Darkover Newsletter/Issues 01-10

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Issue 1 (March 1976)

front page of issue #1

Friends of Darkover Newsletter 1 was published in March 1976, reprinted in August 1978 and contains 6 pages.

This issue was edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

  • "One dollar will put you on the mailing list of the Friends for six Newsletters."
  • there is a progress report on The Darkover Concordance
  • there are announcements for upcoming books; MZB comments on the covers of some Darkover books, and the progress of her writing
  • Bradley gives some original titles to her books: "The Shattered Chain" is the book that was written and sold under the original title "Free Amazons of Darkover" (Don Wollhiem changed it because he "doesn't like titles of the '___ of the ___ ___ type.'") "Darkover Landfall" was "The Summer of the Ghost Wind," original title for "The Planet Savers" was "Project: Jason."
  • a trivia game "suggested by Tracy Blackstone and Paul Zimmer; questions -- I think -- by Caradoc, David Bradley, Walter Breen, and MZB."
  • Some Tentative Notes on the Structure of the Darkovan Language by Cardoc
  • an ad for some Darkover cookbooks
  • a chronology of the DAW books
In the very first paragraph, MZB asks for someone to take over editing duties as she would rather be writing fiction:
At the moment, what we need most for the Friends of Darkover is for someone to take over publishing this Newsletter. I would (this is Marion Zimmer Bradley writing this) really prefer to spend my time writing new books, but I also love to keep in contact with the people who love Darkover books and like playing games with them. So is there someone out there (preferably in the Bay Area) who would like to take over publishing the Newsletter for a while? We'll try to arrange it so nobody gets stuck with the job for more than a few issues against his/her will. This is been a busy winter for me, which is why this is our first issue since the Western this last summer, 1975. [1]
Bradley talks about one of her books, and of feminism (but interestingly enough, does not mention the book We Who Are About To... by Joanna Russ that was written as a response to Vonda McIntyre and others' comments regarding Bradley's book "Darkover Landfall"):
A WORD ABOUT SHATTERED CHAIN: One of the interesting things about the writing game is waiting to see what editors and reviewers say about one's books. Just this week I saw the cover of THE SHATTERED CHAIN which is featured as April's "Leader" release from DAW. I have no idea what colors are on the cover since the publicity release is written in red and entirely printed in that color. However, I was a little dismayed to discover that the editor's publicity release about The Shattered Chain mentioned only a time "when the Terrans were negotiating for their Spaceport" and did not take advantage of the strong feminist theme of the book. Ever since my novel Darkover Landfall was attacked by Vonda Mclntyre as being "viciously anti-feminist" (I don't think it was, but I don't propose to argue the point in these pages) I have been eager to try my hand at a feminist theme without stooping to write propaganda for either side, and it seems to me that in The Shattered Chain I have done so. I have always felt that there is not only a place, but a need for a strong feminine voice in science fiction, and this Is my first attempt to come seriously to grips with this issue. The story deals with the Free Amazons, who are attempting, by "revolt and renunciation" as one character says, to free themselves from the strongly male-dominated society of Darkover and attempt to win some small bulkhead of independence for women there. I hope members of the friends of Darkover will call this to the attention of local readers and local women's bookstores.' I think woman's science fiction ( as opposed, perhaps, to feminist science fiction, which implies propaganda) is an idea whose time has come. Let's hear what you think.
Bradley talks about awards:
I was thrilled to hear in conversation at the Witchcraft and Sorcery Convention in November that last year's "The Heritage of Hastur" was being talked about for a Hugo; now learn (with considerably less pleasure, for I do not really approve of the Nebula Awards) that it is on the voting list for Best Novel of 1975. (There are only about 25 novels up for the same award, so I think it very unlikely that Heritage will come within screeching distance of a Nebula, and I am not sure I want it to. A good writer writes for the approval of his public, not for that of his fellow writers. But if you think it would be nice to see a Darkover novel given a Hugo, then if you are a member of the MidAmericon Worldcon, you can always vote for it for a Hugo.
Bradley writes about The Darkover Concordance, The Darkover Dilemma: Problems of the Darkover Series, The Gemini Problem: a study in darkover. While MZB is fairly neutral about Sandra Wise's fanwork, she and Breen get grumpy about it in the next issue:
PROGRESS REPORT: The Darkover Concordance, currently being worked on by Walter Breen, Jacqueline Lichtenberg and myself, is nearly completed, with the only bottleneck being that Walter must first find time to type out the cards of his entries...even I, who have been married to him for twlve years, cannot read his handwriting when he is in a hurry. There is some notion now that the Concordance may possibly be published by T-K Graphics; nothing is settled. However, another Darkover fan, Sandra Wise, has written an essay on Darkover (I believe the title is Some Considerations about Darkover [2], but the letter in which she referred to it was written to Walter, and I read it only once) pointing out —I paraphrase —some inconsistencies and problems in the Darkover series, will be published some time soon by T-K Graphics, and will presumably be listed in their next catalogue. They are still handling The Gemini Problem, Walter's first essay on Darkover. Some people have criticized this essay as being too laudatory, but what most readers do not know is that Walter wrote this essay as a Christmas gift for me, after I had complained that I did not know what he really thought about the Darkover novels, and that it was never really intended to be read by anyone except our family and a few friends in the small and intimate Fantasy Amateur Press. This explains the lack of description of the plots and characters which would have made the essay comprehensible to those not entirely familiar with the series.
Regarding some future plans for MZB:
Current plans call for me to travel to Phoenix on March 12-14 for the Leprecon, where I will appear on a panel, and also will read excerpts from THE FORBIDDEN TOWER. March 17 will find me at an autograph party for several science fiction authors in the Bay Area at the Macarthur/Broadway bookshop in Oakland, and April 24th at another at the Recycle Bookshop in San Jose—this latest one partly arranged through the good offices of Darkover Friend Amy Falkowitz. And there will be a Reunion of the Friends of Darkover at MidAmericon, even if I have to hold it in my hotel room. See you there.
There are some things for fans to buy:
Our second publication, the DARKOVER COOK BOOK, will consist of every food mentioned in the first ten Darkover novels, with recipes to match, compiled by Tracy Blackstone, MZB, and others. We are marketing this one together with Marion Bradley's THE WHITE KNIGHT'S COOK BOOK, a collection of recipes guaranteed to be the strangest you have ever seen. They will be a dollar apiece after publication, but before May 1st can be ordered for $1.50 for the two cook books. Send money to the Friends of Darkover, Box 472, Berkeley CA 94701
The official chronology of Darkover books by MZB is listed, along with an explanation:
Elsie Wollheim wrote and told me, some time ago, that people frequently wrote in to the editorial offices of DAW Books to ask of there were other Darkover books, how many there were, and in what order they should be read. When I last spoke to her on the telephone she told me that if this information was made available to her via a list, she could send it out to those who inquired, and not have to forward queries to me for individual answers. As I was compiling such a list, it occurred to me that members of the Friends of Darkover might like to have such a list for ready reference; so I am putting it here. These are the Darkover Novels as of April, 1976, There are two ways to read them. One is the order in which I wrote them, starting with SWORD OF ALDONES, which was written in 1955 and published in 1963; or, if you wish, you can read them in chronological order, beginning with DARKOVER LANDFALL, published in 1972....which is how I will list them.

Issue 2 (August 1976)

front page of issue #2

Friends of Darkover Newsletter 2 was published in August 1976 and contains 10 pages. This issue is edited by Walter Breen.

He says they have had four offers to take over the newsletter, but MZB says in her letter: "The offers we had to take over the Newsletter didn't materialize, for one reason or another, so the local or Thendara Council is still handling these, though we still hope to have someone take-it over full time."

While the newsletter was begun in August, it wasn't sent out until mid-November.

"This is the August, 1976 issue of the Friends of Darkover Newsletter, for the time being still edited and published from the Friends' local Tower at Box 472, Berkeley, California, 94701. This issue is being put together by Walter Breen. As always, one Terran dollar will put you on the mailing list of the Friends for six (6) Newsletters."

  • it contains a Darkover trivia game by Sandra Wise
  • there are seven LoCs by fans
The newsletter was declared a "burden"
TIDINGS FROM THENDARA: We have had, to date, four offers to take over this Newsletter. Final negotiations, however, are still underway, and the next issue will originate with our successor, who has our best wishes; (s)he will also have to put up with the vagaries of the post office and our peripatetic list of subscribers. Thanks to all of you who offered to relieve us of the burden.
MZB and company are hatching plans for the first Darkover fanworks zine, which would end up being Starstone. This comment is from Walter Breen:
APOCRYPHAL STORIES: An annual publication is being prepared, to contain additions to the Darkover mythos by other hands, including (but not limited to) poems, songs, short stories, ballads, and other material filling in gaps, similar to what has been going on for some years now in Star Trek's various parallel universes. We have seen quite a few such items already ranging in merit from hopelessly crude to highly creditablFe. And now a forum exists for these and similar pieces. Submissions to this publication (whose name has not yet been decided on—let us hear your proposals) are welcome at Box 472. It is too soon, as yet, to talk about publication date or cost.
MZB also commented on the planned fanworks zine:
About the annual magazine — I guess it had to happen. People started sending us poetry, outlines for fiction, emd the like. Also, I have written odd bits of background material such as a study of the female reproductive cycle on a planet with four moons, which is hardly suitable for the newsletter. So there will be, sometime next spring, an issue of a Darkover fanzine devoted to fiction, poetry, apocrypha of various sorts, and possibly some material written for publication which was deleted by editorial requirements or my own self-censorship amd second thoughts. For instance, I agreed to give the editors, for the first issue, a description of the Arilinn Tower (Jeff's quarters) which was deleted by the editor from BLOODY SUN, and a description of the battle with the catmen from SPELL SWORD which didn't make it into the final manuscript of SPELL SWORD, for various reasons. There will also be a couple of poems, and possibly the music to various folksongs quoted in the texts. As yet we have no title; Jessica Salmonson suggested in one of her letters that ARILINN would be a good title for such a magazine, but we're open to your ideas. Send anything you want to have considered for publication to Tracy Blackstone, Box 472, Berkeley CA 94701.
MZB and company are grumpy about a fan's zine, one which is critical of Darkover. The fan in question is Sandra Wise, who had been a contributor to this newsletter as the creator of a trivia game, hence MZB's shaming jab in this quote:
BRICKBATS AND SCALLIONS: The essay by Sandra Wise has finally appeared; it's called The Darkover Dilemma: Problems of the Darkover Series and published by T-K Graphics, Inc.. About,the best that can be said for it is that it has fingered a few of the problems (not all, and not even— oddly—the most important ones), largely inconsistencies and a few occasional lapses of memory owing to MZB's not having even thought of the Darkover books originally as a series. However, it must be said at once that many of the questions raised by Ms. Wise are in fact answered within the books, and if she had asked us, we could have furnished the answers, or cited their page numbers. Some of them would make quite passable items for a Darkover Trivia Game, and accordingly we are including these here; answers are overleaf. Those she raises about Cyrillon lean too heavily on Kennard's boyish unsupported guess that he trained banshees. Most others are answered in the Concordance. [3]
Breen and MZB state that The Darkover Concordance is finished (though, in reality, it wouldn't be published for another three years):
NOAH WEBSTER MOVE OVER: As of this writing, the Darkover Concordance is complete in card form but still- must be transcribed to paper, which is simply a big typ ing job. There are over one thousand entries, which will make it a book of respectable size. It will include a number of items not represented fully in the novels as bonuses: the Ballad of Hastur and Cassilda (the complete text), full versions of lyrics with melodic lines of several other ballads alluded to or quoted in the stories, a comprehensive glossary, correction of numerous errors and omissions, detailed studies of matrix science and laran, genealogical tables, an attempt at an approximate chronology, etc.
MZB writes a lengthy letter after returning from Westercon:
This issue should have been out about the time of the last Westercon, at which time I met with a large number of West Coast fans of Darkover. Or at least before the Worldcon in Kansas City, at which time we announced the Friends of Darkover Reunion in advance, and discovered, not the usual thirty or forty faithful, but wall-to-wall people; at least two hundred people came in and out, and if it had not been scheduled so that several vho came in, had to leave midway for the Artists Buffet Luncheon, there would have been more. I was flabbergasted, not to mention being thoroughly flattered.

The main news is that we have decided that with this many Friends of Darkover there should be local chapters. They will be called "Councils" and the name Thendara Council is pre-empted for the local group where I live and meet with local friends now and then. Somebody mentioned to me, in Denver, that he was thinking of forming a Hellers Council. It works like this; if you and a friend or two feel like organizing a local Council, simply write Jacqueline Lichtenberg with your locale, the names of your lodal members; and the name you have chosen for your local Council. Jacqueline will keep track of the Friends in each locality and put them in touch with one another, if desired; and if you have anything to report from your local Councils. I'm told that the publishers will put the names and addresses of local Councils in the Newsletter for others to get in touch.

I was deeply gratified by seeing at the Worldcon two different sets of Free Amazon costumes; one, by Amanda Bankier [4] and Debra Langsam [5], had evidently been done by careful study of our Costume and Clothing leaflet. (This is now out of print.) The other, by Margaret Gemignani, was a beautiful fur-and-leather thing which must have been nearly intolerable in the climate of Kansas City, but would have been perfect for Darkover. There were also a Comyn Lady and a Free Amazon at the MileHighCon in Denver, and since I was judging those, I gave them a "Judges's choice" special mention for "Most authentic costume."
There is a report of Midsummer Festival/the Reunion at Westercon on Sunday, July 4th 1976:
MIDSUMMER FESTIVAL: Or maybe this should be titled 'Gathering of the Clans.' For Friends of Darkover, one of the major events this year was the Reunion, held during the Westercon, at the Hyatt House (formerly the International Hotel), a few blocks from Los Angeles International Airport, on Sunday, July 4, 1976, a day otherwise marked by fireworks and parades for some Terran celebration or other. The Reunion, which began at 2 p.m. , turned up thirty-odd Friends, several in Darkovan costume, which—though a well-appreciated compliment--seemed overwarm for the Terran climate. As it was a Reunion and not a Council meet ing or the like, there was no formal agenda. However, after the greetings and introductions, Walter Breen reported on the progress of the Darkover Concordance (as of then complete through S) after which Tracy Blackstone and MZB reported on the progress of the Darkover Cookbook, which is much nearer to completion; most of the recipes submitted have been tested and transcribed. It is not certain that copies will be available at Midamericon, but at worst they will be mailed out shortly afterwards. All who have ordered copies will receive them; but if you have not yet ordered yours, there is little time left, and the print order will be determined by the number of copies ordered by, at worst, the beginning of September. (The address for orders is, of course. Box 472; $1 for either the White Knight's Cookbook or the Darkover Cookbook, $1.50 for both.) The other big news item reported there is, of course, the annual magazine to contain Darkovan apocryphal stories and poems. After these various reports, Caradoc and others began discussing languages with about the avidity—and the scholarship!— of so many hobbits. The suggestion was made, and approved, that local chapters of the Friends be formed. (If you are interested in this idea, write to Box 472, and we'll see who else is on the roster in your area.) And; as one would expect at a Reunion, on completion of these announcements, the little formality that re mained to the event quickly dissolved into big and little groups of Friends. We all enjoyed it and are already looking forward-- one and all—to the next Reunion, which is scheduled for some as yet unannounced date in Midamericon.
The editor notes that MZB has been to many cons:
HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE: Since the last issue of this Newsletter, MZB has been kept scurrying from hither to yon and back again, mostly appearing at conventions: San Francisco SF Fair, Westercon, Phoenix Star Trek Con, Bay Area SF Seminar (at Books Unlimited Co-Op, Berkeley), and Creature Con (at First Unitarian Church of Berkeley, which is not where you would guess, but in Kensington) in addition to several autographing parties. At all these conventions, where they treated her like visiting royalty, she either made speech es or took part in panels or both. The surprise among these of course was the Star Trek Con, where an astonishingly large number of Trekkers proved to be devout Darkover fans. But the big honor came at Westercon, where MZB was given the famed "Invisible Little Man" award, possibly in consolation for Heritage of Hastur being somehow left off the Hugo ballots despite a large number of nominations known to have been made. For those fans who have never seen an ILM award, it consists of a suitably in scribed pedestal with two footprints impressed into the top; it is never given to anyone who has won a Hugo or Nebula or comparable award. It is a creation of the Elves, Gnomes, and Little Men's Science Fiction, Chowder, and Marching Society, the S.F. Bay Area's oldest surviving fan group.
MZB and company have seen the proofs of the cover of two reissued books ("The Planet Savers" and "Sword of Aldones") and are not pleased:
About the kindest comment that can be piade about the cover of PS is that it looks as though it was originally intended for a "Planet of the Apes" novelization, and that maybe one man's Trailman is another's gorilla, but you can be sure that Jason Allison would never recognize the kind shown here. As for the cover of the new Swords we suppose it is in tended to represent Kathie emerging from the Inner Veil (within the rhu fead at Hali) bearing the Sword of Aldones, but whoever the other two people are, they are neither Comyn nor characters in the story. The man might make a passable Dry Towner, though the woman looks Terran. And if they actually left the rhu fead in those garments, they would freeze to death before reaching Thendara, no matter how fast they rode.
From a fan's letter:
Another point ...(I've)... noticed is the absolute lack of mothers in the lives of Darkovans. I can't recall any Darkovan hero who had a living mother at the time of the story. Certainly Lew Alton didn't, or Danilo or Regis, nor Ellemir and Callista. These people have a father at least, unlike Regis Hastur who has neither. I can only gather that Darkovan life is more hazardous for women than men, and that childbirth is especially hazardous. I'm beginning to see why being a Keeper might not be a totally bad thing.
From a fan's letter:
Keral and David's relationship was nice in strictly human terms, a fine romance. But not touching, not really romantic. A whole chapter of sex. I'm no prude (well, maybe) but I found it disgusting. First because I thought sex with a chieri would be special. It's just sex; some porn authors could take pointers from this chapter. Second, it is Highly Political. The homosexual allegory is too blatant to be allegory, and again reinforces outmoded and basically degrading jungian-freudian nonsense. If Keral acquired female factors for mating purposes, fine — but for emotional purposes? Again you lecture against the emotional fulfillment of man with man, woman with woman. Keral must become a woman, or at least be a docile effeminate man against David's butch role. You value roles too highly; even your Amazon freemates were into roles. I like your fiction best when men and women don't inter-relate...

Issue 3 (January 1977)

front page of issue #3

Friends of Darkover Newsletter 3 was published in January 1977 and contains 8 pages. It was edited by Ted Bryan.

While not physically created by Breen or Bradley, it was anointed: "This issue put out by Theodore Laurens Bryan on Marion Bradley's typewriter."

In the newsletter: "OVERHEARD AT AFTERNOON TEA AT THE THENDARA COUNCIL: "If we call ourselves the Dry Town Council, can we chain up the women?""

There is no Letter from MZB in this issue; Bradley is too busy:
MZB has been working with the White Knight's Cookbook, writing chapters of a "straight" (non Darkovan) fantasy, HOUSE BETWEEN THE WORLDS, and brainstorming an upcoming Darkover novel about the Ages of Chaos, STORM QUEEN OF THE HELLERS. Which is why no letter from her in this issue.

There are eight LoCs.

There is more about the planned zine series that became Starstone:
The first issue of the Darkover magazine, whatever we decide to call it, will contain the unpublished (well, almost: 68—70 copies to FAPA about 1961 or 62) short story A MEETING IN THE HYADES, and a selection of materials excised before finishing SPELL SWORD and BLOODY SUN. (Not including others' submissions.)
The newsletter address has changed:
We are eternally grateful to Tracy Blackstone of the Blackstone Literary Agency for "allowing us to use her address -- Post Office Box 472 -- for the first few Darkover Newsletters, but the volume of Darkover mail has been crowding Tracy and her clients right out of her legitimate business. [6] So, as soon as you receive this newsletter, please do NOT send anything further to Box 472. We are most grateful to the Berkeley Postmaster who assigned us our new box of 72, making it possible to extend the life of our old return-dress stamp with a little razor-blade surgery; we are likewise grateful to Walter Breen for his deft fingers [7]and picky Virgo skill for the aforesaid surgery, our own fingers being to twitch for such fine operations!
The dratted Postal Service raises its rates again, making this newsletter more expensive; the good news is they will be more timely:
SORRY ABOUT THAT: The price of offset printing, and postage, has been going up relentlessly; and copies must be sent first class mail, or we might as well heave them into the Pacific Ocean and be done with it. Which means we can no longer send out six Newsletters for a dollar. We will try to honor all subscriptions at the old rate --if you paid a dollar for Newsletters before January 1, 1977, you will get the first six Newsletters -- but from now on it's going to be only 4 for a dollar and we'll have to keen them under eight pages to make it humanly possible to break anything like even on that. That's the bad news. The good news is that we're going to break our respective necks to get out a Newsletter at least every other month this year, so that the letters in each issue will bear some relationship to what you read in the last issue and you can, hopefully, remember what we are all talking about. We'll TRY to make it every six weeks, but we're only human. (What do you MEAN, tentacles?)
The cookbooks hit another snag, but at least there was cake:
Yes, despite rumors to the contrary, there IS still a production problem on the cookbooks. Two things kept them from being mailed by Christmas; first, we hesitated to trust them to the Christmas Rush, and second, Diana Paxson, who is doing the graphics, found herself too enmeshed in other projects to complete them. But the camera-ready copy IS being completed, and it's possible that some of you may even receive your cookbooks in the same mail as this newsletter. Or, at least, the White Knight's Cookbook. To whet your appetite -- at a recent get-together of the Thendara Council attended by MZB, Jon de Cles, Walter Breen, Diana Paxson and Tracy Blackstone, MZB brought a Winter Festival Cake prepared by an old Amazon Guild-House recipe, and the unanimous verdict was that it was delicious. This recipe will be in the Darkover Cookbook —but if you still have a Darkovan recipe on your mind, there might still be time to get that one in before the final copy is made up. (Copy is closed on the White Knight's Cookbook.)
A Darkover gathering is planned, but you have to call MZB or Breen on the phone for an invite -- and don't stay too late or a Berserker will be turned loose on you:
REUNION IN THENDARA: The THENDARA COUNCIL of the Friends of Darkover will host a Local Reunion of the Friends on FEBRUARY 13, 1977. Hostesses will be Tracy Blackstone and Diana Paxson. Guest of honor will be JACQUELINE LICHTENBERG, author of HOUSE OF ZEOR and one of the first Friends of Darkover. The reunion will be held at "Greyhaven", and is INVITATION ONLY. We would like to see all of you —but short of hiring a hall, way to make this open house, especially as there is a "Star Trek" convention in town that weekend [8]. It was at first planned for "Greenwalls," (home of Marion Z. Bradley) but "Greyhaven" is bigger and will hold more guests. So if you want to come, you MUST call MZB at (415) 848-8505 BEFORE Feb. 10 1977, and tell Marion or Walter that you will be coming, and if you are bringing a guest. This will allow us to serve (Darkovan) refreshments to all comers. At that time we will give you the Greyhaven address and directions about how to get there. (If you know where Greyhaven is, you come but please call and tell us how many people will be in your group and if you are bringing more than one extra person it would be thoughtful to bring along some extra refreshments on a potluck basis. Since this is on a Sunday night (and we are sorry about that, but it was the only way we could have both Marion and Jacqueline with us) and the next day is a work day for everybody at Greyhaven, we MUST enforce closing hours relentlessly. So the party will begin at 7:30 and start to wind down at quarter of eleven, when Marion Z. Bradley will read aloud from an unpublished Darkover novel (we don't know yet which one) assisted, if her throat gives out, by others. At 11:30 we will conclude the festivities and say goodnight, and at midnight we will turn loose the Berserker to ravage the remaining guests. (Or turn you all into pumpkins and corner the pie market.)
Lichtenberg reports on the first four councils: Thendara Council (MZB's Bay Area), Keeper's Tower (Lichenberg's New York City area), Valeron Council (Lynne Holdom, New Jersey area), Armida Council (Judy Kopman, also New York City area):
As of December 26, 1976, we have four local Councils on record, and two individuals who would like to contact local Darkover fans. I will list the membership in each Council, giving the organizer's address only. If you want your address published in future Newsletters, please write to me saying so. (NOTE: A slight change of policy has come about regarding membership in a Council. Valeron Council is scattered about the country connected only by the matrix screen known as the Post Office. If anyone else would like to join a correspondence circle, let me know and I'll put another one together.) Considering that the last of the newsletters announcing the Councils (with my address buried where only the diligent could find it) was mailed only last week, I believe the response has been very gratifying.

[snipped]

Valeron, Armida and Keeper's Tower intend to hold joint meetings when the opportunity arises, and I hope other groups will be able to do the same. There is a group of Free Amazons rumored to be forming in the wilds of Brooklyn; I am holding the name Hellers Council open for a Denver-based Council about which somebody spoke to MZB at the Worldcon or MileHighCon, but which hasn't formed yet I don't see any reason why a person can't hold memberships in two or three groups which exist in his area of interest.
A fan writes about feminism and Darkover:
I didn't think that DARKOVER LANDFALL was anti-feminist. Although I find it difficult to imagine any other time than my own, and although the treatment of the women in the novel made me uncomfortable and would be extremely distasteful to me, I appreciate that the women came out of a different environment from me. I know better than to expect the present conditions to endure forever. Novels in which a spaceship lands and Gloria Steinem gets out are short-sighted. I dearly hope that by the time Terran spaceships rediscover Darkover we will have found other ways of relating to one another. I don't like the idea of women's science fiction. I am a woman, yes, and enjoy sharing that part of my being with others. But I am also left-handed, Christian, Catholic, educated in liberal arts, city-dweller, expatriate California, a librarian whose off-duty passion is ancient Egypt. I look for my reading to speak to all parts of me (not necessarily at once).
Another fan writes about feminism and Darkover:
I bought THE SHATTERED CHAIN because it was a Darkover novel; finding that it had a feminist theme was a pleasant surprise. That the publishers had failed to indicate the theme on the cover suggests that publishers are still not convinced that feminists read SF. I don't know what it will take to convince them; it may be a lost battle. However, I thought you might like to know that it is not THE SHATTERED CHAIN or any of the more explicitly feminist SF that has been published in the last few years, but THE WORLD WRECKERS that I believe to be the most liberated and liberating SF novel I know. I have turned several ardent feminists into SF readers with that book. The future of feminist SF, seems to me, lies in exploring the broader issues of humanity, sexuality and personal commitment which are treated with great sensitivity in WW and approached in other MZB works including the recent non-Darkover books. Has anyone begun work on a Xeno-ethnology essay on sex, love and marriage on Darkover? If not, I'd like to try one. I'm a sociologist by training and will probably slant it toward my own discipline. I have some thoughts if someone is already working on this subject.
Jacqueline Lichtenberg suggests Starstone as the name for the proposed fiction zine:
I think STARSTONE would be a good title for the Fictionzine, as it would give otherwise hidden glimpses of Darkovan life/times/history/politics/future etc— things you'd otherwise have to consult a Keeper to find out. KEEPER"S TOWER would also be a good title....
Lichtenberg does some relentless cross-marketing:
I have introduced dozens of STAR TREK-only fans to sf via Darkover and had only two failures...! was a Darkovan long before ST came along and I like ST because it's so Darkovan, not vice versa. The overlapping elements are focused basically on the Spock/Vulcan axis of STAR TREK and when I started my own Star Trek stories for fanzines (the Kraith series) I used aired-STAR TREK plus Darkover and came up with a thing which many thought was original. I've been telling MZB for years that the Darkover readership is potentially even larger than the ST readership, and I still believe that.
Lichtenberg addresses another fan about writing, and about her desire to see certain kinds of Darkover stories:
I don't think the four items you name as possible Darkover stories are "themes" as you call them. They are story locuses, but somehow at this point I don't think that writing them would carry the series forward one whit. To make them work as stories you need something more than just the locus. I suspect you have something in mind—some flavor, feeling, some imagines character, or point to make, that gives you a feeling for stories in this locale. Since there are basically three kinds of sf, "What if...", "If only..." and "If this goes on...." and since, as Ted Sturgeon likes to say, the best SF uses all three of these at once, why not try to give us these three axes for each of your four story locuses. I too want desperately to see a story set during the heyday of the starstone technology, I want to see Keral's child involved with Lew Alton's little girl Marja, I want to see Darkovan stories set in the Terran Empire, I want to see Kennard during his years on Earth. So I can understand how you feel. But, as a writer with a series with fans also, who like Darkover fans want to see certain stories, I know how dismayed MZB can feel when presented with a list such as yours. Look at the dedication to FORBIDDEN TOWER, and the comment that sparked that book, then construct an equally challenging comment, and you may get your book one of these decades... [9]
A fan addresses a fan's letter in the previous issue -- the subject sex, Jung, Freud, more:
I'd like to answer Jessica Salmonson if I may... THE WORLD WRECKERS gave me several jolts too. I hated to see the chieri de-mystified and humanized and villainized, too. I had thought they were nice, considerate, thoughtful, generous — and then that bitch of a Missy was a chieri, and that horrible world-poisoner —. Animus-emima isn't Jungian-Freudien, it's Jungian, and I didn't see any of it in the book but a word or two. I've studied the completed works of Jung for years, tho not recently. The sex chapter, though — porn? It sounded to me like an old-fashioned marriage manual from my early youth telling a bridegroom how to approach a virgin bride! What MZB meant, we'll probably never know.
It sounds as though Elisabeth Waters was quite the daredevil:
...WOULD YOU BELIEVE I actually have a matrix? Really it's a blue crystal pendant, which I've had so long I don't remember how I got it. I was wearing it one night when I was having dinner with some friends, and one of them said it looked like a starstone. I said something like "Well, let's see if I can break that glass..." and all of them instantly said "Don't try itl" It seems that while they aren't sure I can do it, they don't want to take the chance.
Walter Breen comments:
Positiveness and strength are seen by sexist Darkovan males as masculine virtues, timidity etc. as feminine qualities. Darkover is not a Utopia but a world with positive and negative qualities, and the machismo doubtless reflects, as on Terra, periods of struggle against a hostile environment by a hunting culture. As for Keral's becoming a female, the plain truth as I read it is that the chieri entered female phase because (s)he wanted to bear a child—a biological situation, not a political one.

Issue 4 (April 1977)

front page of issue #4, a hand with six fingers touches a child's foot with six toes, illo by Walter Breen, which, at the time as well as in hindsight, is creepy

Darkover Newsletter was published in April 1977 and contains 8 pages.

There are about twelve LoCs, including two long ones by Devra Langsam, Jacqueline Lichtenberg.

It was edited by Ted Bryan, who wrote: "one reason this newsletter is late that MZB has kept this typer so busy there was never a free evening for me to come over to type up the camera-ready copy!—TB"

Ted also wrote:
Issue #4 of DARKOVER NEWSLETTER, April 1977, edited by Ted Bryan for the THENDARA COUNCIL of the FRIENDS OF DARKOVER, Box 72, Berkeley, CA 94701. Free to contributors; others may have four issues for one Terran dollar, unless the postal rates go up. Our sinoerest thanks to those generous people who have been tossing extra money into the kitty; they know this is a nonprofit operation. With this issue our new policy will be found decorating various pages; your submissions are welcome, but it will help if in future they are in BLACK ink on WHITE paper to offset properly. And while I'm at it, TYPED letters are much, much, MUCH easier to read s transcribe; if I can't read your handwriting, don't weep over the relays about how your deathless prose was misquoted. If you can't get access to a typewriter, at least PLEASE make your name and address as legible as possible, even if this means printing them in block capitals.
Info on a book cover:
HERITAGE will be reissued next June with a new cover by George Barr, redrawn from the original painting titled "The Form of Fire" (Marjorie in Sharra), which was on exhibit at the 1976 Westercon.
There is a report of the February 13 Reunion at Greyhaven, hostesses Diana Paxson, Tracy Blackstone, in honor of Jacqueline Lichtenberg:
FROM THENDARA: The big event of the Council this last winter was the February 13 Reunion, at Greyhaven (hostesses Diana Paxson, Tracy Blackstone) in honor of Jacqueline Lichtenberg, who was in town for a Star Trek convention. The good news was that we had two guests of honor, for Wilmar Shiras (author of In Hiding, one of the best-known science-fiction novelets of the forties) turned up, and MZB and Jacqueline both spent time at her feet, since it turns out both had been strongly influenced by her. We ran into unexpected problems getting started, as that night they were showing 2001: A Space Odyssey on TV, and other residents of Greyhaven had invited other guests to watch it on their large screen, crowding the Darkover party into kitchen, library and dining room, preventing one or two guests from starting an anticipated folksinging session... and inducing some Darkover fans to spend time at the screen, instead of with the party. Toward the end of the evening MZB read aloud from the "Timesearch" section of the unpublished FORBIDDEN TOWER, and then held a question-and-answer period, touching off a long and searching discussion of the Comyn Gifts. The bad news was that the party broke up early, then in the wee small hours, after MZB and Walter had taken Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Anne Golar to spend the night at the Breen home, it had a sinister aftermath. At 2 AM a burglar forced open the window in the game room and carried off the Breens' color TV in full view of their terrified son. The police arrived at 2:30, and nobody got any more sleep that night; MZB and Jacqueline sat up talking till it was time to take Jacqueline to the airport for a dawn flight.
A fan writes:
In the language of computers, the world is an analog of your innermost soul. In the language of literary analysis, the events of one's world symbolize one's psychological problems. In the language of psychology, you are your own best friend or worst enemy, the choice is up to you. Or in the language of esoteric studies, "As above, so below..." Which is the only language in which everything in MZB's books falls into a sensible pattern.
Devra Langsam writes in a letter that she wants to start a council:
Suggestions for names would be welcome...since Thendara is on the West Coast this can't be Thendara Guild House, obviously. I hope we are planning a get together at Worldcon in Miami—I am sorry to be missing the reading of the new book, she said, gnashing her teeth in envy. I publish a mostly STAR TREK fanzine, MASIFORM D, which occasionally includes other material. In fact, in #2, I printed MZB's GLOSSARY OF DARKOVAN TERMS. (This issue is OUT OF PRINT! GONE!) If people have any articles or stories they'd like to submit, I'd love to read them. Wombat, DEVRA LANGSAM
A fan wants to know when the Darkover zine (which ended up being Starstone) was going to be published:
When is the Darkover magazine going to be published? I am dying to get it; it sounds great. (ED: As soon as the people around here have time and energy enough to read through the file of stuff— we have room for plenty more contributions— type it, illustrate it, and send it to the printers.)
A fan says they were happy to meet MZB at LepreCon and asks about getting permission for an APA -- MZB apparently misunderstands the question, thinking they were asking her to be a tribber:
I'd like to know if you would approve of a new APA to be devoted to your works, mostly DARKOVER. Main thing I will need is publicity in the newsletter. I'm thinking of something along the lines of FAPA...quarterly, lots of members, low minac. Interested? (ED: A very flattering idea. We asked MZB and her reaction was "if this apa were to center around all kinds of series SF, Dragonriders, Amber, Tolkien, Melnibone, Earthsea, etc., not merely Darkover, then I'd be interested in taking part." It's up to you.")
A fan, a sociologist, remarks about an article she'd proposed in an earlier issue of the newsletter -- from the wording of her letter, it appears that MZB may have asked her to pause the project:
I will be happy to wait with my proposed Darkover sex/love/marriage monograph until FORBIDDEN TOWER is out because it deals with these themes—and because I have too much real academic work underway at the moment to devote much time to fictionalized scholarship.
Walter Breen writes:
Dear People. A few bits on the Jan. 1977 DNL, this time mostly for Wilmar Shiras. It seems logical that any sapient species should have as great a variance as homo sap (or Stapledon's transhominids for that matter, or the Eldar, or the Valar); some heroes, some villains, some wise, some less so, etc.; otherwise any such species becomes awfully monochromatic, even predictable, like so many hamsters. Shocking, maybe, but at least convincing, more so than Sturgeon's Ledom. ] The most Jungian features in Darkovan culture are the archetypes; I dealt with some of those in Gemini Problem. But any great fiction will evoke these -- they're what make ordinary people into heroes and villains a bit larger than life.

Issue 5 (June 1977)

from Darkover Newsletter #5, Diana Paxson, art from an invitation sent out inviting various local fans/writers etc to celebrate Marion's Silver Jubilee as writer.
front page of issue #5

Darkover Newsletter 5 was published in June 1977 and contains 16 pages. It was edited by Ted Bryan.

The editorial comments are by Ted Bryan, Walter Breen, and Marion Zimmer Bradley.

  • there is an announcement about the apazine The Old Phoenix Inn, see that page
  • there is a long bit about Jacqueline Lichtenberg: "a longtime Friend of Darkover and frequent contributor to our Newsletter, writes to say that since many Friends of Darkover have been writing to ask if she is that Jacqueline Lichtenberg, we ought to include the following information." This is followed a lengthy blurb/ad about how to buy more of her, and Jean Lorrah's, works
  • a fan writes a letter questioning continuity and Walter Breen responds that the discrepancies are due to a character's damaged memory and to Bradley's "having written SA long before anyone thought of a series."
  • there are nine LoCs, two are a long, long letter about Dyan Ardais by Christopher Gilson about Darkovan language and linguistics which the editors choose to print as an article, and a long, long response to this letter by MZB
DARKOVER NEWSLETTER 5 (June 1977) is published by Ted Bryan for the THENDARA COUNCIL of the FRIENDS OF DARKOVER, Box 72, Berkeley, CA 94701. Entire contents of this issue copyright 1977, with individual contributors retaining exclusive rights to their own letters. Letters sent to us subject to print unless you say otherwise. All opinions expressed in this Newsletter [are] those of the individuals who wrote them and not of Marion Zimmer Bradley unless she's being directly quoted; nor are they the Friends' official policy. Thanks to you generous souls who sent extra cash for our operations: we love you.
The editor writes that the newsletter is now officially entwined with a for-profit pro book via DAW Books, gives mixed messages about sending cash in the mail, would prefer a check made out for $1, and disses quarters stuck to paper:
Thanks to then notice about Friends of Darkover printed in the back of the new reprint of HERITAGE OF HASTUR, by courtesy of the First Friend of Darkover, DONALD A. WOLLHEIM, we are receiving so many subscriptions that we may be able, in an issue or so, to enlarge the Newsletter somewhat — offset printing gets cheaper as the press run goes up, so that our major cost will be postage. Just now, if we go over ten pages, our mailing cost will, be 26¢ a copy, and at our present rates we can't manage that, but we can send it 3rd class at 2oz. for 14¢ ++ We are also receiving many new subscriptions which say "Enclosed find $1," and one or two of them had no dollar in them. We are giving you the benefit of the doubt for one issue (if there was no cash in your sub, you'll find a little X in "this space / /), but in future please remember that sending cash in the nail is risky, and it has to be YOUR risk, not ours. And please make those cheques payable to FRIENDS OF DARKOVER., not Ted Bryan or Thendara Council; our rubberstamp says FRIENDS OF DARKOVER. Money orders are OK, but sticky quarters are an abomination.
There is a short description of Bradley's Silver Jubilee gathering, along with a copy of the invitation, including a portrait of Bradley, that had been sent to select fans, see image.
TWENTY FIVE YEARS AGO this June, MARION ZIMMER BRADLEY sold her first story. Since then, she has become famous for her science fiction, Gothic, and mainstream stories and novels, particularly the Darkover series, and her critical writing about science fiction and fantasy. It was also Marion's birthday, and the above invitation [see image] was sent out inviting various local fans/writers etc to celebrate Marion's silver Jubilee as a writer. (The picture, a montage of Marion's fiction, was drawn by Diana Paxson.) We thought we'd like to share it with you. MZB read aloud her short story DAY OF THE BUTTERFLIES, but Darkover fans were disappointed because she did not read from the Darkover novel in progress. However, we did see a collection of Darkover cover art dating from 1964, when the first Ed Emsh cover, for SWORD OF ALDONES, was drawn, including a cover proof of the new HERITAGE OF HASTUR and the George Barr original THE FORM OF FIRE from which it was (loosely) drawn. MZB was heard to say during the evening that now she was going to try for fifty — if a party like this celebrated 25 years, what could we do after fifty years, at her Golden Jubilee? (She will at that time be 72 years old.) [10]
Bradley gives some fans a sneak peak:
While we were making up this issue, MZB showed us of the new reprints of WD and WW which had just arrived at her PO Box. WINDS was originally half of an Ace Double, but it has been reset from its previous 139 pages to 185 larger type, no change in word count. In both the new volumes her name is on the cover in larger type than the titles, which sounds as though the people in charge at Ace are finally recognizing that her name sells books, and about time, too. [much snipped about covers and word count]
There is a letter from MZB says she will not attend the Florida World Science Fiction Convention, that as:
much I would like to visit Disneyland... as much as I desire the tax write-off of convention expenses for a professional doing business, I must regretfully state that my principles will not allow me to spend a single tourist dollar... in a state which has chosen to vote in support of Anita Bryant's anti-feminist, anti-ERA, anti-gay-rights movement.
There is a pointed letter of complaint by a science fiction bookstore owner who asks why its so difficult to order enough Darkover books by DAW Books to keep in stock (some titles are only available for him to order for three months); it is followed by a reprint of a letter by Don Wollheim (complete with letterhead). Wollheim's letter is not very sympathetic and shaming, and makes Bradley look a bit like passive-agressive tattletale:
Dear Marion: Thanks for the Baird Searles feedback. Yes, we have heard bitching of this sort before. It's a problem, but we do print very close to our advance orders and the result is that very often books go out of print a month or two after publication. This is actually good business for us, even if it does drive some specialist shops crazy and makes reprint problems for us. But better that than 10,000 books piled up in the warehouse getting dusty. Books must be pushed by salesmen, they cannot just be reissued — this is a hideously competitive business. Searles and his supplier (Dick Witter) should leam to order greater quantities of our titles to offset the burnout from selling out.
Regarding the Darkover Concordance:
We asked WB about the Concordance; he says it is complete in card form, letters T-Z requiring transcription to pages, to be followed by the Ballad of Hastur and Cassilda and a few other short supplementary items. It will run to nearly 400 typed pages.
Walter Breen responds to a letter by Wilmar Shiras about many things, including the the disappointment there were bad chieiri, as well as the theft of the television at Greyhaven:
If you'd been in the living room at Greyhaven and seen that TV set, which is somewhat bigger than a food freezer, you might have wished a different fate for it. One of the reasons the Greyhaven people got a set that size was precisely that it could not be carried off by a junkie in search of a fix [a reference to the set stolen during a Darkover get-together, described in the previous issue]. We are seriously considering getting one big enough that it will take at least seven junkies working together to make the attempt.

Issue 6 (August 1977)

front page of issue #6
inside front cover of issue #6, reprinted letter regarding the Darkover Concordance

Darkover Newsletter 6 was published in August 1977 and contains 14 pages. It was edited and published by Ted Bryan.

  • there is an detailed announcement of the Gregg Press hardcover reprints of "Heritage of Hastur" and "Sword of Aldones" plus MUCH detail about acid-free paper, page counts, reprints, Bradley's "rejoicing over her first hardcover books ever in the English language," and a hint to fans: "The next step should be next Christmas—the long-hoped-for boxed sets; but it may take quite a few hundred reader letters to Ace to induce them to make these up."
  • there is a reprint of a letter from the publisher of The Darkover Concordance, see image
  • there are nine LoCs
  • in a perhaps a somewhat questionable move regarding royalties and her own publisher, Bradley says she will sell copies of her book to fans, "donated copies" she gets at cost, mailed out at list price and twenty-five cents postage

There is a lengthy essay called "Critique: Symposium on the Free Amazons" by Judy Kopman and Nina Boal. In it, they make three complaints about the Free Amazons, all having to to do with duties as women, the morality of leaving children to be raised by men who do not want them, the availability of birth control, the lack of power, and the lack of different social classes among the Free Amazons. The editor, Bryon, says he is leaving these questions "to the Friends," but does have short explanation beginning with: "... it appears that some of [your questions] are based on analogy between women's consciousness, in 1970's USA and its counterpart in Darkover, which is perhaps not a safe basis for argument," and ends with "In an agricultural society such as Darkover, kids are helping hands, useful and worth well the cost of their food and garments, quite unlike 1970's USA where kids are a server financial burden."

In Letter from MZB, MZB gives some information on Darkover names, mentions some cons she is going to go to, and lists the order of her books, saying: "I personally feel that they should probably be read in the order in which I wrote them, so that the reader can follow my thought processes, and the evolution of my concept of Darkover."

The editor, Bryan, writes that the entire Thendara Council are big Star Wars fans, and suggests that George Lucas "lifted" the name "Alderaan" from Darkover:
The entire Thendara Council are STAR WARS fans; some of us have seen it up to 7 times. Paul Zimmer, who should know, calls it "the only really authentic swordplay ever filmed." There was a Thendara Council/SCA STAR WARS theatre party for which Diana Paxson waited for the tickets for two hours, after which MZB, Paul, Tracy Blackstone, Don Studebaker, Randall Garrett, Vicki Heydron, David Greene and assorted children of all the foregoing joined her in line. We were there too, and so were some other local fans whose names we forget. After all, "Alderaan" is a name lifted from Darkover, accidentally or otherwise, the rebel base was on the Red Moon, Tatooine resembles the Drylands almost as much as it does Arrakis, the Force is not very far removed from certain manifestations of laran, and a local Council member who calls himself "Chang," our martial-arts expert, is a Mark Hamill look-alike. And we are nearly as eager to see the SILMARILLION as the new copies of FORBIDDEN TOWER, which should be out about the same time, even as we are sure Chris Gilson is, to judge by his writings about both the Elvish and the Darkovan tongues.
Jacqueline Lichtenberg begins with a disingenuous statement, moves on to some housekeeping and ends with the threat of Star Trek flyers [11]:
Now that DAW has blown our cover and made us virtually a public organization, it will soon be necessary to weed out of the Keeper's Tower reports all inactive or deactivated matrixes which do not answer their monitoring signals. THIS TIME ONLY, I'm going to list all the Councils I've heard of. Gradually, however, I will start listing only active Councils—people I do hear from once in awhile. If you are NOT listed in any report and wish to be reinstated, all you have to do is send me a postcard saying so. If you send me a long SASE, I'll return it to you stuffed with STAR TREK flyers and info.
Now that the newsletter has been advertised at the back of at least three DAW Books, demand for this newsletter has jumped. The editor addresses the problems with this popularity in terms of cost to Bradley and Breen, sidestepping the good news that more interest in the Darkover books means more money in Bradley and Breen's pocket. The editor's comments also highlight the tricky and thin lines that exist in fandom regarding fandom and profit and fandom as a gift culture, as per this editor's fan volunteer's comment: " I (Ted) am donating my evenings tor typing copy, making corrections, makeup, layout, and a variety of clerical tasks. These include posting subscriptions, addressing mailing labels, and editing letters for publication—and sometimes collation.":
AGONIZING REAPPRAISALS: On your mailing label this time you will find a little symbol indicating the status of your subscription. It is likely to be either a 6 or 7 or an X, and any of the three will require some kind of action. A 6 means you are most likely one of the people who gave MZB a dollar at some convention or other for the first six Newsletters. All these early subscriptions have now been honored, and it is time to start thinking about funding. The purpose,size, and value of this Newsletter have enlarged con siderably (look at your first few issues and compare them with the last two if you doubt us); unfortunately, so has the cost of production and mailing.

[snipped]

Up until now, MZB and Walter Breen have been picking up the tab for all extra costs (with a little help from the Friends, several of whom have contributed funds or time), and -- so far as we know -- not even taking it off their taxes. Obviously, this can't go on. The 35 cents per copy for #5 did not even cover such things as Selectric ribbons, liquid paper for our typographical errors, staples, mailing labels, or gasoline for carrying the enormous bundle of printed pages back from Postal Instant Press...

Now we are not in this to make money. I (Ted) am donating my evenings tor typing copy, making corrections, makeup, layout, and a variety of clerical tasks. These include posting subscriptions, addressing mailing labels, and editing letters for publication—and sometimes collation. Even, writing off all this as a labor of love, there is the Cold Equations factor: it is not possible to make money charging 25¢ per copy for something that costs 35¢ per copy. MZB once told me, in dismay with overtones of horror, about a young Star Trek fan who intends to take a year off from work and support herself by reissuing the first four issues of her long out-of-print and now rare Trekzine. That is very different from what we have been attempting. At the outset, the Newsletter was a little hobby-magazine issued by MZB for three or four dozen of her personal friends; but today, especially since those notices in the backs of the DAW books, it is emphatically Something Else, growing too big for her to support out of grocery money. When printing can run to above $80 and postage to nearly half that, we are no longer talking about chicken feed. Therefore, EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, the cost of this Newsletter is 50¢ per issue, which should cover the next postal rate raise (sometime in 1978).

[snipped]

If there is an "X" after your name, you are getting this Newsletter because MZB says so; either you are a personal friend or you are one of a tiny group of hard-core Darkover fans participating in local activities. What you will have to do is stay on good terms with her; we have nothing to do with it. Our advertising and mailing system is berng revamped to cover the new policies and price changes. We are sorry we can't continue on the old basis, but these days who can ignore rising costs while having to pay then?
The popularity of the newsletter and announcements about it in for-profit DAW Books means demand is up for other things as well:
Back in June 1975, before there was a regular Newsletter, before the Friends had their own PO Box, MZB and Diana Paxson published the first leaflet for the then small group, COSTUME AND CLOTHING AS A CULTURAL INDEX ON DARKOVER. Only about 100 were printed, and the booklet went out of print many months ago, though we still continue to get requests for copies. That booklet marked the first publication of THENDARA HOUSE, an emphatically nonprofit hobby press run by MZB and Walter Breen, with a little help from the Friends, though it did not bear the colophon.

Our first formal publication is the DARKOVER COOKBOOK. All pre-publication orders have already been mailed out, such orders being honored at whatever you paid forth including a couple of early orders at 50¢. If you have not received this COOKBOOK by the time you are reading this Newsletter, write us immediately and MZB will check her records and send you one if you are entitled to it. If you did NOT order and pay for the COOKBOOK in advance of publication, copies are available at $1.50 post paid. (If you want it autographed, you must ask; If you don't ask, your copy will be mailed without autograph.)

Our second publication (the camera-ready copy is now at the printer) is the greatly expanded revised edition of COSTUME AND CLOTHING AS A CULTURAL INDEX ON DARKOVER; wnich could have been subtitled, EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT DARKOVAN COSTUMES BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK. The text has been almost doubled in length, and there are many additional illustrations by Diana Paxson. This one, also, is available at $1.50 per copy.

Any profits on these publications, after costs of printing are met, are being donated to help cover costs of further publications of this kind.
And with visibility comes more opportunities for sales:
We have, at present, four more projects in mind. 1) The DARKOVAN LANGUAGE REVIEW. Christopher Gilson, our resident Linguist, sent us an extensive article on the languages of Darkover, which—MZB said— "actually told me some things I didn't know," and many of you who missed the Number One issue of this Newsletter have been asking for a reprint of Caradoc's SOME TENTATIVE NOTES ON THE STRUCTURE OF DARKOVAN LANGUAGE, the REVIEW will include both; we intend to publish it some time in winter 1977/8.

2) A DARKOVER COLORING BOOK. We have seen some early drawings for this— a dozen or so plates of black-and-white illustrations which you could color as you pleased and have your own Darkovan art collection. (Is there anyone else out there who would like to contribute to this one? If so, let us know and we'll arrange it.)

3) For those of you (and we understand there are many) who also appreciate the STAR TREK universe, there is a lengthy essay by Walter Breen, entitled SPOCK: THE ARCHETYPE THAT REFUSED TO DIE. This was completed months ago but not in camera-ready form.

4) The first issue of STARSTONE, the Darkover magazine, is now being put together. It contains poetry, fiction—including an original short story by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, and an unpublished work by MZB. There is a possible article by Marci Segal on sex and marriage on Darkover, and perhaps the long-promised scientific analysis of matrix mechanics by Randall Garrett. And—get this—a translation of the chapters from PLANET SAVERS which appeared ONLY in the German version of that novel!

At present the WHITE KNIGHT'S COOKBOOK is being indefinitely postponed; but everyone who ordered a copy will get a free STARSTONE #1 instead, or (if they prefer) their money back. At present we are accepting money only for the DARKOVER COOKBOOK and the revised COSTUME AND CLOTHING ON DARKOVER—at $1.50 each. Cheques should be made payable to FRIENDS OF DARKOVER.
The editor explains the origins of Society for Creative Anachronism:
Diana Paxson (author of our own Costume & Clothing leaflet) produced the very first SCA Tournament in May 1966, and it was MZB herself and Walter Breen who thought this was a good idea and kept it alive for a second tournament, even giving it the name SCA. They also founded its East Kingdom, which was either the first or second auxiliary kingdom. Adrienne of Toledo once said at a public party that both SCA and Darkover were attempts to rewrite the history of the Middle Ages, not as they were, but as they should have been. I don't know if MZB completely accepts that statement or not, but she certainly quotes it a lot. And as far as we can tell, Darkover fandom seems to consist of 1/4 SCA people, 1/4 STAR TREK fans, and the other half miscellaneous. (MZB, on reading this over my shoulder, has just suggested coldly that "instead of 'miscellaneous' we should have said 'hardcore lovers of speculative fiction. '" If she doesn't go away we'll make her answer her own letters. TB)
Bradley interjects, sticking up for Star Trek fans (at least, the "right" kinds), her former 13-year old self, and invokes a sort of geek hierarchy:
//Ingratitude, thy name is fandom. So that's what I get for letting [Bryan] read advance copies of STORMQOEEN, and unfinished manuscripts? If he's going to quote me, he; can do it accurately. Dick Lupoff in the introduction to the Gregg Press edition of THE SWORD OF ALDONES quotes some fortunately anonymous critic as saying that the typical Darkover fan is a "fat 13 year old wearing a cape." That's okay with me—I was a skinny 13 year old once, and I would have worn a cape if I could have found one somewhere. Somebody else I will not name because she says she doesn't like to argue says that if I want anyone to take me seriously I ought to downplay the Star Trek fans in the Newsletter. Personally, the Star Trek fans I know — (and I admit I mean the ones who write fiction and publish magazines, not the teen-age groupie kids who line up three hours to get a fifth or sixth autograph of Leonard Nimoy —) are charming and intelligent people and I am delighted to claim them as my fans too. But tell me, you fans out there, how DO you classify yourselves? MZB.//
Ruth Berman writes a letter commenting on the scarcity of historical female authors using male pseudonyms. Bradley (who had used male pseudonyms herself in the past, though she does not reveal this here) replies:
Well, there are certainly ambiguous names in science fidtion, before the 50s, at least; C.L.Moore, Leigh Brackett, Wilmar Shiras—all of which names could be unisex —and more recently D.C. Fontana. None of these women ever made any secret of their female identity, but all agree that none of them ever found any discrimination based on their sex; so I am inclined to think that "James Tiptree" was unduly over conscientious; I thought perhaps she had hoped to make it on her own, without the special treatment now accorded women writers in these days when magazines are just looking, in these days of women's liberation, for brand new women to exploit. And when Ursula LeGuin sold a story to PLAYBOY recently, she says she was asked to sign it as U.K.LeGuin so that their nervous, insecure male readership (let's face it, men who buy PLAYBOY must be awfully insecure about their own masculinity, if they need painted airbrushed women who can't cut them down) wouldn't be frightened at the notion of a woman intelligent enough to write.

Issue 7 (September 1977)

front page of issue #7

Darkover Newsletter 7 was published in September 1977 and contains 16 pages. It was edited by Ted Bryan.

  • there were 600 issues of this month's newsletter printed
The Letter from MZB this issue addresses the then-recent critic's assertion that only "fan 13-year olds in capes" were Darkover fans. The letter includes nine letters by fans that state that they personally don't fit the stereotype of fans. Bradley also adds some commentary regarding a recent reporter's comment that the only women who go to cons are overweight, unattractive, and only go to such gatherings to meet men:
I can't imagine where that reporter's head is at — or does he or she think that the fat, unattractive female fans could not attract anyone but the supposed "creeps" who read that Crazy Buck Rogers Stuff? One of the reasons I always liked fandom is that men in fandom never related to me as a sex object or judged me by my cleavage but always treated me as one of the boys. I can count on my fingers the numbers of uninvited passes I've had thrown at me in fandom, whereas in other societies, I long since lost count and had to develop a hard keep-away stare to ward them off. Fans in general relate to me as an intelligent human being without regard to sex or gender. (Not to mention that in fandom I have met virtually the only intelligent women I have ever met anywhere —women outside fandom can't see over the top of the kitchen sink, and even in the feminist movement, they seem too busy discussing politics to get much fun out of life. If I wrong any particular feminists I'm sorry — I'm not anti-feminist, just terribly sensitive on the subject, and tired of being trashed because I am insufficiently anti-masculist for some groups or because I (1) live with a man and have no current intention of leaving, or because I (2) let Jaelle fall in love with a mere male in SHATTERED CHAIN. By the way, talking about UNINVITED passes up there— a woman who wants them can get all the male attention she wants in fandom, and she can do it without having to compromise her conscience and try to look like That Cosmopolitan Girl. That's probably what your reporter was talking about—the idea that men in fandom actually value women by some other standards than her approximation to something they saw in PLAYBOY. That seems a scary idea to some people—that some women could be secure enough of their own value and attractiveness that they can be overweight, if there's no medical reason they shouldn't, or not bother getting their hair done or their noses fixed. To people brought upon the notion that a woman's Got To Be Beautiful Or Else, that seems an awfully scary idea!

Issue 8 (November 1977)

front page of issue #8

Darkover Newsletter 8 was published in November 1977 and 16 pages. It was edited by Ted Bryan.

  • there is an announcement that "Stormqueen" will be published by DAW, along with MUCH detailed info on how to get bookstores to order and stock this book, as well as other Bradley books, and DAW Books; the directions to fans are a sort of fan campaign
  • there are seven LoCs, most addressed at the end by Ted Bryan and Bradley. Some of these letters are excerpted below.
  • Still rankling over a critic's description of Darkover fans as "fat 13-year olds in capes," the editors have done a little detective work and had determined some things about the newsletter's subscribers; WHO ARE WE?, or, NOT A CAPE IN A CARLOAD, is the result, an essay including many statistics about Darkover fans.
The next issue of the newsletter will be Free Amazon issue edited by MZB. Ted Bryan wrote that letters will have to be "in good taste"".:
We've received so many unsolicited letters and articles on the one subiect, the next issue will be devoted to the special theme of the FREE AMAZONS. Anyone who would like to express him/herself on the subject is welcome, with no limitations except those imnosed by good taste—and postal regulations about obscenity or libel. (I never thought I would have to specify anything of the kind in this magazine. Since I began editing it, I have received only one communication which was unprintable for either of those reasons—but that was quite enough; MZB says she never had one. Maybe we've just led sheltered lives or something.) We can't promise to run every letter or article sent if only because of overlap and repetition; but we will try to represent every salient idea.
The editor of this newsletter writes a long essay about hanging out with the Thendara Council, described as wholesome fun (well, except for those "special brownies, perhaps) full of games and in-jokes; it also discusses the "Publisher's Weekly" review of "Forbidden Tower" which coined the word psychogynecology to cover the science pertaining to the basic plot problem of that story. ("Psychogynecology" was the study of the interelationship between the psychic faculties and the female reproductive system.):
Quite a lot of readers this time (too many to print all your names) asked some version of "I'd have liked to be a fly on the wall at Thendara Council when you were all cracking jokes about psychogynecology. Can't you share some of them with us?" Well, I was there, and I'll try. Of course, jokes made up on the spur of the moment over many cups of tea and some of the luscious baked goodies provided by Council members (Linda Von Braskat's banana bread? Tracy Blackstone's sinfully rich lemon bars? Dorothy Breen's special brownies? MZB's whole wheat bread?) may not sound so funny in cold print as they did in the mirth of the moment. The main joke, of course, was the word psychogynecology itself, with its elegant medical-journal precision and stuffiness.

[much snipped]

We also discussed (both facetiously and seriously, the word "psychogynecology" making serious discussions sound funny) this new science as it would apply to the problems of the Farris women in Jacqueline's Sime/Gen series, and suggested that AMBROV ZEOR might also incorporate a "Department of Studies in Psychogynecology." [12]There was also the question of sending some of this stuff to the reviewer in Publisher's Weekly who had started it all by coining the name. Anyhow, they all sounded funny to us, while we were all drinking tea and eating cookies on that Sunday afternoon. I was there, and Diana Paxson, and Tracy Blackstone, Randall Garrett and Vicki Heydron, Sandy Morris, Paul Zimmer's friend Sherry, and a few others. I don't recall if Walter Breen was there. And though MZB's son Patrick was there, I don't think he joined in any of the fun, many of the jokes going somewhat past him; in fact, I think he and some other kids at Greyhaven (where we were meeting) were playing "The Minister's Cat" in the big living room. Surely you know the game: in order, each player comes out with the alphabetically appropriate adjective—"The Minister's Cat is an AMIABLE cat," "The Minister's Cat is a BARBAROUS cat," "The Minister's Cat is a CANTANKEROUS cat," and so on. At one point someone said "The Minister's Cat is a PSYCHOGYNECO-LOGICAL cat," and of course we all collapsed again. And that's how Thendara Council spends Sunday afternoons.
Sticky quarters, stapled bills, broken fingernails, "ungodly" thieves, and pistachio ice cream cones:

... two banes of a newsletter editor's existence are (1) sticky quarters, which were a bad fannish joke back in 1960--taped with masking tape to hunks of cardboard, usually costing a fingernail or two to open; and (2) dollar bills or cheques either stapled or scotch-taoed to letters. (And if a staple remains in a cheque by the time it gets to the bank's computer, the machine screams and spits them back!) And so, good people, you could make our life a LOT easier if you would: 1. AVOID SENDING CASH, if possible. We've been awfully lucky--lots of $1 bills, a few $5s and even a $10 made it safely, and we've had fewer than a half dozen "Enclosed is $1" letters which did not actually contain any cash. Checks are really a lot safer--especially after the ungodly learn that Box 72 often con tains cash-impregnated letters.

[snipped]

Finally, a cautionary tale. Once there was a little NL subscriber who was careless. He put a $1 bill in his envelope, scrawled his name on the outside of the envelope, and mailed it off. Opening the envelope, a careless editor tore through the return address. Inside was nothing. No card. No letter,... Just a lonesome $1 bill. Nobody could read the return address once we'd found the other piece of the envelope. After wasting half an hour trying, we rubbed our aching eyes, got mad, said "To Zandru's deepest hell with this character," out the dollar bill in our pocket and went out and bought an ice cream cone for me [Ted Bryan] and one for MZB. Somewhere out there is a puzzled young fan wondering why in the dickens he never got his Newsletter. I sure do like pistachio ice cream!
The newsletter has received four submissions for Starstone that have become separated from their envelopes and it is unclear who the authors are. The editor lists the pieces by title and description:
Two are poems, written on the same typer and evidently by the same individual, called THE SEARCH FOR YESTERDAY and SONG OF THE SHARRA REBELLION. A third is a handwritten poem called THE BALLAD OF CLEIHDORI AILLARD. The last is a piece of prose entitled THE FIRES OF SHARRA, purporting to tell why the Aldarans were exiled from the Comyn; we are not even sure this was intended for STARSTONE. [13], but the Professional magazines always say "We assume no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts." We are beqinning to understand why, though we hate to do this to you; we hate to think you'd never hear what became of your story or poem.
This issue contains contents on the first issue of Jumeaux:
We have also just received from MZB's hands a copy of a Darkover fanzine—or at least this issue qualifies as such! It's JUMEAUX, published by Lynne Holdom, Box 5, Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442. Aside from a review of STAR WARS and a comical STAR WARS Quiz, there are four Darkover items: Andrew Sigel's DARKOVAN CHRONOLOGY, John Robinson's ON THE FREE AMAZON'S OATH, Judy Kopman's DARKOVER: A CRITICAL REVIEW (mostly demanding more consistency among the books—this writer has appeared in the NEWSLETTER), and an article by Marci Segal, comparing MZB's WORLD WRECKERS with Ursula LeGuin's LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS, a comparison often made verbally or by letter but so far as we know never before in print. It's called COLD WORLDS—WARM PEOPLE, but we can't help wondering why she didn't call it THE LEFT HAND OF DARKOVER? It's a good fanzine; brief reviews can't do it justice. Lynne probably wouldn't want to be swamped by orders, so we're trying to negotiate to reprint the Darkover items in STARSTONE.
This issue has a letter from a male fan who was offended when he saw a romance novel by Bradley at the supermarket and scolds her (and Andre Norton) for wasting her time on trash, and his time by using her time and energies on things that weren't science fiction. Bradley replied:
Well, that letter sets a kind of record for what one of our associates here calls "the long range conclusion jump." Just to set the record straight, Dan, I write romantic novels (which are usually not boy-meets-girl slush but super natural horror packaged as "Gothics" to meet the exigencies of the market) because. A), I like writing them, and, B), because it's about my only chance to get weird or horror fiction into print without resorting to the pages of fanzines which pay nothing at all. I cannot speak for Andre Norton, but I assume that since, like me, she could sell all the s-f she wanted to write, that she too writes Gothic novels for the very simple reason that she likes writing them! Now, I'm not defending what I write. It doesn't need it. If anyone doesn't want to read any of my Gothics — some of which are, as I say, a way to publish supernatural horror fiction, and others straight suspense or mystery fiction with female protagonists — he or she may go and spend the money on some other book, a banana split or a beer, and I'll even say "Bottoms upl" I'm not apologizing for writing Gothics. I like writing them, and I like reading them, too. And while, early in my career, I wrote quite a number of books of which I am not particularly proud, because I needed the money, you will never find them on a newsstand in Chicago, or anywhere else, because I didn't put my name on them. Anything with my name on, I am quite proud to have written. What troubles me is the arrogant assumption that I am wasting my tame and my talents "writing trash." By what right to you judge a book you haven't read, and assume it is trash? By what right do you presume to judge the reading preferences of others? When I was a kid, I lived through a period of time when science fiction was considered trash. When I read the works of Edmond Hamilton, Robert Heinlein, Leigh Brackett and company, I was admonished by concerned schoolteachers that I should stop reading that "unscientific trash" and apply my good brain to something with substance. Having outlived that period, I resolved to live and let live, read and let read, and I suggest that we all try to show tolerance for the reading and other preferences of others.
A fan, who is not a fan of Joanna Russ' novel (We Who Are About To...)-- written in response to Bradley's book "Darkover Landfall") writes a letter to Bradley and addresses feminism, survival, boredom, that fact that most women "sooner or later" fall in love with a man :

I think I remember that Joanna Russ story when it was serialized in AMAZING [14] and throwing the last installment across the room. I don't like stories where every one is dead at the end. It depresses me if I have cared for any of the people at all, and I get enough depression listening to the 6PM news. Survival may not be all-important but nothing, NOTHING will be important if there are no survivors. I too wonder exactly just how much women who talk against survival have ever had to fight for anything really basic like food. I'm trying to write about a semi-medieval after-the-Bomb society (about 1200 years after) and you can bet the people are survivor types. (All those who thought like Joanna Russ died out.) I also happen to like men and live with one and see no reason to apologize for it. A lot of feminists drive me up the wall for this very reason. I also couldn't agree with you more about fannish women. Most I have met are very intelligent and make no apologies for it. They are mostly people I enjoy talking to which is more than I can say for the neighbours. (I've remarked elsewhere that the chief topic of conversation around here is how to toilet-train your kid.) I've come to the conclusion that most people simply don't like using their minds and resent those who do. Those who do are usually so glad to meet someone similar that they don't care about the gender of the other person. Practically all fans seem to have felt isolated before fandom. Isolated in a world where football, sports cars and sex seem to be the chief topics of conversation. Well, on second thought add TV and singing stars. Most of this bores me very quickly.

Let me make myself clear. I do not want to see a novel dealing with the Darkovan Woody Allen. (As a sketch in a zine though...) All I ask is that someone not be best in everything. Couldn't there be a third best swordfighter or some such? I did like the fact that Damon was nearsighted though. I think that's fandom's chief ailment.

I wasn't that upset that Jaelle fell in love with a man. Most women do sooner or later. She only then really KNEW what her Oath meant. Good heavens—any relationship involving two people involves compromise and readjustment. Why shouldn't it for Jaelle? It's only then that she discovered what was really important to her.

Issue 9/10 (January 1978)

front page of issue #9/10

Darkover Newsletter 9/10 was published in January 1978 and contains 42 pages. This issue was edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

art from issue #9/10, Diana Paxson for "Amazon Fragment"

This issue focused on the "Free Amazons."

It is one of the few issues with a "cover," and it is by Terry Windling. The interior art is by Rita Freidin, Diana Paxson and Susan Fisher: "MANY THANKS to these, and OUR APOLOGIES to the other artists whose contributions didn't eurrive in time, or were crowded out of the layout; these will be held for STARSTONE and later issues."

  • This issue was collated at the same time as Starstone #1 at a Work Party Midwinter Reunion held for the Thendara Council and local Friends
  • This one was more expensive than others: "Subscriptions to DARKOVER NEWSLETTER may be had for 50¢ an issue, except this one. This issue only, though coming as a part of regular subscriptions, is a DOUBLE ISSUE, ##9 AND 10; extra copies are $2. (This counts as two issues in your subscription.)"
  • It included is text of "The Oath of the Comhi-Letzii or "Order of the Reunciates", Commonly Called "The Free Amazons," With Explanatory Commentary," see images below
  • There are twelve letters from fans that comment on the article by Judy Kopman and Nina Boal in the last issue; most comments address women's rights, children, sex, and gender relations. Bradley comments on all of these letters, one being: "Women in feminism still have these agonizing and unfair choices to make, not only because of the society of men they leave but because of pressure within the 'women's movement itself." To one letter, Bradley responds: "You'd better [turn your idea] into a story for Starstone #2. If you don't, it's a cinch somebody will. Or maybe I will." Bradley says this in response to another letter: " I Wish I knew. You tell me and we'll both know. Seriously, some day I suppose I will write that novel too...but not this year or next. Meanwhile, your guess is just as good as mine."
  • This issue contains: "four (FOUR!) uncensored opinions on Joanna Russ's book proffered by the readers after last issue." Bradley wrote: "... it is obviously in contrary motion to 'Darkover Landfall'" and "invited anyone interested to review [it]... Well, never let it said that Friends of Darkover are afraid of controversial. We have received, to date no less than four sharply contrasting reviews, which speak for themselves without any need of apology or editorial content." See We Who Are About To... for these letters.
Bradley emphasizes the amateur status of her newsletter endeavor:
Thendara House Publishers, likewise, consists of a spare desk in an office crowded with other necessary activities, (Our total "office furniture" consists of a box of file cards, a drawerful of marking pens, notepaper and paper clips, two rubber stamps, some stick-on return-address labels, and the use of my "Selectric" typewriter. Plus a small cashbox in which we keep checks till they go to the bank.) Thendara House and the Newsletter are run out-of-pocket, and your subscription money covers only printing and postage, not rent, office supplies, or the TIME we spend on it. This is not a pfofessional operation but a fan project done for the fun of it by volunteers.
A fan makes an observation regarding Bradley and feminism:
I have a feeling that MZB's personal philosophy in the area of women's rights and sexual attitudes has undergone a change in the past 15 years. The attitudes and concepts towards and about women in SS and SA are quite a bit different than those expressed in FT and SC. I sense a conflict in MZB on this subject. I think she believes there must be a change in some of the customs and standards that in the past have related to women. I think also she feels there is no need to "throw the baby out with the bath water," as so many are advocating today. I am confused, as I think many other women are today, as to what constitutes baby and what constitutes bath water. I would be interested to hear her speak to this subject, that is, women's rights and the future of women. [Bradley adds: No thanks. I'm in enough trouble already. M.B.]
Bradley sticks up for men, and for patience, tolerance, and non-censorship:

AND ONE LAST THING; this is a Free Amazon issue, and while we are a non-sexist publication with a liberated outlook, we are NOT a separatist organization and we have allowed several men to have their say.

Anyone who cannot listen with patience and kindliness to the opposite gender is invited courteously to skip the page on which your brothers voice their opinions, or even to go elsewhere. There is no room on Darkover for the closed mind, and while we will cheerfully print any opinion which comes within hollering distance of what Ted Bryan calls "the rules of civilized debate" (Walter reminded me that he picked the phrase up from Mary Renault, who probably got it from Aristotle or somebody else like that) we are not a forum for polemics or political rhetoric.
Bradley does not stick up for at least one fan, and gets very prim and disingenuous regarding off-color jokes:

With great regret, we had to reject a solicited article on the FREE AMAZONS (and it was a good article, too, although highly critical of the Amazon lifestyle, a lifestyle which no one is more conscious than I, has its enormous flaws) because the writer saw fit to preface her remarks with a page of libellous and obscene commentary on the Thendara Council personally. It seems that the lady had misunderstood my flippant retailing of the review in Publisher's Weekly, and our hilarity about the absurd word "Psychogyne-cology" to mean that we spent that day cracking each other up with --I paraphrase; the lady's remarks were unprintable — vulgar jokes about the female reproductive organs. We requested the lady to delete those remarks, on the grounds that they were obscene, untrue, unsuitable for a family maaazine and would give grave offense to many readers; her response was an unprintable tirade of abuse to the effect that she would not submit to censorship (she even wondered if my loyal editor was a relative of Ms. Bryant —he isn't) and that we could neither edit, delete, nor even censor with asterisks the vulgar and offensive remarks in question; therefore we were, with great regret, forced to refuse the article.

When we received this accusation we read it to a few members of the Thendara Council, to a chorus of "What?" (Usually a blurted "Wha-at?" and a totally blank stare) and "Is she out of her MIND?" After which we asked one another, blankly, if any of us even KNEW any **** jokes. (X-rated.) After racking our brains, one of us recalled a vulgar old tale incorporated into Rabelais GARGANTUA AND PANTAGRUEL, which a couple of us remembered then having read in college. (I won't retell it here. If you have dirty minds, go look it up in Rabelais. It is highly unedifying.) Another contributed a memory of a vulgar and unfunny alteration to a penny-piece, which my twelve-year-old dauahter regarded as mildly amusing but "Gross!" So perhaps the accusation was true; once she put it into our heads, the Thendara Council did spend one unedifying session trying to remember if we knew any such jokes. But we sure as heck were not laughing at them — retching, maybe.

And now let's find some more pleasant things to talk about. Any way you slice it, dirty jokes aren't funny —not to anybody, and certainly not to most women, or to any halfway enlightened men. And all the men who write to, and participate in the Friends of Darkover—certainly all those in the Thendara Council, which is about 80% women -- are at least halfway enlightened, and we haven't lost hope yet! (Need I say I am being facetious?)

Hoping you are all the same, Marion Zimmer Bradley
Bradley sticks up for T-K Graphics as she has been hearing that the outfit is too slow in filling orders, addresses rumors of death and deception, scolds fans for relaying their experiences, threatens fans who dare complain, and generally tells people to behave and not ask questions regarding what they pay for. Bradley also blurs the line between a truly amateur fan endeavor and a for-profit, legal business, as she utilizes the "rules" of both... and does a bit of self-projecting. Bradley adds a jab of her own at T-K Graphics in the last sentence. (Ironically, eight months later, Bradley reports that T-K Graphics had "bitten off more than he could chew," was in financial ruin, and had returned the manuscript to Walter Breen. )[15]:

THE DARKOVER CONCORDANCE, a reference, 400 pages long, containing everything you ever wanted to know about Darkover and didn't know who to ask (and frankly, friends, it contains a lot of things I didn't know MYSELF about Darkover, and I wrote the books!) is being published by T-K Graphics, in Baltimore. After we announced this, we got a number of probably well-meant comments, rumors and complaints, accusing Ted, among other things, of being intolerably slow in filling orders...even to the point where people have asked us if T-K is a ripoff operation. Well, now I am going to stake my reputation on a flat statement --and this is Marion Zimmer Bradley talking, don't blame anyone else:

I HAVE KNOWN TED PAULS OF T-K FOR ALMOST TWENTY YEARS. HE IS NOT A RIPOFF ARTIST. HE IS A GOOD, WELL-INTENTIONED PERSON.

He is also intelligent, sensitive, overworked, constantly broke, doing a shoestring business on very small capital for the sheer love of it, and probably taking on a hell of a lot more than he can chew. He needs help and support, not character assassination. He fills orders slowly, and does it, as far as I know, with his own one pair of hands and those of his partner, Karen (I think she may also be married to him, but in any case she is his equal partner) [16] and if we at the small business of the Friends of Darkover sometimes get mixed up, botch orders, send the wrong book or misfile somebody's card or check, even with Walter, a fussy exact Virgo type, to help us, I can imagine the troubles Ted has.

So if you have a complaint about Ted, write him and ask him to straighten it out, don't bitch behind his back and tell people how unreliable he is. In the current state of the business, small publishers are the only hope of noncommercial fantasy. If you love fantasy, support people like Ted, and Bill Crawford, and Mirage, and Ken Kreuger, or watch it go down the drain in favor of the umpteenth Tolkien Calendar, Star Wars Toy, or other media mass-sales stuff! I can say CATEGORICALLY that the rumor circulated by two people who wrote me, saying that "T-K Graphics is out of Business," or "T-K Graphics has been enjoined by the Post Office from doing business" are NOT TRUE. I do not say the people who passed on these rumors were lying; I do say they were most grievously misinformed. Ted was alive at the World Fantasy Con—I talked to him — and his business intact and solvent; and Walter telephoned him in Baltimore in December and he had heard nothing from the P.O. about any complaints. If you have problems with T-K, be patient; given time, he will straighten them out. Maybe he will even make enough money to hire some help and send orders a little more quickly than you could get them from Tibet by yak-back.
The newsletter's opening editorial addressed swearing, censorship, mission, and inclusion:
FRIENDS OF DARKOVER is a nonprofit, nonreligious, non-sexist and nonaggres-sive organization whose sole purpose is to explore the fantasy-world of Darkover, and similar/overlapping/other fantasy-worlds written about by Marion Zimmer Bradley in the DARKOVER novels, and other writers of fantasy series novels. We have no dues, no formal rules, and no taboos except those of civilized debate and the limits of good taste. (We are a family magazine. Our youngest reader—known to us, that is—is fourteen.) All letters sent to us are subject to printing unless you specifically ask us not to. All expressions of opinion in letters are those of the individual writers; all expressions ditto in editorial matter are those of the individual editor, who is more likely than not to be Ted Bryan, but this time happens to be MZB. Letters printed may be edited for length. (And we warn you now that four-letter words will be deleted — we don't use them ourselves, we dislike them in polite surroundings, unless used very explicitly for their exact meaning —when used for mere abuse their, use denotes a lack of imagination and becomes mere vulgar repetition; also they give grave offense to many readers.) However, any letter which we print will preserve your meaning...we do not censor opinions, even the most unconplimentary ones.
Bradley has an announcement:
And that reminds me; elsewhere in this issue you will find —no; I'd better tell you NOW, because Walter (my husband) David (who collates the Newsletter more often than not) and Ted (who usually edits this thing) are always telling me I am an inveterate procrastinator; STARSTONE # 1 IS READY FOR THE PRINTER AND WILL BE READY FOR MAILING BY THE TIME YOU GET THIS! STARSTONE is a fine big magazine of 60 pages or more, containing a full-length novelette, DARKOVER SUMMER SNOW, by Eileen Ledbetter; some short stories; illustrations; poems; an article entitled AGING ON DARKOVER, by F.L. Wilkinson; and various other items of interest to Darkover fans, and lovers of fantasy worlds. The price is $2.50--$3.50 if you want your copy mailed first class. Checks payable to FRIENDS OF DARKOVER please.
Bradley writes of her and Walter's involvement with SCA:
Lots of people have written in asking about the SOCIETY FOR CREATIVE ANACHRONISM (otherwise the SCA) which is the Medievalist society for sword- play fans and costume lovers. Walter and I were instrumental, as Lord Walter the Astrologer, and Lady Elfrida of Greenwalls, in forming the Society, and later the East Kingdom; but we're not active any more (no time, too much politicking in the Kingdoms —we hate politics) and the only contact we now have with the SCA is to attend an occasional Bardic Revel and to receive the magazine TOURNAMENTS ILLUMINATED.
Bradley makes sure she follows Ted Bryan's directions, and can't help but add a jab at the end of her thank-you:
Before he left, Ted put a stack of notes on my desk, things I must be SURE to say in the editorial for this issue. So here we go. FIRST, "Be sure and say thank you to everybody for the beautiful Christmas and Holiday cards which so many of the Friends sent to us." THANK YOU. Some of them are still pinned up over the desk here. They certainly brightened the daily task of siitting.envelopes and hoping everybody printed their zip code so that we could read the numbers.
Included in the newsletter is "Amazon Fragment," a 10-page excerpt from from "an unfinished novelette on the subject of the Free Amazons, has the tentative, working title of 'Freemates.'" This is later printed in the pro book "Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover" (1993). MZB writes:
Normally, I am paranoid about showing anything from an unfinished work except to the few people I allow to read and criticize my manuscripts, and anyone breaking this confidence goes on my blacklist from that time forth. I have been persuaded to break my normal rule in this respect for one or two reasons; first, FREEMATES, dealing as it does with human relationships with very little of the fantasy element of the Darkover society, is not, probably, ever going to be publishable in a science fiction context. Second, the episode as it stands is completed. and probably will not be rewritten for the final version of the story; and, third, because it is relatively self-contained, and does not demand a great deal of knowledge of the rest of the book to understand or appreciate. ++ The subject matter of FREEMATES deals with the change and growth of a young woman, Rafaella, kinswoman to Kindra n'ha Mhari, who enters the Guild-Rouse in Thendara for love of Kindra, following Rafaella from the day she is fifteen and appears on the steps of the Amazon House, until her late forties. The episode following occurs approximately, a year after Rafaella's entrance; rebelling against Kindra's refusal to undertake a permanent commitment to her as Freemate, Rafaella has undertaken an affair with a man, and has become pregnant, after which she has broken off with him and is living in the Guild-House. Her pregnancy is not yet known to Kindra but is known to the young women, her contemporaries. ++ The other character referred to in this excerpt, Camilla, is an emmasca, a neutered woman who is also oath-daughter to Kindra, and whose history is known to none of the women in the Guild-House except, perhaps to Kindra; it is not known to the readers of the story at this point.
Jacqueline Lichtenberg has a long essay on fandom, and at one point, writes about flyers:
These information flyers you get for various fanzines. The cost of making them up is seldom covered by subscriptions to the zine. They are an out-of-pocket expense for the publisher. Don't throw them away. Pass them along in letters to others who might be interested, or take them to a local convention and put them on the freebie table. What is no value to you may be the find of a lifetime to someone else -- maybe someone has been reading s-f for a life time and has somehow never run across fandom.
There is an essay by Pat Gribben called "Jaelle in Love"; the opening paragraph:
Jaelle n'ha Melora, Free Amazon, has fallen in love. This fact has generated much controversy among Darkover fans, some of whom feel that the Free Amazon life-style precludes love, and that SHATTERED CHAIN would have been a much better book had Jaelle not fallen in love with Peter Haldane. In my opinion this is nonsense; Jaelle in love is what SHATTERED CHAIN is all about. Nowhere do the Free Amazons deny their womanhood, except for a very few emmascas. Part of being a woman or a man — the human condition— is experiencing the emotion and passion of love and accepting love for the enriching experience it is. The Free Amazons deny the enslaving aspect of the Darkovan man-woman relationship— that a woman married to or living with a man is his pro perty, as she was the property of her father before marriage, with no rights or privileges, subject to the wishes and whims of her husband.
A male fan is worried about there being too much sex in Bradley's books:
"A word of concern- In SHATTERED CHAIN and FORBIDDEN TOWER, one of the main themes has to do with sex in some way. Now don't get me wrong, these novels are great, but another writer whose writings I was following went too far and became obsessed with sex and his work suffered greatly: Norman's "Gor" novels. My concern is that the Darkover novels don't follow the same down hill path." [MZB replies]: WELL, STORMQUEEN has a lot of discussion of sex, usually about marriages and the need for an heir; but like the begats in the Bibley it's all offstage and never gets inside the bedroom door.
There is a long, long list of Councils; Jacqueline Lichtenberg complains about how expensive it is to administer them and remarks:

We had about 4 councils operating. Now we have 45.... Now those of you who heard of this newsletter through DAW books are probably visualizing a slick commercial operation with three or four full time stunning blonde secretaries and a budget to go with it. Well, my office is a 7 X 10 foot porch, converted, passable only by skinny people because of the

shelves and desks. Keeper's Tower has nine members, but I do all the work myself -- when we meet, we want to talk.' And I carry all the expense.

Jacquline Lichtenberg advises fans on how to get organized and how to be good, active fans. At several points, Bradley chimes in: {{Quotation|[Lichtenberg]: Here's a third piece of advice. The best way to pick a fan job is to find out what you are already doing that you enjoy doing and can't seem to 
stop doing, and call that your job. [Bradley]: (Look at me. This is MZB again. I should be writing books, not playing around publishing fanzines. I started doing it when I was thirteen years old, and —Avarra be merciful. — 34 years later I am still doing it, spending my valuable time, energy and money on it. I've quit fighting. Cest mon metier.)

References

  1. This request was ignored eleven years later, when a fan (another experienced zine editor) asked if she could help; the editor turned her down. The fan asked: "If I can be of any service to the production of the Newsletter or other projects, please let me know." The editor told her: "Every now and then we get a generous letter like yours. With regret, we can only say that the DNL is issued by the joint efforts of a small staff living within five blocks of each other in Berkeley. The postal permit is limited to the Berkeley Post Office. Obviously, it's only practical for us to do typing, layout, duplication, and mailing here. Since you live in Michigan, we can only thank you for your offer." -- issue #33
  2. Perhaps an original title? This publication is actually The Darkover Dilemma: Problems of the Darkover Series.
  3. Suggesting that Wise had used The Darkover Concordance is disingenuous; while Breen and MZB declare the Concordance "finished," it wasn't published for another three years.
  4. Amanda Bankier was editor of the seminal zine The Witch and the Chameleon. This zine had run a review, and subsequent series of controversial letters by Joanna Russ and Bradley regarding "Darkover Landfall." See We Who Are About To....
  5. MZB may have been referring to Devra Langsam, cousin to Debra; many fans mixed the two up.
  6. by default, then, was this newsletter not "legitimate."?
  7. Fans today, and probably some then, don't want to read about Breen's "deft fingers"...
  8. This is a reference to Equicon, though that year's con ended up being canceled.
  9. MZB inserts the comment: "The dedication to FORBIDDEN TOWER has been altered since Jacqueline saw it. The original dedication read as follows: and this is the "challenging comment" she meant. "In the course of writing the Darkover Novels, I have sometimes used as a plot device the marriage of a Terran and a Darkovan; the marriage of two aliens is a familiar gambit in science fiction and a writer may be forgiven for taking it for granted. After reading the manuscript of SPELL SWORD, my sister-in-law and friend, Diana Paxson, read of the forthcoming marriage of Andrew Carr, Terran, and the young Keeper, Callista, and made the comment "There's a marriage with two strikes against it before it starts!" Thus required to think beyond the conventional "happy ending", I began to think more deeply of all the serious implications of marriage between Terran and Darkovan, Keeper and off-worlder; as every writer who regards her work as science fiction and not as fantasy ultimately must do. So this is for DIANA PAXSON STUDEBAKER, with love and gratitude; because in a way the ability to ask the right questions is just as important as the attempt to give answers." Also, Jessica Salmonson, in reviewing SPELL SWORD for THE ALIEN CRITIC, comnented that the marriage between Callista and Andrew was analogous to "the marriage of a German Catholic nun and a Jewish sailor." About which MZB said "That's not the analogy I would have chosen, but I guess it's accurate enough."
  10. Bradley died in 1999, three years before this imagined "Golden Jubilee." Ironically, it was a similar birthday essay with preceded the public allegations of Bradley's sexual and physical abuse of children. See Allegations: MZB Sexually and Physically Abused Her Children, specifically On This Day: Marion Zimmer Bradley Gave Us New Perspectives.
  11. She herself says: "(That's a threat or a promise, depending on your point of view.)" in the next issue of the newsletter.
  12. See Ambrov Zeor #6 for more on this topic.
  13. The first two poems were by Sharrie n'ha Verana/Sherry Kramer and ended up in Starstone #3, but the last two fanworks were never published, at least with those titles; in fact, the mention of them in this newsletter would be as close they got to "publication" in a Darkover zine.
  14. This fan gets the title of the magazine wrong: it was "Galaxy Science Fiction."
  15. from Darkover Newsletter #13/14
  16. Karen was Ted's sister.