Anne McCaffrey loved Michael Whelan’s covers—and so did the fans.
One of the things that sets Michael Whelan above some other cover artists is that he reads the books before he illustrates them, and that brings a level of detail to his covers that really makes them shine.
The cover art for DRAGONWRITER, A TRIBUTE TO ANNE MCCAFFREY AND PERN was originally conceived in 1991 for her novel ALL THE WEYRS OF PERN.
Anne often reminded readers that her Pern series were science fiction novels and this was a scene that she wished could be on the cover. Michael did a tight preliminary called “In the Cargo Hold.” He was ready to do the full-size painting, but he had a dream in which he envisioned the dragons having a conference high up in the clouds. He told Anne about it and she liked it so much that she wrote the scene into her story and that’s what became the cover.