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Talking with Todd McCaffrey

Fans of science fiction queen Anne McCaffrey, whose tales of the dragons of Pern have delighted audiences since 1968, were pleased when she took on a new co-author. That collaborator, who debuted with 2003’s DRAGON’S KIN, is her son Todd, whose contributions spark hopes that characters such as Halla, Pellar, and Zist will be around long after the elder McCaffrey retires.

“Writing together with Mum has been a lot of fun,” says Todd, who is an accomplished author in his own right. “Of course, as she's the Dragonlady of Pern, I defer to her expertise on all things Pernish. I used to say that I wouldn't argue with a NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author, but now that DRAGON’S FIRE has appeared on that list, we're equal on that front!”

Todd enjoys audiobooks on long car rides and was pleased with Dick Hill’s rendition of his 2005 solo work, DRAGONSBLOOD . The audio format is especially welcomed on family trips. “One thing you can't do with a print book is have several people reading it simultaneously, but you can have many people listening at the same time. Having the words spoken with all the emphasis the narrator gives the book can add an awful lot to its impact.”

He favors full-cast productions for those long family journeys and is especially fond of THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY. “But I like the single-voice narrative when driving by myself, particularly if the topic is nonfiction, and I need to concentrate on the words more than the presentation.”

Todd’s dream audio production of a Pern novel would require a talented narrator. “The Benden dragonriders might sound like they have English accents, and the miners might have an Appalachian sound while the Istans might sound more Creole. The High Reaches folk would have Scottish accents. I could imagine the dragonriders with the soft, beautiful Edinburgh accent and the Tillek holders with a sharper Glaswegian accent.”

Todd became acquainted with the audio format when his former career as a software engineer required a long commute. “I really appreciated having something intelligent to listen to while driving. I like the different perspective that listening to the spoken word gives over the written word.”—Jenan Jones Benson

© AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine

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