Anne McCaffrey is a lovely lady, and she writes the way she looks. This story, calculated to end the book on a romantic note, may contain a universe only Jack Vance, Andre Norton or Anne McCaffrey could have dreamed up, but the afflatus is that which only this dear lady is capable of providing. For all that, much modem writing is pretty dreary. This piece, though, serves to show that, as Dante noted in at least three places, at the end of everything there are always stars. If her husband won't punch me in the nose, I'd like to confess that I'm in love with her, and that I hope she writes at least a thousand more stories like this one, which was good enough to come in second for the Nebula in this category. This book needs das ewigweibliche to zieht uns hinan, and this is the place for the feminine spirit lo take over and tell Messrs. Bollard, Ellison, Wright, Delany, Leiber, Moorcock, (me?) the way a woman sees the Game we've been playing. Ergo, I won't tell you a bloody thing about the following tale, save that I like it, I chose it, and it, too, occurs in another time and another place. WEYR SEARCH Anne McCaffrey When is. a legend legend? Why is a myth a myth? How old and disused must a fact be for it to be relegated to the category: Fairy tale? And why do certain facts remain in- controvertible, while others lose their validity to assume a shabby, unstable character? Rukbat, in the Sagittarian sector, was a golden G-type star. It had five planets, plus one stray it had attracted and held in recent millennia. Its third planet was enveloped by air man could breathe, boasted water he could drink, and possessed a gravity which permitted man to walk confidently erect. Men discovered it, and promptly colonized it, as they did every habitable planet they came to and thenwhether callously or through collapse of empire, the colonists never discovered, and eventually forgot to askleft the colonies to fend for themselves. When men first settled on Rukbafs third world, and named it Pern, they had taken little notice of the stranger-planet, swinging around its primary in a wildly erratic elliptical orbit. Within a few generations they had forgotten its existence. The desperate path the wanderer pursued brought it close to its stepsister every two hundred {Terran} years at perihelion. When the aspects were harmonious and the conjunction with its sister-planet close enough, as it often was, the in- digenous life of the wanderer sought to bridge the space gap to the more temperate and hospitable planet. It was during the frantic struggle to combat this menace dropping through Pern's skies like silver threads, that Pern's contact with the mother-planet weakened and broke. Recol- lections of Earth receded further from Pernese history with each successive generation until memory of their origins de- generated past legend or myth, into oblivion. To forestall the incursions of the dreaded Threads, the Pernese, with the ingenuity of their forgotten Yankee fore- bears and between first onslaught and return, developed a highly specialized variety of a life form indigenous to their adopted planetthe winged, tailed, and fire-breathing drag- ons, named for the Earth legend they resembled. Such humans as had a high empathy rating and some innate tele- pathic ability were trained to make use of and preserve this unusual animal whose ability to teleport was of immense value in the fierce struggle to keep Pern bare of Threads. The dragons and their dragonmen, a breed apart, and the shortly renewed menace they battled, created a whole new group of legends and myths. As the menace was conquered the populace in the Holds of Pern settled into a more comfortable way of life. Most of the dragon Weyrs eventually were abandoned, and the de- scendants of heroes fell into disfavor, as the legends fell into disrepute. This, then, is a tale of legends disbelieved and their restora- tion. Yethow goes a legend? When is myth? Drummer, beat, and piper, blow, Harper, strike, and soldier, go. Free the flame and sear the grasses Till the dawning Red Star passes. Lessa woke, cold. Cold with more than the chill of the ever- lastingly clammy stone walls. Cold with the prescience of a danger greater than when, ten full Turns ago, she had run, whimpering, to hide in's odorous lair. Rigid with concentration, Lessa lay in the straw of the redolent cheese room, sleeping quarters shared with the other kitchen drudges. There was an urgency in the ominous portent unlike any other forewarning. She touched the aware- ness of the watch-wher, slithering on its rounds in the court- yard. It circled at the choke-limit of its chain. It was restless, but oblivious to anything unusual in the predawn darkness. The danger was definitely not within the walls of Hold Ruath. Nor approaching the paved perimeter without the Hold where relentless grass had forced new growth through the ancient mortar, green witness to the deterioration of th