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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Book Review and Art: "The Skies of Pern"

Remember the other day I talked about the “Artful Reading Club” I’d joined?  It’s now time (actually a bit past time) for my January review and art piece inspired by the book.

I read the science fantasy “The Skies of Pern” by Anne McCaffrey.  This story is part of a 22 (yes… 22!) book series set in the future on the planet of Pern over a period of 2500 years in 5 different time periods.  Pern is a planet settled by humans escaping wars on Earth.  Long story short… a series of disasters forces the settlers to develop fire breathing dragons to survive periodic planet wide menace from space.  The disasters also cause the loss of the advanced skills the settlers had so that the civilization functions at a pre-industrial level.
The stories center on these intelligent dragons and their telepathically bonded riders.
It has been said that McCaffrey stated the books should be read in the order they were written.  I don’t agree with that except that the first two trilogies should be read first as these are the ones that really draw you in.  After that, I would read them in the chronological order of the story line. 
The first story of this epic series (Dragon Flight) was published in 1967 and I read it about 11 years later in high school. The Skies of Pern takes place in the same time period (9th Pass) -- which is my favorite.  While I've read almost all of the series, this last one somehow was lost in the shuffle.  
I’ll have to admit I’m quite biased in my opinion, as I love the dragons and their riders.  So I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It is the last one written for ‘9th Pass’ collection and there shall be no more as Anne McCaffrey died in 2011.  It was rumored she was working on a final story to wrap up the series, but I’ve heard nothing else about it. 
If you’ve read any of the Dragon Rider series, this one continues the adventure and I recommend it.  If you’ve never read any… I suggest you start with Dragon Flight and work your way thru to this one at a later time.
I knew immediately what I wanted to do for my artwork for this book… but first I had to look it up to make sure it was really considered “art”.
diorama [ˌdaɪəˈrɑːmə] n
1. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Art Terms) a miniature three-dimensional scene, in which models of figures are seen against a background.
Yes!!  It’s art!

I created this small diorama rider Tai and green Zaranth resting after fighting Thread.  Hot and tired, they have traveled ‘between’ to the cool mountains of High Reaches for some moments of quiet before returning to their Weyr. 
I used a shadow box shelf and attached a photo from an oversized book to depict the mountains of Pern.  It wraps all the way around the three inner sides of the box.  A quick trip out to my driveway and I had all the stones I needed to make my river side resting spot.  Filling in between the stones is sand I brought back from Lewis isIand, Scotland.  
Bringing the river into the box was the tricky part… especially since a lot of my supplies are boxed up while I remodel my studio.  I used a glue gun to make the water and mixed up paint to match the color of the river as best I could with what I have out.  I’m rather pleased with it. 
Zaranth is a enameled metal ‘box’ from my collection of dragons.  Tai is a tiny clay figure I had picked up for a project that didn’t work out.  I used a ‘brush pen’ to color it in. 
I'll enjoy having this little scene setting on a shelf in my studio.


  1. Wow on both counts the books sound fabulous and the art work is out of this world, loving the fact it's three dimensional, the water looks fantastic!

  2. My gob is literally smacked. Love it. My sister is a big Anne fan but I must admit I've never read any partly because I never knew where to begin (same with Terry Pratchett)

    Really, really, really love your diorama. Definitely art :-)

  3. Very interesting review Teri, though I feel it's a bit late in life for me to start on a 22-book series! But it's always interesting to read someone's review and think about it - and this month I've enjoyed every one.
    As for your artwork, I think it's such an interesting approach to create a diorama, and of course it's art! Nice to see something so different. Look forward to next months review and art. Jez

  4. Not sure I would get into a book like that at all, but good review. And I like the art!

  5. Love the artwork! Story is not for me but your diorama is magic!

    Janet xx

  6. oh wow I love your shadow box, so inventive. I am really impressed. I think we have a couple of her books in our bookcase but i have no idea which ones. I should maybe give them a go.

  7. What a great review of Anne's book! The diorama of Tai and Zaranth is awesome...beautiful background, dimension, and color. FABulous.

  8. Awesome Art! I love thinking outside the box, or in your case inside the box! ♥
    The review sounds lovely, a bit like Avatar, a film I really liked because of the rides on the huge flying dragons! Were it dragons? Not sure... Doesn't matter, I get the idea! 22 books? Have to sleep on it for a little while... That are a lot of books to add to my never ending to read-list! :)

  9. Aaghh 22 books to add to the list!! They sound fabulous! Your diorama is fantastic!

  10. Anne McCaffrey rocks! I think the series should have 44 books. Your review (and your fantastical dragon scene) has inspired me to reread Dragon Rider ;-)

  11. Um... I meant Dragon Flight... got a bit overexcited!

  12. HOW cool is that diorama??? VERY cool!!! I love it! I had no idea there were so many Anne McCaffrey dragon books, wow, busy lady!! I think I have read two, and a long time ago, not sure I have the energy to try and catch up lol

  13. Gosh 22 books in the series, must admit my ignorance an not heard of any of them. Your review certainly introduces me to the series. They sound intriguing. Your diorama is amazing, love the idea of using the glue gun to create the river. The dragon tin is pretty awesome too!

  14. Wow - intriguing storyline and I love the art you've created.

  15. A diorama, how wonderful. 22 book series not for me though.
    Jen x

  16. Wow ... What a diorama! Love it!

    Not really a fan of this type of book but your enthusiasm makes me wonder ... Maybe, just maybe I might give it a try one day!

  17. Love your diorama! It is incredible and you did a fabulous job creating the water. Maybe the reason my studio is messy is so when I can't find what I would typically use to create something, I'm forced to think outside the box and push the limits on other supplies (like what you did with the hot glue gun). ;-) I can't even imagine reading a 22 book series. I tend to shy away from any that have more than two or three.

  18. you should be proud of it! That water is amazing!

  19. How beautiful and creative!

  20. There couldn't be a more perfect thing to bring to Show and Tell than a wonderful diorama based on a beloved book. I love what you did and I'm so glad you participated in the challenge at Inspiration Avenue. Thanks for playing!

  21. Love the diorama - something I've never thought of doing. Of course, I don't have a collection of dragons, so something crucial would be missing. The blend between foreground and background is eerily good!


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