, Dry Land! Hooray! To enter, answer the following question in the comments:

1) Do you have an Audible USA account?

2) If you could be an extra on a SF series or movie,  what would it be?

If you don’t sign into leave the comment with an active email address, then leave on in the comments. If you share the post, tell me in the comments and you get extra points. Contest ends Midnight, Saturday July 11th, 2015.

Interview: Paul B. Spence, author of The Madness Engine

SpenceTheRemnantHello Dark Dabbers, please welcome SF writer Paul Spence to the blog today. We chat about heroes & villains, geeky stuff, books & movies, and plenty more. Enjoy!

If you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

Out of the Dark, by David Weber, because it was then that I knew I could do better.

What has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?

Worst or most difficult job? Most of them. Anything monotonous that keeps me from thinking? Worst Job? Ditch digger. Writing is more stressful, but more rewarding.

What book should be made into a game (card, PC, board, etc.) and why? Is there a specific character who you would want to play in this game?

Other than mine? Seriously, I’d love to play a Fallout-type game set in my universe(s). Other than mine, Skyrim done Dragonriders of Pern style.

SpenceTheFallenWho are your non-writer influences?

Non-writer influences? What is this thing you speak of?

Which ancient or historical works have you not read and periodically kick yourself for not having made time for them yet?

Gilgamesh. I haven’t made time for it yet. I need to.

Who are some of your favorite book villains?

To be honest, I’m not fond of villains. As for villains I thought worked great, Eddorians would top the list. Maybe Cthulhu.

Who are your favorite hero duos from the pages?

Kip and Peewee from Have Space Suit — Will Travel, by Robert Heinlein.

What reboots (or retellings) of classics have you enjoyed?

The one that comes to mind is the movie Forbidden Planet, by William Shakespeare — er, The Tempest, yeah.

SpenceTheMadnessEngineIs there a book to movie/TV adaptation that you found excellent? Is there a PC game to book adaptation that worked for you? 

I thought the later Hunger Games movies were good. I usually don’t watch adaptations too often. Don’t even ask my opinion on The Hobbit movies. I don’t read books derived from games.

If you could sit down and have dinner with 5 dead authors, who would you invite to the table? What would they order?

Off the top of my head: Roger Zelazny, Robert Heinlein, Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey, and E.E. “Doc” Smith. I haven’t got a clue what they’d order, but I imagine alcohol would be involved.

SpenceMilankovicCare to share an awkward fangirl/fanboy moment, either one where someone was gushing over your work…..or one where you were gushing over another author’s work?

Can’t think of any offhand. I’m pretty comfortable in my skin. Maybe when I shook hands with Neil Armstrong as a kid and realized I was already too tall to be an astronaut.

Cover art can be so important for a book, making or breaking sales. What cover art has caught your eye, that you found stood above other books?

I like cover art that conveys something from the book. The original cover for John Steakley’s novel Armor really nailed it.

What is a recurring or the most memorable geeky argument or debate you have taken part in?

Too many to count. I’m a scientist, dammit! We geek out all the time! That said, I do have recurring arguments about Classic Star Trek vs Next Gen. Next Gen sucked and has no rewatch benefits. Classic Trek was real science fiction and still relevant. Anyone who thinks differently can feel free to try and debate me.

SpenceImposterWhat is the first book you remember reading on your own?

The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey. I have dyslexia, so I started reading later than most. I’ve made it since then.

You have to run an obstacle course. Who do you invite along? Will there be a tasty libation involved?

Invite someone to go through an obstacle course? How bizarre. I’d challenge anyone who thought Next Gen was better than Classic Trek. How about that? Libations? No. Not till after I kick their asses. Then they can buy me Guinness.

Finally, what upcoming events would you like to share with the readers?

My third novel, The Madness Engine (#3 The Awakening series), is scheduled for release on the 22nd of May. I will also most likely be at Bubonicon in Albuquerque again this year.

The Remnant (#1 The Awakening series)

SpenceTheRemnantLt. Commander Hrothgar Tebrey is assigned as a military attaché to an archaeological expedition as light duty to recover from the disaster of his previous mission. But things quickly begin to go wrong on Cedeforthy. Someone, or something, is manipulating events to sabotage the expedition.

When the science team becomes marooned on the planet by the tides of war, the sinister force reveals itself, and Tebrey must fight against a seemingly unstoppable enemy to save not just himself, the expedition, and the woman he loves, but his very soul.

Some things are worth dying for; it is the things worth living for that matter.

The Fallen (#2 The Awakening series)

SpenceTheFallenLt. Commander Hrothgar Tebrey has returned to duty in Special Operations, but it is becoming harder for him to fight in the name of a government he no longer feels is just – one that orders purges against its own citizens.

Meanwhile, dissention is growing within the ranks of the Earth Federation Fleet. Ships continue to go missing, and the military needs someone to blame. A war with the Sentient Concord seems inevitable.

But if the Earth Federation destroys the Sentient Concord, who will fight the true enemy? For the Sentient Concord is the only government that knows the truth about the hellish Theta entities…

…Entities that want Tebrey dead, and are willing murder entire worlds to make it happen.

The Madness Engine (#3 The Awakening series)

SpenceTheMadnessEngineThe war between the Sentient Concord and the Earth Federation grinds on, but dark forces are moving behind the scenes, forces intent on unleashing terror on a scale never seen before, a terror that has already spread beyond Commander Hrothgar Tebrey’s universe.

On an alternate Earth, acid rains fall smoking from the steely skies, and feral things that were once human skitter through the ruins. Tebrey’s father Daeren Drake searches for clues about the enemy and finds more than he bargained for.

Meanwhile, Lt. Commander Tonya Harris and Ghost stumble upon an engine, a weapon that must never be used, but already has been… by the enemy.

Loyalties will be tested, dark pasts revealed, and the enemy will strike a blow at the heart of the Concord from which it may never recover.

Places to Stalk Paul B. Spence

Website

Facebook

Goodreads

Amazon

Additional Interview over at North of Andover

Scifi This & Scfi That

2014SFExperienceOnce again I will be participating in two of my favorite yearly reading events: Stainless Steel Droppings’s 2014 Sci-Fi Experience and Little Red Reviewer’s Vintage Science Fiction Month. These are not true book challenges in that sense, but more of a chance to totally geek out on all things science fiction with other bloggers. The Sci-Fi Experience has traditionally run Jan-Feb, but this year Carl has decided to shift to Dec. 1 – Jan. 31, 2014. Andrea’s Vintage Science Fiction Month is January 2014, and the scifi goodness should be 1979 or older.

Here in the high desert of northern New Mexico, the winter is often filled with clear night skies, excessively dry weather, house fires due to misplaced ashes or bad insulation, and nose bleeds (which I blame on the dry weather). It is also filled with the shortest days of the year, which allow me the most believable excuse for turning in early (~6PM) with a good book.

So I am very much looking forward to enjoying these two reading events with full enthusiasm.

VintageScifiBadgeWhat will I be reading? Well, I haven’t planned it out, but I recently picked up the second book in The Expansion series by James S. A. Corey (I read the first back in August and still need to post the review – someone’s life was being sucked away by office until recently). Also there is Stark’s War by Jack Campbell, a B. V. Larson book that looks fascinating, probably a Neal Asher or two, and Cyteen by C. J. Cherryh. For the Vintage Science Fiction Month especially, I am feeling the need to dig out some Andre Norton and perhaps Anne McCaffrey. Knowing me, there will probably be a variety of other odd bits thrown in.

Sound like fun to you? Just check out the links above. You can join any time and do as little or as much as you like.

Giveaway & Guest Post: Mythical Creatures

CalcaterraDreamwielderWelcome everyone to this fantastical guest post by Garrett Calcaterra. Yep, he was one a few weeks ago in an interview, chatting about his dogs, good beer, and his books. Please give him a warm welcome again, and sit back and be entertained by his take on mythical creatures in literature. Oh, and yes, we have a lovely giveaway at the end of this post. To enter, leave a comment and for extra points check out the rafflecopters.

Mythical Creatures: Loving Them Means Sometimes Leaving Them Alone

by Garrett Calcaterra

Several readers, after having read my new fantasy novel Dreamwielder, have asked me why I don’t like fantasy creatures. They point to the fact that there are absolutely zero dragons, elves, dwarves, trolls, and orcs in it, and take that to mean I don’t care for them. As it turns out, I do in fact like fantasy creatures, so much so I purposely did not include any of them in Dreamwielder. Let me explain.

As you might expect, I’m a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings, and like many others I feel the myriad of creatures Tolkien incorporated are a big reason why Middle-earth is so rich and rife with peril for Frodo, Aragorn, Gandalf, and their companions. Many of the creatures, of course, were inspired by Norse mythology, a topic Tolkien was well versed in. Dwarves, elves, frost giants, and dragons are all part of Yggdrasil, the tree that represents the nine worlds of Norse mythology. Smaug was also likely based partly on Fafnir, the dragon Sigurd kills in the Volsunga. Other creatures Tolkien created himself. Orcs, for example, were wholly his invention. Balrogs, I’m uncertain of. And really, it’s unimportant what inspired them. Tolkien did such a good job of making them his own, and giving them each their own sense of history and place in Middle-earth, that they became fantasy archetypes in and of themselves. And that’s exactly why I avoided them.

As a reader, I adore the creatures of Middle-earth. Sadly, too many authors over the years have adored them so much they wholesale ripped them off from Tolkien. Now they’ve become cliché landscape of the fantasy world. Fantasy novels with generic elves, dwarves, and orcs are a dime a dozen and unmemorable even when they’re a fun fantasy romp. The writers who have been successful are those who have taken creatures of mythology and literature and made them their own, just as Tolkien did. Anne McCaffrey took dragons and reinvented them by giving them a telepathic link with their human rider. James P. Blaylock took the standard fantasy races of dwarves and elves and made them his own by making them whimsical, witty, and simply hilarious to read about in The Elfin Ship. George R.R. Martin reinvented vampires in Fevre Dream; and in A Song of Ice and Fire he’s taken the overused zombie and recast it as the white walker, a creature far more shrouded in myth, and far more frightening because of it.

CalcaterraBaldairnMotteSo do I like creatures? Absolutely. It’s just as a writer, I  respect them enough to only use them when I can remake them with my own unique vision. I’m a huge zombie fan, but have written only one zombie story, “The Sway of the Dead,” which casts zombie as humans stricken by complacency in a materialistic, consumer-driven world. (The premise was jarring enough to incite the anger of several magazine editors, one of them who went so far as to call my protagonist a vile murderer. I took that feedback as a sign I’d successfully challenged the reader’s expectation of zombies.)

I’m also a big fan of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos, but as of yet I’ve not had any brilliant ideas to do something innovative with The Great Cthulhu or Yog-Sothoth. (My good friend and frequent collaborator, Ahimsa Kerp, did though. Check out Cthulhurotica from Dagan Books for a great story where he puts Nyarlathotep in a hippy commune during the late sixties only to get caught up in free drugs and free love.)

The other notable creatures that are near and dear to my heart as a reader are Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tharks and the white apes from the John Carter books, as well as the dinosaurs and saber tooth tigers from his Pellucidar series. But again, these were Burroughs’ take on Martians and prehistoric beasts. As a writer, I have to rely on my own imagination. In Dreamwielder, that meant sticking primarily with humans, but also a couple of my own twists on mythological creatures. The scent-hounds are part human, part dog, part machine contraptions created by an ancient magic to sniff out sorcerers—as much steampunk invention as they are fantasy creatures. The sinister Wulfram is a shape changer, but nothing like your typical werewolf. He has been transformed by magic to have the ability to take other forms, but the shape changing process for him is gruesome and unnatural.

It’s out of respect really that you’ll find no prototypical fantasy creatures in my writing. I love them, so I leave them alone. And when it comes down to it, human characters offer plenty of strife and conflict all by themselves, just like in real life.

But what are you favorite creatures? What authors have reinvented them and made the fresh and wonderful for you? What authors have defanged them and made them lame?

Places to stalk Garrett Calcaterra

Facebook, twitter, Website, Blog

For the giveaway, Garrett is offering ebook copies of Dreamwielder to 3 winners and then a paperback copy of The Roads to Baldairn Motte. Leave a comment to enter the random drawing – leaving a way to contact you. The ebook giveaway is open international and the paperback copy is open US/Canada due to shipping. For additional entries, enter the rafflecopters below. Good luck! Giveaways close on April 26th.

Giveaway of 3 ebook copies of Dreamwielder (International)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Giveaway of 1 paperback copy of The Roads to Baldairn Motte (US/Canada)

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey

This is Heldig's better side, especially when she is cranky.
This is Heldig’s better side, especially when she is cranky.

Why I Read It: There was this group read hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings.

Where I Got It: Own it…since like I was 12.

Who I Recommended This To: Dragons + Science = WIN! Who doesn’t want to read this?

Publisher: Del Rey (1968)

Length: 303 pages

Series: Book 1 The Dragonriders of Pern

I loved this book as a kid and I love it again as an adult. There is so much going on in this book, which was first published as two novellas and later smushed together into one coherent tale. On Pern, there is an aging fuedal system of strongholds (containing the farmers, the craftsmen, and some of the ruling humans) and the dragon weyrs (containing the dragonriders, their winged steeds, and support personnel) which are granted tithes of food and other products by the surrounding strongholds. This book opens with the dragonriders on search as the single Queen dragon has laid a Queen egg. These men fly from hold to hold assessing the available ladies for personality and mental abilities. The threat of Threads from the rogue red star is a long ago memory-turned-to-myth-turned-to-disbelief. Only a few of the greatly diminished dragonriders even believe the threat will reappear.

If you read only the the first few chapters of this book, you might think that Anne McCaffrey was a sexist, having bought into the myth that men are greater than women, etc. But she is a clever writer and merely sets you up to show how our Heroine Lessa will change that paradigm over a few short years by her bravery, her wit, her strong personality, and her lack of impulse control. Indeed, our Lessa is flawed, deeply flawed at the beginning as she is a somewhat selfish individual bent on revenge. However, McCaffrey pairs her wits with F’Lar’s steady hand. He has his issues too, having waited too long to set a definitive course for his people, and then once doing so playing his cards too close to his chest in a show of control freakishness. And I love these characters for their flaws, as it reflects the true human spirit.

The second half of the book truly shines with more explanation of the dragon’s abilities, the pseudo-science behind their fire breathing abilities, and info on the Threads which travel the void of space when the Red Rogue wanders close to Pern, mindlessly landing on any organic matter and attempting to devour it. In addition to the science, we have a time travel element (and I won’t say much because I don’t want to spoil it), and we have telepathic ability to chat with the dragons who are at least as cognizant as their human counterparts. Indeed, this book has a lot going for it and I look forward to reacquainting myself with the series.

Read Along

Part I

Part II

VintageScifiBadgeWhat I Liked: Flawed, complicated characters; talking dragons; plausible science; feudal feel to book.

What I Disliked: The first dragon-mating scene gave me mixed feelings as no one clued Lessa into what was going on with the dragon passion and it was her first sexual experience; F’Lar continues to shake Lessa throughout the book which also gave me mixed feelings (realistic for the setting, but not really necessary).

This is Vintage SciFi Month over at Little Red Reviewer. Make sure you stop by her place for some classic SF. Also, this book definitely counts as part of The Science Fiction Experience hosted over at Stainless Steel Droppings, which runs to the end of February. So, for even more SF goodness, make sure to check out his blog. ScifiExperience2013Badge

Dragonflight Read Along Part II

You're lucky I could get Streak to hold still for this photo.
You’re lucky I could get Streak to hold still for this photo.

Welcome back everyone to the second half of the read along of Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey. Our wonderful host is Carl over at Stainless Steel Droppings, so make sure to stop by his blog to catch his answers and also links to other participating bloggers. If you have not read Dragonflight, please be aware this post contains major spoilers about the book, especially focusing on the last 2 sections of the book.

1.  The Threads are further explored and become very much the focal point in parts 3 and 4 of Dragonflight.  What are your thoughts on the Threads in general and how do you feel these worked as an enemy vs. the traditional enemies you see in SFF novels?

The biologist in me loves the little tidbits we learn about the Threads. Some kind of mycorrhiza(?), but really, really aggressive. The thought of a spore form traveling through space, such a cold void, to make it to a living, breathing planet. Perhaps. If you have heard of tardigrades (or waterbears), then you know there lies the possibility. Humans struggle against nature, whether here or on Pern, will be our greatest struggle. With that in mind, the Threads serve as a great, mindless antagonist and also to unite the various factions of humans on Pern.


2. The science fictional concept of time travel becomes an important device in the later half of Dragonflight, how do you feel McCaffrey did in working time travel into the plot?

First, let me say I really like that the plot wasn’t so predictable, and the time travel thing I didn’t see coming (not the first time I read it like 20 years ago, and not this last time because I forgot nearly all of it). Second, I think it is very realistic that Lessa would picture her Ruathan home as she remembered it, not as it stood in the present. So, very easy to see how this mistake could happen. But, third, with that said, why hasn’t this mistake happened with other riders recently? I know that F’Lar has a brief conversation pondering that if Lessa stumbled upon it, others probably have at some point. I wonder if this is explored further later in the series.

3.  Of the new characters introduced in this second half of Dragonflight, who did you like/not like and why? 

Let me just say that F’Nor is still one of my favorite characters and I am glad he had a serious role to play in the second half of the book. Next, I seriously like the changes that F’Lar and Lessa make in how the dragons are handled from egg, such as bringing in potential candidates early on so they won’t fear the baby dragons on Imperssion day. It was great to see Robinton – he was one of the characters I remember strongly from reading these books 20 years ago. And dude, many ladies flying queens using flame throwers. Anne McCaffrey is the bomb just for that.

4.  We talked about it in the first discussion and there is no way we can get away from it in Part 2: What are your feelings on the progression of the relationship between F’lar and Lessa throughout this second half of the book?

They’ve both grown, taming each other, and eventually learning to trust and support each other. I am glad they also eventually found some mutual enjoyment in bed too. Lessa has shown the most growth, even risking herself in fetching the dragons and riders of the past. F’Lar had to make some tough choices, such as going ahead with the Southern Weyr, even though he knew his brother would be in danger. Once again, the changes these 2 rulers made to the Weyr in being less secretive with potential riders and the civilian populace are of great benefit. I expect that future Queen riders won’t be surprised during their first mating flight, but rather, will have knowledge of how they will be affected by their psychic connection to their dragons.

5.  And finally, what is your overall assessment of Dragonflight?  How does it measure up against other classic science fiction you’ve read?  Would you recommend it to modern readers, why or why not?

I have greatly enjoyed this reread – Thank you Carl! I remember being perplexed teen that a scifi story had dragons, and yet there was some biological plausibility to these dragons and their fire breathing. Then you throw in the lost knowledge of a time gone by (space colony, anyone?) and time travel and you have some basic scifi elements. I would recommend this story to folks who do not give up on a tale at first blush. If I had simply stayed stuck in the first few chapters, I would have walked away thinking that Anne McCaffrey was really a sexist male using a pen name to appeal to the female half of society. One of the strengths of this story is that not only do the main characters grow, but so does the culture.

Dragonflight Read Along Part I

Waffles interrupted from her nap; she was curled around her favorite heater.
Waffles interrupted from her nap; she was curled around her favorite heater.

Carl over at Stainless Steel Droppings is hosting this month a read along of Anne McCaffrey‘s Dragonflight, volume 1 of The Dragonriders of Pern series. Part I of the read along covers sections I and II of the book. Carl has provided the questions and over on his site are not only his entertaining answers but also a list of other participating blogs. So make sure to stop by his site to continue the fun.

1.  I (Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings) have hosted SFF-related group reads for books by Asimov, Herbert, Sanderson and Gaiman.  This is our first group read by a female author.  What are your thoughts on McCaffrey’s handling of the male and female characters in Dragonflight?  Feel free to compare and contrast male and female characters and/or discuss various male and female characters in relations to others in the book of the same sex.

As I often find with female writers, McCaffrey treats both males and females as humans first and then throws in any sex-based differences secondly. Both Gaiman and Sanderson are also good at this skill, while Herbert and Asimov create distinctly female characters in positions of power (equal in importance to the story but lacking equally interchangeable roles with the males of the story). I enjoy all 5 of these writers immensely.

2.  F’Lar and Lessa are an interesting pair of protagonists.  What do you like and/or dislike about their interactions thus far?  What things stand out for you as particularly engaging about each character (if anything)?

They are both driven and both have a strong need to be in charge. I think F’Lar has learned to hold his desire for power in check and await the right moment, while Lessa is still hasty in her decisions and is definitely driven by her need for revenge. Lessa’s callous behavior toward’s Fax’s wife Gemma came back to bother her, which showed me that Lessa can grow as a character. Yet, then we see F’Lar’s callous behavior towards Ruatha’s watch weyr as he dies trying to protect Lessa. I like that these main characters are not perfect heroes from the beginning with polished feelings and the ability to intuit others on a moment’s observation. They are rough, and perhaps that is what Pern needs right now.

3.  How do you feel about Pern to this point in the story?  For those new to Pern, you may want to discuss your speculations/thoughts on the Red Star and on the between here.  What are your thoughts on McCaffrey’s world-building?

I like how there are small indications that the current civilization has lost some knowledge to the past. I study maps in books, so I was quite pleased there was one at the front of this book. In looking at this map and counting all the Weyrs in the northern hemisphere, I have to wonder why there is only 1 in the southern hemisphere. I read this book when I was a teen, and I am happily surprised at all the details I have forgotten, including the mystery of the southern Weyr. I enjoy how McCaffrey shows us her world of Pern and doesn’t simply lay out all the facts for us in some boring internal monologue or narrative. With that said, there are times when I feel that perhaps the editors pulled out too much and could have given McCaffery another 50-100 pages to play with.

4.  For those new to Dragonflight, was their anything that particularly surprised you with the narrative choices, etc. thus far?  For those who have already read Dragonflight, how do you feel about  your return to Pern?  What stands out in your revisit?

As I read through this tale for my 2nd time at roughly 20 years apart, I can look on with amusement at how I used this book as a vocabulary lesson in my early teens. Various words stick out now as they did then, and I remember making a long list to go look up the next morning in the 30 pound dictionary we kept in the living room. Incumbent, midden, legumes, gravid, indolence, etc.

Many of the details of the story I have forgotten. I do remember my excitement of riding flying dragons, the curious nature of the Threads, Lessa’s temper and courage. All those things are still there. I do find myself wishing for more details here, or further character development there – things I didn’t notice missing as a kid.

5.  Discuss anything else that you feel passionate to discuss that wasn’t included in your responses to the above questions.

Back when I read this book in my early teens, I was fascinated by the references to ‘dragon roused’ and the mating flight and what that meant for the humans. Now, as an adult with a full understanding of such human relations, I can look at those sections without the mystery. Yet they still add to the overall story and the worldbuilding of Pern and life with sentient dragons. Truly, this is about the survival of dragonkind as Pern knows it and of carrying on the dragonrider livelihood. I am glad that Anne McCaffrey did not gloss over this significant part of human complexity.