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All the Weyrs of Pern

All the Weyrs of Pern

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All the Weyrs of Pern is a science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 novel
Novel
A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

 by the American-Irish author Anne McCaffrey
Anne McCaffrey
Anne Inez McCaffrey was an American-born Irish writer, best known for her Dragonriders of Pern series. Over the course of her 46 year career she won a Hugo Award and a Nebula Award...

. Published in 1991, it was the eleventh book published in the Dragonriders of Pern
Dragonriders of Pern
Dragonriders of Pern is a science fiction series written primarily by the late American-Irish author Anne McCaffrey, who initiated it in 1967. Beginning 2003, her middle child Todd McCaffrey has written Pern novels, both solo and jointly with Anne. The series comprises 22 novels and several short...

series.

Plot summary


The story follows immediately from the final scene of Renegades of Pern, in which the Admin building from Pern's first generation of colonists is discovered, along with an advanced computer called AIVAS (Artificial Intelligence Voice Address System), at the Landing site that is being excavated. AIVAS has remained undisturbed since the events of Dragonsdawn
Dragonsdawn
Dragonsdawn is a science fiction novel by the American-Irish author Anne McCaffrey. It was the ninth book published in the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne or her son Todd McCaffrey. It was first published in 1989...

some 2500 years earlier and, in addition to holding a huge volume of stored information long since lost to the Pernese society, claims to be able to eliminate the threat of Thread forever.

The Weyrs, led by Lessa and F'lar, enthusiastically embrace this possibility, and with the support of the Holds
Holds of Pern
Holds, in Anne McCaffrey's science fiction series Dragonriders of Pern, are the residences of the bulk of the planet Pern's population.Members of specialized professions on Pern live in Crafthalls and dragonriders live in Weyrs, but for most people, the Hold is both the residence and primary social...

 (led in particular by Jaxom) and the Crafthalls
Crafthalls of Pern
In the series of books Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey, all forms of human knowledge are maintained by one or more crafthalls. Based loosely on the medieval system of guilds, the crafthall system on Pern is designed to maintain both theoretical and practical knowledge across a broad area in...

 (championed by Masterharper Robinton) proceed to implement the ambitious plan under the careful guidance of AIVAS. Aivas itself had been programmed to speak with a masculine-analogue, inquisitive, somewhat humorous personality, which gave the impression of a light-hearted counsellor to the Pernese, who have no real concept of what artificial intelligence entails.

Over the course of the next four years, Pernese society systematically regains much technology that was lost to the colonists in early attempts to survive Threadfall, including marvels such as electricity, plastics manufacture, heating & cooling, printing presses, and surgery. Although most technological development focuses on the tools and knowledge needed to eliminate the threat of Thread, there are huge developments in the areas of Medicine and Science, and along the way new Crafthalls are created, including the Print Hall, Paper Hall, Computer Hall, and Dolphin Hall (this last occurs in a parallel story later in the series The Dolphins of Pern
The Dolphins of Pern
The Dolphins of Pern is a science fiction novel by the American-Irish author Anne McCaffrey. It was the thirteenth book published in the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne or her son Todd McCaffrey ....

).

The phenomenal advancements in technology lead to a kind of culture shock, manifesting in certain traditionalist elements among the Pernese who label AIVAS an "Abomination" that is corrupting their society. This dissenting opinion results in attempts to sabotage AIVAS itself and the projects it initiates, culminating in the kidnapping of the beloved Masterharper Robinton in an attempt to ransom his life for the destruction of AIVAS. When the conspirators responsible for the kidnapping are brought to justice, two Lords Holder
Holds of Pern
Holds, in Anne McCaffrey's science fiction series Dragonriders of Pern, are the residences of the bulk of the planet Pern's population.Members of specialized professions on Pern live in Crafthalls and dragonriders live in Weyrs, but for most people, the Hold is both the residence and primary social...

 and a Craftmaster
Crafthalls of Pern
In the series of books Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey, all forms of human knowledge are maintained by one or more crafthalls. Based loosely on the medieval system of guilds, the crafthall system on Pern is designed to maintain both theoretical and practical knowledge across a broad area in...

 are among those sentenced to exile for the crime.

The Weyrs, Holds, and Halls are successful in carrying out AIVAS's plan to transfer the anti-matter engines from the ships used to colonize Pern to the Red Star, and detonate them. The explosion alters the Red Star's orbit, eliminating the configuration that allowed Thread to land on Pern.

AIVAS earlier reveals to Jaxom that in order for the project to succeed, he must mislead the other Dragonriders into using the lesser-known Draconic capability to transfer Between time to deposit two of the three engines 1800 and 600 years in the past. Only the cumulative effect of three interspersed explosions will provide sufficient force to alter the planet's orbit. Jaxom's Ruth, who has an unusually precise ability to know exactly his location in time, is the only Dragon capable of performing this feat.

In parallel to the primary task to alter the Red Star's orbit, a team of medical researchers led by Masterhealers Oldive and Sharra develop an improved parasitic vector which is capable of infecting the space-born Ovoids that are the precursors to Thread. During the course of the three engine-transfer missions, Green Dragons are deployed to seed the surface of the Red Star with these infected Ovoids so that they can be dragged back to infect the Oort Cloud, which is the origin of Thread in the Pernese system. The combination of Jaxom's time travel and this infestation is responsible for the two Long Intervals in the history of Pern wherein Thread failed to appear.

The book concludes with the peaceful death of Masterharper Robinton, whose health has declined since the kidnapping, and his fire-lizard Zair. "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."

Thereafter AIVAS deactivates itself, presumably to prevent Pernese society from idolising the facility as an all-knowing Oracle and thereby stifling the society.

Awards


All the Weyrs of Pern was one of six nominees for the annual Hugo Award for Best Novel
Hugo Award for Best Novel
The Hugo Awards are given every year by the World Science Fiction Society for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, and was once officially...

 and it placed fifth for the annual Locus Award for Best Novel
Locus Award for Best Novel
Winners of the Locus Award for Best Novel, awarded by Locus magazine. Awards presented in a given year are for works published in the previous calendar year....

. It won the HOMer Award for science fiction novel.