I first read Anne’s books as a kid, the first science fiction I’d read, to be honest. I was attracted by the big gold dragon on the cover and as the series progressed, I was mildly disappointed to find out that the dragons I loved so much were genetically modified mutants made by spacemen. Scifi? Eeew.
But I still loved the books.
When I was a teenager, sixteen or seventeen or so, I read the Crystal Singer series, then I picked up the Ship Who Sang. It was glorious. It was heartbreaking. It opened me up to science fiction as a genre. Ann’s books taught me scifi wasn’t “dorkier as fantasy” (I actually had thought this – don’t ask me why!), that there were good character-driven scifi stories, and that I shouldn’t limit myself to the fantasy side of the science fiction/fantasy shelf.
Later, she helped teach me how to write. I joined a Pern RPG on the urging of a friend and spent several years writing my own dragons, having my own adventures. I met wonderful people there, some of whom I still keep in contact with.
RIP, Anne. You made a difference, and left the world as a little better of a place.