The Many Works of Anne McCaffrey

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11/15/2005:  Roots of Pern: "Weyr Search"
by Hans van der Boom

How it all began, at least where Pern is concerned. Most of you will know that the book that was later to be published as Dragonflight, was originally published as three short stories in Analog, Science Fiction – Science Fact of October 1967 (originally sold for 60 cents). Anne’s first Pern story "Weyr Search" was a feature and John Schoenherr made a few illustrations and also did a cover with, admittedly, a hideous dragon Anne still chuckles over the rather silly cover because held upside down, she says, the dragon resembles the male sexual organ…

The magazine isn’t particularly rare but special in the sense that it holds the first installment (the other two were published as Dragonrider part I and II in the December 1967and January 1968 editions) of the Pern stories and books ever. It usually sells for anything between about $2.50 and $10, depending on the state. The cover is apt to be damaged (the color print rubs off) because of the poor quality of paper. These weren’t called pulp for nothing.

After the story "Weyr Search" appeared in Analog, the text was heavily revised for inclusion in the novel Dragonflight.
NOTE: All anthology appearances, and there are quite a few, of the story use the text that was originally in Analog.
The story was nominated in 1967 for the nebula Award for Best Novella but it lost to "Behold The Man", by Michael Moorcock. It was the winner of the 1968 Hugo Award for Best Novella, tying with "Riders Of The Purple Wage", by Philip Jose Farmer.

It has to take a place of honour in the collection of every diehard Pern fan!

These are the interior illustrations:

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Anne McCaffrey 1967-2007, all rights reserved, and used by permission of the author.

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