Another in McCaffrey's popular Dragonriders of Pern series: this time we learn How It All Began. The colonists--a cast of thousands, mostly indistinguishable--set up camp on the hospitable planet Peru in routine fashion. They meet and overcome the usual obstacles and make the usual discoveries, among them the cute, tiny, empathic, fire-breathing dragonets (aha!) who apparently also have the ability to teleport. Then, after eight years--how did you restrain your impatience?--Thread begins to fall from the sky. This is an alien spore of some kind and voraciously devours all life, both Pernese and Earthly, leaving in its wake nothing but smoking black slime. Only water or fire destroys it. What to do? Well, the dragonets seem to know when Thread is coming and urge the humans to take shelter; and with their fire-breathing and teleport abilities, they're also whizzes at mopping up Thread (human attempts to destroy Thread end in disaster). The solution: breed bigger dragons for humans to ride on! And that, along with a subplot or two involving assorted dissenters, is just about that. Vapid. Predictable. Fans only, of which there are many.