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58 of 58 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 1, 2003
The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall is actually a collection of 5 short stories that take place around the time of Dragonsdawn. They are:
The Survey: P.E.R.N - This is the shortest story of the collection and it deals with the original surveyors who were mapping that part of the galaxy and recommended Pern for colonization. The reader is offered tantalizing glimpses of a bigger story behind the tension of the survey crew, but, at only 18 pages, this story doesn't allow a lot of time for any detail.
The Dolphin's Bell - This story takes place concurrently with the end of Dragonsdawn, but from the perspective of the dolphins and their caretakers. It was interesting to see the story from a different perspective and to experience what the colonists had to go through as they braved the treacherous ocean voyage to the northern continent. The story centers around Jim Tillek (of the later Tillek Hold), his love of the sea and his growing love for a courageous young woman named Theo.
The Ford of Red Hanrahan - After the colonists had settled in the Northern Continent at Fort Hold, there was plenty of room for their greatly diminished numbers in the cavernous space. However, after some time, space is getting tight and there are those who are ready to venture forth and create new holds. One of them is Red Hanrahan, whom readers will recognize from Dragonsdawn (as a character and as Sorka's father). He journeys quite a distance from Fort Hold and founds what will become known as the famous Ruatha Hold. This story was quite interesting because it addressed the history of the plague that took so many lives in Moreta's time and how the colonists started fostering their children out to live with other families.
The Second Weyr - Sean and Sorka have done a wonderful job training all of the other dragonriders and are the best weyrleaders that any dragonrider could hope for, but Fort Weyr just doesn't have enough space for them all! Torene, with her maturing queen, has dreams of settling a new weyr and has even found the perfect location, but is afraid to say anything to Sean. When Sean makes the surprise announcement that the dragonriders will be expanding into not just one weyr - but three! Torene is thrilled. She dreams of becoming new weyrwoman at one of the weyrs and waits in eager anticipation to see who will fly her queen in her first mating flight, for they will become the new leaders of the justly named Benden Weyr after their beloved leader who passed on. I have to say that this was my favorite story of the bunch, I just love to read about the dragonriders!
Rescue Run - When Lieutenant Ross Benden's ship comes upon a distress signal around the Rukbat system, he cannot help but think of his uncle, who set off 50 years previously to colonize a planet there. He cannot believe that his uncle, hero of so many battles, would have panicked and set off a signal for help, not 7 years after starting colonization. Still, he is duty bound to explore the area and see if there are any survivors. The biologist on board is fascinated by the organisms that seem to come from the Oort cloud circling so close to the planet. A small team leaves the ship to take a shuttle down to Pern and are surprised to encounter a small band of survivors: Stev Kimmer (whom readers will recognize from Dragonsdawn as being one of Avril's group) and Kenjo & Ito Fusaiyuki's (whom readers will also recognize as being the pilot killed by Avril to steal the plane) children. They insist that there are no other survivors and, though Benden does a sweep of the area, he has no other choice but to believe that his uncle is gone, killed in the Thread attack and leave with the few survivors that remain. This story was interesting because it explains why no one else has ever gone to Pern and why that area of space is simply avoided, as I always thought that someone must come to see the colony after so many hundreds of years.
I am not a big fan of short stories, as a rule, but I enjoyed this book. The stories are typically about 60 pages, except for the first one about the exploration team, which is only about 15. They are all well written and the characters are very interesting - almost too interesting for a short story because I wanted to know more about them! For anyone who has enjoyed the Pern series, I think that they will love the insights this book gives them into the history of Pern and its original colonists. Highly recommended for fans of science fiction & fantasy!
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70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2000
I have been reading Pern books for well over 5 yrs. I am hooked on this series and enjoy every book I read by Anne McCaffrey. This book however is only for those, like me who enjoy learning every aspect of this world. If you are starting to read this series there is a list on Mrs. McCaffrey's web page you should fallow. It lists the books the way they were written and introduce you to the series properly.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2001
This was a fantastic book! In a nutshell, it tells you everything you didn't hear about yet, like how Pern was discovered, and what happened the eventful day that Landing was evacuated. The stories are all incredible, but my personal favorite is the story about the discovery of Pern. In it, we discover what PERN stands for, how fire lizards came to be known about, and how the Oort cloud was found and theorized about. I also liked the story about the Evacuation of Landing, an important event that set up the historical colonization of the Northern Continent. The dolphins evacuate everyone by pulling them along in boats. It's really a good story! I recommend it to anyone who likes Science Fiction, anyone who likes anthologies, or anyone who likes to read.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2002
Ok, I'm a HUGE Pern fan, and I've read all the books! This one, though, is really interesting, for it has the tales of the ancients in it, like Weyrwoman Torene and her queen Alaranth. The building of the 2nd Weyr, Benden Weyr, is by far the best story in the book, for it tells of some of the secrets that you might have always wondered in the back of your head. Like, why do the dragonriders slur their names? Who came up with the tradition of "whichever bronze flies the senior queen gets the Weyrleadership"? How did the dragonriders get to move to the East Coast, and why did they? and so on and so on. The story is really about the life of a queenrider, an exceptional queenrider, after she Impresses-its also a love story-and I love the dragon-romance! So sweet! (lol) IT IS A MUST READ FOR ALL PERN FANS! :OD
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2000
I've heard alot of good things about the Pern series - so I figured I'd start with this book which chronicles some of the history and founding of Pern and of Benden Weyr. Dissapointingly, the stories of Benden Weyr and Ruatha Hold were the only ones I found interesting (the dolphin story I couldn't even manage to make myself read.) I haven't lost my faith in this series yet though - I plan to start at the beginning where I should have in the first place. If you're new to Pern don't start with this book! Only for serious Pern addicts who are interested in the history.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2001
No one should start reading the Pern stories with this book. It is a "foundation laying" book that was written after the Pern trilogy, "The Dragonriders of Pern". It's a collection of stories to explain more of the history of pern. I think Anne McCaffrey did about as well as possible with this premise, but this book is really just for readers who are dedicated to the Pern series. As such, it's not bad. The original trilogy is vastly more interesting.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 1997
If I had to pick a book that was the best value buy of any ofthe books I've read (trust me, there's plenty of these) this bookwould have to be it. And no, I'm not an advertisement- I just know when to appreciate a good book!

This has tales from widely different eras of Pern, Anne McCaffrey's fictional (well so I'm told, but it seems real) world. That's what makes it good as an introductory book! Not the least the fact that you can read it again, and again, and. . . my copy has almost fallen apart, I've read it too often!

Flippancy aside, if you don't mind being taken to another world, if you don't mind being touched inside, if you don't mind getting addicted . . . . THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU!

And I guarantee it!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2001
I liked the historical perspective of this book. The author did a wonderful job of setting the stage for the Dragonrider series with the collection of stories in this novel. I loved her rich use of English language (and her masterful development of the infant Pernese language) as well as the fact that there is much descriptive terminology setting up the action and describing the characters personalities and motivation. After having read so much about Paul Bendon & all the other ancients, it was great to get some of my unanswered questions about them cleared up. I particularly liked the story about the intelligent dolphins who helped with the evacuation and the story about evil Drake,who held the murdered Japanese pilot's wife captive for years after the evacuation and his interaction with the spaceship pilot (a great grand-son of Paul Bendon, coincidentally) who rescued Drake & his captives. The book is a good read, but you should read the other books first, in the order they were written to get the right perspective to enjoy this collection.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 1996
This book is a collection of stories from Pern, which include many favorite characters from other books. It is a must read for all who read and loved the Dragon Riders series. Yet another glorious work by Anne McCaffrey
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 1997
I thoroughly enjoyed these stories! Well all except "Rescue Run" which was a very good story but extremely frustrating for me! I wanted them to be found so badly. Not to be rescued mind you but to get the recognition they deserve and to absolve Admiral Benden of any connection with Tubberman's mayday capsule.

"The Survey PERNc" tells the story of the much maligned Exploration and Evaluation Team and helps explain the circumstances surrounding their less than complete evaluation.

"The Dolphins' Bell" shows the relationships with
Dolphins in much the same way as David Brin's Startide Rising. It is exactly how I would imagine it would be... and will be very disappointed if it doesn't come to fruition someday. We have the story of the "second crossing" and meet Theo and Jim Tillek which is very interesting if you have already read "Dolphins of Pern" and if you haven't read it you will!

"The Ford of Red Hanrahan" was somewhat slow reading but has some very enlightening incidents take place that give more hints as to what happened to isolate the Pernese from their history, each other and the dolphins. The practice of "fostering" begins.

"The Second Weyr" was somewhat predictable but was good reading all the same. Definately left me wanting to read more about Mihall and Torene and the first turns in Benden Weyr!

Keep it coming Anne!
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