The Many Works of Anne McCaffrey

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Collecting Highlights

5/1/2006:  "The White Dragon" (US 1st paperback)
by Cheryl Miller

The White Dragon is the coming-of-age story of Jaxom and his white dragon Ruth. This novel is an expansion of Anne's earlier novelette A Time When, and it was Anne's first book to make the New York Times Bestseller list -- making it the first book by an avowed science fiction author to do so.

The first US mass market paperback was published in May 1979 by Del Rey in New York, with cover art by Michael Whelan. It sold for $2.25 US.

The first US mass market paperback printing of this book is of interest because there were two states due to numerous printing errors and typos in the first state, the most notable of which is detailed below. When the errors were discovered Del Rey made an attempt at recalling the entire production run, but it was already on bookstore shelves so they were not all that successful. The errors were corrected and a new book printed to replace the first edition -- with no notation on the copyright page to indicate that it was a new print run of the book.

Copyright page, which is identical for either state. The highlighted section is where you determine what printing version you have (for later printings, a second line will show stating the printing and the year).

The largest error was that a block of text a couple pages long was shifted out of place, and checking for this error will let you determine whether you have the first or second state of the first printing of this edition. On page 143, the fourth paragraph starts:

"Will she let them Impress, sir?" Jaxom asked the

In the second state this sentence correctly continues as:

Harper, momentarily forgetting his awareness of the man's mortality.

In the first state with the printing error, the sentence continues nonsensically as:

head from side to side.

On page 144 the first state jumps back to the proper end of the sentence about halfway down the page. Then on page 146 you reach the point where the block of text was meant to be, again about halfway down the page.

Because the two states to this first printing can only be distinguished by this error and not by the printing statement on the copyright page, it can be a bit tricky to try to collect a specific one through an online bookstore, as most won't mention which state -- if the seller is even aware that there are two. Numerous copies of both states can be had for prices as low as $1 US (and up to over $15 US, which is outlandishly high). This is a book you'll do better to search for the old-fashioned way, or spend time emailing/calling the online stores and hope they're willing to check for you!

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

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