The world of Pern was created by the late Anne McCaffrey, who sadly left us in November of 2011. The entire world is based on a group of human colonists from earth and how their culture develops as they settle their new home. Everything seems perfect with their new home until they discover the menacing Thread which is an organism that falls from the sky and eats everything biological in its path! Genetisists create the dragons out of a smaller life form that exists in the natural ecosystem of Pern, and these are used to combat the Thread. The story begins hundreds of years later when all technology is lost and only stories remain of the original landing of the settlers.
I recently began re-reading the series in anticipation of a movie that is scheduled to go into production sometime this year. You can read more about the movie here, but so far I'm very excited. Some small part of me knows that the world of Pern on the big screen could never be as wonderous as in my imagination, but I can't help feeling like a little kid at Christmas to see my childhood fantasies come to life.
If you are not a science fiction / fantasy geek like me, I encourage you to read them anyway. If for no other reason than to appreciate the enourmous talent and descriptive literatary genious that was Anne McCaffrey. The world is a darker place without her, but she will live on in our imaginations.
P.S. ----> Anne, if you can hear this - please let Santa know that I still would very much like a dragon for Christmas, a Queen if he can manage it, but I'm not picky.