Since handing in the corrections on the PhD, I’ve recently found myself managing a remarkably long commute. If I’m lucky, and all the connections are on time, I can do it door-to-door in 2.3 hours. If I’m not lucky – “if”! he says it like misfortune is in doubt! – then it can explode to any length of time you want to imagine.
The trains between Hertfordshire and Cambridge are truly terrible. I’ve been genuinely astonished by how bad they are. I suspect that one could swallow some rails and sleepers and vomit a better railway line.
Anyway, 4.6 hours of commuting per day has given me a lot of time to read. As well as new books, I’ve also been re-visiting old favourites. One of them is Anne McCaffrey’s “Dragonriders of Pern” series.
These books were one of the first serious, ‘grown-up’ sets of SF novels that I encountered as a child. As a kid they had a lot to recommend them. An entire alien planet. Dragons. Psychic powers. Dragons. Adventure. Dragons. Life-or-death meaningful epic struggles against an enemy that didn’t bother you with any annoying moral complexity (no, not R’gul, I meant Thread, of course). Oh, and did I mention that there were and are dragons? I’m sure you get the idea by now 🙂
But it’s been a long time since I looked at any of them – more 15 years, in fact. To an extent, I’m actually coming to them with a blank slate. Reading them again has proven interesting. Needless to say, there are some unorganised comments after the cut…
(I’ll note that I have the usual mix of squee and criticism. I should point out that the dragon books are a series that I like, hence I’ve thought them over quite a bit. Although I do have some points of quite sharp criticism, that’s actually a side-effect of being a fan of the series – if I disliked it, I’d have less to say because I would have dismissed it from my mind long ago. Anyway, now that disclaimer is out of the way, let’s proceed…)
(Also remember that these are just the opinions of another random person on the Internet, and this not to be taken too seriously.)
(One final note: I’m not dealing here with the Todd McCaffrey novels. Classical Pern or bust, dammit!)