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I have vague memories about a novel or series of novels I borrowed from the library as a teenager (1990s). The protagonist was a young woman (pretty sure) who was exceptional. Civilization basically ended (nuclear war maybe). One significant trial she went through involved controlling an orbiting shuttle, trying to dock with a space station (maybe an orbiting Russian weapon?). Then somehow she transferred to a fantasy setting and became a dragon?

Update: A few more details I remember: The story starts out in the USA of the present (meaning the late 80s or early 90s, probably). The protagonist somehow receives early warning or is sheltered from the early parts of the apocalypse (nuclear or biological warfare I think) and goes to space to try to prevent further destruction.

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    Can you add more detail? Take a look at guidance here. – Gallifreyan Apr 24 '17 at 13:49
  • @Otis there's no confirmation comment? – Edlothiad May 5 '17 at 17:00
  • These are not duplicates – Edlothiad May 5 '17 at 17:02
  • @Edlothiad - I accidentally linked to the wrong post, per my other comment above. Gallifreyan is pointing to the correct duplicate candidate. I've retracted my vote due to the error but still believe this should be closed. – Otis May 6 '17 at 15:15
  • Yes the new one should be closed – Edlothiad May 6 '17 at 15:18
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This seems to have many points of convergence with David Palmers Emergence though unfortunately I don't remember a dragon transformation.

The heroine of the story is a young girl who is in a bomb shelter when civilization is destroyed by a biological attack. She is exceptionally intelligent and later discovers that she is a mutant - homo superior type thing.

After some adventures she finds others like her - most older - and they are attempting to launch a shuttle to stop a Russian doomsday weapon from being deployed.

She needs to go along to defuse the weapon as she is the only person small enough to reach the fuse of the weapon.

I hesitated to suggest this as an answer as I cannot remember any dragon related scenes but the rest of the question matches so well.

  • The question matches Emergence so well the dragon bit almost has to be a crossed memory. Unrelated to rest of the question: The only woman literally crossing into a fantasy world and becoming a dragon I can think of off hand was the main character's fiancee in Dickson's The Dragon and the George. Women becoming dragons in their own worlds (or ours) is more common. – ImaginaryEvents Apr 25 '17 at 15:35
  • Yes! It looks like my thing about the dragon may actually be related to Threshold, David Palmer's second novel, which I no doubt checked out and read at the same time. – ruds Apr 25 '17 at 16:03
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This sounds like the Dragonriders of Pern series, by Anne McCaffery.

There is one book in the series where they go to an orbiting space station. She does not turn into a dragon, but dragons are psychically bonded to their rider. The dragons can teleport.

  • I don't remember them ever going to a space station. They find the original landing ships from colonization and go to the rogue planet, but don't recall a orbiting station. – eshier Apr 24 '17 at 15:22
  • Definitely not Pern. I've added a little update to my question. – ruds Apr 24 '17 at 15:28
  • @eshier: The space station visitation sequence is in The White Dragon. – Binary Worrier Apr 24 '17 at 16:01
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    A thousand apologies, you are of course correct. The "Space Station" appears in "All the Weyrs of Pern" (it's been 20 years or more!) – Binary Worrier Apr 24 '17 at 16:53
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    @BinaryWorrier: No worries, I haven't read that one since it came out either and have no recollection of them visiting the ships, but I freely admit they probably do now that I think about it. All academic since the OP said it's not Pern. – eshier Apr 24 '17 at 16:56

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