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Anne McCaffrey's best book: Dragonflight. This one makes my personal "top ten" list, and I highly recommend it. While this reads nicely as an episodic novel, it is a fix-up of a novella ("Weyr Search" - Analog October 1967), plus a short novel (Parts 3 and 4: "Dust Fall" + "The Cold Between" as "Dragonrider" - Analog December 1967 and January 1968), with an original novelet in-between. (I wonder if McCaffrey submitted that part ("Dragonflight") to Campbell and he rejected it for sexual content?) "Weyr Search" tied as winner of the Hugo Award for best novella in 1968 and was a Nebula-nominee in 1967. "Dragonrider" won the 1968 Nebula for best novella and was a Hugo-nominee in 1969. I'm guessing that the recent wins of the parts of the novel kept the combined version from showing up on the "best novel" nominations.
[I read my copy often and like it a lot, but for a better plot set-up than the back cover, I'm quoting the flap-copy from a hardcover reprint, which expands on the first-page blurb of this edition]: