Runner of Pern (Short Story in A Gift of Dragons)

Runner of Pern (Short Story in A Gift of Dragons) - Anne McCaffrey


I don’t quite remember when I discovered Pern. I was young enough to think it was all very daring and edgy. I was reading books where the inside cover used the word "desire". I'm not kidding. Check it up yourself: old green cover of Dragonflight and the passage with Ramouth’s first flight with Mnementh. All of a sudden I had a book in my hands with Dragons and Sex... And then, wait a minute, those were all men with green dragons so that meant gay sex with dragons!

The Pern series was for me one of my first exposures to SF, and to adult literature that had more mature content in the background.

I haven’t reread any Pern in… It’s got to be close to a decade, but I remember coming to a shocking conclusion. The books were full of sexist remarks. They made me wince though I did not see it when I read them as a youngster.

I’m really thinking a lot about how I condemn Twilight and a lot of what today passes as SF and have to say that Pern probably filled a similar hole in the lives of YA and we’ve all turned out just fine (I think ...). With the Pern books I didn’t notice the issues because I was young, it was a more chast time, and most of all the books had dragons in them. I definitely look at them now through the lens of that fond memory (as I did at that time, I still think F’lar is a total jerk LOL). It's quite impossibe for me to read them differently now.

And now I came across this story that I'd never read. It follows a young Runner, just on the brink of adulthood and just making her way into official "runner" status. They are highly trained couriers that carry letters and documents from location to location by distance-running on well maintained paths built specifically for them. And, no, no dragons this time round...

Read it if you want to resurrect the feeling of yonder days...