Marion Zimmer Bradley

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Author Review: Marion Zimmer Bradley (1930 – 1999)
Review Written By: Diane

Writing Style 
Body of Work 
Marion Zimmer Bradley Links 


On June 3, 1930, Marion Zimmer was born in Albany, NY. The daughter of a farmer, she grew up poor in the heart of the Depression. In 1949 she married Robert Alden Bradley, whom she later divorced. A second marriage, to Walter Breen, in the late 60’s also ended poorly; they separated in 1979. Initially unable to afford college, Bradley eventually attained her B.A. degree from Hardin Simmons University in Texas in 1964. She then went on to the University of California, Berkley, where she continued her graduate studies from 1965-1967. Bradley’s formal education may have been late, but her writing began while she was still in her mid-teens. By 1953 her first published short stories, "Keyhole" and "Women Only," had appeared in Vortex Science Fiction.

Bradley is probably best known among science fiction fans for her Darkover novels, the first of which, The Planet Savers, was published in 1958. In 1975 another Darkover novel, The Heritage of Hastur, was nominated for the Nebula Award but did not win. Bradley wrote in many different genres and was also well known as the editor for both Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine and the annual anthology entitled Sword and Sorceress. In later years, Bradley began writing more fantasy-oriented novels. Perhaps her most popular and commercially successful novel was The Mists of Avalon. This revisionist approach to the Arthurian myths spent four months on the NY Times best seller list, eventually going platinum and earning her the Locus Poll award in the Fantasy Novel category in 1984.

Bradley wrote well over 80 books and edited nearly a dozen anthologies in her lifetime. During the past few years she had been troubled by ill health and suffered several strokes, although she continued writing whenever she was able. Bradley passed away on September 25, 1999, several days after suffering a major heart attack.

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Writing Style

Unfortunately, I have not had an opportunity to read many of Bradley’s Darkover novels. However, I have read quite a few of her other works, including The Mists of Avalon, Firebrand and several of the novels from the "Light" series (Ghostlight, Gravelight, etc.). In all cases, Bradley tends to have very strong female characters — independent, fierce, wise, self-sufficient, often almost radically feminist, especially when taken in context with their surroundings and cultures. This does not mean that her male characters are neglected or disparaged, but they do not always take center stage either.

I believe that Bradley felt very strongly about the role of women in society. She seemed to find it important to show that women are individuals, capable of the same thoughts and actions as men, no matter what their role in society is. However, it would be wrong to assume that Bradley’s books are one long diatribe about the injustices men have inflicted on women. Rather, her books are often thought provoking and challenging, encouraging the reader to view commonly held beliefs from a different perspective. Bradley frequently dealt with controversial issues including witchcraft, homosexuality, and women’s rights. At times she was quite open in her discussions of these issues, while other times they appear as insinuations and are not always readily apparent. Although some of her longer works tend to wander, I’ve enjoyed most of Bradley’s efforts. I would definitely recommend her to thoughtful, open-minded readers.

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Body of Work

Darkover Series (In Order of Publication)

Planet Savers, 1962 (Reprinted 1995)
Sword Of Aldones, 1962
The Bloody Sun, 1964
Star Of Danger, 1965 (Reprinted 1994)
Winds Of Darkover, 1970 (Reprinted 1995)
World Wreckers, 1971(Reprinted 1994)
Darkover Landfall, 1972
The Spell Sword, 1974
Heritage Of Hastur, 75
Shattered Chain, 1976
Forbidden Tower, 1977
Stormqueen, 1978
Bloody Sun (Rewrite), 1979 (Reprinted 1994)
Two To Conquer, 1980
Sharra's Exile, 1981
Hawkmistress, 1982
Thendara House, 1983
City Of Sorcery, 1984
Heirs Of Hammerfell, 1989
Rediscovery, 1993
Exile's Song, 1996
Shadow Matrix, 1997
*Traitor's Son, Daw, 1999?
*Children Of Kings, Daw, ?

* Not Yet In Print

Darkover Chronology

Darkover Landfall
Two To Conquer
Heirs Of Hammerfell
Shattered Chain (1)
Spell Sword
Forbidden Tower
Shattered Chain (2, 3)
Thendara House
City Of Sorcery
Star Of Danger
Winds Of Darkover
The Bloody Sun
Heritage Of Hastur
Planet Savers
Sharra's Exile
World Wreckers
Exile's Song
Shadow Matrix
Traitor's Son
*Children Of Kings

* Not Yet In Print

Darkover Mini-Series Or Direct Sequels

Spell Sword/Forbidden Tower/Bloody Sun (Rewrite)
Shattered Chain/Thendara House/City Of Sorcery
Heritage Of Hastur/Sharra's Exile/Exile's Song/Shadow Matrix
Sharra's Exile Retells The Events Of Sword Of Aldones
Exile's Song Was Formerly Called Return To Darkover

Darkover Anthologies

The Keeper's Price, 1980
Sword Of Chaos, 1982
Free Amazons Of Darkover, 1985
Other Side Of The Mirror, 1987
Red Sun Of Darkover, 1987
Four Moons Of Darkover, 1988
Domains Of Darkover, 1990
Renunciates Of Darkover, 1991
Leroni Of Darkover, 1991
Towers Of Darkover, 1993
Mzb's Darkover, 1993
Snows Of Darkover, 1994

Non-Darkover Science Fiction

The Door Through Space, Ace, 1961
Seven From The Stars, Ace, 1962
Falcons Of Narabedla, Ace, 1964
The Brass Dragon, Ace 1970,
Colors Of Space, Pocket 1983
The Endless Voyage, Ace 1975
The Endless Universe, Ace 1979
Hunters Of The Red Moon, Daw 1973
The Survivors, Daw 1979 (Sequel To Hunters)
The Ruins Of Isis, Pocket 1980
Survey Ship, Ace 1980
Warrior Woman, Daw 1985


Drums Of Darkness, Ballantine, 1976
House Between The Worlds, Del Rey 1981
The Inheritor, Tor, 1984
Night's Daughter, Ballantine, 1985
Fall Of Atlantis, Pocket, 1987 (Web Of Light/Web Of
Darkness - Written In The Early 1950's)
Dark Satanic, Tor 1988
Black Trillium (With Andre Norton & Julian May), 1990, 1991
Witch Hill, Tor, 1990
Lady Of The Trillium, Bantam, 1995; June 1996 (Pb)
Tiger Burning Bright (With Norton & Lackey), 1995
Ghostlight, Tor, 1995
Witchlight, Tor, 1996
Glenraven (With Holly Lisle), Baen, 1996
Gravelight, Tor, 1997
Gratitude Of Kings (Novella), Roc, Dec 1997
In The Rift (Glenraven 2), Baen, April 1998
Heartlight, Tor, September 1998


The Best Of Marion Zimmer Bradley, Daw, 1988
Lythande, Daw, 1986
Sword And Sorceress, Daw, 1984
Sword And Sorceress, Vol. 2, Daw, 1985
Sword And Sorceress, Vol. 3, Daw, 1986
Sword And Sorceress, Vol. 4, Daw, 1987
Sword And Sorceress, Vol. 5, Daw, 1988
Spells Of Wonder, Daw, 1989
Sword And Sorceress, Vol. 6, Daw, 1990
Sword And Sorceress, Vol. 7, Daw, 1990
Sword And Sorceress, Vol. 8, Daw, 1991
Sword And Sorceress, Vol. 9, Daw, 1992
Sword And Sorceress, Vol. 10, Daw, 1993
Sword And Sorceress, Vol. 11, Daw, 1994
Sword And Sorceress, Vol. 12, Daw, 1995
Sword And Sorceress, Vol. 13, Daw, 1996
Sword And Sorceress, Vol. 14, Daw, 1997
Sword And Sorceress, Vol. 15, Daw, 1998
Sword And Sorceress, Vol. 16, Daw, 1999
Best Of Mzb's Fantasy Magazine, Vol. 1, Warner, 1994
Best Of Mzb's Fantasy Magazine, Vol. 2, Warner, 1995


The Catch Trap, Ballantine, 1979 (Hc), 1980, 1984 (Pb)
The Firebrand, Simon & Schuster, 1987 (Hc), Pocket, 1988

Avalon Series

The Mists of Avalon, Knopf, 1983 (Hc), Ballantine, 1984(Tp)
The Forest House, Viking, 1994 (Hc); 1995 (Tp)
Lady of Avalon, Viking, 1997 (Hc); June 1998 (Tp)

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For a listing of all Marion Zimmer Bradley books available on, click go in the box below.
In Association with
Marion Zimmer Bradley Fantasy Magazine - Homepage for magazine edited by Bradley while she was living.  You can subscribe to the magazine here as well as check out other useful links.
Darkover Site

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