I've found I can't keep re-writing this, because it gets every way worse each time, and there's nothing I really ought to change in it; so here's a few words re-posted from my comment on John Scalzi's tribute thread to the late Anne McCaffrey
, one of my great influences from my early teens: -
I was twelve, and in various ways less than happy, when I first encountered Dragonflight: the start of a long literary affection, and an eye-opener in a lot of ways. Lessa was my first bookcrush, and what a crush she was: it wasn’t until much later that I stood far enough back to notice that she just happened to be the first female protagonist I’d ever met who simply pulled me straight into her viewpoint and kept me there to the last gasp of the race. What this particular character identification says about me, who knows?
This was only the start. Anne McCaffrey also introduced me to, among other things: science fantasy; dragons as I’d desired them to be since I was knee-high to a grasshopper and heart-hungry for dinosaurs; the concept and necessity of fanfiction; the powerful domestic (esp. Harper Hall) and romantic (everywhere) strains in a genre I’d always seen overwhelmingly in terms of the heroic, epic, scientific, and high-political… I can’t even go on. Today she has far less direct influence on my style and tastes than almost any of the other writers who captivated me in my personal Golden Age – but her characters still show strongly among my friendly ghosts, and there are images from those books that have scarcely dimmed on me in thirty years remembered.
Oh, aye: there goes one I shall be missing. Wind to her wings.
And here's what I wrote when I caught the bad news on Making Light.
It is not as good as I'd have it, but it will have to do in the pinch.
Lessa's Last Word
"He'll shake me!" she said,
Who shook him into shaking
Their world's mean Alexander from his roost atop High Reaches –
Who shook his heart, and in the aftershock
Their me - a small mean singer from an eminence of twelve,
Borne up to be, to love her, in a storm of stone-musk wings –
"He'll shake me!" she protested,
Still shivering from shaking
The wide world's tree for redfruit: new days, new flights of old
Whom she had moved to leave for after times
Their selves – that small fierce vision, from a child's height and the sky's –
Spent, shivered, frozen – home, with all the wide world's price on wings!
She shook us, then.Between
our worlds seeps chill.
The breath that bore her flight up's fallen still.