Next SFF Author: Mary Norton
Previous SFF Author: Claire North

SFF Author: Andre Norton

Andre Norton fantasy literature author(1912-2005)
Alice Mary Norton, who wrote under the pseudonym Andre Norton, wrote hundreds of short stories, stand-alone novels, collaborations, and series in several genres (mostly science fiction and fantasy). She was the first woman to receive the Gandalf Grand Master Award from the World Science Fiction Society (1977). In 1983 she received the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America. Because of her tremendous influence on other writers, she is often referred to as the Grande Dame of Science Fiction and Fantasy.



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Daybreak – 2250 A.D. (aka Star Man’s Son): Simple and heartwarming

Daybreak – 2250 A.D. (aka Star Man’s Son) by Andre Norton

It’s 2250 A.D., two hundred years after a nuclear holocaust destroyed most life, knowledge, history, and civilization on Earth. Fors, a young man with a mutation that renders his hair silver and his hearing and sight extra keen, is a descendent of a group of scientists who used to do nuclear research before it all went wrong. Fors desperately wants to become a Star Man like his father who died on a quest ten years ago.


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Star Guard: Exciting and emotional

Star Guard by Andre Norton

Star Soldiers (2001 Baen Books, 2021 Tantor Media) contains the two related stand-alone stories Star Guard (1955) and Star Rangers (1953) which together are known as the CENTRAL CONTROL novels. I’m reviewing them separately since that’s how they were originally published. I’ve read more than 20 Andre Norton novels and these are some of my favorites. Like most of her work, they’ll be enjoyed most by teenagers, especially those new to science fiction.


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Star Rangers: One of Norton’s best

Star Rangers by Andre Norton

Star Rangers (1953) (aka The Last Planet) is the second of Andre Norton’s stand-alone novels included in Star Soldiers, an omnibus released in print by Baen Books in 2001 and in audiobook format by Tantor Media in March 2021. Star Soldiers also includes the novel Star Guard (1955). These two novels are collectively known as the CENTRAL CONTROL stories and,


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The Stars are Ours: A fine SF adventure

The Stars are Ours by Andre Norton

Tantor Media has been publishing the omnibus editions of Andre Norton’s science-fiction adventures in audiobook format. The omnibus (originally published by Baen) called Star Flight contains the novels The Stars are Ours and Star Born (the PAX/ASTRA duology). Both novels are set in the same universe (ours, actually) but they stand alone.

The prologue of The Stars are Ours,


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Star Born: One of Norton’s more exciting adventures

Star Born by Andre Norton

Andre Norton’s Star Born was originally published in 1957. In 2013 it was combined with the related prequel The Stars are Ours and released as Baen’s Star Flight omnibus. Now Tantor Media has published Star Flight in audio format with excellent narration by Ryan Burke. You don’t need to read The Stars are Ours before reading Star Born,


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Sargasso of Space: Old-fashioned sci-fi fun

Sargasso of Space by Andre Norton

Sargasso of Space is the opening novel in Andre Norton’s so-called DANE THORSON (SOLAR QUEEN) series, and is a fine introduction to the books that follow. In this first volume we meet Dane Thorson, a young cargo-apprentice who is assigned (by mechanical Psycho selection) to the trader ship Solar Queen. The crew of the Queen pools its earnings and wins an entire planet, sight unseen, at auction. (Perhaps Ebay will be conducting auctions such as this in 50 or so years!) The crew then explores this strange planet,


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Plague Ship: A marvelous entertainment

Plague Ship by Andre Norton

Plague Ship (1956) is the second installment in Andre Norton’s so-called DANE THORSON (SOLAR QUEEN) series, and is a direct continuation of the previous volume, Sargasso of Space. (A reading of that earlier novel is highly recommended before going into this one.) Plague Ship does everything that a good sci-fi sequel should: It expands on the possibilities of the previous book, deepens the characters, increases the action and leaves us wanting still more.


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Voodoo Planet: A weak entry in an otherwise terrific series

Voodoo Planet by Andre Norton

Voodoo Planet
(1959), the third installment of the DANE THORSON / SOLAR QUEEN series, is a rather weak entry in this otherwise terrific bunch of books. Here, Dane, Captain Jellico, and Medic Tau are stranded on Khatka, a planet that had been settled many years ago by Africans after the Second Atomic War.

Our boys fight off many alien creatures in the wilds of Khatka — the fight with the rock apes is a highlight of the story — and help conquer the evil witch doctor who is trying to overthrow the legitimate government.


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The Crossroads of Time: Chasing a tyrant across parallel Earths

The Crossroads of Time by Andre Norton

Recently, Tantor Audio has been releasing audiobook editions of many of Andre Norton’s stories which have been combined in omnibus editions originally published by Baen Books. I’ve been reviewing each novel separately because that’s our preference here at Fantasy Literature, but I love that readers can purchase these relatively short novels in cost-effective omnibus editions, and I am especially pleased that these stories are finally available in audiobook format.

Crosstime contains two stories about Blake Walker,


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Quest Crosstime: A slightly sloppy story with some prescient ideas

Quest Crosstime by Andre Norton

Quest Crosstime (1965) is Andre Norton’s second and final story about Blake Walker, a man who has the precognitive ability to sense when he’s in danger. Quest Crosstime is combined with The Crossroads of Time (1956), the first novel about Blake Walker, in the Crosstime omnibus which was published by Baen books in 2008 and has recently been released in an audiobook edition by Tantor Media.


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Sea Siege: An unusual story for Norton

Sea Siege by Andre Norton

In the mid-20th century, Griffith lives in the West Indies with his father, a famous scientist who studies marine biology. Griffith, who helps his father with his research, thinks the work is pretty boring. He hopes to go back to America soon to attend the Air Force Academy.

Griff suddenly becomes more interested in his father’s work when something in the sea starts attacking ships near the island he lives on. Some people think it’s a dupee, others think it’s a Russian submarine.


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Star Gate: An innovative concept

Star Gate by Andre Norton

Kincar’s grandfather, the warlord of their Gorthian clan, is on his deathbed. Kincar assumes that he and his half-brother will soon be forced to contend for leadership of the clan but, before he dies, his grandfather informs Kincar that Kincar’s father was a Star Lord, one of the mighty (human) race who can travel to other worlds. Encouraged by his grandfather, accompanied by his trusty animal companion (a bird of prey), and armed with a handy magical amulet, Kincar leaves his Gorthian family to join his father’s people.


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The Time Traders: Non-stop adventure for kids and adults

The Time Traders by Andre Norton

Ross Murdock just can’t follow the rules, so he keeps getting in trouble with the law. He’s arrogant, rebellious, independent, smart, competent, and proud. That makes him the perfect recruit for the government’s secret Time Traders program, so when they offer Ross the option to either join up or go to jail, he doesn’t have much choice. Ross has no idea what’s going on with his new job, but he figures he’ll be able to escape. That turns out to be a lot harder than he expected — because they’ve sent him back in time!


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The Defiant Agents: Not one of Norton’s best stories

The Defiant Agents by Andre Norton

The Defiant Agents is the third book in Andre Norton’s TIME TRADERS series about a secret United States government program that uses time travel to solve geopolitical problems, especially those involving the Cold War with the Russians. In the first book, The Time Traders, we met Ross Murdock, a criminal who avoided his sentence by signing on with the Time Traders and discovering the source of the Russians’ new powers. In the second book, Galactic Derelict,


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Key Out of Time: A redundant but appealing adventure

Key Out of Time by Andre Norton

Key Out of Time is the fourth book in Andre Norton’s TIME TRADERS series. Ross Murdock is once again the hero (he was not present in the previous book). This time he’s on the planet Hawaika which is being settled by the United States. Ross is accompanied by Gordon Ashe and, because this planet has a lot of ocean, Karara, a Polynesian girl who has telepathic dolphin companions.

When Hawaika turns out to be different from what they expected,


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The Beast Master: A science fiction western

The Beast Master by Andre Norton

I first found Andre Norton on the shelves of my elementary school library in fourth grade. I have no idea which of her novels was the first one I read. I just know whichever one it was, it was far from the last. One after the other, bound only by whatever limit our library put on me, I read all I could find on the shelves. And then I read them again. And then again. By the time I left that school in sixth grade,


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Storm Over Warlock: Exciting YA SF

Storm Over Warlock by Andre Norton

Shan Lantee considers himself very lucky to be part of the Terran survey team on the planet Warlock. It’s too bad that nobody pays any attention to him. He’s the youngest and most inexperienced member of the team, so he has to do all the bad jobs that nobody else wants to do, like chasing and rounding up the wolverine scouts every time they escape.

That’s what he was doing when the alien spaceship swooped down and destroyed everyone else in the camp and that’s why Shan is the only human left on a hostile planet.


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The Sioux Spaceman: Beware the Horsemen of the Stars

The Sioux Spaceman by Andre Norton

Tantor Media has published an audio version of Baen’s The Game of Stars and Comets (2009), an omnibus that contains these four novels by Andre Norton: The Sioux Spaceman (1960), Eye of the Monster (1962), The X Factor (1965), and Voorloper (1980). Each of these short novels stands alone but they are all set in Norton’s Council/Confederation universe. I’m going to review them separately,


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Eye of the Monster: Colonized crocs get revenge

Eye of the Monster by Andre Norton

Tantor Media has published an audio version of Baen’s The Game of Stars and Comets (2009), an omnibus that contains these four novels by Andre Norton: The Sioux Spaceman (1960), Eye of the Monster (1962), The X Factor (1965), and Voorloper (1980). Each of these short novels stands alone and they are all set in Norton’s Council/Confederation universe. I’m reviewing them separately,


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The X Factor: An outsider makes friends on a cold planet

The X Factor by Andre Norton

The X Factor (1965) is the third short novel contained in The Game of Stars and Comets (2009), Baen’s omnibus of Norton stories that also contains The Sioux Spaceman (1960), Eye of the Monster (1962), and Voorloper (1980). Tantor Media has recently published an audio version of the omnibus, but I’m reviewing the books separately because that’s the way they were originally published.


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Voorloper: A few humans try to make peace with a hostile planet

Voorloper by Andre Norton

Voorloper (1980) is the last novel collected in The Game of Stars and Comets (2009), Baen’s omnibus of Andre Norton stories. I’ve been reviewing the books individually (because they were originally released as separate novels), but it’s cost-effective and convenient to purchase them in the omnibus edition. Specifically, I’m reviewing Tantor Media’s new audio version of the omnibus, which is excellently narrated by L.J. Ganser.

The first three books in this omnibus are The Sioux Spaceman (1960),


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Catseye: Another otherworldly adventure by Andre Norton

Catseye by Andre Norton

Andre Norton’s novels are always a good option when you’re in the mood for an exciting, fast-paced, imaginative, and family-friendly adventure story. This one stars Troy Horan, a young man who lives hand-to-mouth in a ghetto called The Dipple on the luxury planet of Korwar. He’s a refugee from his home planet of Norden which has now been commandeered as a military outpost. Back home, his family were herders and his father, at least, seemed to have some sort of empathetic bond with the animals he cared for.


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Witch World: Nice blend of science fiction and fantasy

Witch World (on audio) by Andre Norton

Simon Tregarth knows he’s about to die — he’s being hunted down by a professional assassin and he has a “feeling” that it’s going to happen tonight. But then the infamous Doctor Petronius interrupts Simon as he’s savoring his last meal and offers him an escape. Dr. Petronius’s services don’t come cheap, but this expense is a no-brainer (after all, you can’t take it with you). The only downside is that neither Simon nor Dr. Petronius knows where Simon is actually going, for he will sit on King Arthur’s Siege Perilous and be sent to a world where his soul is at home…

Andre Norton (her real name was Alice,


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Web of the Witch World: Quick fun read + SFF history lesson

Web of the Witch World by Andre Norton

Web of the Witch World continues the story of Simon Tregarth, the modern man who escaped assassination by coming through a gate into the Witch World, and Jaelithe, a witch of Estcarp, as they fight the strange enemy who are invading their land. At the end of the previous novel, the Kolder, who are from a technologically advanced planet, had been defeated by the witchery of Jaelithe and her sisters (and it seems that Simon has some powers, too). Jaelithe gave Simon her name,


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Year of the Unicorn: Strong introspective heroine

Year of the Unicorn by Andre Norton

Year of the Unicorn, third in Andre Norton’s Witch World saga, is a departure from the first two novels. It’s the story of Gillan, a girl with no family and an unknown heritage who has grown up in an abbey in High Hallack, far from the places we visited with Simon and Jaelithe in the first two Witch World novels. Gillan feels stifled in the abbey and longs for something more. She also feels the stirrings of a strange power within her.


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Night of Masks: A simple story on an infrared planet

Night of Masks by Andre Norton

Nik Colherne lives in the Dipple, a planet-side slum that serves as the opening setting for a few of Andre Norton’s novels. Nik survived a fiery crash that left him orphaned and with a disfigured face that others find abhorrent. Rejected and friendless, Nik is targeted by the Thieves’ Guild who promise him a new (and handsome) face if he’ll impersonate the hero of a young boy that they are trying to find. The boy, Vandy, is the son of a powerful warlord and the thinking is that if Nik poses as the boy’s hero,


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Judgment on Janus: A good introduction to classic SF for an MG or YA audience

Judgment on Janus by Andre Norton

Naill Renfro lives in The Dipple, a ghetto on the pleasure planet of Korwar (same setting as in Catseye). He and his mother arrived there years ago as refugees when their home was destroyed by a space war. Now his mother is dying and she’s in a lot of pain and anguish. To purchase a final gift and a peaceful death for his mother, Naill sells himself into indentured servitude on a frontier planet called Janus.

When Naill arrives on Janus,


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Victory on Janus: A weak ending

Victory on Janus by Andre Norton

Victory on Janus (1966) is the sequel to Andre Norton’s Judgment on Janus (1963). The two novels make up the JANUS duology (Baen, 2002) which has recently been published by Tantor Media as an audiobook (2021). Gabriel Vaughan, the narrator, gives an excellent performance.

In Judgment on Janus, we met Naill Renfro, who was an indentured servant on the frontier planet of Janus.


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Moon of Three Rings: A promising start to the MOONSINGER saga

Moon of Three Rings by Andre Norton

Krip Vorlund, an assistant cargo master on a trade ship, is visiting a beast show with some of his crewmates on a frontier planet called Yiktor. There he meets a woman named Maelen who takes care of the little furry creatures that perform in the show. It’s obvious that she controls them, yet they seem more like children than slaves. In fact, when a messenger arrives and tells her that a man is abusing a creature somewhere in the town, she gets angry and goes to intervene.


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Exiles of the Stars: Krip and Maelen meet some body snatchers

Exiles of the Stars by Andre Norton

Exiles of the Stars (1971) is the second novel in Andre Norton’s MOONSINGER or MOON MAGIC series and a direct sequel to the first book, Moon of Three Rings (1966). These two novels have been combined into an omnibus edition called Moonsinger which was published in print in 2013 by Baen books and in audio format this year by Tantor Audio. The narrators of the audio edition,


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Flight in Yiktor: Introduces a compelling new protagonist

Flight in Yiktor by Andre Norton

Flight in Yiktor (1986) is the third novel in Andre Norton’s MOONSINGER series. It’s bundled with the fourth novel, Dare to Go A-Hunting, in an omnibus edition titled Moonsinger’s Quest which was published by Baen in 2013 and, in audio format, by Tantor Media in 2021. It’s not necessary to read the first two novels, Moon of Three Rings and Exiles of the Stars,


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Dare to Go A-Hunting: You can safely skip it

Dare to Go A-Hunting by Andre Norton

The final novel in Andre Norton’s MOONSINGER series is Dare to Go A-Hunting (1989), which is packaged with the previous novel, Flight in Yiktor, in the Baen omnibus edition called Moonsinger’s Quest (2013). I’ve been listening to the excellent audiobook editions narrated by Chris Abernathy and published in 2021 by Tantor Media. Dare to Go A-Hunting is a direct sequel to Flight in Yiktor,


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Dark Piper: Intense and memorable for young readers

Dark Piper by Andre Norton

A decade-long war is finally over and the people who live on the planet of Beltane are relieved. During the war, Beltane, where many scientists lived, was recruited for the war effort and served, unwillingly, as an experimental lab. After the war, most of the scientists left the planet, creating a brain drain, and the people who remained were pacifists who looked forward to starting a new way of life without interference from the Confederation.

When a disfigured veteran named Griss Lugard is brought back home to Beltane,


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Dread Companion: Try the audio edition of this one

Dread Companion by Andre Norton

In the far future, a young woman named Kilda thinks it’s unfortunate that she was born as a woman because she’s expected to do what every woman on her planet does – get married and have children. Kilda wants to travel and learn, so she appeals to her teacher, a mixed-race handicapped person who also lacks opportunity on this world. Her teacher suggests that Kilda take a job as a governess for a woman who is going off planet with her two children. Kilda takes that advice and travels with her employer and the kids,


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Android at Arms: A prince wonders if he’s an android

Android at Arms by Andre Norton

This year Tantor Media has been producing audio editions of the Baen omnibus collections of Andre Norton’s science fiction stories. Gods and Androids (2004 in print, 2021 in audio) contains the two novels Android at Arms (1971) and Wraiths of Time (1975). I am reviewing the novels separately because that’s how they were originally released, and that’s usually been our practice here at Fantasy Literature. Each of these stories stands alone.


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Wraiths of time: An American grad student becomes an African princess

Wraiths of time by Andre Norton

Tallahassee (Tally) Mitford, a graduate student who studies archaeology and African history, has been asked to examine some Egyptian artifacts that appear to be very old, important, powerful, and radioactive.

When one of the relics pulls her into a parallel universe, Tally finds herself in Meroë, an ancient Nubian kingdom located on the Nile River. She is completely helpless there with no status and the inability to speak the language. She has no idea how to get back home.

When she’s rescued by some women who are the companions of the recently deceased princess Ashake,


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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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Elvenbane: Norton vs. Lackey, Round 1

Elvenbane by Andre Norton & Mercedes Lackey

In the world of Elvenbane, elves have subjugated humanity because… well, they’re elves, frankly: magical and long-lived and perfectly capable of taking what they want. Apparently having served as the unselfish goodie-goodies one too many times, elves have instead been refreshingly cast as the fantasy version of the Roman Empire in this text, conquering and enslaving other races out of a sense of entitlement and a desire to expand their power. Humans are used for menial labor and sexual gratification,


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The Shadow of Albion: Refreshing as the spring rain

The Shadows of Albion by Andre Norton & Rosemary Edghill

I’ve heard others gripe that this book is basically fluff. Well, yes, it’s light, but that’s part of what I liked about it. I’ve read a lot of serious (and sometimes depressing) books lately, and this one was a much-needed cool breeze of just plain fun.

The Marchioness of Roxbury, a vain and vapid woman, is on her deathbed, having failed to fulfill a promise made to the Fair Folk. She lives in an alternate England where magic exists, though it’s subtle.


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Leopard in Exile: Zzzzzzz….

Leopard in Exile by Andre Norton & Rosemary Edghill

Is it a bad sign that I just finished Leopard in Exile the night before last, and now I’m hard-pressed to remember much of the plot?

This book’s predecessor, Shadow of Albion, was fun in a light sort of way, with the promise of sequels that would delve deeper into the faery magic at which it hints. I should have gotten my first clue about Leopard in Exile when I looked at the cover art.


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SHORTS: Jingfang, Emrys, Plait, Norton

There is so much free or inexpensive short fiction available on the internet these days. Here are a few stories we read this week that we wanted you to know about. 

“Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang (translated by Ken Liu) (2015, free at Uncanny Magazine)

Hao Jingfang’s novella “Folding Beijing” stayed with me long after I finished reading it. It wasn’t just the images of her fantastic city, where buildings fold down into cubes and once a day the entire city revolves like a tossed coin.


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SHORTS: Swirsky, Vernon, Bardugo, Norton

There is so much free or inexpensive short fiction available on the internet these days. Here are a few stories we read this week that we wanted you to know about. 

“If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” by Rachel Swirsky (2013, free at Apex Magazine)

Rachel Swirsky‘s “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” is tiny in size but remarkable in strength, a real pint-sized gem. It is no wonder the story won the 2013 Nebula short story award ― anyone who can pack such a punch into so few words knows what they are doing with them.


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Rename this horrible cover!

It’s time again for one of our favorite games!

Please help us rename the horrible cover of this book by Grande Dame Andre Norton.

The author of the new title we like best wins a book from the FanLit Stacks.

Got a suggestion for a horrible cover that needs renaming? Please send it to Kat.

We love this game!

NEXT WEEK’s Thoughtful Thursday column: We’ll be giving away all of the Nebula and Hugo nominated novels to one lucky winner!


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Next SFF Author: Mary Norton
Previous SFF Author: Claire North

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