A Meeting in the Hyades

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Title: A Meeting in Hyades
Author(s): Marion Zimmer Bradley
Cover Artist(s):
Date(s): written in 1954/55, printed in 1961, twice in 1962, and once in 1978
Medium: print, chapbook
Fandom: Darkover/Tolkien
External Links:
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A Meeting in Hyades is a Tolkien crossover with Darkover fic by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

It is a story where Regis Hastur, or a character that later developed into Regis, meets Strider (called "Speranzu") from The Lord of the Rings somewhere in the Darkovan mountains.

It was written in 1954 or 1955, first published as a chapbook in 1961 (68-70 copies were printed),[1] in Andúril (1962), in Astra's Tower (Special Leaflet 1962), and then again in Starstone #1 (1978).

The Andúril edition and the Starstone editions both had art by Juanita Coulson, but it is unknown if they are the same illos.

Discussed in 1974

It was discussed in 1974 at a panel discussion at KWestCon. From Ruth Berman & Juanita Coulson: Created Worlds:

Ruth Berman: ...Marian Bradley's story... brings in Lord of the Rings. She has a story, in which her hero, Regis Hastor, not the Regis Hastor of the science fiction books, but the Regis Hastor of Aimer Dihn, meets Strider. It's a delightful story.

Juanita Coulson: The thin strong lonely heroes.

Ruth: It's I think, as fascinating a story as any of the ones she's had published professionally, as delightful to read.

Juanita: They bump into each other around the campfire, in effect and exchange the "Is it this way with you?" and "Isn't it a bitch trying to solve all the ethic problems of our worlds?" We're making it sound flippant, it happens to be a story that's serious in tone. But it fits.

Introduction by Marion Zimmer Bradley: 1961

From Andúril:

THE THEORY OF INTERLOCKING FANTASY-WORLDS has always fascinated me. Suppose that some day, through the work of unguessable agencies, Conan should be confronted with Tarzan...Sherlock Holmes match wits with Dr Fu Manchu...Northwest Smith face adventure a step away from the Grey Mouser?

HERE I HAVE ENVISIONED A MEETING between Regis Hastur, hero of the Merdinian-Darkover fantasies, and but you may decide for yourself the true identity of the man who called himself Speranzu.

THE MERDINIAN-DARKOVER cycle, which I have also drawn upon for the "Terran Empire Novels," is a self-contained world with Its own geography, history, and languages. Some accidental similarities of names, discovered AFTER I had read The Lord of the Rings, caused me -- like the loremaster of Minas Tirith -- to "reflect at leisure on the history of tongues." Such names as Castamir, Lindir, Arador, Eldarion, Estel, have long been current in the chronicles of the Hasturs. Names, of course, are free to anyone inventive enough to make use of them; for instance at one time it seemed to me that no sooner would I locate or invent a name for use in a story, than Leigh Brackett would promptly use it in one of her fantasies! All this simply states that my special background of linguistics and folklore is by no means unique.

THIS CAME TO MY ATTENTION while working on one of the sword-and-cloak fantasy adventures, this one about Regis Hastur, and sending it to my brother to read, chapter by chapter, as completed. He remarked -- provoking me -- that he hoped the perusal of the Tolkien books will influence your work...I think it's just what you need."

THE FOLLOWING EPISODE, THEN, was begun with the intention of writing a pastiche of the Tolkien style, and sending it to him without comment, as just another of Regis' adventures -- the point of the joke being to see whether Paul realized it when his leg was being pulled. But before I completed the episode, I had lost sight of the joke and was Interested in the possibilities of this curious interlocking of two separate private worlds of fantasy.

AS THE FIRST, THEN, (we hope) in a series of Apocryphal Adventures, we present a meeting In the Hyades.

Introduction by Marion Zimmer Bradley: 1978

By 1978, Bradley was backing away from pointing out that "Speranzu" was a in essence, a character in Lord of the Rings, probably due to professional nervous reasons. From Starstone #1:

A MEETING IN THE HYADES was written some time in 1954 or 1955 --I am not sure -- and published in my Tolkien fanzine ANDURIL, of which there was only one issue, Summer, 1962. I think 150 copies were printed on my old A.B. Dick mimeograph, of which 68 were circulated through the Fantasy Amateur Press Association. And although it deals with a little-known adventure of Regis Hastur, from my DARKOVER novels, it is not a Darkover story. Darkover, as a consistent series, did not really come into being until 1970 or thereabouts, when I wrote DARKOVER LANDFALL for DAW books. Until then I was adapting some elements of my private fantasy-world, the Merdinian universe, for the purposes of Science Fiction/adventure. This is probably not the place to go extensively into the differences between Al-Merdin and Darkover; but both universes dealt with an icy mountainous country ruled over by the caste of tele-paths, seven major families of them, known in the Darkover stories as the Comyn, and in the Merdinian stories as the Seveners. THE ONLY DIFFERENCE WITH WHICH THE READER MEED CONCERN HIM/HERSELF is that, in the Merdinian universe and therefore in this story, the character who plays the part, on Darkover, of Lew Alton, is referred to as Gwynn Leynier; and the Domain of Aillard is referred to as the Domain of Va'leron.. .an alteration I made when I discovered that E.E. Smith, whom after meetinq I worshipped, had, in addition to his well-known "Lensman" stories, written a book called SKYLARK OF VALERON. The overlap of names was accidental; but because I had, in my Merdinian mythos, used names from Robert W. Chambers, and this was NOT accidental, I thought it better to change the names for professionally written science fiction.

THE OVERLAPPING OF NAMES is responsible, in a way, for the present story.

Of course, the theory of overlaopina fantasy worlds has always fascinated me. As I said in the preface to this story when it appeared in ARDURIL, "Suppose that some day, through the work of unguessable aqencies, Conan should be confronted with Tarzan...Sherlock Holmes match wits with Dr Fu Manchu ... Northwest Smith face adventure side by side with Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser?"

DARKOVER, LIKE AL-MERDIN BEFORE IT, is a self-contained world with its own geoqraphy, history and lanauages, Some accidental similarities of names, discovered AFTER I had first read THE LORD OF THE RINGS, caused me, like the lore-master of Minas Tirith, to "reflect at leisure on the history of tongues..." for such names as Castamir, Lindir, Arador and Eldarion were used by me in the Merdinian stories I wrote in childhood, long before J.R.R. Tolkien used these names in the chronicles of Middle Earth. Names, of course, are free to anyone who wishes to make use of them; for a time in my early days as a writer, it seemed to me that no sooner would I invent a name, or, worse, a title, than Leigh Brackett would use it in print somewhere in the pulps. This does not, of course, indicate that Leigh and I have mutual laran...only that we read the same books in childhood and that our minds make similar use of similar material. You might say that our computers were similarly programmed. My special background of folklore and linguistics is by no means unique.

1995 Statement Regarding Zimmer's Lack of Permission and Unlawful Publication of This Story

Elisabeth Waters has a long article on copyright in the very last issue of Darkover Newsletter in September 1995. It begins with a general description of copyright, and moves into something more personal, addressing "A Meeting in the Hyades."

An excerpt:

Recently we got (1) a letter from someone wanting Mrs. Bradley's permission to read at a Tolkien conference a Darkover/Middle-Earth story [2] she wrote in a fanzine in 1961 [3] [snipped]

With regard to the first problem (the Middle-Earth story), just writing it, let alone publishing it in a fanzine, was a violation of Mr. Tolkien's copyright, because it was derived from (based on) his original work. The right to prepare a derivative work is reserved to the copyright owner (it belongs to the author). So what MZB did back in 1961 [4] (before she learned better) was wrong, illegal, and actionable, despite the fact that she sincerely intended it as a compliment to Mr. Tolkien.

Some context to this statement:

The early and mid-1990s were a tumultuous time for fans of female professional fantasy writers and their fanworks. 1992 was an especially bad year.

  • In 1992, things had come to a head with a fannish tussle regarding Bradley. See Marion Zimmer Bradley Fanfiction Controversy and the September 1992 letter Holes in My Yard, printed in The Darkover Newsletter. Six months later, Marion Zimmer Bradley's letter was published in Writers Digest: "Let this be a warning to other authors who might be tempted to be similarly generous with their universes, I know now why Arthur Conan Doyle refused to allow anyone to write about Sherlock Holmes. I wanted to be more accomodating, but I don't like where it has gotten me. It's enough to make anyone into a misanthrope." See Marion Zimmer Bradley's Letter to Writer's Digest.
  • Chelsea Quinn Yarbro had a dust-up regarding a fan and a fanwork. See A Matter Of Willful Copyright Infringement.
  • P.N. Elrod, another professional writer of vampire fiction (and then-active creator of fanworks in the Quantum Leap and Blake's 7 fandoms) cautioned fans in September 1992: "Berkley Publishing has an army of lawyers with nothing better to do than indulge in pricy lawsuits against plagiarists and copyright pirates and I would make use of their skills. I fully realize that fan stories are written for fun and out of admiration for a character or the excitement of a dramatic situation. On the other hand, if someone came up and decided to "borrow" your car out of a sense of fun or admiration or excitement you'd probably be more than annoyed at them and call the cops. The same principal applies." See the whole statement at Open Letter to FYI from Author P.N. Elrod.
  • In December 1992, Mercedes Lackey published a long statement in Queen's Own. Queen's Own Newsletter. See I'm about to bring the cold, cruel, mundane world into our fun for a moment. Included is the first release form. Citing advice from her agent, Lackey withdraws support for most fanfiction based on her published works. From a discussion of her "Official Policy thingie": "Sorry to bring the cold, cruel world in here, but let me put it to you this way before any of you decide that I am being unreasonable, paranoid, or a control-freak. Would you walk into my house and take one of my pieces of jewelry? Would you help yourself to my bank account? Would you sit down to dinner with me at my invitation, engage me in pleasant conversation, then as soon as the meal arrived, take my plate away from me? That is precisely what you would be doing by deliberately messing things up for me. STEALING from me, after I have let you into my world. There is no graceful way to put it." [5]
  • In October 1992, Anne McCaffrey McCaffrey's Fanwork Policies addressed fans' "indiscriminate usage of our characters, worlds, and concepts," calling them "ACTIONABLE!"

Some Sample Pages from the "Starstone" Printing

Reactions and Reviews

The brief visit with Aragorn before events returned him to the North Kingdom and a certain hedge along the Great East Road was delightful. He has always been a favorite hero, and one gets hungry to see him again in other adventures or at least encounters.[6]

A MEETING IN THE HYADES was fascinating --especially trying to identify all the elements that later ended up as one or another of the Darkover books...[7]


  1. ^ as per a comment in Darkover Newsletter #3 (January 1977)
  2. ^ This story was A Meeting in the Hyades.
  3. ^ Waters does not mention that the story was first published in 1961, but also twice in 1962, and more importantly, in 1978 in Bradley's own Darkover zine, the first issue of Starstone.
  4. ^ AND in 1978 in Starstone, something Waters glosses over.
  5. ^ I'm about to bring the cold, cruel, mundane world into our fun for a moment
  6. ^ from an LoC in "Starstone" #2
  7. ^ from a LoC in "Starstone" #2