The Pern series
Dragons and humans fight together to rid the skies of a deadly scourge.
On the planet Pern, the descendants of settlers from Earth live in a technologically backward, semi-feudal society. But every few centuries, they must dealt with the menace of threat - horrifically destructive spores falling from space. Their weapon against this terror - dragons and the humans who ride them.
The Pern series began with the short story Weyr Search. This was followed by a novella, Dragonrider, for which Anne McCaffery won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards, the first woman to do so. Since then, more than a dozen novels set amonst the people of Pern have followed.
Romantic, sentimental and sometimes suprisingly sensual, the novels use many elements more associated with fantasy - dragons, medieval social structures, telepathic links - but give them a solid science fiction underpinning. McCaffrey's world, if simplistic in places, is consistently imagined, and her main characters warmly written.
Most lovingly created of all are the central figures of the dragons themselves - huge, beautiful and intelligent creatures telepathically linked with their riders from hatching, able to breathe fire, teleport and travel in time. Their archetypal appeal, combined with McCaffery's sure touch with a coming-of-age stories easily pushed the Pern books into the bestseller lists.
Work nominated by Moho_mole.