I’ve been reading the PERN books by Anne McCaffrey. My order of reading them is different from the author’s recommended, (see previous post). So here we go.
Dragonsdawn by Anne McCaffrey, Del Rey, 1988 hardcover
Pern was a beautiful planet, Earthlike enough to feel like home, yet unspoiled by the industrial development and interstellar wars that had ravaged the other planets of humankind. And the few thousand colonists who came to Pern intended to keep it that way. They staked their claims to the land and settled down to build a low-tech, agricultural paradise on the world they had loved at first sight.
Then suddenly disaster struck. Deadly spores fell like silver threads from the sky, devouring everything — and every one — in their path. Fire and Water could destroy the Thread, as the stuff came to be called, but the colonists could not keep up with relentless attacks. Very quickly it became clear that the colony’s resources could not support a long-term fight against the menace — and the Thread was predicted to fall for fifty years. Some other solution would have to be found if the colony was to survive.
Then some of the colonists noticed that the small, dragonlike lizards that inhabited their new world were joining in the fight against Thread, breathing fire on it and teleporting to safety. If only, they thought, the dragonets were big enough for a human to ride and intelligent enough to work as a team with a rider.
And so they set their most talented geneticist to work to create the creatures Pern so desperately needed — Dragons!
Not the first in published order, but the first introduction to the planet, and why the series is tone considered SF. Colonists arrive at planet to settle there, that’s SF for sure.