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Melissa_W
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TGWHD: Introduction, The Girl Who Heard Dragons, Velvet Fields, Euterpe on a Fling, Duty Calls

Please use this thread for discussion of the Introduction and the first four stories in The Girl Who Heard Dragons.
Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
balletbookworm.blogspot.com
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dulcinea3
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The Girl Who Heard Dragons

I really enjoyed the title story.  It's always fun to visit Pern!  The mention of Fax put the time into perspective, and so it wasn't such a surprise to meet Lessa, F'lar, F'nor, Mirrim, and their dragons later in the story - like old friends.  And considering Lessa's similar talent to Aramina, being able to hear and talk to multiple dragons, it was interesting to learn that Aramina is of Ruathan blood.  Most of that family (other than Lessa) had been wiped out by Fax, but this family has been on the run.  Even though I had read the original dragonrider trilogy not that long ago, I wasn't sure if Thella (love the 'Lady Holdless' title they gave her!) was someone I had met before.  I don't remember having met K'van before, but in the Introduction, McCaffrey says that he was based on her son Kevin, and was the main character in The Smallest Dragonboy.  I didn't think I had read it, but I just checked my bookshelf, and it is a short story in a collection called Get Off the Unicorn, so I have read it, but years ago.  Guess I'll haved to pull it out again!

 

My friend just called and wants to go out to dinner, so I've got to go!

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taxgirl99
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Re: The Girl Who Heard Dragons

Thella's backstory (and ongoing!) is covered in The Renegades of Pern... as well as more storyline on Aramina.

 

I love Anne McCaffrey and Pern - so cool to find a discussion on one of her books! Unfortunately, I haven't read The Girl Who Heard Dragons in a while, so I'm a little fuzzy on some of the stories off the top of my head. But I'll do my best!

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dulcinea3
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Re: The Girl Who Heard Dragons


taxgirl99 wrote:

Thella's backstory (and ongoing!) is covered in The Renegades of Pern... as well as more storyline on Aramina.

 

I love Anne McCaffrey and Pern - so cool to find a discussion on one of her books! Unfortunately, I haven't read The Girl Who Heard Dragons in a while, so I'm a little fuzzy on some of the stories off the top of my head. But I'll do my best!


Thanks, taxgirl99!  I have read The Renegades of Pern, but many years ago (probably when it was first published).  I'm glad to hear that there is more about these characters, because I enjoyed them!  I thought that Aramina and K'van would make a good couple, since they seemed to be developing a nice relationship in this story.

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dulcinea3
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Velvet Fields

This was an interesting story.  For some reason, I kept thinking of H.P. Lovecraft as I was reading it.  The narrator is telling the story in retrospect, and so knows the whole story, but as he is telling it, he only gives us vague hints that something catastrophic happened as a result of their colonization of this planet.  Only when he gets to the end does he tell us what the retribution was.  I was also reminded of the Prime Directive on Star Trek!  They are forbidden to interfere with other races or cultures.  It seems that these people are under a similar interdiction.  And it is absolute - there was no way for the colonists to know what the situation was, and they had been given permission to colonize.  However, they are judged simply by the result of their colonization, and must pay the consequences.  They are really judged twice - once by their federation, and then again by the indigenous population.

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dulcinea3
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Euterpe on a Fling

This one didn't do much for me.  It was somewhat amusing, but unsatisfying.  There are a few mysteries, but nothing is explained.  Peter Pelty, an apparently inexperienced singer, volunteers to stand in when an opera singer is unable to perform.  Apparently, everyone at the performance was amazed by his wonderful performance, while everyone listening on the radio heard a horrible cacophony that they could barely listen to.  In addition, if I understood it correctly, Pelty suddenly collapsed and died backstage after the first act.

 

Ok, so what happened?  The narrator suggests that Pelty might somehow have hypnotized everyone in the theatre, but the woman singer he talks to about the incident does not believe it.  End of story.

 

BTW, Euterpe was the muse of music and lyrical poetry.  I don't see a clue in the title, though, because it describes Madame Jenkins, not Pelty.

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dulcinea3
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Duty Calls

[ Edited ]

In this one, McCaffrey writes science fiction without the fantasy - a traditional story about an Alliance battling a weasel-like race called the Khalians for domination of planets.  I found that the two stories following this one also take place during this same conflict.

 

This one is really more concerned, I think, with the relationship between the narrator (Lt. Hansing) and a 'felinoid' from a race called the Hrrubans.nicknamed Ghra as they collaborate on a mission to a Khalian-occupied planet.  It would have been easy to overlook the reference in which Hansing reveals that he is only a brain - I had to read that sentence a few times to make sure I understood.  Apparently, they have very advanced ways of treating wounded, including replacing parts and in extreme cases, 'disembodying' the brain (not sure whether they retain the rest of the head!).

 

Hansing is fascinated by Ghra from the moment they meet; apparently she is more colorful and younger than other Hrrubans, and they get along well during their journey.  They land on the planet, and Ghra camouflages the ship with Hansing in it while she rendezvous' with a spy who lives on the planet.  Their mission is successful, but full of danger for both, and Hansing has to leave Ghra behind in order to try to save the rest of their convoy.  He succeeds, but is blown up and six months later wakes to find they have saved him, but not Ghra - one of his first thoughts is to be concerned about her.  Luckily, his first new mission is to do just that!  The story ends with the assignment, but I like to assume that he did manage to find and rescue her.

 

I wasn't sure whether this was supposed to be a romance or just a friendship, but I found it touching, and Ghra was an interesting character.  Her coloring was apparently part of an experiment to see if she would be able to avoid detection by the Khalians - the Alliance appears to be big on such experiments.

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Melissa_W
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Re: The Girl Who Heard Dragons

I had to read this one twice.  I haven't read a Pern novel since junior high/high school so I had trouble placing all the action until Lessa appeared.  Then the stuff about Fax fell into place.

 

This reminded me how much I loved the dragons' voices - they sound just like people! (which could then be argued that, since the dragonriders "interpret" for us, the dragons could actually sound very different :smileytongue:

 

 


dulcinea3 wrote:

 

I really enjoyed the title story.  It's always fun to visit Pern!  The mention of Fax put the time into perspective, and so it wasn't such a surprise to meet Lessa, F'lar, F'nor, Mirrim, and their dragons later in the story - like old friends.  And considering Lessa's similar talent to Aramina, being able to hear and talk to multiple dragons, it was interesting to learn that Aramina is of Ruathan blood.  Most of that family (other than Lessa) had been wiped out by Fax, but this family has been on the run.  Even though I had read the original dragonrider trilogy not that long ago, I wasn't sure if Thella (love the 'Lady Holdless' title they gave her!) was someone I had met before.  I don't remember having met K'van before, but in the Introduction, McCaffrey says that he was based on her son Kevin, and was the main character in The Smallest Dragonboy.  I didn't think I had read it, but I just checked my bookshelf, and it is a short story in a collection called Get Off the Unicorn, so I have read it, but years ago.  Guess I'll haved to pull it out again!

 

My friend just called and wants to go out to dinner, so I've got to go!


 

Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
balletbookworm.blogspot.com
Distinguished Bibliophile
dulcinea3
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: The Girl Who Heard Dragons

I love the dragons, too.  They do think differently from humans, though.  They are very literal and easily confused sometimes by the nuances of human thoughts.  They also tend to focus on their desire for food and a warm place to curl up.  Kind of like children, in a way.

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