The Chronicles of Pern by Anne McCaffrey

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The Chronicles of Pern

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

The first story, “The Survey of P.E.R.N.” fills in details of the survey ship that gave the planet the official okay for colonists. It was, according to the surveyors, quite Earth-like, although the planet was lacking in minerals that would support technology. This short story gives the definitive answer to a Pern puzzle: Why would anyone have decided to colonize this place, anyway? How could technologically advanced folks have missed the dangers of this planet? Now, at last, readers find out.

“Rescue Run,” the last story in this book, is a different sort of tale. The first story, while not dealing with colonists Pern fans would know, is still filling in historical detail. The middle three stories deal with familiar characters and with some events discussed, but not detailed in the Pern novels. “Rescue Run,” however, deals with a group of settlers who have become isolated from the main group. These isolated folks have attracted the attention of a rescue ship, and they want nothing more than to be far away from Pern. They insist there can be no other possible survivors on the world, and the rescuers, after a quick glance around, decide to believe them. Thus, the outcome of this brief tale had no effect on any other story in the series. Fortunately for readers, it does not need the connection to be interesting all by itself.

Fans of Pern stories will want to add this latest offering to the collection. Those who are not familiar with the world might like the idea of an introduction in the small bites these stories provide.