Darkover Newsletter/Issues 21-30

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Issue 21 (1980, probably March)

front page of issue #21
flyer printed in issue #21

Darkover Newsletter 21 was published in in 1980, probably March, but it could have been as late as June as per a comment about some fans not receiving the issue in time to learn about Bradley's June workshop.

This issue contains 28 pages. The editor/s are not specified, but it was published and copyrighted by Friends of Darkover. The letters ("Relays") "this time were typed by Joyce Fickies and Lisa Waters, and pasted up by MZB, Cindy McQuillin, and Jo and Phil Wayne of the new Household locally. Harper Hall. (MZB is learning to play the harp.)"

  • Bradley has been ill, and she includes a short explanation, see below.
  • There is a description of "Midsummer Festival," a gathering planned at the edge of the desert overlooking the Columbia River in South-Central Washington State where there was a full-scale reproduction of Stonehenge. Accommodations were suggested at a hotel in Biggs, Oregon that included queen size beds, phone, color TV, air conditioning, and a heated swimming pool.
  • There is a con report for the Fantasy Worlds Festival held in Berkeley in February, see that page.
  • There is a mention of the work in progress, "Mistress of Magic" (working title for Mists of Avalon): "At present MZB Is working frantically on MISTRESS OF MAGIC, a novel about the women of Malory— especially Morgan le Fay and the Lady of the Lake, those mysterious figures whom the male-oriented and Christian Thomas Malory tried to keep in the very background of his story."
  • "Thendara Council has swollen its ranks" as two other fan writers: Lisa Waters and Cynthia McQuillin, have moved to the Bay Area.
  • There is a lot about upcoming publications of both Bradley, and many of Bradley's proteges.
  • "Keeper's Tower" by Jacqueline Lichtenberg has some updates. She writes that as of February 1980 there are 98 registered Councils, 75 of which are Chartered ("The difference between Registered and being Chartered is simply that Chartered Councils send me a list of names and addresses of their members, and keep me informed of additions and corrections to the list. For this level of activity, they get a lovely frameable Charter for the organizer of the Council, and blue membership cards for each member.") She also includes some updates of Council activities, many of which discuss "inventing family histories, crests, colors, and a council banner," have parties, and other activities.
  • Lichtenberg says the most asked question is "What is your Darkoven name?" She says she has taken one as such, but MZB calls her "Jaelle" (MZB adds a note that "Actually, what I call her is 'Shaya' which is the diminutive or nickname of Jaelle, and also a Darkoven name meaning 'grace' or 'brightness.'" ) Lichtenberg writes: "I think it is great fun to have Darkoven names in use among the Friends, however, it's causing me no end of grief with Keeper's Tower. My records MUST show your legal name, so if you use a Darkoven name, I must record your two names in five places."
  • A member of the Chieri Council of Greater Los Angeles area writes an article on how to write a newsletter. It is called "The Council Newsletter: Keep It Simple." One "suggestion" -- "Besides council members, send copies of your publication to national leaders of the Darkover "movement."
  • There is announcement that Starstone #4 is at the printers.
  • In the Letter from MZB, Bradley addresses some bad behavior that occurred after the very recent con, see Fantasy Worlds Festival Dead Dog Party Incident.
  • This issue includes an article called "Virago" by Pat Mathews. It is about comparing the words and concepts of "virago" and "tomboy"
  • Several fans discuss the breeds of horses that would be on Darkover.
  • Bradley is offering a writing workshop and includes the flyer. It is $45. The workshop was called "Writing to SELL!"
  • There is a flyer for Sime-Gen Con #1.
Bradley has been ill:

Thendara Council nearly came to a screeching halt with MZB's illness, which was reported in LOCUS, not quite accurately, as a "mild stroke." MZB herself, wrote the following for us -- "It wasn't precisely a stroke, but a momentary paralysis which my doctor called an "Ischemic attack"— a stroke that didn't quite happen. After a multitude of difficult, sophisticated and rather unpleasant tests, culminating in an arteriogram, nothing very much was found wrong with me and they decided I didn't need further surgery. It took me considerable time to recuperate, but I'm working again, and feeling, all things considered, pretty well." Thendara Council has recieved many, many cheerful cards letters and the like, and MZB asked us to thank you all, each and every one, for the cards; some of them are hanging up on the office bulletin board as this is typed.

"If I tried to answer them all, I wouldn't have any time to write, and I am now two books behind because of all the working time I lost, so please do accept this universal thank-you'."
The taped speech by Andre Norton at Fantasy Worlds Festival did not turn out well:
[It] turned out to be insufficient for the size of the hall; despite the rigidly-enforced silence in the hall, many people found it hard to hear. The speech has now been transcribed and printed; if you were at Fantasy Worlds festival, send us a stamped self-addressed #10 (legal) envelope and we will send you one by return mail. If you were NOT at Fantasy Worlds Festival and would like a copy of Andre Norton's speech, send us 50c (to cover printing costs) PLUS a stamped self-addressed envelope and we will send you a copy; it's a wonderful speech and we know you'll all want to hear it; and we are happy to share it with you, as Ms. Norton kindly shared her thoughts with us.
The issue includes a lengthy explanation of what Darkover is, and isn't, and emphasizes its tolerance, and that it is not, despite the word "dark" in the title, not a publication of/for Satanists or Black Magicians:

The Friends of Darkover is a nonpolitical, nonreligious, nonsexist and also nonprofit organization which exists for the purpose of discussing fantasy and science fiction novels, especially, but not limited to, the novels of Marion Zimmer Bradley, about Darkover (herein she is referred to as MZB for reasons of brevity.) Everything herein is the opinion of the individual writer, not of MZB unless she is being quoted; nor is it official policy of the Friends unless it appears up front here in an editorial. Although we describe ourselves as nonpolitical, the general thrust of the friends is supportive of human rights, maximum human free dom (including feminist and gay rights) and, although we are also non- religious, supporting no established church whatsoever (members of the local Thendara Council include Christians, neo-pagans, Druids, members of the Liberal Catholic Churches, and even an agnostic pr two) we should like to state for the record that DARKOVER is th0 name of an imaginary planet featured in the novels of MZB; a few people mis-read the name as "Friends of Darkness" and think we are some kind of Satanist cult or vicious organization devoted to Black Magic. Nothing could be farther from the Truth. As stated above, members of the local Council are Jewish, Catholic (we have a couple of nuns and a couple of ex-nuns among our loyal readership, and a priest or two) Protestant, including some ministers of different faiths; pagan, including several of the local Reformed Druid movement, who are people of great personal integrity and sincerity; but

the one thing we do NOT have anywhere in our readership, that we know of, are any Satanists or Black Magicians; they would probably be put off by the simplicity of our work. We have a lot of fun discussing the various religions to which we severally adhere to (Fun, you say? FUN? Well, why not? Religious faith, like love and sex, should be joyous, or it is damnable) but one of our ground rules is for infinite tolerance between those who follow one faith and those who adhere to another. A bigot is a bigot, and not a very nice animal wherever you find him--or her. In general, science fiction and fantasy fans tend to be tolerant of one another; most of us grew up as misfits of one sort or another, and we have learned that people who live in glass houses ought to refrain from heaving rocks.
A fan, Linda Frankel, does a little white knighting and writes about Darkover fiction outside of Starstone, declaring it a violation of copyright:
Twice I have been asked about fan publication of Darkover fiction outside of STARSTONE. My reply in both cases is that this is a violation of copyright law. The reason why Trek zines have proliferated is because Paramount has chosen not to prosecute and alienate the fans. Darkover stories must be submitted to MZB alone and she will dispose of them in whatever way she considers best (with due respect for the fan writer). I think that this is an important point that you ought to bring to the attention of DNL's readers in connection with the plagiarism issue. Writing in the Darkover universe is a privilege. I hope that no one will abuse it.
A taste of what some fans' councils were like:
HY lONA COUNCIL held an early Winter Solstice party and invented more background for their group. Apparently the Free Amazons who trekked there with them during the Ages of Chaos were quickly acknowledged to be more than chattels, and played vital roles in the redevelopment of civilization there. Due to limited population, their Guild members retain family names for Tower service, and owe service to the family in time of war. Hy lona is also having a good time inventing family histories, crests, colors, and a council banner. They even have a crashlanded Terran who decided to stay. The group has felt so isolated in Kansas that they feel terribly left out hearing about the Grand Councils on the coasts. They've made contact with a local Junior College club that holds an annual con. Fool Con, and are hoping that will acquire a Grand Council Meeting, at least on the side. Anyone in the mid-west who thinks they can help make that happen, please contact Cathy Strand.
A fan writes a long, impassioned testimonial about how Friends of Darkover and fannish correspondence has literally saved her life, and goes on to chastise some fans:

There are times, I think, that I might really have withdrawn into myself or turned permanently bitter and solitary if I hadn't had people to turn to both for intellectual and emotional nurturing. For the rest of my life, I shall owe all of you and be paying it off and passing it on, not that I ever can. Disband a group that's helped me keep myself a person I can live with? Please don't!

The question of egotripping: that's something else. We're all in this for love —and self-love is a part of that. We love to see ourselves in print, love to know that we're part of a special group that knows about entran, sees the Holy Kraith, or has threshold sickness. It's fun, and we happen coincidentally to make friends and to grow. But there's a part of this ego-component that worries me: the fen who know and who use against one the fact that a lot of us enter fandom and stay in it because it provides what we're not getting out of the mundane world. (OK, OK, mundane world is redundant, but what I mean is the world of work and mundanes, etc.) This escape, as Tolkien says, may be overdone; there is the flight of the deserter as well as the escape of the prisoner, and running from one's real life is damaging. But I get extremely depressed when people have so little compassion as to attack people's theories more scathingly than they have to, or when they write horrific denunciations of other fen. That kind of stuff you can get from mundanes; you—I— any of us—don't need it from other fen.

I don't want to be sneered at for being a goody-two-shoes. But it saddens me to see fen using fandom to work off their aggressions, to set up the same kind of artificial castes and barriers we all hate outside fandom. It seems to me that as readers of fantasy and science fiction we ought to try to practice the tolerance we all preach toward aliens and alien customs here at home: allowing others their otherness ought to start with one's neighbors and correspondents. Not—God knows— that I'm all that good at it. But we ought to try, and I've said the same things at greater length in TIGHTBEAM.

Fandom has enriched my life and helped me deal with it. I'd hate to see it dwindle into long-distance name-calling. [Bradley adds: "All I can say to this is AMEN!"]
A Star Wars zine editor, Jani Hicks, asks if she can Xerox Bradley's article on writing from Starstone #3 so she could distribute it to her Star Wars writers, some of which could use the pointers:
I'd like to ask permission to Xerox Marion's article on writing stories from STARSTONE 3 for distribution to would-be writers for my SWars fanzine. I get a huge number of submissions that I just can't use for reasons ranging from HORRID grammar and tech niques to glitches in points of fact, but most of 'em that die expire from Lack of Plot. I think my writers would take such a lecture much more kindly from a pro than from a neoeditor; after all, who's going to ask MZB who the *!@#! she things she is? [Bradly responds: "OK."]
Bradley includes a long comment that the "'feminist paradise' where all the men have conveniently died off is almost becoming a genre of its own," cites some examples, says these philosophies don't actually address the problems at their roots, and ends with:
One of these feminists went so far as to say that "Logic was a tool invented by men to exploit women." Well, maybe. I prefer "There is no relation higher than truth itself" myself. In my own RUINS OF ISIS, I tried to portray a lesbian society which would not self-destruct in one generation, WITHOUT [outpacing] what I know of biology. Women hate "Biology is Destiny" but when they show me a vegetarian lion, I will re-argue the case.

Issue 22 (1980, probably Autumn)

front page of issue #22

Darkover Newsletter 22 was published in 1980 (month not specified, but appears to around October) and contains 24 pages. The editor explains that the newsletter is quarterly but that it usually doesn't work out that way. The editor is not named.

  • The "Keeper's Tower" explains how to start a Council and what a story-robin is.
  • "Attention Darkovan Craftswomen (Craftsmen, too -- we're not sexist") is a description of a fan's costuming, Darkover, and Aran Island knitting patterns.
  • There is a comment by the editor about The Catch Trap, see that page.
  • A fan wants to start a Dorothy Dunnett Round Robin; she says there already is one that's increased from 4 to 10 members in less than a year.
  • There is a short bit on Bradley's health, and some about the manuscript that was to become The Mists of Avalon: "For those of you who have inquired about the future of MZB and of the Darkover books: Marion has recovered well from her illness (and asks us to thank you all for the cards, letters and such) and is 1011 pages into MISTRESS OF MAGIC, the novel about the women of Malory's King Arthur, Morgan le Fay, the Lady of the Lake, and such." Bradley comments that she hopes to have the first draft done by Thanksgiving.
  • There is an essay, "An Experiment with Laran" by Nancy Conradt, a fan feels she is "mildly psychic" and writes about it.
  • Bradley talks a bit about her convention-attendance.
  • Bradley lists some authors she loves to read, and then gives some extensive and casual book reviews for: Stephen King's "The Stand" (she hated it), Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven's "Lucifer's Hammer" (she hated the premise, the logic, and the line "one good thing about Hammerfall —Women's Lib was dead ten seconds after it hit"), F.M. Busby's "Rissa Kerguelen" (she hated it).
From the Letter from MZB: She has been convention-hopping, and says she was caught reading a book during lunch by a fan:
Well, at one of these conventions, somebody spotted me at a table reading a book as I ate my lunch (I usually need a lot of "down time", to steal a bit of computer language, to compensate for all the people around me at conventions, so I usually eat most of my meals in solitary with a good book) and said something like "I often wonder what great authors read when they read other people's books." Well, it could have been worse—this person could have paraphrased "I often wonder what the vintners buy/ One half so precious as the stuff they sell:" I hope people never judge me by my reading. At conventions, or when I travel, I usually stick a lot of "junk books" in my suitcase —old Gothics picked up for a quarter at the Goodwill, freebies which I know I will read only once, if at all--so that they can be discarded as I finish them; left in plane seats or hotel rooms or restaurant wastebaskets, thus making room in my suitcase for the books I inevitably buy at conventions. I am a really compulsive book buyer—and an even more compulsive reader; one of my pictures of hell is being marooned in a bus station or on an airplane (or on a "hold" key) with nothing to read within reach except a copy of PEOPLE or one of the various junk magazines which have nothing in them but gossip about Jackie and Liz and Ari and Cheryl and and and...
A fan is grateful:
I really enjoyed THE KEEPER'S PRICE. I think it's a real tribute to Marion. First of all, that she moves her fans so much that they want to go play on Darkover too. I almost cried at the last paragraph to the introduction. Second, I guess, that she is in a place to recognize this need in us, and to encourage and even reward it, if you will....
Not a winner this time:
Most of you know by now that MZB did not receive the Gandalf Award at the World Convention in Boston this year —it went to Ray Bradbury; just as she did not receive the Hugo for FORBIDDEN TOWER two years,ago in Phoenix, but lost out (very narrowly, we are told) to Fred Pohl's GATEWAY; in fact, the voting at Phoenix was so close that if ALL the people who received their ballots after the deadline had gotten them in time, the Hugo, would have gone elsewhere. MZB asked us to express her personal thanks for any vote she received.
A female fan writes about sex and the ERA and Darkover:
I think the thing about sex in your books that bothers people is to a certain extent the fact that it's there at all. The big "problem" is the way Marion treats the subject. She handles sex and sexuality the way a Darkovan would. Andrew Carr had problems because he had Terran attitudes (for some strange reason) Just like most Terrans. We, as a whole, may brag about our openness and the sexual revolution but deep down inside we still have "those" attitudes. An excellent analogy to this is the proposed draft registration. I am of the opinion it will kill the ERA simply because Just exactly what equality entails is coming home to roost. Suddenly equality is fine but only to a point—as long as it doesn't include drafting women. Terran attitudes toward sexuality are very similar.
A fan writes about Bradley's creative generosity:
How many writers can inspire a Baker Street Irregulars-style following? How many can created a world that 'us masses' will refuse to let die?... MZB has created such a world; this in itself would eventually have provided new enjoyment and inspired new authors. But her active participation has already helped to inspire, undoubtedly, far more new entrants to this field than Doyle did during his active career -- and her interaction with these new writers will most likely also result in expanding her world, while the BSI's have never really left the 1890's... Sure, fascinating worlds create fans and fanzines... but how many fans/fanzines actually expand their new-found world?... This is the accomplishment, possibly unique in literature (Lukas-ville notwithstanding), of MZB. MZB's participation is the sole cause for growth, accomplished expansion and future potential of the world of Darkover. How can this be anything but a source of pride for her?... She has become a combination of early Campbell/writer with late Campbell/editor-father figure-giant, with this addition: As she is helping others to grow, she has introduced and utilized positive feedback, sharing in the artistic growth she promotes -- and all this, as a by product, expands and enriches the universe of Darkover. How much richer would we all be if J.R.R. Tolkien had been able and inclined to share Middle Earth [sic]?
More on creative generosity:
There are so few Darkover books that, having read each several times, we have little choice but to weave stories of our own in the world you have given us. Perhaps we'll never be able to share our Darkover, and the lives we live there, as you have done in your series. Although our stories exist, and are lived in our minds, few have the talent to make them live for others as you do. You have made Darkover and the people who live there so real and vivid that I want to know them. And so I have "moved" to Darkover. My life intertwines with those of the people you've introduced. Your stories and mine blend so that there is no real beginning or end to a story. However, there are still too few books on Darkover, and indications are that few if any more are to be forthcoming. Your willingness to share your world with us suggests that you too would find Darkover a lonely place if we did not love it as you do. That's what writing is all about, but few authors encourage others to participate in the world the author has created. You're the only one I know, and the only one who solicits other people's stories of a world created by an author. Although I've never met you, nor really know more about you than appears in your books, I believe I know you well. I know you from the dreams you dream and the feelings you expose in your characters.
Some comments on books, on health:
KEEPER'S PRICE was a nice book although not as nice as a new Darkover novel (I normally don't buy short story collections, preferring longer novels.) Darkover short stories are preferable to no Darkover books, and since MZB can only be expected to write a Darkover novel about once a year, a short story collection is much better than nothing. TWO TO CONQUER won't be listed among my favorite Darkover novels. It was too morbid for my taste. The only good thing about it was MZB's style of writing which can keep my interest no matter what she is writing about. Speaking of MZB, I hope she is feeling 100% by now. Having become a physical fitness freak recently, I'd tell her there's nothing like exercise to improve one's health.
Bradley as a publicity agent:
When will the Hourglass tape of Darkovan pronunciation be out, from where, and how much? ... I think I keep hoping in the back of my mind that Mrs. Bradley is a publicity agent. She really is from Darkover, or is going there, and is recruiting volunteers to colonize Darkover, or to augment the population already there. Take me! Where do I sign up? ...
A fan votes for keeping men around:
I just had to write. I love you, Marion, and your books, but the "feminist paradise" idea steamed my blood. It irks me to no end that most feminist writers wipe out the male half of the human race! How arrogant! And how sad. I love women. And I love men. Both have beauty and intelligence. To be unable to watch a man walk or run ever again? To never be touched by one or touch one? I shake my head in sorrow. Most of the feminists have good reasons for hating some men, but condemning the whole race? Do they hate all women because one attacked them (physically or mentally)? Most men are having a tough time these days too. Look at them. I'm 23; so's my husband. He was brought up on the old ideas. He must (and has) overcome years of training! No one is really to blame, except perhaps society. In fen I find more equality than anywhere else. And yet—how sad that we find it hard to just rejoice in each other's differences. Some day, my daughters will be leaders. I only hope my sons will be allowed to be leaders too.
A fan will do anything for Bradley:
Should you find that you need to pass off ANY work load in this area, I hereby make myself available for anything that needs doing—Midwest referrals, tabulating all the thank-you-noters' book suggestions, whatever—that I can do from here.
A chide to those who hassle Bradley for being involved with her fans, and some incomprehensible things about ego,
It would be nice if [Bradley] could put the whole matter out of her mind, to wit: The need to explain her involvement with the Friends; she doth pretest too much. The disclaimer of apologies come to evidence a feeling of need to apologize. Apparently the real world of literature and fandom constitutes itself much as does the world of drama and amateur theatre, a fact I didn't suspect until reading Pohl's and Knight's autobiographies (and any non-fictional reports from or about Harlan), where for many the quality of involvement is directly proportionate to the size of the ego (which in turn is inversely proportionate to the quality of the ego) . . . which is to say that one helluva lot of sniping goes on by the envious types who can't tolerate that emotion and therefore translate it to distaste and express themselves with very self righteous criticism (nothing else better feeds the ego which is quality-poor/quality-rich).

Issue 23 (1980, Spring)

front page of issue #23

Darkover Newsletter 23 is undated but appears to be spring 1980 and contains 20 pages.

ad for the famous bumper sticker

It has a new editor "so that MZB won't have to worry about the nuts and bolts of getting out the Newsletter." While this editor is not named, it is Ann Sharp who goes on to edit the newsletter until it ends.[1]

  • Bradley will be at Fantasy Faire in LA (July 18), the Sime-Gen Workshop at Westercon, the Darkovercon over Thanksgiving weekend somewhere on the East Coast, a a European convention in Stuttgart, Germany (August 21–23) but not Worldcon in Denver as "the altitude does bad things to her health."
  • There is an ad for the "Visit Scenic Darkover" bumper sticker.
  • This issue includes a logic puzzle.
  • A male fan ran into a female one at a bookstore in Georgia, they got to talking, and now he wants to contact her. He lists the three books she bought, says she was thinking of going to the Darkover Grand Council Meeting #3, is in the army, mentioned a malfunctioning air conditioner, and collected science fiction art. He never asked her name, and he wants her to contact him. "If you read this, M'Lady, please write soon, or better yet, send me a vocaletter on cassette."
  • There are many letters from fans discussing starstones, matrixes, and crystals, as well as a great deal of other topics.
  • There is a flyer for another of Bradley's Writer's Workshops. Parcipiants are requested to bring a hard surface to work on, a few pens, and some paper. "Don't bring that old story you've been sending around for the past five years. If it was any good, it probably would have sold. I don't want to read it any more than the editors who rejected it did."
  • There information about the second The Darkover Short Story Contests: there were 39 stories submitting, three were disqualified (two were too long) and one because, while it tied for third place, was anonymous. Bradley also admits she anonymously submitted on herself, and this did not go over well. See Darkover Short Story Contest for much, much more.
Jacqueline Lichtenberg suggests that Walter Breen has been slacking off, but Bradley explained that it was he was now very busy and in demand:
Last February, I did send the list of registered and chartered Councils to Thendara, but if my memory serves me accurately and from the number of complaints we have gotten from councils on that February list who should have received their Charters by now, I have not received the Charters from Walter Breen, and so I have not sent them out for this year. Roberta is going to type up the list of Councils which should be getting 1980 Charters, plus the list for 1981, and resubmit it to Thendara House. At Darkover Grand Council, I had breakfast with MZB and she mentioned that Walter would be traveling all over the world this year as he has become a celebrated coin expert much in demand. I don't know when he will have time to make up the Charters—and if he does manage this year, I don't know about next year.
There are many updates on Bradley's professional books, as well as the zine More Tales of the Free Amazons which will contain Bradley's story Knives. This story is Bradley's attempt at writing a story that doesn't contain "Subject A":
Only one plot comes even near, in popularity, to the Standard Free Amazon Plot, which Diana and I have begun to call Subject A; Free Amazon meets a Man She Can Trust, and thus is enabled to give up a little of her cherished freedom. Second most popular as a theme for amateur stories is "How did Dyan Ardais manage to father a first son?" I got five of them [for the Darkover Short Story Contest]. One was unprintable. All were gloomy and tragic.
There is news on Starstone:
STARSTONE FIVE, which is a special chieri issue with art work and several stories about that alien race, is now being pasted up—but we have to have enough money to get it printed! Alas, we can't mail it out bulk rates unless we get 200 orders before it is printed. Price $5.00. There will be, probably, at least one more STARSTONE after Number Five.
There have been problems with the newsletter's production:
Three things have happened between Issue 22 and 23 which made it conjectural whether or not we could stay in operation. One; our regular printer, who was a Darkover fan and had given us a discount, went out of business and we had to find another printer who wouldn't charge us an arm and a leg and our back teeth. Two; the postal raise, which nearly did us in. Three cents per letter isn't much, but when you consider that stamps were 11 cents when we started, 18 cents seems right out of line at our volume of letters. Three; MZB was writing a non-Darkover novel and had neither time nor energy to put into this magazine during the last year.
A fan sticks up for another fan's story:
Thanks for Newsletter #22. I noticed lots of upset people in this issue over Paula Crunk's short story "A View from the Reconstruction." Just for the record, I liked Ms. Crunk's story very much. It is that truly rare gem, a SF story that really atten5)ts to be funny. I am very hard on humorous stories, and this one I really liked . . . I do believe that the things most critics pointed out as unlikeable are indeed byproducts of the acceptance of the incredible reality of Darkover. We readers care about Darkover, and, by Avarra, one of the most attractive things about Darkover is that it shows that civilization is not dependent on machine, fossil fuel technology, and bureau cracies, which to me are a direct outgrowth of such technology . . . no matter how much we care, no matter how serious we are about something, we should never become so embroiled in it that we can't step out, look in from the outside, and laugh at the humor there . . . when hurt by something, when something stings, if humor can be found, it helps the wound to heal. Never should the natural child inside us all be totally suppressed. Remember Allart from STORMQUEEN who can see a variety of possible futures and not just the true one. Wouldn't it have been interesting if he had seen some humorous futures, rather than just frightening ones? Thanks, Paula Crunk, for making me chuckle, thanks for a well-written satire reflected right back on all us Terrans.
A fan is happy that Bradley is feeling better, and sympathizes over Bradley's comments regarding a personal theft:
I rejoice that MZB is once again feeling well and working away on several things at once; the world is a better place for it. I had hoped that vjhoever snatched MZB's magical goodies would have returned them by now, as I remember all too well the feeling of violation when we were relieved of such inpersonal items as TV set and stereo system a few years ago. For a few days, I really think I would have attenpted murder upon the thieves, and all for things that had no sentimental value at all. Sometimes the veneer of civilization shows itself a bit thin.
A fan offers up a fic for others:
I wanted to let you know that I am finishing my story "Darkover Dragon Song." The title is self-explanatory; it takes place second generation after LANDFALL. In addition to the story itself, there will be an appendix including biological field notes, anatomical illus trations, wind-pollen-drift charts, and a map. If it's too late or too weird for anything else, it can be circulated as an object of curiousity to xeno-zoophiliacs. Lest that all sound too dry, I hasten to assure you that the story is a pure unabashed Romance.
Bradley says a book called "Psychic Power: How to Develop Your ESP" published by "Thendara Books/PSI Technologies" is in no way affiliated with Friends of Darkover or Thendara House Publications:
I don't know much, admittedly, about the Majaanian Order; I have recieved a few letters from Mr. Di'Amorelli, and he appears to be an amiable gentleman; I dare say this whole thing is an attempt at kindly tribute, rather than an attempt to cash in on Darkover's popularity. The Majaanian Order appears to be on the same general order as the Society of the Inner Light, the Order of the Golden Dawn, or my own study/spirituality group, the A.O.R., containing nothing morally or spiritually objectionable to me, and much that is valuable I have a copy of their Rule of Order. However, we must make a very strong disclaimer; THENDARA BOOKS/PSI TECHNOLOGIES are NOT IN ANY WAY connected with, or endorsed by, Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Friends of Darkover, and/or Thendara House Publications. It may be that the book is one we will be proud to endorse and publicize;we just don't know. But please take note that we (a)did not publish it, (b) know nothing about it, and (c) are not attempting to promote it. We just don't know. Be warned, and Let the Buyer Beware.
Devra N'Ha Felizia (Devra Langsam) writes:
It is now more than a year since I last sent out a Free Amazon newsletter. I find that the other responsibilities and tasks I have taken on myself don't leave me anough time to do the work of putting out a regular (even infrequent) newsletter. I guess that I just find other forms of piablication and communication more congenial. The fact that I haven't been able to do it seems to indicate that I'm not likely to be a good bet to do it in the future. Anyway, this is an official notification that I'm giving up the News letter. If the people who offered to take it over last year will get back in touch with me, I'll send them the files and the money that's left over. What I'd suggest that eveiryone do is wait for an announcement in the FRIENDS OF DARKOVER NEWSLETTER. We have had some rousing fights and some very good talks, and it's been nice to talk to other women. I hope that someone else picks the Newsletter up, but if not, it's still been a pretty good time we had.
The Caer Donn Guildhouse,, run by Tess Kolney, has agreed to take it over Devra Langsam's discontinued Free Amazon newsletter. Kolney describes her Guildhouse living situation, oath-daughters, and mimeograph machine in detail. She also writes about gender requirements:
There are many letters from you that I could print in the newsletter, but I hesitate to do so because most of them are over a year old. There fore, some are outdated and others may no longer represent your views or interests. In addition, many were simple yes/no votes on letting men read the newsletter and/or join the Guild. The overwhelming consensus of the Guild was that men should not be allowed to join the Guild. (There was only one in favor and two undecideds.) However, the vote was split on whether or not he should be allowed to read the newsletter. Ten said yes and two were uncertain. Twenty said no and the rest offered no opinion. Therefore, the consensus seems to be no membership and no newsletter. I am willing to abide by this majority vote. In addition, the young man who originally requested the newsletter has written to say that he was not aware that the request would cause a controversy and that he is happy to withdraw the request. Therefore, I would like to consider the matter closed. We have devoted a great deal of space to this issue already, and it seems to me that there are many other important issues we should be discussing.
A fan is just grateful to get a newsletter at all:
I would like to commend the editors of the DNL and encourage them to keep the good work.(So what if you never get it out on a regular basis . . . not knowing when the next one will get here makes each issue something to be cherished, and when the next one does arrive, it's a joyous occasion . . . made more so because I don't know when to expect it!
A fan writes about Bradley's complaint of fans' nit-picking:
MZB seems to be somewhat disturbed, occasionally, about what she calls 'nit-picking.' She should remember, though, that she is one of the few -- very few -- authors with who it is worth while bothering to play 'the Game. I can count those authors without even having to remove my shoes: MZB, Katherine Kurtz, Poul Anderson, Garrett, Dickson, Pournelle & Niven (counts as one), Heinlein (sometimes)—a few deceased authors, and that is about it. I don't even need the Aillard/Ardais hands, either!

Issue 24 (before October 1981)

front page of issue #24

Darkover Newsletter 24 undated but before October 1981 and contains 22 pages.

  • This issue includes a logic puzzle.
  • There is a list of about 60 fans who have had their "Darkover Newsletters" returned in the mail as "undeliverable," and the editor is asking other fans to help find them.
  • While this topic hasn't been discussed in this newsletter, it appears there has been some talk of discontinuing Starstone: "Is there any way the general or outland (non-Thendara Council) Darkover fan can help in keeping Starstone going? . . . . I quite understand if the Starstone project must be terminated soon, but it would be a shame if the main official outlet for Darkover fan writing closed down." Another comment from a fan also touches on the newsletter's apparently fragile existence: "I'm glad to see that you sure still around—I feared that you had folded up like many another worthy venture that I can name."
  • It includes a reminder of Bradley's offered class: "MZB is offering a weekend writing course, October 16, 17, and 18 -- firm in the belief that ANYONE who can write a literate English sentence can write and sell category fiction."
In a very lengthy Letter from MZB, Bradley describes, in detail, a Darkover dream she had:
The other night, I had one of the very few Darkovan dreams I have ever had --usually, when I am thinking about something during the day, I never dream about it. I seldom dream of a lover, a husband, a child living at home: I have dreamed more in the last year about my first husband than in all the fourteen years I lived with him. There are exceptions -- I once had the worst nightmare of my life, dreaming that I had murdered my oldest child (I hate to think what a psychologist would say to that one), and I still remember the vivid dream in which I actually "dreamed up" the Guild of Free Amazons.

This one took the form of a Darkovan joke someone was telling me at a Darkover convention! Only it isn't really a joke -- more like a shaggy dog story.

There were these two men, you see, a Terran policeman on an industrial city on a very advanced planet, and a Darkovan in the City Guard, and they met a few times in a tavern and had drinks together.... [much snipped] ... I'm not sure what the meaning of this story is. Maybe it hasn't any.
There is a letter reprinted (without comment from the newsletter's staff) from an editor at "Fantasy Book" (Dennis Mallonee Publisher/Executive Editor, Nick Smith Editor/Art Director, Gavin Claypool Consulting Editor, out of Pasadena, CA) saying he wanted to buy fan stories; he doesn't sound very picky:
: Dear Friends of Darkover, As both a Darkover fan and a professional magazine editor, I the quality of the stories in the Darkover anthology and the fanzines to be quite good. Good enough, in fact, that I would like to extend an offer to those Friends seriously interested in writing. I very much want to see general fantasy and science fiction stories by new writers as well as by established pros. Fantasy Book is paying two to four cents a word for short stories of up to 10,000 words in length. We don't care whether you have an established name or not, but we do only want good stories. We also buy poetry and art that is suitable for our needs. Basically, Fantasy Book is an attempt to bring back the days of the highly-illustrated magazines, like Unknown. I have sent a copy of our first issue to the newsletter, in case the editor chooses to comment. Fantasy Book is not a fanzine, but a new fully-professional magazine that is being distributed through science-fiction shops around the country. About the only restriction on story content that I can suggest is that, if the story is long, it should be both good and be of a nature such that it can be illustrated. The longer a story is, the better it needs, to be, for our purposes. Thank you, and I hope to be hearing from some of you soon.
Jacqueline Lichtenberg did what she promised and sent out a questionnaire to every Darkover Council. "We've heard from 44 Councils, two of which are officially disbanded... There are yet 67 Councils that have not responded... though the Post Awful seems to have delivered it to them." The newsletter says it is extending the deadline as they felt there were extenuating circumstances:
We will extend the deadline until October 1, 1981—mainly because of the following story. On July 31, 1981, [Dawn M] called me from Springfield, Illinois, to say that her Council head in Corresanti Council had only that day sent her the questionnaire and announced that she could no longer handle the Council. Dawn and the others in Corresanti were so frantic to continue their Council that Dawn called me long distance to make sure they were not stricken from our records. If they care that much, how many others out there also care but are powerless to respond—because their Council heads have gafiated? If you belong to a Council, get in touch with your head of Council and make sure s/he has answered our monitoring impulse, or get them to resign honorably so that someone else can take the Council. If you cannot make contact with your Council head and you want to continue the Council, then writeto: Keeper's Tower, Circle 1, Jacqueline Lichtenberg
A fan lauds Bradley's writing, praises her story "Knives," and is amused that the judges in the Darkover Short Story Contest did not guess that Bradley had entered her own contest under a false name:
To me, MZB has such a distinctive (and gorgeous) writing style, such ability to present the human heart, that it's difficult to believe that judges who know her so well wouldn't be at least a little suspicious when evaluating her contest story entered under another name. I was more than a little amused that one judge faulted MZB's entry as having a non-Darkovan attitude! I have been blown away by the results of many talented fan writers' efforts, but have yet to read a non-MZB story that impressed me quite as much as those from Darkover's creator—it's not surprising that Knives won an honorable mention based on the evaluations of only four judges. I do hope that Darkover fans will be able to catch Knives soon. Even if the story weren't by MZB, the existence of a FA story that doesn't utilize "Plot A" is refreshing—and intriguing —to contemplate.
A fan sees some similarities in the writings of several authors (Bradley responds to this letter in the next issue, see Marion Zimmer Bradley Discusses Influences of "The King in Yellow" and Accusations of Plagiarism):
I found a short, story by James Blish (whose Cities in Flight series I dearly love, by the way) entitled "More Light," in a collection by Anne McCaffrey entitled Alchemy & Academe, originally published in 1970, and republished in 1980. In the story, the protagonist reads a play, supposedly written by Robert W. Chambers, called "The King in Yellow," and sent to Wm. Atheling, via Lovecraft. I don't think much of the play, but the names!! The Queen, Cassilda; the Princess, Camilla; a Palace in Hastur; the Lake of Hali; Carcosa, a city; the Hyades; a dynasty called Aldones; a priest called Hoatalba; also. Alar, Alaran, and Aldebaran! Such similarity! Who got what from whom? What's going on?
A fan addresses another fan's letter in the previous issue:
I can see using fandom to work off agressions; or, rather, a specific section of fandom (I.E. a fanzine or such whose purpose is that) but famdom in general? Horrors!. . . . Trying to turn a group based on friendship amd equality amd an effort at imderstanding into such a group only hurts people. This is probably exactly what you were saying, but it deserves repeating, even if so. There far, far better and more rewarding ways of venting agression. . . . And we should also be more toleramt of mundanes—they're the most incomprehensible aliens I've yet come across.

Issue 25 ( before April 1982)

front page of issue #25

Darkover Newsletter 25 not dated but it was published before April 1982 and contains 22 pages.

The editors comment on a long-time forthcoming Bradley book:
We do NOT know when Donning is going to release Web of Darkness. The cover painting has been hanging in Other Change of Hobbit so long that it has faded! According to Hank Stine, Donning's (qualified) editor, proofs would be forthcoming Real Soon Now, ever since last September. Some time after WEB appears from Donning, there will be a mass-market edition from Pocket Books. Any year now.
There is an update on "Mistress of Magic," the book that became The Mists of Avalon:
Mistress of Magic will be issued, probably not under that title (Robert Gotlieb, editor at Knopf, feeis that any book with Mistress' in the title would be brushed off as a bodice-ripper costume romance) from Knopf in hard covers, ONE volume, in SEPTEMBER 1982. thereafter, it will be issued in FOUR volumes, paperback, from Ballantine Books.
"Our side" has a win:
The coveted #1 spot on the-Locus Best Seller List was held in three successive months by The Steel of Raithscar, by Randall and Vicki Garrett; Sharra's Exile, by MZB; and Camber the Heretic, by Katherine Kurtz. Hooray for our side!

Bradley responds to several fans' letters about authors "stealing" ideas and words from each other, and the suggestions that she has done the same in a complicated snarl that includes "The King in Yellow." See Marion Zimmer Bradley Discusses Influences of "The King in Yellow" and Accusations of Plagiarism

Bradley has a letter in which she addresses many things about her book "Thendara House" one being its pace and detail, and that she has dropped her co-writer:
In the past few months I have received many letters (none of which was printed in #23) suggesting that I rethink my decision not to issue the sequel to 'Shattered Chain' Thendara House as a commercial novel. Granted, many women want to read the story of Magda in the House of the Renunciate/Free Amazons. I have written about five hundred pages of this book, and while the first part was written in collaboration with Jacqueline Lichtenberg... the second half has taken off in a direction so alien to that envisioned by Jacqueline that we, by mutual consent, dissolved the collaboration." [2]
Bradley's statements about "Thendara House" also address the topic of lesbianism:
Another thing. Inevitably, the story deals very strongly with a subject I chose to sidestep in SHATTERED CHAIN— the depth of emotional relationships between women; and this one includes a fairly frank discussion of lesbianism among the Amazons. I am convinced that most science fiction readers would find this offensive, or —almost equally undesirable— would be titillated by it for the wrong reasons. I have no desire to give offense; and, if possible, less desire to provide porno graphic thrills for a kind of person who finds the very idea of lesbians somehow thrilling to his tiny mind. (I say "his" because women either accept the idea of lesbianism or reject it, but are seldom "turned on" by it in that particularly offensive way.) I don't think I have ever written anything which could be called pornographic. I dealt very frankly with male homosexuality in THE HERITAGE OF HASTUR and later in THE CATCH TRAP, and wrote frankly—perhaps too frankly, because one of my long-term editors found it offensive —about lesbian sex In THE RUINS OF ISIS. But I tried to deal honestly with the subject.
Bradley also is distressed by reactions to a peer's reaction to the book "The Dancers of Arun" by Elizabeth Lynn:

more recently I discovered that the beautifully written, touching and tender novel by Elizabeth Lynn, THE DANCERS OF ARUN, has been attacked by a woman whom I respect and admire greatly; -the found DANCERS...with its theme of a sensual and even erotic love affair between two brothers, offensive and morally dangerous. This woman, whom I will not identify other than by saying she is a well-thought of and much admired fantasy writer, told me in great distress that she felt that the problem was that DANCERS might fall into the hands of teenagers who might, then, be prompted to experiment with homsexuality. This woman is not simply bigoted; she evidently felt real distress. Granted, she is a woman of an older generation —old enough to be my mother or Liz Lynn's grandmother. But I am convinced that her fears were real, and serious. My own personal feeling about this matter Is this; that sexuality is well established before the age of seven —some authorities feel, as early as three; certainly well before puberty. This lady's fears turn on the old fear that seduc tion of the young may establish "morbid habit." Kinsey, and large numbers of other researchers, have shown two things; one, that teen-age males will probably experiment with homosexuality sooner or later (as many as 32% of all males over sixteen had had at least one such experience) and two, that only those males who have some predisposition toward homosexuality anyway, will be affected by the experience enough to repeat it.

[much, much snipped about sexuality and her views]

And this being so, I fail to see why we should not write about it.

My acquaintance numbers heterosexuals, homosexuals, bisexuals, and transexuals. The most unpleasant person I know is a male-to-female transexual; one of the nicest people I know is a male-to-female transexual. Some homosexuals are detestable, like Dyan Ardais; some are shining examples of integrity like Regis Hastur. And I write about the whole spectrum across.these lines. But this is a very controversial subject, and I am aware that in the course of writing this I have probably alienated some of you. Personally, I feel that it is more important to me what concerts a person attends, and whether he prefers Mozart or Motown, that what he/she does in his/her sexual life. Sexually, I try to do what seems good to me and to my chosen partners, and let everyone else do likewise.
After another fan wrote "I noticed a number of similarities" between one of Bradley's books and a zine by Jean Lorrah, and Bradley replies:
I did not read Jean's Night of the Twin Moons until some time after RUINS OF ISIS was completed, and I'm quite sure Jean did not read my book until after writing hers. Great minds, they say, run in the same channels, but don't let that fool you—so does muddy water!
I forget who it was that said there were only half a dozen plots in use. }}

Issue 26 (August 1982)

front page of issue #26

Darkover Newsletter 26 is not dated but was published around August 1982 and contains 20 pages.

  • there is an article called Confessions of a Terranan Keeper, or, An Untrained Telepath is a Danger to Herself and Everyone Around Her which addresses fans who take Darkover too seriously in their personal lives, the dangers of real psychic powers, and ego
  • there is a flyer for Pellennorath, a zine dealing with the geography of created worlds
  • there is a flyer for MileHiCon #14
  • plans are in the works for a con called Esotericon (January 13, 1983 in suburban New York area, Lichtenberg and Bradley were to be guests, "we hope to include, beyond the usual con activities, intensive teaching workshops in various branches of the occult sciences")
  • there is a form for the Darkovan Name Roster, a fan publication that was attempting to create a directory of Darkover fans
  • Jacqueline Lichtenberg has a Darkover Council update: 46 councils have been disbanded ("without honor") for lack of communication, 6 councils are disbanded "with honor" (they informed Lichtenberg)
  • there are two mentions of computers in this issue: one is by a fan offering to put other fans in touch with each other via computer (see below), and the other is by the producers of this newsletter: "The computerized mailing list for the Friends is now being printed and sorted by computer, this simplifying our mailing tasks considerably."
  • there is page of news/progress report about the upcoming Fantasy Worlds Festival
  • there is mention that there are two Free Amazon newsletters published "published in alternate months in the Midwest and in California. The Valle d'Oro Guild-House (Sharrie n'ha Verana and T'Pat)... and the second is published by the Narzain Ye Kui Guildhouse... from Tess Kolney in Minneapolis, MN. See Narzain Ye Kui Newsletter. Both newsletters say that if you cannot afford to pay, simply say so; it is their will that no woman shall be denied the newsletter for lack of ability to pay."
  • there is a logic puzzle
  • it is noted that "for the first time since 1980, ALL FIVE ISSUES OF Starstone ARE AVAILABLE... #6 is in preparation but don't hold your breath waiting for it -- we still need the contest results of issue #5. This is the only fanzine we know of edited by a major profession s-f and fantasy writer; Marion edited all five issues and personally chose the stories... These are likely to be collector's items in the years to come..."
  • there is an announcement that John Shimwell is creating a publication "Teach Yourself Casta," a 200-page "teach yourself course of the (unofficial) language grammar from the basic to the subjunctive tense, intimate, personal, and derogatory modes... some Hellers dialect. A companion volume listing some 12,000 Darkovan words should be ready later this year."
  • Bradley "bought several boxes of ["The Catch Trap"] when they were remaindered and is offering them book rate for only $5, autographed if requested... This Is a circus novel with strong feminist and gay elements, about a big and very realistic family filled, as one of our readers said, "with the most lovable people I ever met in a book --I sat down and bawled when Papa Tony died!" So buy some of these things —they're cluttering up our office so we can't sweep, and they make splendid gifts."
  • It is mentioned that Bradley has suffered a serious injury: "THENDARA HOUSE is in work, but the writing was delayed by an accident to MZB during a candlelight service here In the Centre for Non-Traditional Religion, where her robe was set on fire and she suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns to her left hand."
The very first comments in the newsletter are by Bradley. They address the lack of royalties she is getting from Darkover books, and that she has no idea if previous titles will continue to be published:
The latest word is that ACE books has been sold to Berkeley, meaning that they have acquired all the early Darkover novels. My last royalty statement from ACE contained NO royalties for the Darkover novels—only for such titles as THE BRASS DRAGON, SEVEN FROM THE STARS, etc. I have, at present, NO idea when or if the six early Darkovers will ever be reissued. If Berkeley Is dropping them we may manage to re-acquire or resell the rights somewhere else. [Later in the newsletter: "...The Darkover royalties by Ace Books finally surfaced, so the books are still available and selling."
Bradley is also very angry about a submitted book from which she is withdrawing publishing permission:
At present, the contract having expired without the novel coming Into print, THE WEB OF DARKNESS was withdrawn from Donning. The main reason for the withdrawal was not so much the expiration of the contract, but the fact that Hank Stine had taken It upon himself to do a complete rewrite of the book, adding some garbage about auras, and a slckenlngly coy sex scene which was not in the book at all; by the time it hit galley proofs it was no longer my book, but should have been called, "a novel by Hank Stlne based on an original story by Marlon Zlmmer Bradley," and publishing it under my by name would have meant irreparable damage to my professional reputation; therefore I withdrew the book. Current status is that Stine/Donning are insisting I have no right to withdraw it, and they were heard to remark at the American Booksellers Association convention in June that they "guaranteed" it would be on the stands In sixty days. My only comment on this is that if it is the Hank Stlne rewritten version, there will be a lawsuit, plus a public lynching If I ever catch Stlne. Watch this space for details. [Later in the newsletter]: "The Donning Press affair has been settled. WEB OF DARKNESS will, as far as we know, appear from Donning and later in paperback from Pocket Books. Rewrites will be done by MZB and she will have absolute textual approval, eliminating Stine's rewrites completely.
Bradley's close-to-the-wire completion of a book was thwarted by a suicidal man ("some nerd"), something with which she mostly felt "frustration""
HAWKMISTRESS, a novel of the Age of Chaos, was finished and mailed about May 29th, delayed an extra day because on the day in which I had begun the final chapter, some nerd climbed a power pole down our street, and hung there for eight hours, slashing his wrists and repeatedly threatening suicide, so the local power company and police department turned off all power to the street, including all lights, refrigerators, freezers, stereos, and radios, not to mention electric typewriters, on our block. About 4 p.m. they managed to snag him via a "cherry-picker" device, the kind In which they lift a man up to change light bulbs on street lights; but by that time I was exhausted with frustration and had to wait till the next day to finish the book, xerox it, and mail it out express mail. I have already seen a print of the cover by Hanna Shapero; It's beautiful, and I thoroughly approve. It's due out sometime between August and October, I think.
Bradley announces the publication date of Mists of Avalon and reminds fans of what a good deal it will be to purchase:
THE MISTS OF AVALON—original title, MISTRESS OF MAGIC—a novel about King Arthur's time from the viewpoint of Morgaine le Fay—will be released from Knopf, January 1983; it was moved back from September due to production problems and Knopf didn't wish 1t to be released into the Christmas rush. In January, as the winter settles in, the days shorten, the cold strengthens, and people settle down to the long hard pull of winter, the theory is that people will appreciate a good long read; 928 pages for $17.50, which means you'll get the equivalent of three or four books (single shorter novels now sell for $13.98) for just over the price of one. Enjoy.
More publication news from Bradley:
Having finished my current assignment (GREYHAVEN, an anthology of fantasy by the Berkeley school of writers, including stories by MZB, Diana Paxson, Paul Edwin Zimmer, Robert Cook, C.A. Cador and various others) I have recently signed for four new books: DAW has bought two Darkover novels, the first being the long-awaited sequel to SHATTERED CHAIN, THENDARA HOUSE, which tells the story of Magda among the Amazons and Jaelle among the Terrans; and CITY OF THE SORCERESSES, which moves into the unmapped parts of Darkover outside the Domains and beyond the Wall Around the World. Pending is a deal with TOR Books for an occult novel called THE INHERITOR, about a woman who moves into a house ... and discovers it Is still occupied by the previous owner, who, regrettably, has been dead for years; and an untitled fantasy novel for Ballantine, details later ... MZB
A fan has some suggestions for Bradley's series:
Hopefully, an author with your storytelling ability will find a way to develop (and in your novels incorporate) a plausible ECONOMIC BASE for an advanced technological society that engages in extensive interstellar space flight. It won't be easy to do so, but such a base is needed to provide sensible story plots for the time when Darkover is becoming a functioning part of the Empire. The need is particularly great if major characters in the stories have responsibility for integrating the Darkovan and Terran economy. My original intention was to suggest that you create such a base for the Darkover series—but on reflection, I am now more cautious. I'm still on the fence (partly because I feel that your interests do not run in that direction), but have enclosed some inexpert thoughts on the subject: There has been very little exposition of the ECONOMY of the Interstellar Empire in the Darkover series. [much snipped]
A fan asks Bradley, but gets no reply:
After reading twelve of the fourteen novels (including Keeper's Price) two questions have been raised in my mind about Darkover. I hope you can answer them. In Heritage of Hastur Regis was forced to come to terms with his homosexuality and his feelings for Dani. Yet in World Wreckers, he fell in love with Linnea (will they be married?) and I got the impression they were ready to settle down. From what little I know of the subject, it doesn't usually work out that easily. Was Regis' homosexuality just a teenage fad?
Two fans in Sacramento, California offer to take over the New York City Darkover Council, Council of the Free Amazons:

This letter . . . is in response to Jacqueline's parenthetical note regarding the Council of the Free Amazons. When we heard that Devra wanted to pass the council and Amazon newsletter on, we wrote to her offering to take it over. We got a letter back from Devra, saying that someone (cannot now remember her name) had already done so. We wrote to the new person to say how glad we were to know that the council and news letter would keep going, offering to contribute to the newsletter, etc. We never received a reply.

Although, as you know, we have gafiated from active fandom due to the time required to care for the animals and our farm, we do not want to see the Free Amazons die out. We will somehow make the time to edit the newsletter, answer letters, and keep the council going. The concept of the Free Amazon Guildhouses is, in our opinion, something too good to permit it to vanish from the world. Therefore, if . . . you, and Devra, and the person who was going to take it over from Devra, agree, we will take over the Free Amazons. Please let us know if you want us to do this. Enclosed is the original of the updated Council List. We have taken the liberty of leaving the Council of the Free Amazons on the list, with a notation that it is in transition and will soon have a new address. We look forward to hearing from you.
A fan offers to put other fans in touch with each other via computers:
I don't know if you are aware that there are Darkovans and Pernese out there communicating over a Terranan version of matrices They call them computer terminals (of course, an inferior version, but since the crystals are only available on Cottman IV, we must all muddle along as well as we can).' Anyone who has access to The Source will find these Darkovan refugees online. And anyone who wants information can write to me at the above address. Adelendeyo, Susanna (known online as Taniquel).

Issue 27 (probably spring 1983)

front page of issue #27

Darkover Newsletter 27 not dated but likely published in the spring of 1983, and it contains 6 pages. The pages are reduced, the only issue to be printed this way.

  • It contains a word find.
  • It includes many letters about cats.
  • A fan wants to know about the survey she completed (in 1978!): "Whatever happened to the Darkover survey??? I filled it out and returned it. I know I wasn't the only one. What were the results?" [3]
Bradley is irked about some publication decisions:
The first volume of MY book, THE WEB OF DARKNESS, Is out on the stands; for obscure reasons, the editor split It In half (TIMESCAPE, who did the same thing to Diana's LADY OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS.) But Diana's book splits well, like the GOOD kind of pre-sllced English muffin, and mine, I fear, Just comas' to an untidy stop with all kinds of loose ends hanging, to be resolved (mehopes) In the forthcoming WEB OF DARKNESS. Yes, Tlmescape did mix us up to some extent; Diana got the proofs of MY book to correct, and I got hers. Anyhow, stick with It; those of you who read WEB OF LIGHT will want to know what HAPPENED to Deoris, Riveda and Micon's son Micall. The second volume Tells All, believe me. And we have cut out every word which Hank Stine, at Donning, tried to rewrite Into the novel. That's a long story and there is no point repeating it here.
This issue contains a letter from Bradley in which she extolls the houses, Greyhaven and Greenwalls, tells of the writers from there that have published books, and then announces that Mists of Avalon has been published:
And, saving the best for last, the novel which was mentioned so often in these pages under the title of MISTRESS OF MAGIC, the novel of King Arthur's time from the viewpoint of Morgan le Fay, IS FINALLY IN PRINT...from Alfred E. Knopf in hardcovers, entitled THE MISTS OF AVALON. It Is doing wonderfully well; got rave reviews In Publisher's Weekly and even In the New York Times; was sent back for a second printing even before the official publication date; and is now twelfth on the NEW YORK TIMES Bestseller List! Yes, It's expensive —$16.95--but It's a beautiful book and one that won't fall to pieces after you read it twice and lend it to your mother; and when it comes out from Ballantlne In paperback next year, It will be In FOUR volumes, and at the price of pbs these days, you might as well buy it in hard covers! It's already sold for reprinting In England (with a huge promotion) is a Featured Alternate of the Literary Guild and so on ...appreciate it now and avoid the rush!

Issue 28 (June 1983)

front page of issue #28

Darkover Newsletter 28 was published June 1983 and contains 8 pages.

This was the last newsletter published for three years. While the Bradley and the editors cite lack of funds, it is likely a combination of a bunch of things: the success of The Mists of Avalon bleeding off energy and attention, boredom, the aforementioned lack of funds, and Bradley's admitted poor health.

  • Bradley thanks Jan Malin, Ann Sharp, Ten Bryan and Linda Crowe "who did the real work of the newsletter all these years"
  • There is an announcement that a letterzine called Relays is in the works.
This issue contains the statement that this is the last issue of the "Darkover Newsletter.":
We regret to announce that Friends of Darkover is getting out of the publishing business. We had hoped to put out two more newsletters, but unfortunately, we have completely run out of funds, and printing and mailing a newsletter to eight hundred to a thousand people from Australia to Germany is an expensive undertaking.
Bradley writes:

To everything there is a season...

I am sitting here at Greenwalls, the day after my 53rd birthday, reflecting on the closing of a chapter in my life; the formal shutting down of my constant and regular involvement with the Friends of Darkover. It's always a little sad to shut a door. I am remembering other chapters, other books read through and put on the shelf. My graduation, from Hardin-Simmons College in Texas, and the end of my marriage to Robert Bradley. My work, first as Seneschal of the East Kingdom and then as Mistress of Arts, to the Society for Creative Anachronism. My work as a telephone counselor for the Pacific Center for Human Growth, the research and writing of Mists of Avalon. And now the end of another chapter, my personal close communication with the Friends, my work on the Newsletter, the editing of Starstone, the creation of the two professional Darkover anthologies... a long and complicated chapter which has brought me many dear and beloved friends.

I have probably delayed this step too long; the Friends have been losing money consistently for years, but I have clung to this way of keeping in touch with a group which was very close to my heart; which as been close to my heart since that day when twenty of us sat on a floor and held an unscheduled meeting at some convention or another' I had failed to schedule a get-together because I felt that people must be tired of hearing me talk about Darkover. That was more than seven years ago, and the Friends have been going ever since.

I have tried very hard to avoid the trap of allowing this to become an organization for personal publicity and egoboo. I have tried to keep the emphasis on a shared love for Darkover and avoid a cult of personality. It is so easy to exploit the devotion of fans as a personal thing, and I have tried to give as much as I have taken from my fans. Out of this group, I think, I have come some very good things; the editing of Starstone, which has become a showcase for a number of fine artists and writers, some of whom are writing and displaying artwork on their own; the two Darkover anthologies, "The Keeper's Price" and "Sword of Chaos," providing first exposure and sale for such writers as Millea Kenin, Susan Shwartz, Patricia Mathews, and the Fantasy Worlds Festival, which WILL continue, God willing, under the sponsorship of local writers of Greenwalls and Greyhaven.

I still feel the Friends have a place, as a network of people of common interests in ESP and parapsychology, of writing amateur fiction as a gateway to professional development....I do not think I would have the strength to close this chapter in my life, whatever the toll it is taking on my failing health, the increasing age of which the only symptom is a chronic lowering of energy, if it were not for the knowledge that others will carry it on.

[snipped]

As I sit here looking over the past seven years, as the door slowly draws closed, I think of the friends I have made, those who have become virtually members of my family: Lisa Waters, who now shares my home and has become a partner in my professional endeavors... [snipped: lots of women's names, duties, and thank you]

When I made the first move towards closing this operation by closing "Keeper's Tower," as a formal registry of Councils, Jacqueline Lichtenberg protested that there was still a need for the work. She said that she was crying inside for all those who needed us and would never find themselves there.

She was right, of course. But perhaps I have more confidence that others will carry on the work for which I, and Jacqueline, must now withdraw, leaving ourselves more time for professional commitments and for whatever new responsibilities may be given us.

[much snipped about goodbyes, pain, greater good]

There remain other mountains to climb, other books to write, other friends to make, other purposes to be served: yours and mine. With all my heart I wish you Godspeed and Blessed Be, as the new doors wing open. With deepest love and thanks to you all -- Marion Zimmer Bradley.

Issues 29 and 30 (skipped entirely)

These issues do not exist.

When the newsletter began after its three-year hiatus, Bradley began the numbering at #31, skipping these two issues entirely.

References

  1. She confirms this in the very last issue of "Darkover Newsletter]] when she says she edited every issue since #23.
  2. In 1992, Bradley wrote in Holes in My Yard: "[ Jean Lamb] wrote back saying that, while she could live with the monetary compensation I'd offered, what she wanted was a shared byline. It might be that she thought I was asking to collaborate with her, although I cannot imagine what in my letter could have possibly given her that impression... This was essentially the same deal I made with Jacqueline Lichtenberg on 'Thendara House' but unfortunately this person still did not seem willing to accept the deal. I talked to... my editor at DAW, who says the only person she would agree to have me share a byline on a Darkover novel with is Mercedes Lackey, who has collaborated with me on my last two Darkover novels, and is the writer to whom I am leaving the series when I am no longer able to write it."
  3. This survey was sent to fans as an insert in issue #15/16.