It’s Not Age

Because I’m skipping Dinosaur Planet, I finished the next Planet Pirates entry; Sassinak.  She is the new main character, but just as powerful and compelling as Lunzie.  This shouldn’t be a surprise given the authors (Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Moon), but also because Sassinak is the great-great-great-granddaughter of Lunzie Mespil.  Her younger sister was even given the name Lunzie to honor their ancestress.

Born on a newly-established colony, Sassanik’s life changes abruptly when the planet pirates strike.  She is taken as a slave, eventually rescued, and ends up joining the Fleet.  Aside from mission objectives, her goal is to end planet piracy for good.

Like The Death of SleepSassinak is told in segments of eras.  Whereas Lunzie’s book was divided for more obvious reasons of coldsleep intervals, Sassinak shows us key stretches of time in forming the character that we come to know and love.  We see her as a slave, as a cadet, as an ensign, etc.  And then we see her on Ireta, the dinosaur planet.

As with The Death of Sleep, a lot of what happened on Ireta is skimmed over in Sassinak with an unspoken command to go read Dinosaur Planet Survivors if you want to find out everything else that was going on in the background.  But you already know my opinion on which books are better.  I shouldn’t hold that against the two, given their publication dates of 1978 and 1985, as compared to these two both coming out in 1990, but it’s hard.  And really, it’s not the age?

In C.J. Cherryh’s Alliance-Union universe there are two sets of books that go in depth and explore xenopsychology – the thought processes of alien races.  You may recall that this includes one of my favorite sets of all time: The Faded Sun Trilogy.  However, Cherryh did this with the Chanur books as well.  So does it surprise you to learn that the books I adore were released from 1978 to 1979 while the Chanur saga came out from 1982-1986, with the fifth book (that I still haven’t tracked down a copy of) being published in 1992?  Sure, you can make the argument that these are two vastly different authors, but age isn’t everything in judgement.

My friend has explained to me several times that, when reading Piers Anthony, you have to stop before a certain point in the eighties.  After that, it gets strange and disturbing and did he have some unsettling fetishes?  Or there’s the books I’ve read which are clearly first books or early forays into authordom that just aren’t as polished as later works.

But some of my favorite works by Anne McCaffrey are from the mid-seventies, being the Harper Hall trilogy from Pern, which I remind you is part of the same universe as the Planet Pirates.  And it’s not an issue of a coauthor because while the Planet Pirates were partly envisioned as a way for McCaffrey to work with and help boost the visibility of younger authors, the Dinosaur Planet books were written solo.

I guess it all comes back to my unwritten rule that I never like everything an author has produced.  I keep Dinosaur Planet and Dinosaur Planet Survivors because they’re directly related to other books I do enjoy, and I can see myself cracking them open again one day to refresh myself on the details I’ve forgotten.  This as opposed to Acorna and her children and my refusal to read anything else McCaffrey has written with time-travel.  Anything else besides Pern, that is.  Because even that got a bit overused and ridiculous after a while.  And that was just as Todd was starting to help his mother, so it’s her, not him, that turned me off.

There’s one more entry in Planet Pirates, though of course it’s a holiday weekend and who knows what I’m getting done.  However, I can see myself carving out more time in the future to read in the living room.  I finally got speakers for the record player, and I have a number of good things to stick on it.  Today was Fantasia while reading, though I’m tempted to put on War of the Worlds (musical version) and work on my puzzle later.


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