The Darkover Concordance

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Title: The Darkover Concordance
Publisher: Pennyfarthing Press
Editor(s): Walter Breen
Date(s): April 1979
Medium: print
Size: 164 pages
Fandom: Darkover
Language: English
External Links:
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The Darkover Concordance is a 164-page resource to Marion Zimmer Bradley's books. It has the subtitle, "A Reader's Guide." It was written by Walter Breen, and has a foreward by MZB. Jacqueline Lichtenberg also worked on earlier drafts.

The publication contains diagrams, art, and articles.

It was first promised in 1976, ran into many obstacles and bottlenecks including T-K Graphics, and was finally published three years later.

The Zine's Introduction

Author likely Breen:

Welcome to Darkover.

Welcome to a Secondary Universe as vast and complex as Middle-Earth or the Federation.

Welcome to the Friends of Darkover, while we're about it. These pages will answer most questions you are likely to come up with about Darkover, in much the same way as the STAR TREK Concordance did for the devotees of Mr. Spock. There are entries for practically all families, individuals (including character sketches), officials, ranks, castes, positions, occupations, guilds, planetary origins, races, languages, buildings, settlements, Domains, geographical features, flora, fauna, artifacts, foodstuffs, drinkables, etc., as well as the various Gifts, technical terms and key concepts of matrix technology, mentioned in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover novels.

Separate sections include bibliographic data (including all foreign versions known to us), plot summaries, genealogical tables, collected Darkovan proverbs, and transcriptions of both the complete Ballad of Hastur and Cassilda (which figures so largely in the development of Darkovan mythology and customs) and the "Outlaw" Ballad, the latter furnished with its oldest melody and guitar chords.

The Long Journey to Publication

It was originally to be published by T-K Graphics. In 1976, Bradley wrote: "PROGRESS REPORT: The Darkover Concordance, currently being worked on by Walter Breen, Jacqueline Lichtenberg and myself, is nearly completed, with the only bottleneck being that Walter must first find time to type out the cards of his entries...even I, who have been married to him for twlve years, cannot read his handwriting when he is in a hurry. There is some notion now that the Concordance may possibly be published by T-K Graphics; nothing is settled." [1]

In January 1978, Bradley stuck up for T-K Graphics, saying that she has been hearing that the outfit is too slow in filling orders. Bradley addressed rumors of death and deception, scolded fans for relaying their experiences, threatened fans who dared complain, and generally told people to behave and not ask questions regarding what they pay for. Bradley also blurred the line between a truly amateur fan endeavor and a for-profit, legal business, as she utilized the "rules" of both... and did a bit of self-projecting. Bradley added a jab of her own at T-K Graphics in the last sentence:

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


He is also intelligent, sensitive, overworked, constantly broke, doing a shoestring business on very small capital for the sheer love of it, and probably taking on a hell of a lot more than he can chew. He needs help and support, not character assassination. He fills orders slowly, and does it, as far as I know, with his own one pair of hands and those of his partner, Karen (I think she may also be married to him, but in any case she is his equal partner) [2] and if we at the small business of the Friends of Darkover sometimes get mixed up, botch orders, send the wrong book or misfile somebody's card or check, even with Walter, a fussy exact Virgo type, to help us, I can imagine the troubles Ted has.

So if you have a complaint about Ted, write him and ask him to straighten it out, don't bitch behind his back and tell people how unreliable he is. In the current state of the business, small publishers are the only hope of noncommercial fantasy. If you love fantasy, support people like Ted, and Bill Crawford, and Mirage, and Ken Kreuger, or watch it go down the drain in favor of the umpteenth Tolkien Calendar, Star Wars Toy, or other media mass-sales stuff! I can say CATEGORICALLY that the rumor circulated by two people who wrote me, saying that "T-K Graphics is out of Business," or "T-K Graphics has been enjoined by the Post Office from doing business" are NOT TRUE. I do not say the people who passed on these rumors were lying; I do say they were most grievously misinformed. Ted was alive at the World Fantasy Con—I talked to him — and his business intact and solvent; and Walter telephoned him in Baltimore in December and he had heard nothing from the P.O. about any complaints. If you have problems with T-K, be patient; given time, he will straighten them out. Maybe he will even make enough money to hire some help and send orders a little more quickly than you could get them from Tibet by yak-back.

In October 1978, Bradley wrote that T-K Graphics had "bitten off more than he could chew," was in financial ruin, and had returned the manuscript to Walter Breen:


Due to growing financial burdens and other reasons, T-K Graphics has finally admitted that it will not be possible for him to issue the Darkover Concordance in the foreseeable future. Therefore we have broken our agreement with T-K Graphics, and with Ted Pauls, to publish the Concordance, and he has returned the manuscript to us. We stick to our original statement; Ted Pauls of T-K Graphics is NOT A RIPOFF ARTIST. Both Walter and I would stake a good deal on his honesty. However, we do feel that he has bitten off more than he can chew, and we are deeply and sincerely regretful that he found himself unable to fulfil his prepaid commitments for this, and for the Feminist Anthology published by Jessica Salmonson.

If you have ordered a copy of the Concordance from T-K Graphics, be advised that it will NOT be forthcoming. We wish we were in a position to honor these orders, but we can't; we suggest that you try to recover the payment from Ted —but be patient; he IS in financial troubles. If you exercise patience and forbearance, he will probably pay off all his debts sooner or later. If you all jump on him at once for refunds, he will probably be forced to declare bankruptcy and then NOBODY will get any money, or anything else but the knowledge that you have driven a small businessman out of his business.

YES: the CONCORDANCE will be published. Really. We are now dealing with a small local press, who is intending to do it as a trade paperback. As soon as we know when and where to order it we will tell you; more likely we will buy enough copies so that you can all order it from us. You KNOW we fill orders. BUT PLEASE DON'T TRY TO ORDER IT NOW. It WILL come, but please give us some time. We had hoped it would be in print by now, but the world will go as it will, and not as you or I would have it--and that's just as true on Terra as it is on Darkover. -- MARION ZIMMER BRADLEY [3]

In December 1978, there was this announcement:

Covering the first eleven Darkover novels of MARION ZIMMER Bradley [4], from SWORD OF ALDONES to FORBIDDEN TOWER.

Authorized and introduced by Marion Zimmer Bradley, THE DARKOVER CONCORDANCE is an informative and entertaining companion volume to the Darkover series, and a must for all fans of the strange and wonderful world of Darkover!

Walter Breen, the man who knows Darkover best, has compiled a scholarly and detailed guide to Darkover: its mythos, its languages, its customs and folklore, and the genealogies of the powerful families who shane the history of this complex and richly-textured society. The CONCORDANCE reveals the warp and woof of the colorful and intricate tapestry of Darkover, and will enhance the enjoyment of all who enter the world of Darkover, whether for the first time or the tenth.

THE DARKOVER CONCORDANCE, in a large-sized (8" x 11") paperback format, has a sewn binding and specially varnished covers to insure that it will withstand years of constant use.

THE DARKOVER CONCORDANCE, by Walter Breen, will be published in April, 1979, by PENNYFARTHING PRESS, and will be available by mail or from your local bookstore for $8.95.


From a comment in the fall of 1979 by the editor of Darkover Newsletter #19/20:

THE DARKOVER CONCORDANCE, after many delays (Pennyfarthing had to contend with a paper-supply strike on the West Coast, a broken press, and finally a change of management in the company) is now actually IN PRESS! We saw pages of it exhibited at the Fantasy Faire, with the exquisite artwork of Melissa Michaels (MZB liked it so much that she bought STORMQUEEN for herself and it hangs on the walls of the Friends of Darkover office in Berkeley, alongside the picture of Sharra in chains) and Rebecca Kurland, editor, says that the special limited edition,(hardcover, signed by MZB and Walter Breen, 100 numbered copies only) is all but sold out. Paperback and regular library edition are still available. It looks incredible!

"The Darkover Concordance" was then published by Pennyfarthing Press in April 1979.

Why Breen?

In 1978, Bradley said Breen was a good choice to write the Concordance because he knew more about Darkover than she did, mainly because he didn't forget anything. [6]

The Sequel/Revised Edition That Never Happened

In 1988, there was mention of Breen publishing an updated version that covered more of the newer Darkover books. This sequel was never completed.

There were two mentions of it in Darkover Newsletter #40: " Walter is hard at work on the update of the Darkover Concordance, but I expect that to take at least a year -- he's got seven books to go through, not counting the anthologies." And "As for more Darkovan concerns [regarding genetics and genealogy]: probably some of the information [fans] want will appear in some form in the revised Darkover Concordance, which Walter Breen is working on. There is no formal (non-fiction) history of Darkover, but Walter's approach to the Concordance is very scholarly and he has the original source material on tap."

Covers, Table of Contents, Flyers

Reactions and Reviews

Unknown Date

Because she never viewed the Darkover series as a "series," Bradley was not concerned with the consistency of detail or nit-picking. This casual approach evidently was not pleasing to more orderly minds, who felt the need to impose structure and linearity on the sprawling mass of Darkovan history. Walter Breen, assisted by Bradley's enthusiastic "fan club," the Friends of Darkover, has done a sterling job. The Concordance covers all but the newest Darkover works (Stormqueen! 1978), "The Waterfall" (1976), "To Keep the Oath" (1979), and the revised version of "The Bloody Sun" (1979), and includes the people, families, Darkovan languages and customs, flora and fauna, in detail. It also makes available unpublished information from Bradley's files, including genealogical tables, and the full text of "The Ballad of Hastur and Cassilda." The illustrations by Melisa Michaels are attractive, but add nothing except visual interest. There are too many typos for a work that involved so much effort to assemble, and an occasion blind or unclear reference (mainly to publications put out the by the Friends) baffles the user. Fans, however, will find this a "must" purchase. Libraries can safely pass, unless they have an extensive SF research collection. A supplement is promised. [7]


The Darkover Concordance. A Reader’s Guide. Complete and Unabridged. By Walter Breen. Pennyfarthing Press, 2000 Center St., #1226, Berkeley, CA 94704. $8.95 paperback. Walter Breen is Marion Zimmer Bradley’s husband. He did the job that she did not want to do, that of keeping track of all the tiny details of geographical features, ranks, genealogy, races, foods, domains, concepts, ideas and other elements which are part of her Darkover series. As others have done for Middle Earth and Star Trek, Breen has compiled an encyclopedia, complete with appendices. Story summaries, the lineage of major characters, typical Darkovan proverbs and even some songs are included. Melisa Michaels illustrated the volume with some tasteful drawings.

Such features as the repetition of the key to symbols used in the text, thoughtfully placed at the bottom margin of each page, show the care which went into the planning of The Darkover Concordance. The book covers only Darkover, leaving out Bradley’s novels such as The Catch Trap and The House Between the Worlds. This is an attractive and meticulously executed reference work which will delight all Marion Zimmer Bradley fans. [8]

Aside from a huge moan of disappointment at the fact that it only covers up to THE FORBIDDEN TOWER, and a small moan at the very occasional minor clunker (i.e., claiming that Heather Stuart's children all died before living a month—see DARKOVER LANDFALL, page 159)—I loved it. I hadn't realized how much work went into it, however, until I tried to do the same with STORMQUEEN!; I gave up before reaching page 60 as notetaking was a bit too slow and lengthy for me, although it forced me to note more of the details that I take in during normal reading. My heartfelt thanks to Walter Breen and company for their patience, and I hope that they (or someone) will feel capable of tackling a supplement to the CONCORDANCE in the near future (covering SQ, rBS, and later additions to the Darkover books). If someone is currently doing so, I would appreciate knowing when it might be published. [9]

The CONCORDANCE was worth waiting for, being helpful in establishing family trees and the alphabetical portion in sorting out the minor characters. I even liked the art work. The biggest problem with it is of course that it's about four books out of date. If an update is done, it would be nice to have in it a "time line" similar to that done for Heinlein's future history. The family tree showing Jaelle as Cleindori's mother surprised me but glancing at the beginning of the new BLOODY SUN showed it was correct, although I don't think Jaelle's name is actually mentioned. This seems as if it may relate to THENDARA HOUSE which I believe was to continue Jaelle's story. If TH is never to be published by DAW or Ace it would be nice if it was possible for FoD to publish the whole novel rather than just the excerpt in TALES OF THE FREE AMAZONS. [10]


I hunted down this book used because I was desperate to read some commentary -- any commentary -- on Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series. When I found this, her ex-husband's work on the series, I was immensely disappointed. "Darkover Concordance" is extremely outdated, to begin with. It was published sometime in the 1970's, and many Darkover books have been written since then. It contains reminders of the stormy relationship between Marion Bradley and Walter Breen -- almost every sentence of his harbors a tone of resentment.

And the commentary itself? Any drooling Darkover fanatic could have written a better work. Don't waste your time trying to hunt down this book -- it's obscure for a reason. [11]


The Darkover Concordance contains a lot of information about the universe of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover that is not available anywhere else. Much effort has been put into the etymology of the different languages, and it offers a good guide to pronunciation of Darkovan words and names, which is of great help for, for instance, live role players. Also, fan writers may find this book a nice source. Apart from the concordance itself, it also contain several appendices, including proverbs, genealogies, and ballads. The book does not contain much information about characters, events, places, etc., described in material published after 1979, which, of course, makes it incomplete as a guide. However, only 5000 sewn paperbacks and 300 sewn cloth copies were made, and this makes this book a real treasure for any collector. 100 copies of the cloth version are numbered and signed by Breen, MZB herself (she wrote the foreword), and the illustrator, Melisa Michaels.

I am a lucky owner of a paperback copy, bought in Sweden in 1989 for the incredible sum of 30 Swedish kroner which in those days were worth about 3 US dollars... [12]


As an original owner of this book in the late 70's I have to say it was a real godsend (in those fresh years of MZB and her wonderful universe of new Darkover books)when any information on what made up this strange world was most welcome. It was not one of those 'professional flashly made books' made only for commercial endevour, but was a book made by a true fan and it's contents reflect that. Enjoy it for what it is was then and what it reflect now. It is a great addition to anyone out there that loves the Darkover universe and I for one would never part with my copy for love or money!!

P.S. I still drag this book out and enjoy it's uniqueness time and time again, but for those expecting the superslick publications of say 'Star Wars fandom literature' may find this book a little bit antiquated. [13]


If you would like a charming concordance for the early Darkover books, through 1979, done with black and white illustrations, music, poetry, lineage charts and more, then this is your book.

As noted by a disappointed reviewer, this is NOT a book of commentary. It is rather a concordance, a reference work, and a sort of predecessor to current online Wikis. It is well written, positive, and informative, and I recommend it highly. [14]


The Darkover Concordance is a valuable reference guide for the "Earlier Darkover Books".

Walter Breen did a fantastic job on covering Darkover with "what he had". The problem with the Concordance right now (2016) is that it's not outdated, but not complete and up to date. There is a strong need for a "new" Concordance to be written to cover all the books to date (that would be right up to Thunderlord which is due out in August of 2016). But given the number of Darkover Books (not the anthologies) that would be a massive under taking (along the lines of something like writing an encyclopedia that just covered Darkover and all of it's inhabitants). Walter Breen was under taking that effort when he wrote "The Darkover Concordance", but I don't think he imagined that Darkover would still be going strong 50+ years later with Deborah Ross at the helm. [15]


  1. ^ from Darkover Newsletter #1
  2. ^ Karen was Ted's sister.
  3. ^ from Darkover Newsletter #13/14
  4. ^ Yes, capitalized that way.
  5. ^ from Darkover Newsletter #15/16
  6. ^ a statement in Adventures in Reading Darkover Stories Without Having to Write Them First. (1978)
  7. ^ "Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Review" by Susan L. Nickerson, 1979 or later
  8. ^ Fantastic Science Fiction, v.27 n.11, 1980
  9. ^ from Darkover Newsletter #22
  10. ^ from Darkover Newsletter #22
  11. ^ review at Amazon, March 27, 2001
  12. ^ review at Amazon, September 2, 2002
  13. ^ review at Amazon, September 24, 2005
  14. ^ review at Amazon, February 9, 2013
  15. ^ review at Amazon, May 30, 2016