Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Not-Quite Dragons of Pern

It's safe to say that every science fiction and fantasy fan has at least a brief flirtation with Anne McCaffrey's "Dragonriders of Pern" novels.  It's one of the longest running genre series, with just under two dozen books, and features some interesting worldbuilding.  That includes the titular "dragons" and the related species of Rukbat III.

Inspired by the books, Emily Holland sculpted this recreation of a wherry, the Rukbat-analogue of Earth's crows and their relatives.  She does a great job of capturing the alien nature of the creatures while drawing on terrestrial anatomical forms.


CoastConFan said...

That’s a thoughtful sculpt and rethinks the classic idea of “dragons” being in sync with Anne McCaffrey’s Pern novels. I’m sure “impressed”. The other interesting feature of this series of books is the Threadfall concept of cyclic disaster from outer space due to the gravitational fields of a rogue star dragging filaments of space-borne life into the atmosphere. I bet HPL would have liked the idea. See also

Her rationalization of dragons and the ecology of the world of Pern tends to make that series SF rather than fantasy. There’s a lot of detail and thought that went into those volumes. She was the first woman author to win a Hugo and the first to win a Nebula; she became a Grand Master of the SF & F Writers of America and inductee in the SF Hall of Fame – most importantly she did it her way. I can recommend some of her non-Pern works such a The Ship Who Sang. Along with HPL she liked cats.

Tamara Laurel said...

I recommend a book by Jim West called Libellus de Numeros (The Book of Math) that my 11-year-old daughter just finished reading. The story is about Alex, a young precocious girl, who mysteriously gets transported to a strange world where Latin and Math combine in formulas and equations with magical effects. With a cruel council leading the only safe city of its kind in this world, she will have to prove her worth to stay as well as help this city as it is the target for two evil wizards who seek to destroy the city and its ruling council. To help the city and also get back home, she will need the help of the greatest mathematician of all time, Archimedes. In a world where math is magic, Alex wishes she paid more attention in math class.

A Goodread 5-star review said:

"The storyline inspires a hunger for knowledge and a 'can do' attitude - a strong message of empowerment for young readers. I’m sure that this book will be interesting to read for both, boys and girls, as well as adult readers. Libellus de Numeros means 'Book of Numbers' and it's a magical textbook in the story. Math and science are wonderfully incorporated into a captivating plot: Latin and math are presented as exciting tools to make 'magic' and while Latin is often used as a language of magic the addition of math is definitely a fresh approach.

"The main heroine Alex is a very relatable character for young people, especially girls. I love that she has her flaws and goes through struggles all too familiar to a lot of young people. Alex is an authentic female role model - a very courageous girl, who is not afraid to stand up for herself and others and who is able to learn fast how to use knowledge to her best advantage.

"She can definitely do everything that boys can and I find this to be a very powerful message that is needed in our modern society. Furthermore, it was a pleasure to read through the pages of a well-formatted eBook. Highly recommended!"