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SFF Author: Marion Zimmer Bradley

Marion Zimmer Bradley(1930-1999)
Marion Zimmer Bradley is best known in the fantasy world for The Mists of Avalon, but her largest work is her epic science fiction series Darkover. Bradley also wrote many short stories, stand-alones, anthologies, non-fiction works, and a Fantasy Literature magazine.



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The Colors of Space: An SF juvenile by MZB

The Colors of Space by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Bart Steele has been off at the Space Academy and hasn’t seen his father in years. When he goes to meet him at a Lhari space station, Mr. Steele never shows up. Instead, he sends an agent with a message for Bart. The Lhari, an intelligent alien race, suspect that Bart’s dad has stolen the secret of their warp drive. If so, this means humans will be able to manufacture their own warp drives and the Lhari will no longer have a monopoly on out-of-system space travel.


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The Mists of Avalon: Beautiful writing, but excruciatingly slow

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

The Mists of Avalon, as you’ve likely guessed, is a retake on the King Arthur legends, but what makes it different is that it’s written from the women’s perspectives (Morgaine, Guinevere, etc.). The first one was written by Marion Zimmer Bradley in 1983 and this was the first time this feminist technique was used in fantasy literature and it was very successful (I learned that when I took a Modern Scholar course in fantasy literature).


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Lady of Avalon: Help, I’m lost in the mists of history!

Lady of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Lady of Avalon is a set of three sort-of-related stories about priestesses on the Druid isle of Avalon, during the centuries preceding Bradley’s stunning Mists of Avalon.

And they’re OK, in general. I especially liked Viviane’s story; I learned more about what made that complex character tick.

Unfortunately, certain details of the history set up by Bradley in Mists were contradicted in Lady of Avalon.


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The Firebrand: Feminist agenda goes too far

The Firebrand by Marion Zimmer Bradley

I’m not a huge fan of Marion Zimmer Bradley, but the Trojan War is one of my favourite subjects, and I was curious to see how it could be told from a singular, feminine point of view — in this case, Princess Kassandra of Troy, tragically famous for her accurate predictions of doom that no one believed. The Firebrand is told with Bradley’s trademark style; a strong feminist streak (that can become a little too heavy-handed at times), and her fresh spin on an ancient legend,


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Black Trillium: Substandard

Black Trillium by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Julian May, Andre Norton

At first glance, Black Trillium looks like an interesting project: three leading female authors of speculative fiction — Marion Zimmer Bradley, Julian May and Andre Norton — writing a book together. After having read it, I don’t think the result is a resounding success. It still spawned a total of four sequels written by each of the authors individually. I understand there are some continuity issues between those books,


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Out of Avalon: An Anthology of Old Magic and New Myths

Out of Avalon: An Anthology of Old Magic and New Myths by Jennifer Roberson

Out of Avalon: An Anthology of Old Magic and New Myths is an anthology for everyone who loves re-takes on the Arthurian legends, and especially those readers who loved The Mists of Avalon and are seeking more of the same sort of retellings, laced with gender politics, religious issues, and romance.

As in all anthologies, some of the stories are to my taste, some aren’t, and there is probably something for everyone.


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Science Fiction Super Pack #1: A generally above-average anthology

Science Fiction Super Pack #1 edited by Warren Lapine

Like the companion fantasy volume, Science Fiction Super Pack #1, edited by Warren Lapine, only has one story I didn’t think was good, and it’s a piece of Lovecraft fanfiction. H.P. Lovecraft‘s overwrought prose doesn’t do much for me even when Lovecraft himself writes it, and much less so when it’s attempted by imitators. And Lovecraft’s stories at least have something frightening that happens in them; these two stories (in this volume and the other) only have visions of aspects of the Mythos and crazy people ranting,


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Marion and Terry report on the 2013 Nebula Awards Weekend

The 48th Annual Nebula Awards weekend was held by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America at the San Jose Convention Center in northern California from May 17 through 19, 2013. Terry Weyna and I, who both live in Northern California and both are aspiring writers, decided to see what a bunch of published writers get up to when they party together.

Marion Deeds: I think what surprised me most is how light on programming the weekend was. I thought there would be sessions about the nuts and bolts of a writing career,


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Next SFF Author: Gillian Bradshaw
Previous SFF Author: Darin Bradley

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