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Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover by Marion Zimmer Bradley Review

Title: Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover

Author: Marion Zimmer Bradley

First published October 1, 1993

336 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9780886775933 (ISBN10: 0886775930)

Rating: 4.17


Journey back to the captivating world of Darkover, where the sun is always bloody and danger lurks around every corner. This collection of stories, penned by the original creator of this mystical planet, will transport you to a realm of Free Amazons, sisterhood, and unforgettable adventures.

Delve into the thrilling pages of “To Keep the Oath,” “Bonds of Sisterhood,” and “House Rules,” and discover the breathtaking tales of Hilary, the Hawk-Master’s Son, and the Man of Impulse. Join these brave characters on their quests for freedom, love, and self-discovery in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover.

About the Author

Marion Eleanor Zimmer Bradley was an American author who wrote fantasy novels with a feminist perspective, including The Mists of Avalon and the Darkover series. Her first published novel, Falcons of Narabedla, appeared in the May 1957 issue of Other Worlds.

As a child, Bradley enjoyed adventure fantasy authors such as Henry Kuttner, Edmond Hamilton, and Leigh Brackett, especially when they wrote about “the glint of strange suns on worlds that never were and never would be.” These authors strongly influenced her first novel and much of her subsequent work.

Early in her career, Bradley wrote outside the speculative fiction genre, including some gay and lesbian pulp fiction novels under the pseudonyms Morgan Ives, Miriam Gardner, John Dexter, and Lee Chapman. The planet of Darkover, introduced in her 1958 story, became the setting of a popular series by Bradley and other authors.

Darkover is a lost earth colony where psi powers developed to an unusual degree, and the milieu can be considered as either fantasy with science fiction overtones or as science fiction with fantasy overtones. Bradley wrote many Darkover novels by herself, but in her later years collaborated with other authors for publication.

Her literary collaborators have continued the series since her death.

Bradley took an active role in science-fiction and fantasy fandom, making several important contributions to the subculture. For many years, Bradley encouraged Darkover fan fiction and reprinted some of it in commercial Darkover anthologies, continuing to encourage submissions from unpublished authors.

However, a dispute with a fan over an unpublished Darkover novel of Bradley’s that had similarities to some of the fan’s stories led to the novel remaining unpublished, and Bradley demanded the cessation of all Darkover fan fiction.

Bradley was also the editor of a long-running anthology series that encouraged submissions of fantasy stories featuring original and non-traditional heroines from young and upcoming authors. Although she particularly encouraged young female authors, she included male authors in her anthologies as well.

Mercedes Lackey was just one of many authors who first appeared in the anthologies. Bradley maintained a large family of writers at her home in Berkeley and was editing the final manuscript up until the week of her death in September of 1999.

Bradley’s most famous single novel is The Mists of Avalon, a retelling of the Camelot legend from the point of view of Morgaine and Gwenhwyfar. It grew into a series of books, and like the Darkover series, the later novels are written with or by other authors and have continued to appear after Bradley’s death.

Unfortunately, Bradley’s reputation has been posthumously marred by multiple accusations of child sexual abuse by her daughter Moira Greyland, and for allegedly assisting her second husband, convicted child abuser Walter Breen, in sexually abusing multiple unrelated children.

Editoral Review

Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover is a science fiction novel written by Marion Zimmer Bradley and first published on October 1, 1993. Bradley was a prolific author, penning over 60 novels and receiving numerous awards for her contributions to the science fiction and fantasy genres.

Darkover is set in the same universe as many of her other works and is beloved by many of her fans. The novel takes place on the planet Darkover, a forgotten colony world where the descendants of a lost Earth ship have developed their own unique culture and telepathic abilities.

The story follows two characters Lew Alton, a man from Earth who has been shipwrecked on Darkover, and the aristocratic and powerful Elorie Ardais. These characters come from opposite ends of the social spectrum, but they both share a connection to the ancient and mysterious world of Darkover.

The novel explores themes of power, telepathy, and identity, as Lew and Elorie navigate the complex political and social structures of their world. In addition to these complex themes, the book also deals with issues of colonialism and the impact that colonization can have on a people and a planet.

With Darkover, Bradley creates a rich and detailed world filled with vibrant characters, intricate politics, and magical powers. The writing is lush and imaginative, and the world-building is masterful.

Bradley’s attention to detail and depth of characterization create a world that feels fully realized and engaging. However, despite the strengths of the novel, there are some weaknesses.

The pacing can be slow at times, and some of the characters can feel underdeveloped. Additionally, the book can be overly reliant on exposition, with long passages devoted to explaining the history and politics of the world.

These issues can make the book feel dense and heavy, which may not be to everyone’s taste. Overall, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover is a rich and rewarding read for fans of science fiction and fantasy.

Bradley’s attention to detail and expert world-building make this novel a standout in the genre. While the pacing and exposition may be a hindrance to some, those who are willing to invest in the world of Darkover will find a story that is both moving and thought-provoking.

For lovers of science fiction and fantasy, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover is a must-read. It offers a unique blend of magic, politics, and social issues that will engage readers and leave them thinking long after the final page has been turned.

With its complex themes and expert world-building, this novel is a standout in the genre. I give this book a rating of four out of five stars.