Darkover Newsletter/Issues 51-60

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Issue 51

front page of issue #51

Darkover Newsletter 51 was published in December 1990 and contains 18 pages.

  • the editor writes about avoiding cliches
  • MZB's letter is an memorial to Donald A. Wollheim, the creator of Locus
  • Elisabeth Water's column, "Notes from Under the Desk" includes this: "I'm glad 1990 is just about over; it's been a very interesting year. MZB's divorce from from Walter Breen was final in May, and he got the PO Box she'd been using for her personal mail... So if anyone has an address for MZB, (or me, since I live with her) that isn't one of those boxes, please delete it from your records ... Walter Breen is still employed by MZB Enterprises and is working on an updated Darkover Concordance. He was sentenced on November 30th to three years' probation for one count of sexually molesting a child under the age of 14 that he pled guilty to on June 8th. MZB was hospitalized three times this year... Jan Burke has resigned as Managing Editor of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine... I could use a chance to calm down and get organized."

Issue 52

front page of issue #52

Darkover Newsletter 52 was published in March 1991 and contains 18 pages.

  • the editor writes of using foreshadowing in one's writing
  • MZB's letter talks about some of the mail she gets every day, mail that gets odder and odder each year. "Every crackpot letter you can imagine, I've probably gotten it at two or three times. This article, believe me, just skims the surface. But I still open the mail with eagerness each day. Heaven knows why."
  • the editor tells a fan: "As to writing Darkover fiction... if you want to try your hand at it, fine. MZB is perfectly cheerful about her characters being used, provided they are not already dead... they do not act out of character for themselves, and her major characters are not killed off by someone else. Practically speaking, this means you have to treat existing Darkover novels as if that were as historical as the American Revolution, and not resurrect George Washington as a Regency rake."
  • there is a full-page form for fans who want a pen pal

Issue 53

front page of issue #53

Darkover Newsletter 53 was published in June 1991 and contains 20 pages.

  • the editor writes that she was "exposed to the dreaded SDT syndrome. Twice." She goes on to explain that SDT is "Show Don't Tell" and how it manifests itself in writing
  • MZB's letter concerns itself with the effects that her strokes have had on her memory, about trying to finish 'The Forest House' and how she defends writing flawed characters. "If all the characters are perfect role models, where is your contrast?"
  • MZB gives an update on her writing: "'Rediscovery' is having its second draft worked on. If all goes well, it should be published in 1992 or early 1993. 'Return to Darkover' is also in the intermediate-draft stage... The Roman Britain book, 'Forest House,' is nearly done. I'm working on the last chapter, changing the ending. The original ending was so gloomy, it depressed me."
  • this issue contains a logic puzzle

Issue 54

front page of issue #54

Darkover Newsletter 54 was published in September 1991 and contains 22 pages.

  • the editor gives some more writing tips
  • MZB's letter says she doesn't like it when she hears of any of her books being required reading in colleges and high school classes as it takes all the fun out of it and writes at length about the value of childrens' ability and desire to read
  • there are two recipes, one for oat cookies and one for some punch
  • MZB warns a fan who's working up some scheduling for the Darkover Grand Council Meeting that "the only thing I can say is: don't take it too seriously! It's just a game."
  • this issue contains a logic puzzle

Issue 55

front page of issue #55

Darkover Newsletter 55 was published in December 1991 and contains 18 pages.

  • the editor offers some writing tips
  • MZB's letter talks of her relief at getting through the year without a stroke or heart attack and Greyhaven escaped the firestorms in the area. "On piece of news is not so good. My ex-husband, Walter Breen's fate has been much discussed; yes, he is in jail on charges of child molesting. He plead guilty to one count of 'lewd or lascivious acts with a child uner age 14' at his trial last year and got probation. But when another little boy complained, his probation was revoked, and he is now in jail pending another trial." She mentions her daughter has given her a tape of the Rivendell Suite "a group of songs I wrote some years ago to words by Tolkein.
  • MZB writes that Joan Marie Verba is "another discovery I'm very proud of."
  • a fan asks when Contraband and "Return to Darkover" be released. MZB responds: "'Contraband' hasn't been written yet. 'Return to Darkover' is half done. 'Re-Discovery' is being rewritten by Mercedes Lackey, whose approach to Darkover is a lot like mine..."
  • a logic puzzle

Issue 56

front page of issue #56

Darkover Newsletter 56 was published in March 1992 and contains 22 pages.

  • the editor has some writing tips and reviews some computer creative writing programs: Plots Unlimited, First Aid for Writers, Collaborator and StoryLine
  • MZB comments on all the books that she's sent asking for some comments or blurbs. She writes that if the book hasn't grabbed her by the first chapter or so, it's just not going to, and she doesn't have time to mess around with that stuff anymore
  • there is a memorial written for John Shimwell who died December 21, 1991
  • a fan writes that he was disappointed in 'Black Trillium." MZB responds: "I had the stroke during 'Black Trillium.' Both Andre Norton and I made it clear that the book was fantasy and not science fiction and Julian May put all kinds of science fiction cliches in it. Both Andre and I were unhappy -- we were unable to protest effectively... my collaborators did what they thought best for it. I feel like a fake for signing a copy."
  • this issue contains an ever present logic puzzle

Issue 57

front page of issue #57

Darkover Newsletter 57 was published in June 1992 and contains 18 pages.

  • more writing tips from the editor
  • MZB's letter is mostly about how she enjoyed the movie and book 'Silence of the Lambs'
  • MZB has a one-page parody called "It's Getting Dark on Darkover"
  • MZB writes: "When I get tired of Darkover, I'll be tired of life."
  • Jean Lamb has a letter that says, in part, "I was very sad to hear of John Shimwell's death. I found his casta dictionary extremely helpful while writing Masks."
  • there is a recipe for "Ordinary Nut-Cake" along with a discussion on sweetening agents for cake (honey? sugar? yams?)
  • MZB writes "I never know what books I'm going to write until I've written them. At present, I'm finishing up 'Return to Darkover' and beginning Contraband, about Rafael Hustur and Rafael Syrtis from 'The Hawkmaster's Son' in 'Keeper's Price.'"

Issue 58

front page of issue #58

Darkover Newsletter 58 was published in September 1992 and contains 20 pages.

  • "Holes in My Yard," a letter by MZB:
"I've finished 'Rediscovery' and 'Return to Darkover'... My next project was going to be 'Contraband,' the novel about Dyan Ardais I mentioned in the introduction to Elisabeth Water's story 'A Proper Escort' in 'Renunciates of Darkover.' Unfortunately, my decades of encouraging young writers and allowing fans to 'play in my yard' just caught up to me. Somebody had written a fan novel covering the same time period, and I had read it. It used my characters, sometimes in ways I wouldn't have, but it also contained a few ideas I liked, so I offered the author a reasonable sum of money (about one sixth of what she would have received as the advance of a first novel) and an acknowledgment in the dedication for incorporating those ideas (not her writing) into my book. I offered this even though ideas cannot be copyrighted, because I have never believed in taking advantage of my fans. She wrote back saying that, while she could live with the monetary compensation Id offered, what she wanted was a shared byline. It might be that she thought I was asking to collaborate with her, although I cannot imagine what in my letter could have possibly given her that impression... This was essentially the same deal I made with Jacqueline Lichtenberg on 'Thendara House.' but unfortunately this person still did not seem willing to accept the deal. I talked to... my editor at DAW Books, who says the only person she would agree to have me share a byline on a Darkover novel with is Mercedes Lackey, who has collaborated with me on my last two Darkover novels, and is the writer to whom I am leaving the series when I am no longer able to write it. [My editor] also says that, under the circumstances, DAW cannot publish 'Contraband.' She was kind enough to refrain from pointing out that I had been an idiot to read fan fiction set in my world without a legal release form. I have, however, agreed to refrain from such behavior in the future. From now on, the only Darkover material I will read is anthology submissions accompanied by the proper release form. If you publish a Darkover fanzine, run an APA etc., do NOT send me copies. They will be returned unread by my office staff. (Instead, send any courtesy copies you would have previously sent to me directly to [address for the Mugar Library in Boston]. This is the depository for the 'Marion Zimmer Bradley Collection, and your work will contribute to making the collection more complete.) I'm sorry that things have come to this. I never wanted to have to keep a "professional distance" from my fans, and for more than twenty years I didn't need to. But I guess even the longest streak of good luck runs out eventually, and sometimes one bad apple does spoil the whole barrel. I regret having to give up a novel that I had already started work on, and I apologize to all of you who wanted to read it." --Signed Marion Zimmer Bradley.
There is a note included:
"The fate of the Darkover fanzines, and of stories Marion Zimmer Bradley does not buy for the anthologies, is still being researched by Mrs. Bradley's lawyer. The person who started this problem has received a cease-and-desist order from Mrs. Bradley's lawyer. If she continues to distribute her Darkover material or writes any further Darkover material, there will be serious legal consequences, both for her and any fanzine or APA editors who may publish her material. We will keep readers abreast of further developments." -- Signed, Ann Sharp.
* there is a release form for fiction, though no commentary or instruction

Issue 59

front page of issue #59

Darkover Newsletter 59 was published in December 1992 and contains 16 pages.

Issue 60

front page of issue #60

Darkover Newsletter 60 published in March 1993 and contains 20 pages.

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