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FOR READERS/WRITERS: I Can’t Shake it

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FOR READERS & WRITERS

Today’s writer topic comes from QSFer K.S. Trenten:

Is there a moment in a spec fic book you read/wrote which stands out for you with special vividness? Why?

Writers: This is a reader/writer chat – you are welcome to share your own book/link, as long as it fits the chat, but please do so as part of a discussion about the topic.

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1 thought on “FOR READERS/WRITERS: I Can’t Shake it”

  1. For me it was one of the very early Dragonriders of Pern novels by Anne McCaffrey, either Dragonflight or The White Dragon. In the early 80s I picked it up at the school library as I was devouring everything SFF and it had cool artwork and an intriguing story which suggested a lost-technology science fiction/fantasy mashup. With telepathic dragons! Heady stuff to a D&D freak that would rather read through lunch than socialise.

    Anyway, I remember vividly thinking something was odd about the green/blue dragon rider pairings but it wasn’t until some time late on rereading that I realised that this was the first case of normalised homosexual relationships I had ever seen. Mind. Blown.

    At that time homosexuality was viewed as a perverse sin and only referred to in denouncing lectures at church or as an extreme insult – it was still actually illegal and rated on par with beastiality in most parts of the country. Yet McCaffrey simply mentioned it as nothing unusual, socially approved and a part of eveyday Weyr life. That along with the (for the time) amazingly progressive social structures (incl. open relationships, equal gender rights (actually preferencing women who could be leaders), a total lack of guilt about sexuality, but in a moral way, disablity/body acceptance, rejection of rascism and mixed-race normalisation) made me want to read more, until I had collected all her works. These themes continue through all her work, Tower and Hive, Barevi, Brain and Brawn, etc.

    While these ideas might seem a little trite, perfunctionary or even contrived now, at the time of writing (around late 70s!) this was breathtakingly advanced and well, FAR ahead of mainstream culture. Remember at this time D&D was being denounced as a satanic cult akin to occultism/witchcraft/paganism and some SFF books were being banned for being subversive and ‘too dangerous for young people’, so this was really quite revolutionary and extraordinary for the time. I have o idea how it managed to get past the censors of the time and into a school library.

    It’s unforgettable to me, and I still recommend McCaffrey’s work, which I think is still brilliant and relevant even today.

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