Pegasus in Flight / Anne McCaffrey
I like to go back and read something that I haven’t in a while. It’s like visiting a familiar place. This one took me a while to find because I had to remember the title. I have a number of McCaffrey’s books; this wasn’t one of them. McCaffrey was an author that I read a lot of in my teen years. Some of her works are more sci-fi but others, as with her Pern novels, mixed science fiction and fantasy well. Her books are easy to read with the occasional emotional moment.
It’s interesting to look back at these, to see how the times have changed in ways she didn’t anticipate. Pegasus in Flight was published in 1990. In the future McCaffrey imagines, there’s a lot of today’s technology that wasn’t anticipated. It adds a little chuckle occasionally (there’s a lot of mentions of facsimiles). But if you think about it, the internet and cellular phones weren’t widely used yet. So, perhaps McCaffrey wasn’t the best predictor of the future, but she wrote characters that I cared about in interesting situations.
In this particular story, we follow two young people as they come into their own. One, a fourteen year old boy is paralyzed in an accident and discovers his telekinetic ability. The other, a twelve year old girl who has the ability to speak any language, is making a living in a “Linear”, a thirty-story project in the New York/New Jersey megalopolis where kids are considered a commodity by their parents. In an over-populated world that’s trying to build a space station that will be a jumping off point for people to explore and populate other planets, population controls are ignored as people have illegal children to sell. The two kids come to the attention of the Parapsychic Center and the story explores the development of their skills. They’re eventually caught up in the child trade in the climactic scene that brings all the storylines together.
It’s an interesting story in light of McCaffrey’s other stories because it shows the basis for the other worlds that she populates, or rather the mechanics for reaching the other worlds.