Acknowledgements and foreword
Many people have had a hand in this project – directly, indirectly, and even inadvertently – and it is to them that I (pompously) dedicate Dragonchoice.
Arbitrarily, in alphabetical order – more or less:
To Melissa Cuthill for fascinating conversations on a unique Weyr premise, and for letting me pounce when she showed me that picture of Rath.
To Amanda Davis for being the first to offer artwork – and the first to deliver a completed piece – and thus addicting me to Dragonchoice art.
To Miriam Dose for volunteering even before I’d asked (but after I’d started twitching when I found her art page) and for producing art in real time via the webcam.
To Heather Dudley for support and encouragement from the early days of Dragonchoice, and for highly useful fire-lizard art.
To Charlotte Moore for amazing people and dragons, and for tolerating me asking about them, once or twice…or maybe a few more times…
To Renee Spahr for conversation, incredibly fast artwork, and being amenable in the first place that afternoon when I should really have been studying.
To Ssthisto for the most convincing dragon anatomy around, and for beta-reading Dragonchoice II so rapidly when I needed another pair of eyes.
To Amelia Stoner for taking on unfamiliar subject matter and providing a fresh twist on Pernese dragons with such fantastic atmosphere.
To Martin Vire for tackling Dragonchoice without knowing Pern, and for effortlessly capturing the essence of the story in – literally – black and white.
To Laurie Hicks for tireless beta-reading of Dragonchoice II, stimulating discussions on Dragonchoice III, listening to my endless blather, and PR services.
To everyone who posted about Dragonchoice in the FFF feedback forums, PMed, IMed, or emailed me about it.
Everyone who has given of their time and talent, and tolerated my persistent harassment.
For that matter, everyone who’s put up with me going on and on and on about this bloody thing for the last year and a half.
Thank you all – until the sequel…
A note on Dragonchoice’s Pern
Dragonchoice is set at the midpoint of an alternate Seventh Interval, in the Turn 1659 AL (After Landing), or I98 (Interval 98).
The pivotal event missing from Madellon Weyr’s timeline is the First Long Interval. Thread fell as predicted in 1008 AL and no significant alteration in its cycle ever occurred – whether due to the effects of planetary bodies, or Ninth Pass tinkering with antimatter explosions. Moreta’s Great Plague, occurring during the Sixth Pass in Anne’s timeline, never came to Pern. The Pernese prospered and, early in the Fifth Interval, began exploring the Southern continent.
The first southern Weyr was located in the same place as its Ninth Pass counterpart: on the northernmost point of the southern continent. From there, pioneers expanded west, eventually founding the second southern Weyr on the peninsula occupying the same longitude as Tillek Hold in the north. By the beginning of the Seventh Interval, a third Weyr was established inland to protect the promising slopes and plains of the western expanse of the continent. The Pernese rediscovered fire-lizards on their return to the South, and the dragons’ smaller brethren coexist with humans in both wild and domestic fairs. Ted Tubberman’s grubs exist insomuch as they devour grounded Thread before it can cause widespread devastation, but offer no protection to living vegetation, and dragons are still needed to protect crops and woodland.
The tradition of presenting girls as candidates for green dragons never died out, and the ratio of male to female green riders is approximately equal in most Weyrs, although there are always more boys on the Hatching sands than girls. Women enjoy equality in the pursuit of most Crafts, with the exception of some traditionally male-dominated disciplines. Sadly, sexism and homophobia survive in many Holds, particularly those situated in remote areas that limit exposure to new ideas.
Seventh Interval Pern thrives and prospers, with Thread a distant threat – but something is rotten in the state of Madellon…
Continue to Prologue