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Pern, deconstructed

4 February 2016 | 6 comments | Tagged: ,

So has anyone else been following the Pern deconstructions over at the Slacktiverse?

Fair warning #1: I’m not sure how to find the beginning of them. There doesn’t seem to be an index page or anything listing Pern deconstruction posts in order. I could be wrong. Go digging, though, and they’ve deconstructed The Original Trilogy (Dragonflight/Dragonquest/The White Dragon), the Harperhall Trilogy (Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, Dragondrums), a few of the short stories, and they’re currently on Moreta.

Fair warning #2: The deconstructions aren’t always particularly kind to Pern (or Anne). Which isn’t surprising, given that to a large degree they hold books written in the Sixties to the standards of the whatever-we’re-calling-this-decade.

I don’t always agree with the critique, and I often find myself irritably answering questions the deconstructors ask (before realising that I’m doing so with the benefit of having been reading Pern for 25 years, and that actually, sometimes those are VERY GOOD questions for someone to ask who’s never read anything beyond the actual canon novels; no DLG, no Anne-terviews, no forum discussions about dragon size or Impression theory or why greens don’t clutch).

But there’s a lot of very pertinent commentary about all manner of things that, when I first read Pern as a pre-teen, I just ignored or accepted – but as an adult, and as a Pern fan fiction writer, I’ve thought about much harder. Having written some 750,000 words of Dragonchoice, which in its own way deconstructs some of the popular tropes – mating flights are fun! the right girl always Impresses the queen! Weyrleaders are always romantic partners! – it’s been fascinating to read analysis of Pern that comes from a different angle than fandom.

Your mileage will almost certainly vary, though. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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6 responses to “Pern, deconstructed”

  1. Emily says:

    Reading this got me thinking, about why it feels weird just calling Dragonchoice “fanfiction.” I mean, it is. Technically. But it doesn’t feel like fanfiction. It feels more like a much-needed franchise reboot, and a modernization of Pern. Just, you know. Unofficial.

    • Gail W says:

      You’re exactly right! I’ve been reading AM’s works since forever, maybe 1963, and have been fading away for lack of new stories. Feeling better now that I’ve found Dragon Choice and leads to many more fanfic sites.

    • Artri says:

      My exact thoughts Emily. Only found these works a week ago, just finished ch 65 and as I read it was like having a new Pern book in my hand except I had three. The fact I finished them all in a week is a testament to that. Have been reading Pern since 82 and loving every new book.

  2. Silver Adept says:

    Hi – Internet searches bring us to such interesting places.

    The index, such that it is, for the Pern deconstructions is on the Deconstruction Roundup main page – https://slacktiverse.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/deconstruction-round-up-all-decons/

    Which will take you to at least the first post of each of the books and/or short stories covered so far. After that, you can kind of work your way through by using the Deconstruction: Pern tags, although it might take a little bit of work to get them to line up chronologically to enjoy.

    Thanks for commenting about the read-through. I hope you’ll continue contributing to the comment culture at the Slacktiverse – more readers makes things more interesting.

  3. Lucy says:

    There’s a reread on tor with a similar tone, it’s just the original trilogy but it’s got a lot of interesting and sometimes frustrating things to say

  4. cathrl says:

    I had a look at some of these and I gave up after about the fourth time that I found myself wanting to yell “but there’s an actual reason for this and it’s explained later on in the same book.” I have zero experience with deconstructions so I don’t know if they are always like this, but to me this is just unpleasant nitpicking with zero attempt to consider things in the context of the society that these characters live in. “Oh no, this character isn’t perfect and socially aware with 21st century morals, therefore they are repulsive.” Not for me.

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