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Book Review: To Ride Pegasus

I just finished reading To Ride Pegasus, by Anne McCaffrey, for about the 20th time. It never gets old to me, and I know this won’t be the last time I read it. This time through Pegasus, however, I tried to focus on exactly why I love it so much.

It might be the writing. The characters, even the minor ones, are so three dimensional that I feel like I know them. They are my neighbors and my friends. The world she sketches is vibrant and to me a logical extension of our own. It’s us, on steroids. Or psychic Talent, as it were. Mind you, when she wrote it 1997 seemed like far enough into the future to make all the futuristic things logical. Have we become what she envisioned? No. But we still might, maybe 100 years from now.

It might be the story. It’s an epic plot line, by which I mean it spans several lives and years rather than focusing on one small moment in time. The book is an overview of how Talent came to be, and how it got organized. I think even those who don’t normally read Sci-Fi will appreciate the politics of a minority group trying to make their place in the world. At the base of it, the plot is about people trying to navigate through a society that doesn’t always accept them. A pretty universal theme, I’d say.

Somehow I think it’s more than the story, the characters and the great writing (which is enough to keep me in just about any book). The spark that grabs me in this story is the idea that humans might evolve our latent parapsychic talents. The idea that telepathy might be something we eventually develop has always fascinated me.

We’ve all had those moments…that freaky moment when you know the phone is about to ring with bad news, and then it does. The odd sensation of deja ‘vu when you just know you’ve seen this or been there before, even though there’s no possible way you could have. Whatever the moment was, you probably just brushed it off as intuition.

But what if it’s more than that? What if…

That’s why this book fascinates me so much. McCaffrey takes that question, the what if, and draws it out in a way that captivates me and makes me want to walk right into the story and live there. If you’ve never read her books, do yourself a favor and pick one up. The most famous are the Pern series, but I’ve read them all and you can’t go wrong with any of them. If you like hard core SF, try the Ship Who Sang. If you like a bit of fantasy with your SF, try the Pern series. If you love dreaming about how our world might grow into something different, try To Ride Pegasus, and then the rest of the Talent series. What the heck, try them all!

NOTE: if you get the Kindle edition, be prepared for a lot of typos. They had to OCR scan the book, and from what I can tell it didn’t get much of a quality check afterwards. If that sort of thing bothers you, get the print version. 

5 comments on… “Book Review: To Ride Pegasus”

  1. wow, you really love that book – 20 times! I liked the sequel ‘Pegasus In Flight’ too but I was a bit squeaked-out by the age difference between the character of Tirla and the guy she ended up with (forgot his name). I much preferred the early Talent books versus the later Rowan series (which oddly enough also features another May-Dec romance).

  2. To be honest, I think I’ve read The Rowan even more. I read that one so much the cover fell off and the pages came undone. I think I bought it 3 separate times. The romance with Tirla didn’t bother me so much. He did keep his hands off until she hit 16 lol. Tirla is probably one of my favorite characters of hers. Have you read any of the Pern series? I love her take on dragons in those.

    I almost got to meet Anne McCaffrey at DragonCon this year, but sadly she wasn’t able to make it at the last minute. Talk about bummed! Then again, since I’d probably have gushed all over her it might be a good thing she wasn’t there.

    • Yeah, I enjoyed her early Pern books (esp the first one Dragon Flight & sequel, and Moreta). Loved how real her dragons were, and I had a crush on F’lar/F’nor when I was a kid too 🙂

      The latest ones written by her son seem to be a rehash of old plots though (epidemics, travelling in time, etc) so I haven’t been reading them.

      • I have to agree, the last ones with her son just don’t have the same spark. I’ve only read one. It’s just not his world, and not his thing (even though she helps him of course with the plot and all that). I hope eventually he goes on to write something that is more “him”. I met him at DragonCon this year, very nice guy. He’s writing to keep the world of Pern alive, because he’s worried that when his mother passes the world of Pern will die with her. I admire the sentiment. But he needn’t worry…it will live on, I have no doubt.

  3. I read this while I was in high school, I think. I have to admit I don’t remember much of it, other than I liked it.

    Bummer on the Kindle typos – this is one of those areas where big publishing just doesn’t get it. Their books aren’t cheap, either! Thank goodness for the library. 🙂

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