The literary world has lost one of its greats. Anne McCaffrey, the author of nearly 100 science-fiction and fantasy books, died Nov. 21. She was 85.
Random House, her longtime publisher, confirmed her death to Media Bistro on Tuesday.
Reports are that McCaffrey suffered a stroke, and died peacefully in Ireland, which has been her home since 1970.
Born April 1, 1926 in Massachusetts, and began her writing career with the publishing of “Restoree” by Ballantine Books in 1967. However, she is best known for her Dragonriders of Pern series, which now counts 22 novels and several short stories. Some included her son Todd McCaffrey as an author as well.
Both she and Todd were said to be working on a 23rd novel, “Dragonrider,” that was slated for release next spring.
A film version of the Pern series has been planned after Copperheart Entertainment bought the rights in 2006. Last April, Copperheart announced that it had brought in David Hayter to write the first film, with Don Murphy as an executive producer, with filming set to start in early 2012. Hayter, an actor in several video games, wrote the screenplays for “X-Men,” “X2” and “Watchmen,” among others.
However, the Pern series had been in development limbo for years. Alliance Atlantis first tried to bring McCaffrey’s work to the screen in the late 1990s, but couldn’t pull it together. In 2002, before taking on “Battlestar Galactica,” Ronald D. Moore was working with Warner Bros. to bring the show to The WB. However, when The WB returned the pilot episode with multiple changes, Moore reportedly felt it was too far from McCaffrey’s vision, and abandoned the project.
McCaffrey would interact quite regularly with fans on her website, The World of Anne McCaffrey. Her last posting was on Nov. 4, answering a few letters from her readers. Before that, in August, her son Todd posted that Anne would not be able to attend Dragon*Con this year.
“What seemed to be indigestion last week has now turned out to be something more serious,” he wrote. “Some incident with her heart, the full details of which are still to be determined by tests.”
However, McCaffrey kept her sense of humor, as relayed by Todd.
“Mum very specifically asked me to apologize to those who had hoped to her her there, saying, ‘Sorry that old age came up and bit me on the ass.'”
She is survived by three children, including Todd, but lost her former husband, Horace Wright Johnson, in 2009, to cancer.