Darkover Newsletter/Issues 41-50

From Fanlore
Jump to: navigation, search

Issue 41 (June 1988)

front page of issue #41

Darkover Newsletter 41 was published in June 1988 and contains 24 pages. The front page includes a poem (filk?) by Patricia n'ha Myrtis:

" Do you want to write for Marion Z.B.?" [1]
" Do you want to write for Marion Z.B.?"
" Join the Amazons today, "
" Comparable worth and equal pay!" [2]
" Then you could write for Marion Z.B."
" Is your heroine a damsel in distress?"
" Is your heroine a damsel in distress?"
" Then forget the whole dumb thing,"
" Save the envelope and string,"
" And go out and spend the postage on a dress."
" Do you have a macho hero in a skirt?" [3]
" Do you have a macho hero in a skirt?"
" Then prepare to weep and wail, "
" As she mutters, "Trash this tale,""
" And your fertile soil becomes a pile of dirt."
" Do your characters enjoy pillage and rape?"
" Do your characters enjoy pillage and rape?"
" If you would get out alive,"
" Then ignore the Fifty Five" [4]
" Open throttle, flee, and make a fast escape"
" Do you still want to write for Marion Z.B.?"
" Do you still want to write for Marion Z.B.?"
" It's a genre -- S & S --" [5]
" That can be a holy mess,"
" But can also earn an Amazon her fee."
  • The editor has a piece about writing well, plotting and avoiding cliches and stereotypes. It ends with a plug for fans to submit their fiction to the DAW Darkover Anthology, "Domains of Darkover."
  • The pro-writer Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Mertz writes a letter and thanks Bradley for being a fan and recommending her books in the Darkover Newsletter: "You ought to be getting a commission! [snipped] Sounds if you are in full form and back on track, which is wonderful; just slow down a little, lady, or you will make aging writers like myself feel even older. I get tired these days!"
  • This issue contains a logic puzzle.
  • There is much chat about cats.
There are two mentions of Bradley's works being optioned for film. One is a brief mention of two Darkover books. Ann Sharp said:
"Star of Danger" and "Forbidden Tower.'" Would a Darkover book make a commercially successful movie, or do the books have too much plot and not enough cleavage or violence to inspire Hollywood? How can a movie show thoughts -- the very essence of laran
There is also some discussion about filming Darkover and The Mists of Avalon. A fan asks: "A while back there was a mention of the possibility of a Darkover film. Anything further on that? Seeing such films as "Excalibur" and "Merlin and the Sword" which had such potential with directors and cast and fell flat on their faces with screenplay, I kept saying, "Why couldn't they have used Mists of Avalon?" Any hope of a film there?" Ann Sharp replies:
Morgaine's story, the basis of Mists, takes place over a long period of time, which would be tricky to cut and difficult to screen as is. The inadvertent incest of Morgaine and Arthur would have to be dealt with -- this is still a movie taboo, I believe. Also, Mists has LOTS of background, which is deftly explained in the book but might be difficult to convey on film. Can't you picture the Hollywood version of Avalon, with ninety-six bosomy blonds in white Greek gowns playing the priestesses? Intoning the mysterious theme music for any scene of worship? The opening, every dramatic scene, and the close would probably end with the chargers engulfed in fog -- pardon me -- mist. Would it even be possible to do an Arthurian movie with Arther as a minor character? We'd like to see it happen, but many a good book has been made into a trivial movie. [Bradley adds: "There is an option on Mists to make it into a four-to-six episode televisions series. I haven't seen the screenplay for the first episode (written by Rita Mae Brown), but friends tell me it's good."]
Bradley's Letter from MZB discusses UFOs. and begins with "Just lately, I've been thinking about one of the few taboos in SF -- which is to write about anything science can't solve. This adds up, effectively, to writing about UFOS." She says she doesn't belive in them, pointing out the "unidentified" part of the word, but does belive in them as she has seen them herself which is enough indentification for her. Bradley decribes an enounter in Knox City, Texas while she was doing her laundry in about 1961:
It happened like this; I was in Knox City, Texas, doing my wash; it was 1961 or somewhere about there, and I was with Kerry Dame. We drove out to talk un-overheard about my divorce from Brad, and about nine-thirty -- just before dark -- we saw what we thought was a helicopter coming from the air base; it had colored lights on the bottom, moving in a circle. It came and hovered about fifteen feet over the car, and then Kerry said "Don't helicopters make a lot of noise?" And of course they are deafening; but this just made a little humming sound. I said "Let's get the hell out of here," and floorboarded the accelerator, but the motor stalled; so Kerry and I clung to each other and shook for what seemed eternity, but was probably about eighteen or twenty minutes till it went straight up in the air and vanished. I said "Oh, nuts, now we'll have to walk back to Knox City"—about two miles—"and get a tow truck;" but when I made one last attempt to start the motor, it started right away, and we drove home. On the way we decided not to tell anyone, even Brad; in case they thought we were nuts.


So why am I telling you this? Because, as Jerry Pournelle once said, they have sent men to the gas chamber on worse evidence than this; he pointed out that this is the only subject on which the sworn evidence of a sober policeman is not accepted as fact.


I need publicity like a hole in the head; but I saw something. What? If I knew that, I wouldn't need to write this.
A fan compliments Bradley on her character's complicated genealogies and how they don't have mistakes. Does Bradley use a chart? Bradley replies:
Most of my fans delight in picking the most improbable holes in my books, because I tend to depend on memory instead of charts. Walter makes up the charts. We never stop arguing: I say, "Notebooks are the major foe of memory," or, "People won't remember things if they can write them down"; he says, "The best memory is not the equal of the most faded ink." I keep remembering how long the Iliad and Odyssey were preserved before anyone wrote them down—and the Irish shanachees who have a fund of many, many stories—some of them never learned to read or write; most of them are dead now. It's a lost art....

Issue 42 (September 1988)

front page of issue #42

Darkover Newsletter 42 was published in September 1988 and contains 20 pages.

  • This issue includes an essay by Ann Sharp about writing.
  • This issue contains a Darkover crossword puzzle.
  • This issue, as well as many others, contains a bibliography of Bradley's professional works.
  • Ann Sharp tells a fan who is worried about not knowing enough Darkovan to write a good fanfic:
    Tell it in Terran first and then include any helpful Darkovan as part of the editing. If you wrote the whole thing in Darkovan, you'd probably have a grand audience of one (MZB's husband, Walter Breen, welcomes these little challenges); even MZB might feel daunted about reading it!"
Bradley's Letter from MZB is very, very long and complicated. ONE of the many topics she tackles is the questions she gets from fans at cons and book signings.

It's part of the job, and most of them, even the ones I've been asked ten or twenty times that day, I can muster some kind of polite answer. Even the persons who ask me that time-dishonored old chestnut. Where do you get your ideas? get something like an attempt to give them some insight into the creative process, though it would be much easier to do as Stephen King does and say "Utica" or "A post office box in Schenectady." My usual answer is that the kind of people who have ideas become writers, and people without them, don't. I still remember trying desperately to understand that everybody doesn't have ideas in an endless flood; the question should really be "how do you avoid having ideas?"

But, be that as it may, there has recently been one question which sends me almost into frothing at the mouth. That is the question asked soulfully, usually by a youngish hyperthyroid female, with a crystal around her neck and glassy eyes, "Mrs. Bradley, how much of your work is channeled?"

As I say, this question makes me froth at the mouth.

My usual answer is, "None whatever; as the late Walt Kelly said of Pogo, it all came out of my own personal head-bone."

The question always makes me angry, because it implies that I am not capable of thinking it up myself. Of course, there is a very real sense in which every work of art is channeled; a sort of theory of Platonian archetypes; a feeling that this book somewhere exists in perfect form and I have mainly not to invent it so much as listen for it. But that doesn't seem to be what they mean. I once spoke of reincarnation, saying I was not sure I believed in it, but my audience sure did; that if I had a dollar for every earnest young woman—and not a few young men—who solemnly assured me that they had been Morgaine—or sometimes Lancelot—in their past lives, I could open my own publishing house; and the book many fans want me to write next is MY LIFE AS MORGAINE LE FAY or perhaps MY LIFE AS A GREAT PRIESTESS THROUGH THE AGES.


Which brings me not to discussing the personal anomalies of people who write to authors—and I hasten to assure you that usually I love your letters, and faithfully answer every letter I get which comes within hollering distance of being polite—but about channels in general.


My personal opinion is—for what it's worth, and I admit I only know what I read in the papers—that this phenomenon has been a part of our "haunted planet" forever; that in ancient times it was called an encounter with various gods; that in the middle ages it was considered—until about 1800—an encounter with the fairy folk; and now it calls itself the UFO phenomenon; and that it's giving out disinformation.

Isn't it funny that your Aunt Minnie, from whom you wouldn't have believed the time of day when she was alive, when you meet her.in the seance room after death, becomes the Fount of all Wisdom?

I would say the same about these various channels; judge them by results. All too many of them peddle racist propaganda. Not too long ago, George Adamski's contact talked naively about Mars, where Negro and Jewish space brothers were kept apart in their own parts of Mars. Recent astronomical explorations show no constructs on Mars, and the "space kids" are moving farther out into the Galaxy where they won't be disproved quite so soon.

Have fun with your space brothers—but don't believe a word they say.

Issue 43 (December 1988)

front page of issue #43

Darkover Newsletter 43 was published in December 1988 and contains 20 pages.

  • The editor deconstructs the plot synopis of a story from the first page.
  • There is much chat about allergies to cats and what to do about them. Allergies, not cats.
  • There is a flyer for Unicon '89.
  • This issue contains a logic puzzle.
  • Ann Sharp writes about Bradley's involvement in the newsletter's content: "Marion reviews all DNC letters and my rough drafts of responses, then adds her own comments (unless she is out of town or sick)..." Bradley adds: "Write to me in care of the Friends. I answer any letter within hollering distance of politeness."
  • Bradley's describes some of her past lives: "I vaguely remember one as, I think, a cowherd somewhere in Scandinavia and one as a Dominican, I think, monk whose task it was to bury the homeless dead as one of the corporal works of mercy. Like in those days, as Hobbes said, was indeed "nasty, brutish, and short"—especially short."
  • Bradley replies to male fan's long letter about pre-marital sex: "The only reason for sex before marriage is that an otherwise inexperienced woman might find out too late -- because of the indissolubility of marriage -- i.e., kisses and embraces -- as well as a high voltage -- sex."
  • Bradley replies to a fan: "I love Magda, Camilla, etc., as you can see in City of Sorcery. Someone once asked me how Magda could find anything to love in an elderly woman like Camilla. Thanks. I too am getting old and I have proof I am really greatly loved."
From the Letter from MZB:

There's an old saying: be careful what you pray for; you might get it.

When I was a very young writer, just beginning to sell my work, say in 1955, I went to my first convention. I had a wonderful time, met people who, before this, had been only names to me, and generally verified what I had always felt; that s-f fandom was my home and other fans and writers my only family. I wished that there were a few more conventions; that I could get to go to one a little oftener than once a year.

Well, when I consult Charlie Brown's Locus, it seems to me that there is a convention every week, and that I get invited to them all. But now that I can go to literally any convention that I want to, my energy level is such that I can't go to many conventions. I don't go to Worldcons because they are just too big; there are more people now at a Westercon than there were at that first Worldcon in—I think it may have been Cleveland, what has happened to those nice little regional conventions with just under a hundred people?

I dreamed once—I think it was in 1969—that I was at a Darkover convention. How ridiculous, I thought; signs that my egomania is getting out of hand. Well, Judy Gerjuoy has been giving the Darkovercons for seven years now, and they show no signs of faltering. Unfortunately, I missed this year (I was in the hospital), but I'm still planning to attend next year.

I also dreamed that at that convention someone had shown me a volume of Darkover filk songs. Well, there was one several years ago; and while there are no signs, as I dreamed then, of a record bring made of these songs by, say, Joan Sutherland, you never can tell!


Truly, my cup runneth over.

Right now I have no real unsatisfied wants—except to get back my singing voice, which the stroke two years ago cut away from me—and to see a UFO.

On the other hand, what's that in the back yard?
Bradley writes about two of her books:
My next Darkover book will be the re-written Heirs of Hammerfell which is due out in November 1989. I don't know what Betsy Wollheim and Sheila Gilbert, editors at DAW, have done to it, and am not worried--unlike young writers who agonize over every word of their deathless prose, I trust editors to try to clarify, not to change. Rediscovery, the Darkover book on which I am now working, is about the rediscovery of Darkover by Terrans—the main characters are David and Elizabeth Lome (parents of Magda) and a fifteen-year-old Leonie Hastur.
Ann Sharp tells a fan:
If you are a Friend of Darkover and live in this area, sooner or later you will end up visiting Greenwalls (MZB's house) on some Darkover-related activity. As for [the help you are offering], oh, how I appreciate you offer -- however: the Darkover Newsletter is published by five people who live within a few blocks of each other in Berkeley, California. The postal permit restricts us to one particular post office. The actual work has to be done here by us.

Issue 44 (March 1989)

front page of issue #44

Darkover Newsletter 44 was published in March 1989 and contains 18 pages.

  • The editor writes a lengthy piece on how to do genealogy research.
  • This issue contains a logic puzzle.
  • A fan complains of being unable to read some of the typed font and the editor has a lengthy reply explaining her typewriter.
  • There is a one-page fiction piece by Jean Lamb (something very rare in this newsletter) called "The Angel at Nevarsin."
  • A fan asks for information on Guild Houses in the area of West Virginia as she is "very interested in creating women's life center in my ideas garnered from the Renunicates' philosophy... Please help if you can." MZB responds: "I really hesitate to recommend Darkovan solutions to Terran problems. That's like recommending 1430 solutions, Catholic, to 1989 problems of women's sexuality. (Just say No, anybody?)."
  • Fans discuss the morality and reality of sex before marriage.
  • A fan writes in about her "laran" and ESP experiences, and Bradley responds: "I still get a little tired of people claiming empathy when they can't use the five senses they certainly have. I am not saying you don't—only that everyone seems to claim empathy even when they obviously don't—they seem to think that a sentimental feeling for animals is all they need."
Bradley writes of genealogy, and of her new-found mildness, in her Letter from MZB:

My secretary Lisa told me this morning that before I left for Norwescon this weekend I ought to provide a Letter from MZB. As it happened, I wasn't feeling too inspired, because I had just gotten started working hard on THE FOREST HOUSE, and I really wanted to work on that. I have spent much of this week working with Jan Burke, the Managing Editor of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine, on the editorial and letter column for the magazine, and doing what amounts to another editorial didn't thrill me. So I said, feeling rather blah about the whole thing, "Well, I can't think of anything to write about." And Lisa said, "Well, write about genealogy."

Now, at first I thought that was a non-starter of an idea. I could have written a blistering editorial about all these people who write in to me suggesting, or demanding, that I provide genealogies for the Darkovan families, but I no longer feel like delivering blistering invective (these days I am milder—much milder), and for a miracle, I didn't have any invectives handy. Lately I've had to think before I write—Confucius say: Make your words sweet because you never know when you may have to eat them—and the vials of my wrath were empty. I've been going to a psychologist lately and keeping all my sadness and anger for her—and for a surprise, I wasn't angry about anything right now. How dull; the spectre of an unfailingly good-natured MZB even bores me.
Bradley also discusses feminism, and politics, in her letter:

People call me a feminist, but I'm not; to me a feminist is one of these Berkeley crazies who goes around writing writing slogans like (Don't laugh; I actually saw this written in Berkeley): WOMEN WILL NEVER BE FREE TILL THE LAST MALE IS CASTRATED or THE MONSTROUS MUTANT Y CHROMOSOME MUST BE WHOLLY EXTIRPATED FROM THE HUMAN RACE. This is why when asked if I am a feminist I say "Heaven forbid." I have worn a pin given out by Liberal Catholics which says ORDAIN WOMEN OR STOP BAPTIZING THEM, and I am firmly in support of increased wages and union labor—and I feel very strongly that this country does not exist to make more millionaires. I hate the line "What's good for General Motors is good for the Country," and I do not share the idea that while the stock market goes up, the country is prosperous. [snipped] I was all in favor of the ERA—the silliest statement I heard in those years was Phyllis Schlafley's comment that it would 'Interfere with our God-given right to stay home and take care of our children.' And I thought, "Now what right is that? Most of the working women I know work because they are gruesomely short of money; they don't work for a second color TV, but to put food on the table, or clothes on the backs of their kids from somewhere else than from the Salvation Army Thrift store. Having a job is a stark necessity for most women who have children. Some well-off people may be able to keep a wife as an expensive luxury, but kids make it almost impossible; so I've always been in favor of equal pay for equivalent work.


This is the first and probably the last time I will ever talk politics in this column; and I refuse to read a lot of letters now about politics.

[much snipped]

Issue 45 (June 1989)

front page of issue #45

Darkover Newsletter 45 was published in June 1989 and contains 20 pages.

  • There are several statements by Elisabeth Waters to fans that touch upon the subject of Bradley making a concentrated effort to not read fan stories.
  • The editor writes a lengthy article on genealogy.
  • The editor, who is still using the font readers have complained about, says she has bought a DeskJet Plus laser printer.
  • This issue contains a logic puzzle.
  • There is no mention of Walter Breen; Bradley and Breen's divorce had been finalized the month before.
  • Bradley tells fans that the "Gregg Press" hardcover Darkover editions are out of print.
  • Walter Breen, a constant presence in early issues of this newsletter, has been largely absent for a number of years, but in this issue there are some very rare short comments from him. He answers some questions from a fan about Darkover geography, timelines, and other trivia-type queries.
  • A fan writes that Darkover kept them from committing suicide: "There once was time that I had seriously considered removing myself from this stagnant planet earth. Once I discovered Darkover I now have a safe escape whenever I need it."
  • Elisabeth Waters writes a fan who wants to alert MZB to a short story the fan has written: "...MZB's newest Darkover novel is the story of what happens when the Terrans rediscover Darkover, so she can't read your story (when she's working on something she doesn't read anything on that subject...)"
A fan supports Bradley, her feminism, and ideas:
If any of you see Marion Zimmer Bradley in the near future, please tell her I think her books are wonderful and I hope she writes many more in the future. I am a staunch feminist and NOW member, but I have never understood the criticisms some feminists have leveled against Ms.Bradley. I think fantasy has an important place in our lives and does not necessarily substitute for action. Before a person can create anything new, he/she haus to be able to envision it, dream it if you will. Ms. Bradley's books and many other science fiction authors have provided women with something sadly lacking in the media and literature: strong female characters to serve as role models, and a vision of possible alternative societies where women are either not exploited or fight back effectively. Sure, there is vicarious satisfaction in reading the novels, but they also give us increased self-esteem as a gender, and hope, which often translates into optimistic energy and action (as my jargon suggests, I'm a psychologist.) Write on, Ms. Bradley! [Bradley responds: "The one really fine comment I ever heard by a well-known feminist: "Before anything can happen, someone has to imagine it."]
Bradley writes in her Letter from MZB that she loves music but not rock music as it is far too loud; she goes on to discuss sound and decibels, AND puts in a plug for some original music that is summarized in the MZB Enterprises flyer as "A group of very funny songs about science and academia, by Dr. Jane and the Primordial Oohz. Cassette $11.00; Lyric/chord book $5.00.":
Well, I've finally found some modern music this back number likes. Believe it or not, I really enjoyed a group of rock musicians who call themselves "Doctor Jane and the Primordial Oohz" and whose synthesizer player is my son Patrick. Actually there are two Patricks in the Oohz in addition to Dr. Jane, my foster-son Kristoph, and Cynthia McQuillin, whom some of you may remember from THE KEEPER'S PRICE. And I actually sang backup on one of the songs on their new tape, WACKADEMIA.[6] (We will be carrying both the tape and the lyric/chord book; see order form.) Much as I love Jane Robinson and her music, I still turn the volume down when I listen to it. I frequently wish we had a law like England's, where the playing of any radio audible to the general public is punishable by a fifty pound fine. I despise noise pollution no less than any other pollution.
A fan asks Bradley:

I am sorry that telepaths are dying out on Darkover. It seems a shame such talent—and its potential for good—should be lost. I have always been pairtial to telepaths, ever since my introduction to them through Zenna Henderson's] gentle People. I have always longed to be part of such a society, a society where the mannerisms one uses in everyday life to hide one's fears and incertainties [sic] are meaningless, and one is known for what the inner person has to offer. Would that we lived in a world where we could be that honest with each other, and with ourselves!


Ever since I can remember, I have 'removed' to other places. It started out as extending or adding new episodes to T.V. series such as Rawhide, Lost in Space, and Star Trek. I also immersed myself in books. I credit Lord of the Rings with saving my sanity in second year university! I love books I can 'move in' to. Anne McCaffrey's Pern books have provided me with one such world. Darkover is another . . . . It must be interesting for you to see how others perceive your Darkovan world! or do you get angry when people seem to miss the points you were trying to put across? [Bradley does not respond.]
A fan says she is writing her own Darkover story:

Like many of the people who have contributed to the Darkover anthologies; I, too, have created my own world where I live in much of my spare time. Not surprisingly, it is peopled by telepaths, but they face far different social problems than those of Darkover do. I started writing the 'recent' history of these people several years ago, and am now making some initial attempts to get these books published.


One area that has not been addressed in Darkover's history is the actual rediscovery by the Terran Empire. How did it happen? Who was there? How did they communicate? You mention that one of the families was specifically bred to communicate with other life forms. Perhaps these people had a hand in establishing communications between the Terrans and the Darkovans. I have alluded to this in my short story. Perhaps it would be a theme for you to explore in a novel. [ Elizabeth Waters responds: "...MZB's newest Darkover novel is the story of what happens when the Terrans rediscover Darkover, so she can't read your story (when she's working on something she doesn't read anything on that subject—at the minute she's limited to mysteries and non-fiction)."]
A fan describes at great length an anomaly in some Darkover books regarding some characters' relationships, and wants to write about this in some fic:
If it is possible and this isn't just a big misprint, I (and my associates) would like to claim first rights to the excuse of why they are alive and the meeting of Jeff Kerwin, Jr., and Damon and company (or should I say his grandparents). It could be quite interesting.... [Bradley responds: "I haven't the least idea—I exercise no censorship over what other people write! MZB"]

Issue 46 (September 1989)

front page of issue #46

Darkover Newsletter 46 was published in September 1989 and contains 18 pages.

  • The editor writes another long article on how to do genealogy research.
  • This issue contains some small illos by Hannah Shapero which are reprinted from Darkover Songbook.
  • There is much discussion about music and quality and how loud is should be played. Includes a lot of "kids these days" statements.
  • About the Darkover "atlas": "John Shimwell did compile a Darkovan part-grammar, part-dictionary, but it is out-of-print --that is, the original manuscript is now in such poor shape that it can't be duplicated again." See Darkovan Dictionary.
  • This issue contains a logic puzzle.
  • Bradley's con schedule for the rest of 1989 is printed: "October 6–8, Bouchercon, Philadelphia -- November 5–6, Baldwin School Book Fair, Bryn Mawr -- November 24–26, Grand Council Meeting. It was in Bryn Mawr that she had another stroke.
  • A fan mentions playing a role-playing game "through the mail" and Ann Sharp has a reply that both tells fans of Bradley's disapproval of gaming, and some of her own unawareness of the creativity of fans: "... role-playing games, MZB is allergic to them if they involve Darkovan characters. Can they be played through the mails?."
A fan writes about putting Darkover "to use" in one's daily life:
I agree with MZB that trying to be a real-life Renunciate, with all the Darkovan trappings, isn't a very viable option. However, there is nothing wrong with saying to yourself, having read about Darkoveri Renunciates, "I will find more ways in the here-and-now to stop allowing myself to be pushed every which way by my family and learn to be more assertive about those things which matter to me most." And one valuable tool in this process can be having a way to communicate regularly with a variety of other women who at least know what a Renunciate is. There is a definite line between enjoying Darkovan stories and wanting to live them. One way to get the latter out of your system is to write your own stories. Put your Darkovan persona and all the adventures she has down on a piece of paper...and then leave all that stuff there and get on with your real life! When you first start doing this, there's a temptation to spend all of your time writing, but after a while, you find that you are getting it out of your system and spending less and less time on it. Finally, the day comes when you take a deep breath of relief, say, 'Well, so much for that,' and stick it at the bottom of your desk drawer.
The Letter from MZB:

There's no tour this year—I sort of wish there were, because my health is so much better I'd enjoy the trip so much more; but if all goes well, and MISTS keeps on selling—and it shows no sign of slacking off, some day there may be another one. We'll keep you posted.

As for what I'm doing now, what I've spent most of the last year doing is editing the new magazine, MZB's Fantasy Magazine. I still haven't, even after seven years of editing SWORD AND SORCERESS for DAW, gotten tired of reading manuscripts; but I sometimes wish the people who submit them would read my guidelines first. Anyone who knows anything about "the editorial we" knows that I don't use hard science—and that a story which has even as much doctrinaire feminism as I can get away with in S&S will get very short shrift indeed. It's true I do and will violate most of my guidelines if the story is good enough—but what these kids send me almost never is....

We are a wide open market, and we love to work with new writers and discover them; so take a chance. (Editors don't sit up on high waiting to shoot down young writers for fun, you know; most days I just hope everything in my incoming mail is the next Hugo winner. But you should see what I usually get instead!)

[snipped] I think of [my upcoming book] THE INHERITOR as a mystery, and some time next year Tor will be publishing another —well, crime story packaged as a horror novel—called WITCH HILL. And I would like to write a classic murder mystery some day soon—if I live long enough. Then in November I will be at the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr for their book fair—and then, late in the month, at Darkovercon. (See you there?) HEIRS OF HAMMERFELL will be out in December, in hardcover.

This is, of course, all God willing and no more strokes.[7][8]
A fan writes of fanfic and replies to another fan:
I am of a practical turn of mind (Capricorn), and I don't see much point in fantasizing unless there is some concrete result, such a s a story. To[Barbara R's] suggestion that somebody write the true story about Hastur and Cassilda: why doesn't she do it the way she thinks it should be? I have more than a sneaking suspicion that the "true story" is somewhere in MZB's subconscious mind, and so the best audience for any story a fan writes on this topic is one of the Darkover fiction fanzines.

Issue 47 (December 1989)

front page of issue #47

Darkover Newsletter 47 was published in December 1989 and contains 18 pages. This was the last issue that was copyrighted by MZB Enterprises.

  • The editor discusses how science fiction deals with Christmas and asks how "should a science fiction holiday story be put together?" She mentions no other holidays except Christmas and Thanksgiving.
  • Bradley writes that Walter Breen is preparing an updated Darkover Concordance with character biographies.
  • A fan comments on the mention of the word "Darkover" in early non-Darkover book of Bradley's. Ann Sharp replies: "At the time The Door Through Space was published, MZB did not know that any of the Darkover books would ever be published. She used some of the background of what was then her private Darkover universe in The Door Through Space. Later, when the Darkover books became a series, she put the Dry Towns back on Darkover where they'd been in the first place."
  • This issue contains a logic puzzle.
  • A fan says a friend of hers is working on a Darkover botanical survey.
  • Bradley writes: "I have lost count of the New Age types who solemnly assure me that I've created my own reality (e.g., diabetes) and could cure it if I really wanted to."
  • A fan writes: "As to role-playing through the mail, I should think you can do it. A friend and I managed to do so for many years -- though we didn't call it that back then -- we were just writing a story and were the characters... it was great fun, and I'd think anyone interested could do it. It also teaches potential writers a great dead about characterization!"
Bradley's Letter from MZB begins with "ALARUMS AND EXCURSIONS. This has been a fairly disastrous time." It describes her experiences with the October 17, 1989 earthquake. Her house was fine, though the cable television was cut. But there were problems with Walter Breen.
Around 1:00 pm the next day, the phone rang. It was Walter. 'Lisa, the house is on fire, and I'm not joking!" (He did have a gas leak.) 'Have you called the fire department?' Lisa said with admirable restraint, swallowing the urge to snarl, 'Don't call me, call 991 [911?] .' He said, no, of course. When did he ever do anything so sensible?' So Lisa said, 'Get out of the building,' and called them herself. When the firemen arrived, the fire was out; my foster-son Kristoph had turned off the gas -- and Walter had made it as far as his front porch, in his bathrobe, with his box of computer diskettes, having delayed to shut down the computer and grab the manuscript of his current book. (He has his priorities.)
Bradley also discusses her health, and the major stroke she had:
On Tuesday, two weeks after the Earthquake, I came out of the Berkeley Public Library and fell flat on my face. I picked myself up unhurt (except for a skinned knee and sore wrist), and at once reviewed such things as the names of my children, my street address, and so forth to be sure my brain was still working. Finding myself, I thought, undamaged, I walked home. I was to fly to Philadelphia on Thursday, to speak at the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr and appear at their Book Fair on Sunday. I was feeling rather putrid, and I told Lisa I didn't feel like going. She quite properly ignored this, as I tend to get cold feet before every speaking engagement. (She did ask if I thought I should go to the hospital, and I said "Nol" She says that next time, that's the statement she intends to ignore.) So I went, spoke to three classes at the school, went for lunch, then started crying and found myself unable to stop. Fortunately, Lisa had been concerned enough about me to call the people running the book fair after she put me on the plane and warn them that if I appeared to be having a stroke they should take me to the hospital, which they did. There a brain scan revealed another stroke, and I spent two weeks there with an IV in one arm, while I used the other to write part of THE FOREST HOUSE by hand in a notebook. Then I wound up in a rehabilitation hospital there for a couple of weeks, after which Jan Burke flew out and brought me back to a Bay Area hospital. I emerged a week ago, just in time for Christmas, having lost seven pounds. I'd rather go on a diet. It was the hardest seven pounds I ever lost.
Jean Lamb writes Bradley:

Thought I'd drop you a note and let you know I hope you're feeling better than you did this last winter. I just got through reading a book called After the Stroke, which was a journal kept by May Sarton after hers (by all the evidence a mild to moderate one; from her account, her medicine made her feel worse than the stroke did) and the effect it had on her creative process. ... I think you would enjoy it. There are many times when she felt nibbled to death by Mundania, and I can imagine you might get the same way every so often.

I'm looking forward to sending you a story for the next Darkover anthology . . . . I am still hoping to see Sword and Sorceress VI one of these days, but I can guess that DAW will go as it will, and not as we would have it (Curtis wanted them to return The Rivals because they were just sitting on it in the middle of May and they still won't send it back, and now I have to make an extra copy and send it to him so it can be circulated again! Bleah! Acckthp! as Bill the Cat would say). Just as well I don't have the Gift of strangling people from long distance!...

Anyway, for all my nitpicking, bitching, and moaning about this and that (which I am forced to admit I enjoy immensely), I do love your books.
Nina Boal writes about one of her stories, its male character, and she gets some pushback from Bradley:

On the subject of male equivalents to the Free Amazons, I have the following thoughts . . . .

I was one of the people who wrote a Darkover story ("Flight" in Red Sun of Darkover) where the emmasca male protagonist is escaping from slavery in the Dry Towns. Briefly, he reflects that there is nothing like a Free Amazon Guildhouse to shelter him. He is left to his own devices as to where he will fit in once he reaches the Domains. My story provides no solution. Darkover is a patriarchad, sex-role-defined society. It is quite understandable that women, rebelling against their limiting roles, would found a female-only Guild. In their perception, men have privileges on account of their gender. I don't think that contemporary readers of Darkover books can deny that this male privilege exists. But this made privilege depends on acquiring the "proper" and "manly" traits expected of boys and men. Perceived "effeminacy" receives the societad disapproval that made homosexuality does not (male homosexuality is acceptable as long as it is between "real men." Female homosexuality isn't). Thendara House shows made effeminates in a bar, reviled and considered as less than men (and therefore less than human). The Shattered Chain shows Garris, an effeminate sex-object, escaping from his master. In a society as sex-role separated asDarkoveris,IdoubtthattheRenunciateswilleverygettothe point where they would ever accept such men as members, even if they desired to join them. I don't think that the issue here is so much whether the Renunciates ought to accept these men as it is that they are highly unlikely to do so. So where can these men, who don't meet Darkover's "manhood" requirements, go? Where can they fit in? They are left to their own devices as much as my own character in "Flight" is. [Bradley responds: ["One thing that infuriates me is when males demand (as in the Darkover cons) to be, or join, Free Amazons. Nevarsin is for men and forbids women -- so the FA's return the compliment. If men attend a women's meeting, women cannot (or at least do not) speak freely. If anyone wants to create a male equivalent of FA's -- though it is not needed, men already have everything -- feel free. Men -- even transsexuals -- cannot be Free Amazons. but dammit, they still ask. They never learn."] [Ann Sharp adds]: "If a society permits emasculation by mutilation to any significant degree, there must be a place in that society for these individual; otherwise, they're merely another form of amputee."]
A fan writes about being inspired to write her own Darkover story and thanks Bradley:
I've always made up stories, generally to fill in those boring hours spent ironing, washing dishes, or waiting for a program to compile. But when I tried to get them down on paper, they seemed to evaporate, leaving such silly nonsense that 1 tore them up. But when I got hold of a copy of World Wreckers, that changed. My favorite Darkovan character is Danilo Syrtis. I don't quite know why; it's almost as if I recognized him. I was delighted to find Dani once more in the World Wreckers. But, although I enjoyed the book, I was so annoyed with Regis. Illogical, I know, but I hated him for the way he dismissed Dani's love and devotion. So, on finishing the book, I sat down and wrote a story to "pay him back." In it, Dani gets involved with a Terran girl, sent to sort out the HQ Computer Centre, where someone is creating havoc with a matrix. It's by no means great, but I so enjoyed writing it! so many, many thanks to Mrs. Bradley for fincdly getting me "unblocked."

Issue 48 (March 1990)

front page of issue #48

Darkover Newsletter 48 was published in March 1990 and contains 20 pages. This issue was copyrighted by Marion Zimmer Bradley, not MZB Enterprises.

  • The editor writes of "New Age," what it is, and how to incorporate it into fiction: "Look at the illustration to the left [referring to the illo on the newsletter's first page]—our NEW AGE heroine, clearly about to go into action with her starstone. I have been reading a number of books which make quite free with various tools of the "new age" philosophy (for want of a better word), some welI-written, some—silly. Just what are their proper literary uses?"
  • A fan, for the very first time in the newsletter, provides her electronic mail address: "My CompuServe User ID is *****,**** and my GEnie User ID is ********." [addresses redacted].
  • There is a mention for the first time (and some confusion) of the possibility of fanfic on computers. A fan states: "I am in that group, however, who wishes to write a Darkover story. I have WordPerfect and may shortly get hooked up to CompuServe. Since I have seen one story printed in The Four Moons of Darkover, I am particularly interested in knowing where to send my story that way." Elisabeth Waters corrects him: "The story in Four Moons of Darkover wasn't sent over CompuServe; that was simply how its author first got in touch with Mrs.Bradley so that he could find out where to get guidelines for the anthology."
  • Bradley says that Mary Renault was her favorite writer. "She was charming to me -- the one letter I got before she died -- and I mourned as for a family member. A great exception to the usual Terran."
  • Fans discuss more Christian holidays being celebrated on Darkover.
  • Fans discuss women's oppression as opposed to men's oppression.
  • This issue includes a logic puzzle.
  • There is an announcement that Elisabeth Waters has won a 1989 Gryphon Award. It is an award for "women writers who have not published more than two books or several short stories professionaly." It is judged on a manuscript of about 75,000 to 100,000 words that is sent to Andre Norton. The award in 1990 will be a trophy given at the American Convention in San Diego in August, $500 and a possible book publication.
Bradley's Letter from MZB notes that she has recovered fairly well from her stroke. She also mentions Contraband for the first time:
Last time, we had the bad news; the stroke, just before Darkovercon. This time, God willing, we have the good news; I'm working again. After all that time in the hospital (and I'm still going to therapy), I have found out that once again my mind is brimming over with plans for new books. I had begun to think that REDISCOVERY would be the last, but now I have ideas for at least two or three new ones.

Of course if the stroke had been a really severe one, HEIRS OF HAMMERFELL would have been the last Darkover novel. Not that HEIRS is a bad book; but it's far from my best, which I still think is CITY OF SORCERY.

REDISCOVERY, as I have mentioned before, is the story of Leonie and Lorill Hastur—and of Elizabeth and David Lorne. It explains, I think, why Leonie is such a technophobe ... and why Darkovan history took the turn it did.

The second Darkover novel I am actually working on now (REDISCOVERY is about two chapters from the end) is RETURN TO DARKOVER, in which the major characters are Lew Alton's daughter Marja; Regis, Danilo, and Linnea, Lady Hastur. There is also a Free Amazon, distant kin to Danilo, whose name—by chance, she is no relation to the Rafaella in CITY OF SORCERY...

The third Darkover novel, waiting in the wings as it were, is called CONTRABAND. At present all I know about this one is that it covers the events in HERITAGE, mentioned between Regis and Danilo; and is about Rafael Hastur and Rafael Syrtis. No other details yet.

And the major project about which I've been thinking since pre-Darkover days, since I was fifteen or so, is a novel of Roman Britain. This story is actually mentioned briefly in MISTS OF AVALON (at the death of Kevin), the story of the treachery of Eilan, a druid Priestess who fell in love with a Roman and falsified the saced oracles. It's enormously complex and I go back to it every time my inspiration about Darkover flags. (I still feel that "The Shadow" (RED SUN OF DARKOVER) and "The Lesson of the Inn" (SWORD OF CHAOS) are my best short stories. Maybe some day I will (or Lisa and I will) get around to writing that novel about Hilary Castamir.

But that's still in the future. Look how many novels the late Robert Heinlein wrote after everybody thought his career was over.

I'm still here and still writing.
A fan says that Bradley is her "mother confessor"—and more:
So many people come to Darkover in a time of trouble. I hope MZB knows how much her world has benefitted her readers -- I personally think of her as my private therapist, 'mother confessor,' and head of the family. Thank you, Marion, for creating this best of all possible worlds and letting us share it -- and making it a world where we can find healing for sore hearts.
A male fan writes of differing masculinity on Darkover:
As a male, I do not waint to be a Free Amazon. And I do not believe that sandal wearers on Darkover would truly desire to be Renunciates. Sandal wearers do not fit the "male" role in Darkover's made-dominant society, but it would be silly for them to imitate the "femade" role. Instead, they redefine what an appropriate "male" role is for themselves (each with greater or lesser success). On Earth, many masculine, "straight-acting" ombredin regularly remind themselves that Gay Liberation began at Stonewall with a rebellion by drag queens (embredin). [Bradley responds: "You should see the men who ask to be Renunciates. I give them the shortest shrift I have on me. Freud—my pet hate—was so intellectually dishonest he sickens me. He swore every female wants to be raped by her father. Imagine these little girls being told that they were to blame for their own violation!"
Nina Boal clarifies some things about the letter she had in the last issue:

Probably due to space considerations, there was some editing done on the letter which was printed in DNL 47.[9] Unfortunately, in this process, the viewI was trying to express was made unclear. I want to take this opportunity to clarify my views on men and Renunciates. No, I do NOT think that men should join the Renunciates. Because of patriarchal society and male privilege, there is a need for women to be able to meet with each other without men present. When men are present, my experience has usually been that attention is focused on them and away from women. Until patriarchy and sexism are things of the past, women will need their own space to deal with their own issues.

Individual men may have their oppressions, based on race, class, or sexual orientation. They can suffer rape and sexual abuse. But men are not oppressed AS MEN; they are a privileged group. They have their enclaves of power where women are excluded, not only in the "men's clubs" where many business decisions are made, but in the male-only corporate boardrooms and political enclaves of our society. I never meant to imply in any way that men should ever be allowed into either Darkovan or Terran Renunciate groups. This goes for transsexuals as well; as far as I am concerned, a transsexual was born and socialized as a man and is a man. How many times has any one ever heard of a White person deciding that he or she is really Black, and so goes through various operations? Not often. It makes no more sense for a man to try and become a "woman." It can't be done. [Bradley responds: "Men are always asking me—including transsexuals, pre- and post-operative, but not limited to them—if they can attend Renunciate Meetings, and are angry when I refuse. But after all, there is a penalty for invading women's space—and in the books it is death or castration. Are the men who want to attend Renunciate groups willing to incur the penalty? or are they—like the female fighters in the SCA—just trying to play chess by the rules of checkers? I clearly set it up that men can't be Renunciates; on Darkover, men are able to form any groups they like, including monasteries. Men don't even let women attend choral services in the Nevarsin one—as the Christians continue to baptize but don't ordain women."]

Issue 49 (June 1990)

front page of issue #49

Darkover Newsletter 49 was published in June 1990 and contains 16 pages.

  • The editor comments on Barbara Bush's commencement address at Wellesley College and the remarks that women's priorities should be domestic and taking care of their families. The editorial also talks of gender roles and rights in our society today.
  • A fan, Jean Lamb, writes: "Hurrah for the news about possible new Darkover books. (See, whining and groveling does too work -- okay, people, remember that collection everyone promised to take up for the Story Fairy if she came through for MZB? Time to pay up now!) I am utterly delighted to hear of Return to Darkover, and look forward to Contraband (of course, I hope for appearances from My Favorite Headblind Hastur, but, to be honest, I'll take anything I get!) [snipped] Hurray for all those lovely people who want to write more Darkover stories! I've been in contact with [Benjamin B], and it's been a lot of fun to toss around ideas."
  • Bradley writes: "By the way, there are at least two more Darkover books in the works. I've taken a clue from HEIRS OF HAMMERFELL that the best character was the dog. At least that's what I think—what do you think?" She later comments in this issue that making the best character the dog was deliberate, but does not elaborate.
  • There is a flyer for Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine.
  • Bradley announces the guidelines for the next DAW Darkover Anthology, and includes: "On August 1, 1990, I shall begin reading stories for a new anthology of Darkover short stories. Since last years anthology was a Free Amazon one, let's give Free Amazon stories a rest for a year....Original stories only please—if your story has been printed in a fanzine, I've already seen it."
  • Bradley writes: "Funny how much you can tell about a person by her choice of Heaven or Hell - to me, Heaven is backstage at the opera. Hell Is Texas, pure and simple - or Hell is a place where there's only football on television and only beer in the fridge."
  • This issue contains a logic puzzle.
Bradley's comments to fan letters are sparse and short, as is the Letter from MZB which includes a health update:
This month I've been enjoying a very strange new perspective on life: the perspective you get from a bed in the intensive care unit in the hospital. I barely remember going into the hospital —the next thing I knew (two days later), there I was on the ventilator. I understand from what I've heard since that I came very close to dying—but for better or worse I'm still here. Sometime Saturday morning I understand I came out of it and decided to make a fight for it. I spent the next week pretty well obsessed with cracked ice and with certain sadistic nurses who gave me 1/2 teaspoonfull on the hour. By now, however, I'm back, out of the hospital, off oxygen— after one trip back to the> hospital about which the less said the better. I want to thank:, everybody for their nice cards and letters.
Elisabeth Waters also writes about Bradley's heart attack:
For the benefit of those of you who may wonder just what Marion was doing in the hospital, she had a heart attack on May 17. [technical medical info and personal experience snipped] This experience has made us all much more conscious of her mortality. MZB's Fantasy Magazine is incorporated, so it can survive her, but MZB Enterprises is not. We are therefore closing down MZB Enterprises except for the Darkover Newsletter, which Marion wants to continue as long as ishe lives. This means you should take a good look at the order form on the back page and if there's anything there you want, order it now. We plan to dispose of our present inventory as soon as possible, hopefully by the end of this year.

Issue 50 (September 1990)

front page of issue #50

Darkover Newsletter 50 was published in September 1990 and contains 20 pages. It contains sparse art by Morning Glory G'Zell, Hannah Shapero and Laeli Williams. It was published by MZB Enterprises.

  • This issue includes a logic puzzle.
  • There are many letters from fans which discuss: co-education, Orthodox Judaism, marriage and children...
  • The editor says this issue is number fifty but "(actually, forty-three or forty-seven, depending on how you count double issues) issues of DNL." This makes sense, as she is ignoring issues #29 and #30 which were never published.
  • MZB Enterprises merchandise advertised in the back of the zine has a note that the "final closeout expires 12/15/1990" This reflects the closure of this company due to Bradley's ill health.
  • A fan writes a very detailed, well-thought out letter about books in the romance genre, their appeal and their readership. Bradley's response: "You can have my share of romances and I will never ask for a change -- It's not a moral issue, just de gustibus honest disputandum. I am not myself much of a romance fan, but at seven I loved Myrtle Reed. Moralities don't belong in fiction -- Opinion." Ann Sharp vehemently disagrees with Bradley, and has a lengthy response, one which includes many comments about the romance genre.
  • Bradley says: "As for feminism, I've never understood why selling shoes at Macy's is spiritually preferable to cooking and looking after kids. I became a writer because I refused to work eight hours and come home to cook and clean while my husband worked eight hours, came home and read the paper."
  • Bradley writes that she is "working on the Roman Britain story of Eilan, working title, 'The Forest House.' It's under contract to Viking and was sidetracked by 1) Earthquake 2) Stroke 3) Heart Attack, but it is now underway again." She hopes it will be published in September 1991.
Elisabeth Waters comments on several things, two of them Bradley's health, and the other some upcoming book plans:
MZB is doing much better; in fact she's staging one of her usual miraculous recoveries. The cardiologist says that he doesn't see any reason she can't attend the Darkover Grand Council Meeting Thanksgiving weekend, and I've already ordered her plane tickets, so let's all keep our fingers crossed and/or pray to whatever deities we worship.... The first draft of 'Rediscovery' has been turned into DAW, and 'Return to Darkover' is started,' though I'm not sure how far along she is on that one. She's also talking about doing a Darkover novel (tentatively titled Contraband) about Regis's and Danilo's fathers, who were killed by smuggled Terran weaponry.... On the whole, life goes on pretty much as it did before, it's just that MZB has to take a slower pace. So we're trying to simplify things and make life a bit easier and more pleasant for all of us.
Bradley writes in her Letter from MZB that Darkover has been around for a quarter of a century, which makes her feel old. The letter is also a very personal, extensive autobiography:
I have just realized that Darkover has now been in existence for upwards of a quarter of a century, and there are probably people out there who haven't a clue as to how the non-organization which calls itself the Friends came into existence. There are people who think the ultimate compliment is to tell me that their mother read the Darkover Books "when she was a kid." (This of course makes me feel very old; because, like all writers, some days I feel older than—as Darkovans would say—Zandru's grandmother! But most of the time—also like all writers—I am a permanent sixteen years old.) When I stop to reckon it up, I am perpetually astonished to realize that I might very well have been a grandmother by now if my oldest son weren't a confirmed bachelor. So it occurred to me that I might as well give notice to the years that have passed by making this issue of the newletter a tribute to a quarter of a century with the Friends of Darkover.
Bradley wrote about becoming a fan and her start in science fiction:

Oh, yes, science fiction. The first such story I remember reading was a Roy Rockwood novel, THROUGH SPACE TO MARS, in my grade school library when I was about seven; at eleven I read the well-known KING IN YELLOW by Robert W. Chambers, whose historicals I had read. It had belonged to my grandfather; my mother scolded me because she thought it would give me nightmares, but it never did. I spent a summer in the Thousand Islands near the St. Lawrence River and was allowed when I went home to take the train from Watertown. My summer employer, on bidding me goodbye, tucked into my hands a copy of Dale Carnegie's HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE, saying he wished someone had given him a copy at myage. At Utica, where I had to change trains, I was thoroughly bored with the hypocritical platitudes of Mr Carnegie—which showed how to lie and cheat to be rich and popular—and I got off resolved to consign Carnegie to a wastebasket and buy myself a copy of Weird Tales. It came under the same ban as KING IN YELLOW, but I thought my mother—who never censored my reading otherwise—would not really mind; and I was a big girl now.

But Weird Tales was not on that newsstand; so I bought a copy of Startling Stories, summer 1946. The lead story was "The Dark World" by Henry Kuttner (I later learned it was by Catherine Moore Kuttner—she told me herself), and as the train went through the long twilight to Albany, I discovered science fiction and fandom together. By the time I got to Albany I had discovered not only that I wanted to write, but what I wanted to write. I atttended Teacher's College in Albany for a couple of years and met my first husband through the pages of Planet Stories.

In Texas I kept on being a fan; and there I began writing and selling when I was barely 23; to the late Tony Boucher at F&SF. I also had a son, David. I have also written everything I could sell and got my feet wet in editing—during my second marriage—by creating an astrology magazine (1966-67). In 1955 or thereabout I sold my first novel, SEVEN FROM THE STARS, and in the same year, I think, my first Darkover novel, THE PLANET SAVERS. I certainly never looked back from there.
Ann Sharp says she is trying out a computer creative writing program called "WritePro": "[It] uses the computer's attributes to focus on any creative writing ability you may happen to have on the important story elements. It directs you to write in way that specifically focus on the 'elements' of a good -- i.e. saleable -- plot." She also writes about something she read in the newspaper, an article about a woman who had turned to customized writing in order to make a living:
On September 19, the Wall Street Journal ran a short article about a woman who turned her hobbies into a thriving business. This is the sort of article WSJ prints regularly, right? In this case, her hobbies were computers and . . . steamy novels. The first thing she did will seem natural to us; she took a "Writing Romances" course. When she'd nnished, she had a manuscript that I'd describe as a "standard contemporary." When it didnt sell, she concluded—not that the book might need improvement oh no—that the market was impossibly crowded. she cut out the middleman—agent, publisher, and supermarket. From her garage she now publishes customized books—you, the purchaser, fill in the blanks on a form. For $45, you choose the names of the leading characters: for $15 more, she includes your hobbies, best friends, favorite flowers, first kiss, pets, special songs, and other details. You choose the "sensuality level" of the text from "Candlelit" to "Burning Embers." Her program takes this data, inserts it in the text and cranks out a hundred-page hard-cover novel in an hour. Prices vary up to the $150 extra-special, and pleased customers have returned for second or third orders . . . some with a different paramour each time. So far no one seems to be trying this out in science fiction—and if they are, dont tell us. We'd like to remain at least slightly sheltered!


  1. ^ Could be referring to Starstone or the DAW Darkover Anthologies.
  2. ^ Actually, "Would you like to win $20 --$15--or $10?" -- from the rules for the first Darkover Short Story Contest in 1979. Or "2-6 cents a word as an advance against royalties" for the DAW Darkover Anthologies.
  3. ^ Perhaps a reference to an effeminate man? Or cross dressing?
  4. ^ A reference to the speed limit on highways.
  5. ^ "S&S" refers to "Sword & Sorcery."
  6. ^ See Virtual Music Videos for an example of a fanwork that utilizes a track from this album in 2002.
  7. ^ Bradley was at Bryn Mawr on October 29, 1989 when she had one of her most rehabilitating strokes, one which was downplayed for fans at first: "Just for your information, it was announced on GEnie that Marion Zimmer Bradley suffered another minor stroke while lecturing at Bryn Mawr, PA. She's currently in the hospital there, but the primary problem seems to be she's bored of being in the hospital. It definitely doesn't look serious." -- Marion Zimmer Bradley, November 19, 1989
  8. ^ "I got a letter from one of the people taking care of Marion Zimmer Bradley that I thought I'd pass along. They asked me to thank everyone who sent along get-well cards and letters to Marion. She's home, doing better and making good progress on her stroke, although the doctors are limiting her to no more than two hours of work a day. She hopes to be back up to speed soon, and I've been told that while she won't be travelling out of the Bay Area for a while, she will be doing some signings locally once she gets approval..." -- Marion Zimmer Bradley, January 1, 1990
  9. ^ Ann Sharp, the editor, profusely apologizes, saying that it was due to a combination of space, harried times due to Bradley's stroke, and more: Bradley hadn't even seen the second half of Boal's letter.