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Title: Starstone
Publisher: Thendara House Publications (first three issues), Friends of Darkover (the last two issues)
Editor(s): Marion Zimmer Bradley & Walter Breen
Date(s): 1978-1980
Medium: print
Fandom: Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover
Language: English
External Links:
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flyer from Darkover Newsletter #13/14

Starstone is a Darkover fiction and non-fiction fanzine edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley and Walter Breen.

The fiction was gen, non-explicit het, and occasional non-explicit slash.

It was the fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and art offshoot of Darkover Newsletter and created after the newsletter began holding contests for poems, stories, and essays.

The Second All-Darkover Zine Published

Starstone was the second all-Darkover zine published. Jumeaux preceded it by three months.

While "Starstone" had been announced way back in March 1976, it may have rankled Breen, Bradley, and the Friends of Darkover, that another Darkover zine was completed three months before their own publication.

The first public comment by Bradley and Breen about "Jumeaux" included their offer to put some of the material of the first issue of Jumeaux in Starstone, as "Lynne probably wouldn't want to be swamped by orders." [1] It is unknown, if Holdom took them up on this offer.

Its Relationship to MZB's Pro Books

Many of the stories were in "Starstone" were reprinted in the DAW Books anthologies, and were generated by three Darkover Short Story Contests.

Choosing the Title

The zine's title comes from a crystal with the ability to enhance telepathic powers if used correctly. Touching the stone causes damage to the person attuned to it.

Early on, a fan suggested the name "Airillin."

It was Jacqueline Lichtenberg, however, who named this zine. In the third issue of Darkover Newsletter (January 1977), she wrote:
["Starsone"] would give otherwise hidden glimpses of Darkovan life/times/history/politics/future etc. -- things you'd otherwise have to consult a Keeper to find out. "Keeper's Tower" would also be a good title...

Its Beginnings

The idea for this zine series was first mentioned by Walter Breen and Marion Zimmer Bradley in 1976.

Bradley and Breen called the content of "Starstone" "apocryphal stories," and compared its inevitably to the fan activity that "has been going on for some years now in Star Trek's various parallel universes."

From Breen in March 1976:

APOCRYPHAL STORIES: An annual publication is being prepared, to contain additions to the Darkover mythos by other hands, including (but not limited to) poems, songs, short stories, ballads, and other material filling in gaps, similar to what has been going on for some years now in Star Trek's various parallel universes. We have seen quite a few such items already ranging in merit from hopelessly crude to highly creditable. And now a forum exists for these and similar pieces. Submissions to this publication (whose name has not yet been decided on—let us hear your proposals) are welcome at Box 472. It is too soon, as yet, to talk about publication date or cost.[1]

From Bradley in August 1976:

About the annual magazine — I guess it had to happen. People started sending us poetry, outlines for fiction, and the like. Also, I have written odd bits of background material such as a study of the female reproductive cycle on a planet with four moons, which is hardly suitable for the newsletter. So there will be, sometime next spring, an issue of a Darkover fanzine devoted to fiction, poetry, apocrypha of various sorts, and possibly some material written for publication which was deleted by editorial requirements or my own self-censorship amd second thoughts. For instance, I agreed to give the editors, for the first issue, a description of the Arilinn Tower (Jeff's quarters) which was deleted by the editor from BLOODY SUN, and a description of the battle with the catmen from SPELL SWORD which didn't make it into the final manuscript of SPELL SWORD, for various reasons. There will also be a couple of poems, and possibly the music to various folksongs quoted in the texts. As yet we have no title; Jessica Salmonson suggested in one of her letters that ARILINN would be a good title for such a magazine, but we're open to your ideas. Send anything you want to have considered for publication to Tracy Blackstone, Box 472, Berkeley CA 94701.[2]
A comment in January 1977 in Darkover Newsletter #3:
The first issue of the Darkover magazine, whatever we decide to call it, will contain the unpublished (well, almost: 68—70 copies to FAPA about 1961 or 62) short story A MEETING IN THE HYADES, and a selection of materials excised before finishing SPELL SWORD and BLOODY SUN. (Not including others' submissions.)
Under production in August 1977:
The first issue of STARSTONE, the Darkover magazine, is now being put together. It contains poetry, fiction—including an original short story by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, and an unpublished work by MZB. There is a possible article by Marci Segal on sex and marriage on Darkover, and perhaps the long-promised scientific analysis of matrix mechanics by Randall Garrett. And—get this—a translation of the chapters from PLANET SAVERS which appeared ONLY in the German version of that novel! [3]
Still in the works in September 1977:
STARSTONE IS CRYSTALLIZING: Mainly because MZB, Diana and some of the others in Thendara Council are still working on it. We don't yet know how much we'll have to charge per copy, but if you send us a SASE (stamped self-addressed envelope) we will mail you an announcement as soon as we know. However, MZB did give us a partial list of contents for the first issue; and these are only the things we are ABSOLUTELY SURE of having ready for you. Mainly because they are already in hand.
  • A MEETING IN THE HYADES (MZB) An unpublished story, never before seen except in a 75-copy fanzine published by MZB in 1960. Deals with a little-known adventure of Regis Hastur.
  • ADJUSTMENT (Jacqueline Lichtenberg) Another of Regis's adventures.
  • DARKOVER SUMMER SNOW (Eileen Ledbetter) Along and poignant story of the first meeting between Lew Alton and Regis Hastur, of which MZB says "I'm sure that's the way it reaily happened."
  • THE OTHER PLANET SAVERS (??/WB) In one of the two German editions of PS is a lot of additional material which never appeared in MZB's original versions; here retrieved and translated. For giggles.
  • DOM ESTEBAN TELLS HIS STORY (Paul Zimmer) A piece of swordplay-and-adventure which didn't quite make it into SPELL SWORD.
And we hope to have: THE KEEPER'S PRICE by Lisa Waters; AN EXCURSION INTO DARKOVAN FOLKLORE, or perhaps even the long-promised article on matrix mechanics by Randall Garrett, and maybe something by YOU. However, the deadline is NOVEMBER 15. Shortly after that comes a Work Party (probably at Breen's) for THENDARA COUNCIL, where all of you who are interested can come and see what we have in the files and hope us put it on master for the printer. [4]
In January 1978, Bradley had this announcement:
And that reminds me; elsewhere in this issue you will find —no; I'd better tell you NOW, because Walter (my husband) David (who collates the Newsletter more often than not) and Ted (who usually edits this thing) are always telling me I am an inveterate procrastinator; STARSTONE # 1 IS READY FOR THE PRINTER AND WILL BE READY FOR MAILING BY THE TIME YOU GET THIS! STARSTONE is a fine big magazine of 60 pages or more, containing a full-length novelette, DARKOVER SUMMER SNOW, by Eileen Ledbetter; some short stories; illustrations; poems; an article entitled AGING ON DARKOVER, by F.L. Wilkinson; and various other items of interest to Darkover fans, and lovers of fantasy worlds. The price is $2.50--$3.50 if you want your copy mailed first class. Checks payable to FRIENDS OF DARKOVER please.

Much Content Generated by Writing Contests

Some of the content of "Starstone" were the results of several writing contests.

See Darkover Short Story Contests.

See Adventures in Reading Darkover Stories Without Having to Write Them First..

Fast Out of the Gate, Then a Slowdown

The first three issues were published in 1978, the fourth in 1980 and the last issue in 1982. There were plans to publish a sixth issue, but this did not occur.

The delay in publishing the fifth issue was blamed on the rising cost of paper and of other printing supplies, a common demon (along with the cost of postage) at the gate for many print zines. But the slower publication frequency of the last two issues was also just as influenced by the fact that the professional DAW Anthologies began appearing regularly starting in 1980. This meant that much fan-generated content now had a place to land in a pro book, one that provided a bigger audience, increased status, and a little cash.

Issue 1

front cover of issue #1, "Melitta on a Horny-pig" by Terri Windling, from "Winds of Darkover"
back cover of issue #1, Rita Freidan, "The Sword of Sharra and the Sword of Aldones"

Starstone 1 was published in January 1978. The first issue was 69 pages with card covers. [5] It was edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley and Walter Breen and published by Thendara House Publications.

The interior art was by Catherine Shore, Diana L. Paxson, Juanita Coulson, Rita Freidin, Susan Fisher, Walter Breen.

Fans who came to the collating party for this issue got it for $1.01. [6]

The inside back cover of issue #1 says that Walter Breen's "The Other Planet Saver" (mangled and lengthened by a German publisher) will appear in issue #2; it ended up being printed in issue #3.
  • Darkover Summer Snow by Eileen Ledbetter (4)
  • Darkovan Exile, poem by Diana L. Paxson (25)
  • A Meeting in the Hyades, short story by Marion Zimmer Bradley, with author's notes (also published as a separate chapbook, and in Andúril (first published in 1962, but written in 1954 or 1955. In this first manifestation of Darkover, the world is called Valeron and the Comyn are called the Seveners. This story's background is similar to another of MZB's early story, one published in 1954 in a zine called "Ghuvna," called "Adventure in Charin.") (26)
  • Fragment from THE SPELL SWORD by Paul Edwin Zimmer (The excerpt here is NOT in the final text of the book, and includes a fight scene; her brother contributed such scenes to other books by MZB.) (40)
  • A Bump in the Night (poem) by Everett Avila (42)
  • Aging on Darkover by (article) by F. L. Wilkinson (43)
  • Adjustment by Jacqueline Lichtenberg (45)
  • Lament of a Comyn Keeper (poem) by Cynthia McQuillan (47)
  • The Keeper's Price by Lisa Waters and Marion Zimmer Bradley (reprinted in "The Keeper's Price," a DAW Books anthology, also in the pro book "Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover" (1993)) ("Covers the sufferings Hilary Castamir underwent trying to become a Keeper, and reveals the backstory of why Callista agreed to remain sexually immature." [7])
  • Field Notes on Intimate Relationships by Marci Segal (58)
  • In Our Next Issue by Marion Zimmer Bradley (69, same as the inside back cover)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

See reactions and reviews for Darkover Summer Snow.
See reactions and reviews for A Meeting in Hyades.
See reactions and reviews for Adjustment.
I thought Lisa Waters did an excellent job with her story. Eileen Ledbetter made me like her story and I was prepared not to. Lew Alton is my favorite Darkover character and I resent anyone writing about him except Marion Zimmer Bradley. Marci Segal's story/article reminded me of Anthropology (which I liked). The fragments were interesting. But I can't really believe that Jacqueline Lichtenberg wrote as she did. I like you, Jacqueline, but that story was trite, horrible, insignificant. Lady Clairol comes to Darkover. [8]

I thoroughly enjoyed STARSTONE I and its excellent artwork. Concerning the article-story Field Notes on Intimate Relationships, by Marci Segal, I found myself cringing at the end. There seemed insufficient prelude to the telepathic orgy. Considering the character presented, I would have expecteld, when a drug was pressed on her by three naked acquaintances, to start screaming for help. Perhaps this is over-sensitivity on my part. I discovered fandom and zines through STAR TREK; the result is that I have read far too many casual mind-melds, pon farr, and cute ensigns jumping into bed with every member of the crew. This is why Darkover with its deeper sense of relationships appealed to me...I prefer Lew Alton's statement "It's like living with your skin off." Not at all a comfortable state and certainly not one sought out lightly.

The problem is many times that amateur writers have played out the scenes and actions many times in their minds. Unfortunately, when they write them out, they will make abrupt jumps and changes in action, forgetting that we, the readers, have not visualized with them. At times the gaps are not too wide, but logical developmental paragraphs have been missed. It was this sense that interposed on my mind. Marci created a fairly well developed essay surrounded by not enough story development.

The other stories and articles struck different chords. LADY CLAIROL COMES TO DARKOVER (Jacqueline's story, dubbed that at Boskone) I would have preferred written more for the fun of it than quite so straight. I can't quite accept it as historical fact.

The brief visit with Aragorn before events returned him to the North Kingdom and a certain hedge along the Great East Road was delightful. He has always been a favorite hero, and one gets hungry to see him again in other adventures or at least encounters. [9]

Great cover, but I wish you had put the name of the zine on it. I think it could have been managed if you hadn't centered the illo. I'.m not sure whether I would have preferred it at the top or bottom but I think it could have been done and that it would have looked quite nice. As for the illo of Thendara, I must admit that it isn't my Thendara. Mine has a medieval feel to it too, but not that medieval. On the other hand, I tried to draw a Thendara and failed. The most I could come up with was a Comyn castle in summer.

DARKOVER SUMMER SNOW is very special. For one thing I can see that Lew and
that Regis as younqer versions of the ones in HERITAGE OF HASTUR. And that is 
very hard to do. It is a marvelous story too. Yes, it must have happened much 
like that. Two sad young boys and a lot of misunderstanding, and no time to 
straighten it all out.

So what is the final word on AGING ON DARKOVER? That article just didn't seem to be going anywhere. It is another inconsistency. Strong old men who are hale and hearty and capable into their eighties and nineties aren't impossible in our world. It doesn't happen yery often, but it has happened. (MZB: Verdi wrote his last opera at 86. Tdsaanini, conducting the Philharmonic at ninety. Rex Stout writing his last book at 92.)

FIELD NOTES ON INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS was great. I loved it!!! Half romp and half serious. I guess Darkover a generation after WORLD WRECKERS would have to be a lot like that. A lot of Terrans around, and a lot of people from what were the lower classes showing up with laran. The old Comyn Council had allowed a lot of talent to disappear downward -- all of Kyril's nedestro children for instance. The Ardais gift hadn't disappeared. It had showed up where no one thought to look for it. [10]

First; the only thing in the entire issue I didn't like was Marci Segal's FIELD NOTES ON INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS --I wish she had, instead of combining Marianne's story with the field notes, taken each one separately and written (1) Marianne's story, and (2) the Field Notes, preferably as an issue of the "Institute of Alien Anthropology." I think Ms. Segal tried to do too much in a limited amount of space, and I want to know much, much more about Marianne, about the "new" Darkover she visits -- no fair giving us just a tastel I would also like to read a strictly professional report --an ethnography -- on Darkover. In ANY era! Please, give it a try ....

DARKOVER SUMMER SNOW is a beautiful story: Regis makes almost as good a "poor little kid" as he does a Hastur of Hasturs. I enjoyed the story very much, particularly the scene in which Regis leaves Thendara for Armida. I can see very clearly the "small, little boy" in Comyn regalia, and the character of Lew is very consistent with that outlined in HH and SA.

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

Jacqueline Lichtenberg has pulled a sneaky one with ADJUSTMENT. I am trying to visualize Regis Hastur under the hairdryer and I just can't make it. On the other hand, it makes perfect sense, in a way; although I am not sure Regis would forego the immediate recognition that his white hair would bring, even thouqh it hurt to be stared at, because that recognition factor would help him immensely, I would think, in trvina to being back some coherence into the Comyn...on the other hand, he isn't very old yet and it does hurt to be stared at, no matter who you are. Whether I instantly agreed with it or not, I liked the story very much.[11]

Issue 2

front cover of issue #2, Amy Falkowitz, "It is Ill Done to Keep a Dragon Chained for Roasting Your Meat"
back cover of issue #2, Patricia Munson, "Blessed Cassilda"
the inside back cover OF ISSUE #1 was a flyer for issue #2; note the changes in what was actually published and when, spotlight on "Hawk-Master's Son" which was promised for issue #2
from issue #2, information about the first Darkover Short Story Contest
inside back cover of issue #2, note the bit about "Hawk-Master's Son" which has now been promised for issue #3; the story was eventually published in the pro book "The Keeper's Price" Also note that the artist for this cartoon portraying a young boy attempting to gain admittance at a con is Walter Breen, which makes the caption chilling and uncomfortable: Caption -- "The Monitor says says you must pay the full registration." "But it can't. I'm only 13."

Starstone 2 was published in June 1978 and contains 71 pages.

It was published by Thendara House Publications.

Art by Amy Falkowitz, Diana Paxson, Terri Windling, Signe Landon, Walter Breen, Amy Harlib, and Patricia Munson. Other graphics by Susan Fisher, Rita Freidin, Linda MacKendrick, Stella Nemeth and Joan Verba.

In March 1978, fans were invited to collate this zine:
Thendara Council will hold a special meeting/reunion for collating STARSTONE #2 late in June or early in July, open by invitation only but anyone who subscribes or comes with a subscriber will be invited if you send a SASE before June 1st. (If you come to this one, be prepared to work, but you will get your Starstone for exactly what the out-of-pocket printing costs are; attendees at the #1 party got it for $1.01. MZB will attend and perhaps read from an unfinished Darkover novel.) [12]
From the first page of the zine:
All rights reserved and regranted to the original authors and artists. The inclusion of stories in this issue about Darkover, not by Marion Zimmer Bradley, is not intended to infringe on any copyright haled by Marion Zimmer Bradley or on any rights held by DAW or Ace Books. However, to protect these rights for the publishers, the stories included herein may not be reprinted for profit, except with the written permission of Marion Zimmer Bradley.
From the inside back cover:
IN spite of professional commitments, I've promised to edit at least another two issues of STARSTONE; after that, we'll see.

At least one of the promised stories was crowded out of this issue when the illustrations failed to arrive in time--and the moral of that is, GET YOUR WORK IN EARLY. If you would like to illustrate a particular story, write to me in care of the Friends and I'll send you a xerox of what you are illustrating.

For next time we have a very long story entitled STORM ON DAMMERUNG, by Ernest Fitzwilliam, telling how Regis Hastur fulfilled the promise made in PLANET SAVERS, "Some day we'll climb that mountain together." + + We also have a very fine story by Diana Paxson, addressing itself to the vexed question of how, in the years after DARKOVER LANDFALL, a society composed of members of participatory democracies made the turn toward feudalism; it's called VAI DOM. + + We hope, at last, to bring you Walter Breen's THE OTHER PLANET savers, on the new materials added in the German edition. + + And, just in case anyone thinks everyone is taking the subject of Free Amazons with too much tragic seriousness, we present, for once, a story called RESCUE, about a very ill-assorted couple who get involved, together, in some slap-happy situations! Story--AND illustrations—are by Linda MacKendrick. (Is there ANYTHING that young woman can't do?) + + And the two items on Dyan Ardais's youth in this issue have prompted me to do mv own story on that subject; it's called THE HAWK-MASTER'S SON. See you then... MZB

MZB wrote a very lengthy editorial which focused on professional writing and amateur writing. For more on this essay, see Why Should I Encourage People to Write Darkover Stories?. This is an excerpt:

Having seen what happens when young writers discover their desire to write by fantasizing 'what happened next?' about someone else's story, I am convinced that this [fanfic] can act as a bridge to the novice writer who might be daunted at the thought of inventing a whole new universe of his own, cut can invent new adventures for characters already familiar. The Star Trek universe is a case in point. Star Trek fanzines printed an intolerable deal of rubbish, yes. And for many fans it was a dead end. Many who wrote about Spock, Kirk, Uhura and all the crew were simply repeating and re-combining old ideas in a slightly new form; they never wrote anything else. But even so I don't think their time was completely wasted. They discovered, one and all, that writing is hard work...

I love editing Starstone for a very special reason. How else can I get to read Darkover stories without having to sit down and write them first? And finally I have an odd belief that I am not so much the inventor as the DISCOVERER of Darkover. If I have made it real to others that they may wish to write about it, who am I to stand at the gates like an angel with a flaming sword and refuse them to right to build fantasies in my garden?

I have been asked if Darkover stories by amateurs will give me ideas for future novels -- or, perhaps, inhibit me from writing as I please. I don't think so... if any Darkover story should ever 'inspire' me, it is more likely to be in the reverse... I would read a story and say 'no, no, no, not like that, not in MY Darkover world, it would have to be like THIS...' and proceed to write what 'really' happened. Which does not mean that my Darkover is 'right' and yours is 'wrong.' Only that yours and mine differ by that exact same degree which separates you mind from mine. I think of all Darkover stories not written by me, as having taken place in a subtly DIFFERENT Darkover -- not a 'Mirror Universe,' exactly, but not quite mine... But then, the Darkover I write about is not, and cannot be, the Darkover you read about... When you read about it, it becomes YOUR Darkover; if by some mystic laran I could see how my Darkover reflects in your mind, I might not even recognize the color of the sky. Is the red sun I imagine, the same red sun that shines... in the sky of your mind? ...

I am well aware that no one will ever know what I see when I describe a chieri. Conversely, I will never know what you see when you dream of one. I envy you YOUR Darkover which I can never see or know. And I am grateful to you for turning around and sharing YOUR Darkover stories with me as I have shared them with you; for letting me see, reflected in your stories, reflected in the mirror of your words, a little of the picture I have created in your mind. And if I have inspired so much beauty and so much creativity, I am awed: and humbled; and profoundly grateful.
  • To Our Readers and Contributors by Marion Zimmer Bradley (4)
  • full-page flyer for the first Darkover Short Story Contest (6)
  • Ski the Hellers! by Linda MacKendrick (7)
  • There is Always an Alternative by Patricia Mathews (reprinted in "The Keeper's Price," a DAW Books anthology) (8)
  • A Psychological View of Darkovan Sexual Behavior, non-fiction by Janet Prato (13)
  • Lira's Waltz (poem) by Wendy Reed (19)
  • Late Summer Meeting by C. McQuillin (21)
  • Chieri Lament (poem) by Marion Zimmer Bradley (25)
  • Bredini by Penny Ziegler (26)
  • Amazon Fosterlings' Rhyme (poem) by Martha Brummett (33)
  • The Tale of Durraman's Donkey by Eileen Ledbetter (reprinted in "The Keeper's Price," a DAW Books anthology) (34)
  • Soliloquy: Leonie Hastur (poem) by Rhonda Hill (42)
  • Dyan Ardais and the Ethical Problem, non-fiction by F.R. Wilkinson (44)
  • Darkover: My Unknown World (poem) by Patricia Williams (48)
  • The Gift [13] by Joan Marie Verba (reprinted in Contes di Cottman IV #2) (49)
  • Betrayer and Betrayed by Linda Frankel (59)
  • Incident on Vainwal by Ernest Fitzwilliam (64)
  • The Lesson of the Inn by Marion Zimmer Bradley (reprinted in "The Sword of Chaos, and Other Stories," a DAW Books anthology, also in the pro book "Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover" (1993)) (68)
  • Letter to Hilary by Marcia Ristow Blank Crystals (letters) (77)
  • Blank Crystals, possibly letters of comment (79)
  • In Our Next Issue by Marion Zimmer Bradley (81)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

[The Tale of Durraman's Donkey]: The Tale of Durraman's Donkey: I have to say that a story that ends in a man's death does not strike me as funny. Bradley and others have an odd concept of humor. [14]

Issue 3

front cover of issue #3, Walter Breen
flyer for issue #3
from the second printing in August 1979, note the correction, and the non-correction

Starstone 3 was published in December 1978 and contains 121 pages. Art by MZB, Walter Breen, Patricia Munson, Diana Paxson, Dorris Quinn and Anji Valenza. The back cover is blank.

It was published by Thendara House Publications.

From the flyer:
We will also have the The Grand Prize Winner of the Short Story Contest! We don't know yet what it is... with one judge's votes yet to come in, three or four stories are running neck and neck! All winners will be announced, and you'll get to read the Grand Prize Winner. We can promise that you won't be sorry; the top finalists are all of very high quality. [15]

According to a last-minute editorial by MZB, this issue has many printing problems, was a financial burden, and its creation caused its staff to use a lot of swears (like "turkey," and what appears to be "damn."). See Printing Problems, Money Problems: Issue 3.

  • The Rescue by Linda McKendrick ("We receive more stories about the Free Amazons that any ohter subject and most of them are serious attempts to attack grim questions of Social and Sexual Importance. But this one is sheer fun -- a delightful romp which, in its own way, is as serious as any of the rest.") (4) (reprinted in The Keeper's Price)
  • A Princess on the Doorstep by Patricia Mathews. (The author of "There is Always an Alternative") [16] turns her attention to the Hastur Wars in the feudal times preceding the true Ages of Chaos, and a fugitive princess.) (16)
  • Encounter in the Snow by Cynthia Anderson Frazer (What became of Lori, Judith Lovet's daughter by a chieri? Does she ever meet her alien father, how, and when? We are asked that often. Ms. Frazer gives a touching answer.") (24)
  • Exile, poem by Cynthia McQuillin (27)
  • Parting Gift by Elfrida Rivers ("Elfrida Rivers" is one of Marian Zimmer Bradley's pseuds, as well as the name she used in the Society of Creative Anachronism events.) (28)
  • Search for Yesterday, poem by Sharrie n'ha Verana/Sherry Kramer (not Sherry A. Schmidt as per the original printing) (33)
  • Storm on Dammerung by Ernest Fitzwilliam ("The longest story we have ever published -- really a novelett. In "Planet Savers." Regis Hastur promises Jason, 'We'll climb that mountain together some day,' and in this story, Earnest Fitzwilliam tells how they do it -- and what happens.") (34)
  • Sociological Impact... by Cynthia Anderson Frazer (55)
  • Vai Dom by Diana Paxson (One of the questions most frequently asked about Darkover is "How did a technilogical society landing on Darkover become transformed into a feudal society?" Diana Paxson, whose professional competence is writing educational programs for culturally differentiated children, addresses herself to this question -- and illustrates it herself.) (56) (reprinted in "The Keeper's Price," a DAW Books anthology)
  • Song of the Sharra Rebellion, poem by Sherry Kramer (not Sherry A. Schmidt as per the original printing) (67)
  • The Other Planet Savers by Fortunately Anonymous, translation and commentary by Walter Breen See File:Starstone1insidebackcover.jpg. ("Note: The German translator of The Planet Savers (1962) took it for granted that he could add material to lengthen the book for publication overseas. MZB was unimpressed when she discovered this (the edition had a, to her, inexplicable illustration of characters caught in a net), and ultimately decided to add such a scene in Star of Danger (1965). Breen here translates that original scene in this issue. (This episode is also recounted in A Darkover Retrospective, published first in Fantisiae, a fanzine, and later in an omnibus edition of The Planet Savers and the Sword of Aldones (1980)." -- [17] (68)
  • All the Winners! (82) (list)
  • Adventures in Reading Darkover Stories Without Having to Write Them First. (MZB's detailed and LONG critical commentary about the 34 (out of about 150 entries, many did not fulfill the qualifications of the contest) stories in the contest, was originally titled on the flyer: How Not to Write a Darkover Story) (She notes: "Many of the entries in the contest were not professionally salable at all, even some of the prizewinners," but she goes on to praise a number of them.) (84)
    • Journey To Newskye by Mary Frey (first place tie) (It was fourteen-year old Harryl's first visit to Newskye with Grandfather and he was excited. What was it that made Grandfather so special, so different from other men?) (also in Contes Di Cottman IV #8) (13 pages)
    • A Simple Dream by Penny Ziegler (first place tie) (103) (reprinted in The Keeper's Price)
  • Magda Takes the Oath, Diptvch by Diana Paxson (110)
  • After Dammerung (poems), Lerrys Ridenow, tr. by E. Fitzilliam (120)
  • DAW Announcement (an ad for Gregg Press Books, a limited edition press house that had produced some Darkover books in hardcover, when previous editions had been limited to paperback) (131)

Note: this was on the flyer, but not in the zine:

  • The Hawkmaster's Son by MZB (What changed Kennard Alton from the light-hearted youngster of "Star of Danger" to the embittered cynic of "Bloody Sun" and "Heritage of Hastur"? What drove a wedge between him and his sworn brother Dyan Ardais?) This story, instead, appears in the pro book "The Keeper's Price."

Printing Problems, Money Problems: Issue 3

When this issue was printed a second time in August 1979, it included the notation on the inside front cover that the two poems on pages 33 and 67 were NOT by Sherry Schmidt but by Sharrie n'ha Verana/Sherry Kramer. The name was not corrected, however, in the second printing's table of contents.

The first printing also had its problems. MZB explains on a page, not mentioned in the table of contents, what these printing errors were, and warns readers that the zine is in financial danger:



(why, unless you help, there may be no more STARSTONE [handwritten by MZB]

MZB's editorial in issue #3

With which ritual invocation to Oops, the Cod of Mistakes and Associated Foulups, we proceed to tell you all about What Went Wrong This Issue, and why there is (this) un-numbered page on the back of the Contents Page. FIRST OF ALL; we wish to apologize to all of our artists, and especially to our Layout Artist, Walter Breen, who sat up for over a week laying out and balancing this issue and burning great quantities of Midnight Oil, especially for judging what pages should be done as double-spreads. Due to a Serious Communication Failure between us and our Printer —the same printer who has done such fine work on previous issues— the page count was fouled up and he carefully printed the back of the contents page blank, this meaning that where we started out with even numbers on the left-hand sides of an open page-spread and odd numbers on the right-hand side, these were reversed after page 3, and double-spreads, or what SHOULD have been double-spreads, were carefully printed on the back of one another. Special apologies, thus, are due to Walter, who carefully laid out the whole thing, and to Diana Paxson, whose two pictures "The Meeting" and "The Oath" from SHATTERED CHAIN are thus robbed of their impact.

"Though Bother it we may
Occasionally say.
We never use a big, big D. "What, never?" "No, never," "What, never?"
"Well ...HARDLY ever."

But when we found out about that, there were plenty of Big, Big D's flying in every direction, and various epithets for all concerned, of which the mildest was "turkey." The fault is mine, however, for not spelling it out carefully to the printer IN WRITING, after which we could have refused to accept them. Anyway, what's done is done, and anyhow the reading matter is intact and the printing legible. So that Murphy's Law can simply chalk up one more victory.

SECOND...and for this there is no blame attached to anybody but US;
we didn't price this issue properly. We thought it was going to be
about the same size as #2, so that higher paper and postage costs would
demand only the 50$ raise in prices. But we weren't counting on the fact
that we had held over THE OTHER PLANET SAVERS from #1 and then from #2,
and we HAD to print it in #3; then, as if that wasn't enough, the short
story contest TIED for first place and we had to allot not ONE space in
the issue, but TWO, for the first prize winners (details on page 82).
So this issue has twice as much reading matter...but we're going to lose
money on it because we let the advertisements go out with the original prices,
$3 and $4. So PLEASE—let your conscience be your guide. Send us, we beg
you (if you recieved this issue from the mail-order advertisements at $3 and
$4) ONE dollar if your copy came by BOOK RATE, and $1.50 or better $2 if
you got your copy first class. This issue has more reading matter in it than
most hardcover novels...and what novel can you get for $5? MZB (We had to borrow money of pay for this issue! [handwritten by MZB]

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

[The Rescue]: The Rescue: A Free Amazon is hired to escort a woman who makes it clear she doesn't want to be freed from her 'abductor', and finds herself forced to team up with a nonjudgemental male, due (in part) to a concussion. There's some discussion in this story as to where the outlaws get their hideouts. [Vai Dom]: Vai Dom: I'm not convinced. There's very little evidence of what early Darkovan society was like--but the notion that the Ya-Men (here presented as plastic villains...but see the next story) would stage what amounted to raids for sustenance in hard times, and that no communication or compromise was possible...smacks too much of the 'the only good Indian is a dead Indian' ethos. There were troubles enough on Darkover without introducing desperate and frankly unorganized 'enemies' to explain consolidation. Nor is there any real explanation as to why the original extended family, democratic model became autocratic. Ok, in a crisis, there's no time to vote. So establish crisis managers, and plan ahead for what they will do. Do we let firefighters run our entire lives? Not if we're wise, we don't. [A Simple Dream]: A Simple Dream: or not that simple, maybe. A mountaineer from remote Darkover dreams of becoming a star rover--and campaigns to reach his goal with the help of Lomie (remember her from Star of Danger? The whore in the spaceport bar? Well, if you don't, you'll have to--she appears in several more stories in these collections). [18]

Issue 4

front cover of issue #4, "The Forbidden Tower" by Terri Windling

Starstone 4 was published in 1980 and contains 97 pages, also with card covers. The front cover illustration is by Terri Windling, the back cover by Fiona Zimmer.

The interior art is by Kevin Reeder, Pat Munson, and Walter Breen.

This issue is published by Friends of Darkover.

  • The Fall of Neskaya by Roger Bermingham, art by Kevin Reeder and Pat Munson (9)
  • Choices by Cynthia Anderson Frazer (9)
  • Esa Yllana (poem) by Rhonda Hill (13)
  • Awakening by Eileen Ledbetter (14)
  • Comyn Lord (poem) by Paula Hurst (24)
  • Blood of a Beast by Patricia Mathews (25)
  • Duty by Melinda Anne Holley (29)
  • The Dimover National Athem, song by Phil and Jo Wayne and Cindy McQuillin, art by Walter Breen (30)
  • At Nevarsin: Valdir and Valentine by Mary Frances Sambreno, second prize in the Short Story Contest (32)
  • The Chieri Grove (poem) by Paula Crunk (42)
  • Cross-Rough by John Hopfner (a Special Mention Story) (43)
  • Farewell to Caranon by Jonathan Shipley (55)
  • Suicide is Painless by Patricia Mathews (65)
  • Brother Search by Mary Frances Zanbreno, poem (67)
  • Judith's Sont, words and music by Linda von Braskat-Crowe, graphics by Walter Breen (68)
  • A Change of Heart by Patricia Partridge (70)
  • Di Catenas, poem by Sharrie n'ha Verana (83)
  • A Gift of Words by Marci Segal, illustrated by Patricia Munson (84)
  • Firiel's Lament, poem by Dusti Wiebe, graphics by Walter Breen (95)
  • Callista's Song by Judy Gerjuoy (96)
  • art credits (96)
  • Darkover Short Story Contest, inside back cover

Issue 5

front cover of issue #5, Signe Landon illustrating "The Ballad of Hastur and Cassilda"
back cover of issue #5, Kevin Reeder illustrating "Spell Sword"

Starstone 5 was published in March 1982 and contains 58 pages. Art by Signe Landon (front cover), Kevin Reeder (back cover), Jane Fancher, Amy Harlib, Laeili Williams, Diana L. Paxson.

This issue is published by Friends of Darkover.

The editorial:

It's been a bit too long between STARSTONES. Basically there are two reasons for the delay — though I don't intend to go into lengthy explanations or excuses. One was that my time has been taken up, since editing #3, with research and writing and travel for a really major novel...which is now in press and will be released in September; and I felt I wanted to edit the magazine myself, rather than turning it over, like the Darkover Newsletter, to other hands. I consider the editing of STARSTONE to be one of my favorite tasks...and have you ever noticed that when everyone is overworked, there are always people to take the tasks one WANTS to do off one's hands, while nobody will do the distasteful things one HAS to do. So, with all the hard and troublesome work of running a family, a church, a home and a writing business, I resolved to cling to editing STARSTONE with my own hands, as one of the few things I enjoy as contrasted to mere duties'.

The other reason is financial; we have been losing so much money on the Darkover Newsletter, with two postal raises, and constant increases in costs of paper and printing, that the money sent us for subscriptions to STARSTONE somehow was spent on Newsletters, and we had to scrape together some more cash. This is why the delay--raising the price and cutting the size of the Newsletter may recoup some of the losses, and so, I hope, will convention sales of this issue where we won't have to pay postage.

I am resolved to keep on printing STARSTONE, though, because I find it to be an excellent source of talent for further anthologies, a creative way of keeping in touch with younger writers. There is a story told in the MYSTERY WRITER'S HANDBOOK: writer Lawrence Treat, telling someone that he was on his way to teach a class in fiction technique, was greeted with skepticism; "You can't tell me you're trying to create competition'. " and then, when he insisted it was so, the heckler grinned slyly and said "Oh, I know— you carefully teach them all the wrong things."

Well, it's not so. Almost every writer I know who teaches fiction technique does it for the same reason I do my own writer's workshops --the delight and excitement of seeing new writers emerge, so I can have the pleasure, some day, of reading what they write. I have already had the pleasure of seeing one of our own, Susan Shwarz, break into print with a DAW anthology, HECATE'S CAULDRON, with stories by many fine ex-amateurs (a useful term coined by Walter for folk-singers) including Diana Paxson, who has written for most of the STARSTONEs and illustrated others, and who has been representated [sic] in both Friends of Darkover anthologies, THE KEEPER'S PRICE nad SWORD OF CHAOS (which should be on the stands by the time you receive this.) The author of our lead story this time, CLINGFIRE, is also the winner of our second short story contest, and has a story in SWORD OF CHAOS. Another writer developed in the workshops, Millea Renin, is now publishing a local fantasy magazine, OWLFLIGHT, and a fantasy-s-f "alternate markets" list, OTHERGATES. Patricia Mathews, another name familiar to Darkover fans for her fine work in STARSTONE and THE KEEPER'S PRICE, has written a very fine novel which will see print, I am sure, some day soon, just as Diana has sold a novel to POCKET BOOKS, at present entitled THE PILLARS OF THE KINGDOM. Yes, I have created my own competition...why not? I can stand the heat and feel no need to get out of the kitchen.

I have seen many fine artists grow from fan to pro — George Barr, Alicia Austin, STARSTONE's own Signe Landon. . .and I am sure there will be many, many more. I feel very strongly that there Is room for the fiction fanzine... and now there is another fanzine dedicated to Darkover fiction, called CONTES DE COTTMAN IV, edited by Lynne Holdom and Roberta Rogow. Lynne has edited a Darkover fanzine called JUMEAUX for ten very fine issues of criticism and commentary on every subject from murder mysteries ('Who were the men in the Hidden Room,' or 'Who really killed Cleindori') to feminism. Lynne also sold a story, THE WAY OF THE WOLF, to SWORD OF CHAOS, and Roberta wrote the title story for one of our Special Issues, BITTER HONEYMOON, Or The Amorous Adventures of Dyan Ardais, which contains my own story A MAN OF IMPULSE. (Lynne's address, for CONTES or JUMEAUX, is [address redacted] when you write, send a stamped envelope -- the postage is what kills fanzine editors these days'.)

And we are going to do a third Darkover Fiction contest. I find that reading what other people have written about Darkover inspires me to think in new ways, and along unexplored lines, about that world....when I grow jaded or get the feeling that I have said all there is to say about Darkover (which happens roughly four times a year). I find that when I see Darkover freshly, through someone else's eyes, restores my own sense of wonder and I am ready, again, to go back and write something new and different.

But you'll have to do your part, or we can't keep our heads above water. (Don't just stand there — subscribe'. ) -- Marion Zimmer Bradley


  1. ^ from Darkover Newsletter #2, August 1976
  2. ^ from Darkover Newsletter #2, August 1976
  3. ^ from Darkover Newsletter #6
  4. ^ from Darkover Newsletter #7
  5. ^ there is also a "revised expanded edition" out there, one that contains 121 pages
  6. ^ a statement by Jacqueline Lichtenberg in Darkover Newsletter #11
  7. ^ Valerie's review, August 21, 2014, on Goodreads
  8. ^ from Jumeaux #2
  9. ^ from an LoC in "Starstone" #2
  10. ^ from an LoC in "Starstone" #2
  11. ^ from an LoC in "Starstone" #2
  12. ^ Jacqueline Lichtenberg's comments in "Darkover Newsletter]] #11
  13. ^ "The title was a very common one among beginners (My first Darkover fanzine story carried that title, despite Marion Zimmer Bradley's wise advice to me to change it; had I known such a title was a cliché, I would have"). -- from Verba in Boldly Writing
  14. ^ review by Valerie at Good Reads, posted February 14, 2011, accessed June 5, 2013
  15. ^ The judges for this contest were Katherine Kurtz, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Diana Paxson, Randall Garrett, and Jacqueline Lichtenberg.
  16. ^ a story in issue #2
  17. ^ The Friends of Darkover: An Annotated History and Bibliography by Catherine Cooke
  18. ^ review by Valerie at Good Reads, posted February 14, 2011, accessed June 5, 2013