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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

Since there's been a certain amount of picking on Ms. McCaffery's oeuvre--or, more specifically, the more problematic sexual politics of the Pern books--in this forum, it seems only fair to note:

Anne McCaffery named SFWA Grand Master

Ms. McCaffrey is the twenty-second writer recognized by SFWA as a Grand Master. She joins Robert A. Heinlein (1974), Jack Williamson (1975), Clifford D. Simak (1976), L. Sprague de Camp (1978), Fritz Leiber(1981), Andre (1983), Arthur C. Clarke (1985), Isaac Asimov (1986), Alfred Bester (1987), Ray Bradbury (1988), Lester del Rey (1990), Frederik Pohl (1992), Damon Knight (1994), A. E. van Vogt (1995), Jack Vance (1996), Poul Anderson (1997), Hal Clement (1998), Brian Aldiss (1999), Philip Jose Farmer (2000), Ursula K. LeGuin (2003), and Robert Silverberg (2004).

And in fairness, I still think the strength of the female characters in the Pern books is remarkable for their time. Although I now have madonna/whore complex issues over a lot of the details of characterization.

We are amused to note that the artist formerly known as Ms. Andre Norton has apparently joined the ranks of Those Who Need Be Denoted By One Name Only.


McCaffery got it before Gene Wolfe?

McCaffery is about seven years older than Wolfe. One suspects this has a bearing.

Me, my wonderment is that Zelazny is not yet on the list.
At least she got it after Silverberg.
I'd like to see Alice Sheldon's name on that list, too. [bad taste and political suicide] But I think it's become an "honor them before they're dead" award. [/bad taste and political suicide]
I just think her views on homosexuality are a bit off.
More than a bit. Annoying enough to provoke me to write entire novels for the sake of going "I refute thee!"

OTOH, born in 1926; I give her a certain amount of credit for including gay characters in her work at all, no matter how squicky I find the way she did so.
I don't think the award is for her personal views, as expressed in writing or otherwise. I think it's for, as was said, body of work and influence on later generations.

Whatever you may think of McCaffrey, she was one of the first unabashedly, marketed-as-SF writers to not only crack the New York Times bestseller list, but to own it for a little while.

She also brought huge numbers of readers into the genre, and kept them there.

Long deserved recognition, IMO. No more or less so than any others not on the list.. this just happens to be her year.

Also, I'm glad they set up an award for YA titles. ::knocks on wood that blackholly one days wins it::
Unfortunately, Zelazny dissappeared too early to make the list.

It's hard to describe sf as the most-sneered-at genre when there are all of those romance novels lingering in the grocery-store checkout line . . .
My first reaction is "Oh, damn, she must be sicker than I knew." The mortality rate for Grand Master awards is staggering.
Not really. Williamson, Norton, and Clarke are still around. de Camp lasted 25 years.
I'm surprised no one has talked about hack extraordinaire Philip Jose Farmer's presence in this august company. His sexual politics, as I recall, were... well, disturbing to say the least.

Maybe it's because his books have been off bookstore shelves for years now. (I was going to say his books are out of print, but no one that prolific is out of date these days... still, he's unfindable at Borders.)
Genuinely and interestingly disturbing, rather than annoyingly stupid, like McCaffrey's. That's a big reason I'm glad he made it.