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Marion Zimmer Bradley Passed on

Hemos posted about 15 years ago | from the amazing-author dept.

News 91

Quite a number of people wrote to us with the news that major fantasy author Marion Zimmer Bradley had passed on Sept. 25. She had suffered from a major heartattack on the 21st, and was unable to recover from it. My condolences to her family - her writing was incredible. Her work on the "Avalon" series of books was incredible, and helped re-define female writing in the fantasy genre.

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No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1655028)

This means no more Dune b... err... no more Foundation b... err... what does this mean, and why should I, a typical /.er with a typical /.er's casual disdain for the world beyond my own predictable concerns, care?

I'm not a huge Sci-Fi fan... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1655029)

but, I like an occasional book/movie/whatever...

Could someone please fill me in on the works of Marion Zimmer Bradley? Thank you very much. Maybe I'll contribute to her estate by buying some of her best works.

redefine the genre? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1655030)

Her worked helped 'redefine the genre'? Sorry, but I seem to see that phrase an awful lot, and I'm still not sure what the hell it means. How does ones writing 'redefine' a genre? Surely science fiction is a constant definition, and not one that is redefined. Perhaps I'm nitpicking, but I think people say that just because it sounds like a good thing to say, but it seems to make little sense. And even if it DOES mean something, I would think the idea could be stated in clearer terms.

Re:Passing On (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1655031)


Could you please. . .not be an asshole? In this forum? Just this once? I promise it won't kill you. Thank you.

Re:redefine the genre? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1655032)

Read closer -- 'helped re-define female writing in the genre.'

The genre's definition remained the same; the status of female writers in the genre changed.

Oh Dear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1655033)

I'm starting to see shades of the comments from the "W. Richard Stevens Passes On" article... Here's hoping it doesn't get to that...

Anyway, don't bite my head off for this, but I don't care for the euphemism "passed on" myself, much less "passed away."

It's worth noting that "dies" is easy to say when it's someone you don't know, or only knew as an acquaintance. I never even read any of Ms. Bradley's books, so "Marion Zimmer Bradley Dies" (or "Died," to better match the title of the article) is perfectly acceptable-- for me. However, what if the person who dies is a close friend, a relative, a parent, or sibling...? You're so shocked and saddened by their death that you'd rather not even think about it! That, I believe, is where "passed away," and "passed on" came from, and why they are used.

In fact, it's possible that saying "passed on" instead of "died" could be seen as a form of respect. You might say "passed on" because you feel that the person who died was someone you care about-- not some stranger on the street you've never met before and couldn't care less about. Perhaps that's what Hemos meant when he used "passes on."

But you have a point-- "passed on" seems almost a form of denial. If I wrote this article, I would have used "died."

But please try to be diplomatic and sensitive, too. I don't think fans of Ms. Bradley's books-- let alone her family-- would appreciate "croak" or "eaten by worms"...!

She was a Macintosh user (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1655034)

Please. She didn't even have the wits to use a Windows computer, much less a Real Computer (running Linux, of course). How can anyone honestly say she'll be missed? Macintosh users are stupid, and as such, are just a drain on our planet's resources.

The Forest House (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1655035)

I don't want to be disrespectful to the deceased, but.. I picked up 'The Forest House' in the library one day, and I have to say that if the rest of her books were anything like that she hardly redefined the scifi/fantasy genre or changed the role of women in the aforementioned. Nothing but romantic drivel with transparent characters. The only thing it was missing was bodices to be ripped off.

Maybe I'm being too harsh and I just picked up a bad book. *shrug*

Re:She was a Macintosh user (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1655036)

good lord... have some respect for the dead will ya?

Passed On vs Dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1655037)

Passed on seems gentler, more respectful. We're talking about a person we admire.

If it were Bill Gates, the headline would be: Bill Gates Dead :P

Re:Oh Dear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1655038)

I prefer to think she's left beta, and has entered gold release.

and I was just getting into her magazine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1655039)

Although I have yet to read her books, I have recently become a fan of Marion Zimmer Bradley Fantasy Magazine (my town finally progrssed far enough to pick up a Barnes and Noble's AND a Border's in the same year....) and I must say, I hope that someone can maintain that magazine as well as she did. It has the best design out there, with it's fantasy content equal in quality to the odd stories in Weird Tales. The columns Mrs. Zimmer wrote for that magazine were exquisite, and I will miss her work in that respect as well. Let us hope that someone equally good at what she did can be found to take over, if such a person exists... supabeast! @ work

Re:Passed On vs Dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1655040)

how is that hypocrisy?

Re:She was a Macintosh user (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1655041)

Indeed, one should respect the dead.
So knock 'em while they're alive, OK?

Let's Keep This Civil, Okay? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1655042)

Okay, everybody, can I ask you to keep something in mind?

When the brain-dead people start spitting on her memory and calling her writings stupid, just ignore them, okay? Slashdot will be a better place because of your self-control.


Oh no! (1)

Bill Currie (487) | about 15 years ago | (#1655043)

Just as she was creating some interesting events on Darkover, too! Exile's Song and The Shadow Matrix were creating some interesting possiblitities, and now they're gone, unless she got something out since. She was a good writer. May her works always be regarded as the classics they are.

Leave others their otherness. MZB, The Survivors.

Re:The Survivors (1)

Bill Currie (487) | about 15 years ago | (#1655044)

One of my favorites, along with it's prequille, Hunters of the Red Moon. Those two would have to be at the top of my list of her works. They were just purely excellent. Red Moon is a good thriller and Survivors makes a good mystery. I just wich I could remember the saurians name; somethink like Aknarak.

Re:redefine the genre? (1)

Bill Currie (487) | about 15 years ago | (#1655045)

You seem to have missed many points in that book. In Mists of Avalon, most women had no rights. It was only the few holdouts at Avalon that continued to execise any real power. The story was effectively at the end of the time when women had any rights.

Re:Traitor's Sun (1)

Bill Currie (487) | about 15 years ago | (#1655046)

Thanks, I'll look it up. Hmm, the title implies an interesting story line.

Re:I'm not a huge Sci-Fi fan... (2)

Bill Currie (487) | about 15 years ago | (#1655047)

  • Darkover series
  • Mists of Avalon King Aurthur from the POV of the female characters (particularly Morgrain (sp?))
  • The Firebrand a story about the Trojan war
  • Hunters of the Red Moon and The Survivors, two excelent books, IMHO
  • Sword and Sorceress (editor) a series of female oriented fantasy short stories
  • many others...

I would recommend reading anything with her name on it, they're all good. Some are better than others, of course, but I enjoyed every single book of hers that I read (Red Moon and Survivors are my two favorites). This is very sad news for me: I've been a fan of her's for the last ten or so years and I'm saddened that she will no longer be writing new stories or helping new writers get started (many contributers to the S&S books went on to become big names (eg Mercedes Lackey (sp?) and Charles de Lint)).

*Sigh*, time to work on finishing my MZB collection.

Re:I'm not really sure it would be much diffrent.. (3)

Bill Currie (487) | about 15 years ago | (#1655048)

This is an internet wake. We're all sitting around our computers posting eulogies to Slashdot about someone many many geeks held in high regard. If this isn't a net wake/funeral, I don't know what is.

Another fine person to remember at Samhain (1)

farrellj (563) | about 15 years ago | (#1655049)

As those people who have taught us this lifetime go on to their place on the other side, it is up to us to remember their wisdom and their art.

She gave much to the popular Neo-Pagan movement with her works.

First, Doreen Valente, then MZB...I hope they are both enjoying their rest!

Blessed Be,
Farrell McGovern

Re:She spoke to many of us... (1)

farrellj (563) | about 15 years ago | (#1655050)


Nice to see a fellow ADF here!


Oh, man... (1)

pb (1020) | about 15 years ago | (#1655051)

Well, I guess that's it for the DarkOver series. But, now I can read them all without worrying about chronological order.

However, remember Isaac Asimov? I *hope* they finally finished releasing Foundation books. I love the books, but he's been dead for years now! I mean, after a while, it has to stop.

...and I guess I got my g/f the last Sword and Sorceress Anthology...

As the 'geek' community passes on... (2)

Masem (1171) | about 15 years ago | (#1655052)

I've never read this author's books, but anyone's untimely death is unfortunate. Best wishes to her family and friends.

However, on a somewhat related matter, as the people that have defined the geek community, whether by being computer leaders, authors, musicans, etc, being to age and pass on, it will be interesting to see how we, the geek community, handle it. Unlike previous generations, where the connection between the common people and the celebs was distant, ours is one where you might be email buddies with a huge celebrity, in terms of the geek community.

Re:I'm not really sure it would be much diffrent.. (2)

Masem (1171) | about 15 years ago | (#1655053)

It begs the question: if someone like Gibson, ESR, Linus, or any of the other names commonly associated with geek culture dies, will someone arrange an internet wake/funeral? (and I'm not speaking from the aspect of being the first to have such an event -- death is far above the tactiness of being the first to have a net-broadcast event). The net has brough ppl closer together than at any other time in the past -- I predict that we'll see something like this if someone 'big' does pass away.

Re:Another fine person to remember at Samhain (1)

Zachary Kessin (1372) | about 15 years ago | (#1655054)

Just for the Record MZB was not a neo-pagen. She was an Episcopalian.

Re:Passing On (2)

Millennium (2451) | about 15 years ago | (#1655055)

You're right, they do mean the same thing. "Passed on," however, seems to have a gentler connotation. The dead don't care how you say it, of course; these terms are more for the living.

Everyone knows "passed on" means "died." It's not like anyone is trying to fool anyone else. It's simply someone's attempt to break the news in a gentler fashion. For a community of people that tends to like science-fiction and fantasy, and therefore has a connection with this woman, that's quite a considerate gesture. Perhaps not entirely necessary, but considerate nonetheless.

Re:redefine the genre? (2)

Millennium (2451) | about 15 years ago | (#1655056)

Perhaps "redefining" isn't the appropriate term. She wrote back when the genre was still somewhat amorphous, looking for a definition to call its own. Better to say she helped to define the genre, rather than that she redefined it.

Re:Age? (1)

MouseR (3264) | about 15 years ago | (#1655057)

How old was she?

She was young in most respects.

Her series of Avalong finally gave the Arthurian Legend room for wemen, and is for the most part, the inspiration (in style) of the filmed-for-television movie "Merlin" (which I recently bought a copy of).

In my shelf, she sits right next to Tolkien. And she deserves as much attention as he does.

Old or not, it does not matter for her now. She will remain remembered through the ages by people who want to read more than the male-only model of the legend painted by Chretien De Troy back in 1180 (with the first installment entitled "Perceval, ou le Compte Du Graal" --the Holy Grail).

Re:(Beliefs about) Passing On (1)

Stormbringer (3643) | about 15 years ago | (#1655058)

I don't know about you, but I hate the term "passed on", what's wrong with "died"?
You're not going to pass on to anywhere, you're gonna croak, and be eaten by worms.

That's a good enough reason for it right there.

"In times to come, the Twentieth Century will be remembered as that quaint period when society ignored the fact of reincarnation."

That's a (mis)quote (I don't have my air-tape available to queue up to get exact wording) of MZB in an interview given on KPFK-FM's SF program Hour 25 (perhaps someone asociated with Eric Foss, the program's archivist, can produce the exact quote, I'm pretty sure Hodel and Gilden conducted the interview).

Your belief that the end of physical life means the total extinction of the entity is by no means universal. You are free to used the simple term died as you wish. Whether it be the Wiccan crossing over or the Christian passing on or another such phrase entirely, though, others have the freedom to reaffirm and align themselves with another endpoint by describing the process differently.


B*B M*P MZB, you will be missed.

Passed on...but is she dead yet? (1)

teleny (4948) | about 15 years ago | (#1655059)

Guys....when the Christian Science Monitor coined the expression, they didn't think that "dead" was "too harsh", they meant that souls "pass on" to somewhere else. The lady (in every way but the Peerage) is dead. Unless you can prove her to be of strong religious convictions otherwise, I would rather that you be proper, instead of euphemistic.

Re:Passed on...but is she dead yet? (1)

teleny (4948) | about 15 years ago | (#1655060)

Point being, that out of respect, I would much rather honor the deceased's faith or taste or lack thereof, than project upon them some hazy speculations of my own.

"Dead", "died", is proper, dignified, and accurate. "Passed (away, on, or ?)" without an implied religious agenda is an American vulgarism that, frankly, makes me queasy: "He passed" makes me think of gas building up in a corpse (at worst), and the co-option of yet another part of living as a wholly gratuitous symbol of mourning (quilts, stuffed animals, sunglasses, etc.) at best. Can we now "celebrate a life" without the person being dead?

Ms. Bradley is dead, as is Jon Postel, but we'd never know from the news....

Re:redefine the genre? (1)

Jonathan (5011) | about 15 years ago | (#1655061)

I'm not against redefining genres -- my gripe with Avalon is that it is set in medieval England and it is simply a fact that women in that time and place had no rights whatsoever. So, when a book set in medieval England has women characters basically identical to 20th century feminists, it is just silly. There were historically matriarchal societies, and fantasy writers can of course create their own fictional societies, but I don't see the point of writing a novel in a historical setting and ignoring the true values of the people of that time. Medieval people were racist and sexist. Deal with it.

Re:redefine the genre? (1)

Jonathan (5011) | about 15 years ago | (#1655062)

Yes, the women were supposed be to Celtic holdouts from the evil Anglo-Saxon culture. A small problem: Celtic culture wasn't in any way feminist either. The culture that the women seem to belong to in Avalon is more akin to modern feelgood Druidic cults than any historical Celtic culture.

Died is fine, but some people prefer passed on. (1)

mellon (7048) | about 15 years ago | (#1655063)

That's all. No big deal.

Re:Amazons in Darkover (1)

mellon (7048) | about 15 years ago | (#1655064)

I think you're right. The Shattered Chain was probably the defining book of the Darkover series for me. BTW, have people read The Survivors? This is completely unrelated, but another of my favorite pieces of her fiction.

She will be missed (1)

m0nkyman (7101) | about 15 years ago | (#1655065)

nuff said.

Amazons in Darkover (2)

Falsch Freiheit (7780) | about 15 years ago | (#1655066)

I would have thought that the Renunciates or "Amazons" in the Darkover series were more influental in redefining "female writing in the fantasy genre".

After all, the renunciates appeared much earlier in her writing, and it's the renunciates that you can find at least one book full of short stories written by fans of MZB and her renunciates.

(For those who haven't read her Darkover series: on Darkover there is a culture that is highly repressive of women, regarding them primarily as breeding material. However, there is a group of women called the "Renunciates" or sometimes "Amazons" who have renounced all their previous family ties in favor of allegiance to the rest of their group of women; they live outside the normal societal roles set for women.)

Perhaps Avalon sold more copies to the general (non-sci-fi fan or sci-fi author) community, though.

Also, I'd say that her writing was mostly more science-fiction than fantasy. Darkover and the psionic powers presented there (along with the psionic technology) is much closer to a science fiction kind of basis than true sword-and-sorcerer fantasy. Heck, the majority of the darkover series exists inside of the larger context of a galactic empire, which is hardly the stuff of fantasy novels. The main reason given in her books for the prevalence of swords instead of arrows or other missile weapons is that during Darkover's highest level of psionic technology the risk of destroying the entire planet with long-distance weapons caused everybody to agree not to use any form of long-distance weapon.

Mostly, this means I won't get to read any more of her excellent writing, since there won't be anymore. She truly was one of a fairly few really good authors out there that have been producing books for a long time. (It wasn't all that long ago that I read a book of hers written in 1968 -- it was still interesting and relevant, though the computers that appeared in it had the same problem as computers in ST:TOS -- big things with no visual interface.)

Re:Passing On (1)

Speed Racer (9074) | about 15 years ago | (#1655067)

You know what's worse? I checked out this story just to see if that post would show up.

Re:Oh, man... (1)

PD (9577) | about 15 years ago | (#1655068)

The latest Foundation trilogy was written by the "Three B's" or "Killer B's" or something like that.

Benford, Bear, and B..something. They were authorized by the Estate of Isaac Asimov (administered by Janet I think) to write the books.

There's 3 new robot novels too! They are really good reads. I personally hope that new stories set in Asimov worlds appear from time to time. (NOT every month - that would be horrible - one every other year would be great).

I didn't know slashdot was a religious forum... (1)

mattc (12417) | about 15 years ago | (#1655069)

News for Christians. Stuff that we should pray for.

Re:I'm not a huge Sci-Fi fan... (1)

BenJamin.G (14082) | about 15 years ago | (#1655070)

Try these books:
Mists of Avalon
the Forest House
and the other which name of the book leaves me at this moment, great books with a differnt spin on the Authur Tales, i would recomend them to anyone.

Passing On (2)

BiGGO (15018) | about 15 years ago | (#1655071)

I don't know about you, but I hate the term "passed on", what's wrong with "died"?
It seems to me that death is a dirty word,
and that some people are offended by the fact that life is terminal.

Life is going to end, even your own life, you should except it.
You're not going to pass on to anywhere, you're gonna croak, and be eaten by worms.

The day Microsoft makes something that doesn't suck,

Re:redefine the genre? (1)

HiThere (15173) | about 15 years ago | (#1655072)

Well, perhaps it would have been better to say "defined a new sub-genre". The Darkover series was the first (that I am aware of) to feature medieval vs. technical social clashes where the emphasis was on the individual's reactions within their social matrix.

Sorry that's a bit wordy, but I can't think of a shorter way to say exactly what I mean. The technology was a backdrop. It was the social interaction that was the focus of the story. And within the social interaction on the individual.
In a way, this is rather like Hal Clement's "Mission of Gravity", but the backdrops are rather different.

Re:Passed on...but is she dead yet? (1)

crow (16139) | about 15 years ago | (#1655073)

Just a nitpick, but saying that someone passed on is not a comment on their beliefs, but a comment on the beliefs of the person making the comment.

You may not believe in any sort of soul or afterlife, but that doesn't stop me from believing that despite your lack of faith, you will "pass on."

Re:Amazons in Darkover (1)

rde (17364) | about 15 years ago | (#1655074)

Perhaps Avalon sold more copies to the general (non-sci-fi fan or sci-fi author) community, though.
Speaking as a former bookseller, I can safely say that a lot of people came looking for Mists of Avalon without knowing who MZB was; it was the book they heard of. However, on the strength of that book I was able to convince a few to try the Darkover books; Stormqueen and Two to Conquer are my favourites and ones that never failed to convert.
Avalon, BTW, had inferior sequels but remains second only to TH White's Once and Future King in essential Arthurian reading. There've been thousands since, but none to match these two.

Re:Oh, man... (1)

rde (17364) | about 15 years ago | (#1655075)

Gosh diddly darn it, if you haven't read The Uplift War and the rest of that series, you haven't read some of the finest science fiction written. Essential reading also includes The Postman (on which that fuckawful film was allegedly based).

Re:redefine the genre? (1)

Jon-o (17981) | about 15 years ago | (#1655076)

Maybe that's so - I won't dispute it. In any case, it has been a while since I read the book in question. What I remember of it though isn't that she made the women seem powerful and in control - rather that she made them seem like PEOPLE - along with all the men, too. This is where many, many fantasy novels fall flat. You get millions of cliched characters, like the aforementioned pointy-eared scantily (yet supposedly protectively) clad swordfighters, and you get the non-existent names in lists of characters (for example, most characters in The Silmarillion, IMHO).

This story had me believing and caring about the people involved, which is something different - not that it's the first time that happened, by any means, but it is a very well-done example of it.

Re:redefine the genre? (2)

Jon-o (17981) | about 15 years ago | (#1655077)

I think genres are continually being redefined, added to, changed, etc... any author who writes interesting new material is doing so. For an obvious example, take the authors that contributed to the whole cyberpunk subgenre of SF - since then, there has been a set of new ideas that countless other stories have drawn on.

In this case, though I haven't read much of MZB's work, I can say that "The Mists of Avalon" managed to tell the arthurian tale without sounding like either a lame kids book, or a boring history text. That was a first for me! I think through that book, and others like it, she convinced a number of people that fantasy isn't just about warrior chicks wearing chainmail bikinis slaying beasties and reaping the rewards - many people began to accept it as a valid genre of Literature. It certainly renewed my faith after having read too many utterly mindless fantasy clones.

Re:She will be sorely missed (1)

TheMystic (18789) | about 15 years ago | (#1655078)

She was a Christian, an Episcopalian specifically, as is (was?) Madeline L'Engle -- another great woman and kind spirit who combined feminism and sci-fi/fantasy writing.

I'm still in the process of reading Mists, but I very much enjoy the change in perspective it gives on Arthurian legend -- not only by giving the feminine view, but also the Celtic view (as opposed to the Roman mangling of the myth through Chretien de Troy and Once and Future King). I plan on reading more of her writing. She sits on my shelf next to Joseph Campbell, Sam Keen, Robert Bly, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, and all my mythology collections.

Re:come again (0)

mester (20009) | about 15 years ago | (#1655079)

>My question to you is this:
>How could someone who spoke freely, believed that >people should be equal, and stood up for what she >believed in - suck?

And the answer is simply: Awareness of cultural consensus. She never had it.

And for the rest: Therefore the kings of the earth shall be Kings for ever: the slaves shall serve. There is none that shall be cast down or lifted up: all is ever as it was.

Now gimme a real author who knew just a glimpse of the world and showed it in hir(!) writing

Strong my ass (I could become a hater of presomptous mzb reader very readily)

Re:come again (0)

mester (20009) | about 15 years ago | (#1655080)


to read=sociology

to read=history of religion

to continue=this discussion

Cultural awareness: being aware of your own culture's view of the world and when depicting another time/world, NOT using the view you are used to.

Hence whenever she told the reader about mystic medieval england or whatever she never ever took off those cultural as well as feministic glasses.
Like when people of today rant about how; everything was so much worse in older times, that stupidity was so unbound that people hardly knew how to wipe their own ass.
And the fascistoids that claim themselves to be superior to *insert favourite enemy here*, never ever realising that these things only look so because of them and their environment.

>And she also had very little boundries when she >wrote. (She created a ship, which crashed on a >world, which mutated people, which created a >technology, which caused a great society, which >came to war, which broke itself, which went >throught a dark age, which stabilized, which was >found, which went through political/social >upheaval, which is still growing...)
>Think she could have done that with boudries?

And these cultures that she described they didn't happen to carry a certain christian taint of morality in them did they? now, did they?

To be honest I don't like those kind of people. She was one of those although a cultural-sexual fascist, and those are generally applaused by modern culture because it sure knows best.

Catch my drift?

And then I don't accuse her of being understood by me at all, what I am presenting is my view on her communications in the form of books or those of them I've had the qustionable pleasure of reading.

She had the misfortune of fitting a lot in through her minuscule perception hole, and then subsequently passing it on to the suckers of the world who seldom question what they are told.

Nothing is true
Everything is permissible

MZB, relevance and Slashdot (3)

DragonHawk (21256) | about 15 years ago | (#1655081)

I would like to think that someone could die without the discussion degerating into a flamewar on Slashdot. But I am not that naive.

Marion Zimmer Bradley stood out. Maybe she wasn't J.R.R. Tolkien or Issac Asimov, but she was a damn sight better then a lot of the other sci-fi/fantasy authors out there.

She was one of the early women in sci-fi/fantasy. Not only in being a writter, but what she wrote. Women usually figured strongly in her books, and could always think for themselves. That was not that common in sci-fi when she began Darkover in the early 1960s.

Mists of Avalon and its sequel was a unique take on the King Arthur legends.

She was a founding member of the Society for Creative Anachronism [] , including naming the organization.

In her Darkover books, she created a fantasy world where technology met medieval society. It was a world that was not limited to one or two books, but was a continuing, evolving story. Furthermore, she was quite willing to let other authors play in her worlds -- something that is quite rare these days. She may not have been the first to do this, but she stood out by it.

And obviously, "quite a number" of Slashdot readers thought the item newsworthy.

I know that I, for one, think she will be dearly missed.

For more information, check out Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine [] .

Age? (1)

jetpack (22743) | about 15 years ago | (#1655082)

How old was she?

Wow. :( (3)

blahedo (24332) | about 15 years ago | (#1655083)

She was definitely a great writer, and a strong voice that stood up for equality and tolerance decades before such sentiments became mainstream. She's left us the legacy of her books, though, for which we can be thankful. And...

As I think about it, she made a very geeky move a few years back. She declared that in the event of her death, she would will the Darkover series to Mercedes Lackey (another great author, and one who got her start in MZB's short story anthologies). I never thought about the connection until just now, but in many ways her Darkover series was a distant relative of the OSS movement: anyone was and is free to write any stories they want, of course; but the especially good ones she would collect and publish in anthologies along with some of her own short stories and of course the novels. These short stories are as much a part of the Darkover series as anything MZB herself wrote, and many of them were written by authors known in the field (e.g. Diane Duane), some by authors that later became known in the field (e.g. Mercedes Lackey). And now that she can no longer oversee the series, she has passed the baton to someone who could.

A visionary in more ways than one, it seems. She will be missed...


Robert S Gormley (24559) | about 15 years ago | (#1655084)

Which moderator dipshit marked this at insightful??? For christ's sake.

She spoke to many of us... (2)

DruBear (26114) | about 15 years ago | (#1655085)

nascent NeoPagans, homosexuals in hiding, geeks who wondered on the ethics of too-much-power, genetic engineering and the shame of distance weapons. She posited times and places where we (who ever we were) would be agents and be required to think and feel and experience all that our lives "here" seemed to be lacking.

And gave us the sense that once we put down our books, we could have that life if only we would hope, dream, and stand by our honor.

Thank you for all that... and for all the joys and challenges you will bring to thousands to come.

Re:The Forest House (1)

Raevnos (26382) | about 15 years ago | (#1655086)

It's possible. I feel the same way - I picked up Mists of Avalon once, and it bored me to death so badly I couldn't finish it, which is quite an accomplishment. After reading the posts here, I'm going to give her a second try, with whichever of the other highly reccomended books I find first at the library. Even the best authors have bad books, and different people think different works are the bad ones. Second chances can't hurt.

I'm not really sure it would be much diffrent... (1)

delmoi (26744) | about 15 years ago | (#1655087)

While 'geek' celebs might be more accessable, I doubt they would have many more frends then a regular person. I don't think that Linus Torvlads has thousands of frends (at least not personaly), I don't see why the group of geeks who know him would be much larger then the group of people who know someone like Gorge C Scott
"Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"

Re:come again (0)

Breakfast Cereal (27298) | about 15 years ago | (#1655088)

U R R1GHT D00D! U R 3L33T! 1F U L1K3 MZB TH3N N0-1 W1LL G1V3 U W4R3Z!@!!!!!111!!1

Redefined "female" writing in the fantasy genre? (1)

reverse solidus (30707) | about 15 years ago | (#1655089)

How about just that she helped define the modern fantasy genre? I mean, what exactly is "female" writing, anyway? As far as I know, ink on paper is genderless. It might be worthwhile to mention she was a female that actually used a female name when writing science fiction and fantasy, something that is even now a pretty courageous thing to do considering the audience...

Re:Her books (1)

kamileon (35033) | about 15 years ago | (#1655090)

FYI, the Dragonrider books were written by Anne Mcaffrey (sp?). They are in no way connected with MZB. Good books though...

geek-grrl in training
"If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you."

Her books (2)

ajs (35943) | about 15 years ago | (#1655091)

This book list [] will give you a good idea of just how much she contributed to the science fiction and fantasy world over the years.

Re:Passed On vs Dead (1)

Hobbex (41473) | about 15 years ago | (#1655092)

Passed on seems gentler.

Which must be the ultimate form of hypocracy, because for all the people I have known who have died, the one thing it has never been to face their loss, is gentle.

/. is like a steer's horns, a point here, a point there and a lot of bull in between.

RE: There are one or two more S&S anthos. (1)

dancomfort (44913) | about 15 years ago | (#1655093)

SF people were saying that the next Sword and Sorceress anthology was in press (#17, I think), and that Bradley was almost done buying stories for #18, so you might be getting your g/f two more.

Re:MZB, relevance and Slashdot (1)

dancomfort (44913) | about 15 years ago | (#1655094)

MZB's longest lasting contribution to SF & Fantasy
will likely be all the women writers who got their start writing for the Darkover and Sword and Sorceress anthologies, and then went on to good careers of their own. Her example and sponsorship brought a lot of new writers and viewpoints into a field that needed them.

What I learned from Darkover (1)

Shadok8 (58859) | about 15 years ago | (#1655095)

I enjoyed the Darkover books a great deal and I gained something from them: a favorite quote. I don't think MZB is the originator of the phrase, but it was the first time I saw it, and it has always stuck with me:

"The humans destroy what they do not understand"

It is becoming more true very day. From geeks and kids dressed in black to the planetary ecosystem, that statement is being proved.

Re:She was a Macintosh user (1)

theonetruekeebler (60888) | about 15 years ago | (#1655096)

This is exactly why I don't like reading obituary threads--asinine jackass ACs who decide to run roughshod over anyone else's memories of the positive contributions the deceased has made to their lives or to society in general. Remember that jerk who was slagging on Stevens?

Lots of writers use Macs--sometimes it's nice to file your nails with an eme ry board [] instead of a belt sander [] .

It's probably pointless to ask these bozos to have respect, or to just lurk, or to say "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all," so I'm just going to keep the discourse at a level you can relate to and say "go to hell."


Rest well, MZB (3)

jflynn (61543) | about 15 years ago | (#1655097)

Marion Zimmer Bradley was a force. Her voice for tolerance, one that spoke loudly long before it became popular or even acceptable, will be missed. So will be her eagerness to impart her skill and experience to younger authors. To be remembered fondly, by all those she influenced, and all who have and will yet read her books is a fine legacy. We were fortunate to have her.

Re:She will be sorely missed (2)

Chasuk (62477) | about 15 years ago | (#1655098)

MZB made her first professional sale in 1953, so to claim that she was one of the "most compelling scifi/fantasy authors in recent years" is arguable on two points: first, much of her fiction prior to the more literary The Mists of Avalon was quite sloppily written; second, the longevity of her career succinctly defies the word "recent." However, before I am accused of "spitting on her memory" - as another gentleman premptively phrases it in a separate post - I will acknowledge that she was indeed a great inspiration to many young writers who sent her their work.

The main article says that her work "helped re-define female writing in the fantasy genre," which is not entirely correct. While MZB did have a talent for character development and storytelling, she was not a pioneer. That credit goes to Andre Norton, who blazed the trail that nearly all female SF authors have followed since, MZB included.

MZB was born in 1930, for any who wondered. While I was not a fan myself, I will definitely miss seeing the smiles radiate on the faces of her many admirers, now instead composed in grief at her death.

She was not a Wiccan, as was ofter surmised by those who read her Darkover sequence, but a Christian, so I wish her happiness in whatever world she now finds herself (or, as I am myself an athiest, perhaps I should more properly wish her the respite of complete oblivion). Blessed be and Amen.

Re:She will be sorely missed (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | about 15 years ago | (#1655099)

first, much of her fiction prior to the more literary The Mists of Avalon was quite sloppily written

Like some other SF/Fantasy writers, she was susceptible to writing for paychecks. (A friendly way of saying "hack writing".) Some of what she wrote was great. Other things were merely servicable (or worse). (She was similar to PK Dick in this respect.)

I recall that she even wrote some soft-core porn in the sixties under a psuedonym... Fantasy paid crap back then.

But The Mists of Avalon pretty much made up for any less then perfect writing she may have done. That was an outstanding book. She does seem to have tried to duplicate its success with some sequels and that Trojan War thing, but none of them quite had the same magic. They were still worth reading, though.

One difference between Norton and Bradley was that Norton had to disguise her sex in order to start her career.

Re:No! (1)

1%warren (78514) | about 15 years ago | (#1655100)

Actually, you'll probably find that MZB engages your "predictable concerns".
Read one of her'll probably read the rest of them like I did...

Re:The Forest House (1)

1%warren (78514) | about 15 years ago | (#1655101)

It wasn't one of her better ones....written for the mainstream IMHO...
Previous, "The Mists Of Avalon" much much better..

69 (1)

Taikuno (79115) | about 15 years ago | (#1655102)

If I calculated this correctly she should be 69.

To quote: "Marion Zimmer was born in Albany, NY, on June 3, 1930, and married Robert Alden Bradley in 1949."

It's amazing what sorts of information you can find by just following a few links.

Biography can be found here (1)

Taikuno (79115) | about 15 years ago | (#1655103)

I meant to add the actual link too; the biographie is here:

Re:She was a Macintosh user (1)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | about 15 years ago | (#1655104)

It's amazing that regardless of how many beautiful or fantastic things a person produces they are attacked for the tools they use or the one small thing they did wrong.

We as geeks hate it when others do that to us - I think we should not do that to others if at all possible.

Regardless! Marion Zimmer Bradley was one of the most imaginative and insightful writers this sorry ball of mud has produced. I for one am not about to destroy the flower that is making our world smell and look better because it's growing in a pile of dung.

She will most definitely be missed and I wish her all the best fortune on her journey regardless of the destination she has chosen.

Re:come again (1)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | about 15 years ago | (#1655105)

You're entitled to your opnion but I think it's in very poor taste to speak so harshly of someone who brought so much to so many.

Was she strong. Yes.

Did she promote women to step out of where they are and on to better things. Yes.

Did she speak out openly about her feelings and beliefs. Yes.

She did these things and many others. Mostly when those actions were considered "unpopular" and even caused her problems.

My question to you is this:
How could someone who spoke freely, believed that people should be equal, and stood up for what she believed in - suck?

"Nuff said."

Re:come again (1)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | about 15 years ago | (#1655106)

So the Almighty Culture is the be-all, end-all?

Somehow I doubt it.

I ask you to look at what you said. You stated that she had no awareness of cultural concensus. That is both untrue and, even if true, not necessarily a Bad Thing(tm).

If Cultural.Awarness=True then
Writer writes about things that relate to the real world like relationships, weapons and war, economic problems, politics, etc.

If Cultural.Awareness=False then
Writer has no boundries to confine them to what the culture deems "fitting" or "normal".

MZB had a mix of both of these qualities.

She had the understanding about what was happening in the world and put it into her writings, the weapons policy on Darkover, the Renunciates, the everyday relationships of people, etc.

And she also had very little boundries when she wrote. (She created a ship, which crashed on a world, which mutated people, which created a technology, which caused a great society, which came to war, which broke itself, which went throught a dark age, which stabilized, which was found, which went through political/social upheaval, which is still growing...)
Think she could have done that with boudries?

A good author is able to take something that's
soft and unformed and make it into something real that they want to give to others. They're able to create whole universes from scratch. Universes that are real to the people reading them, sometimes more real than this planet we live on. This is not a talent suited to the "normal" boundries set by the "Cultural Awareness" police.

Don't make the mistake that most people do and kill something that you don't understand or that's not "normal" according to your views.

You do that and you'll become exactly what you're accusing her of being.

Don't just "Get Real" - "Be" real.

Re:The Forest House (1)

BDKR (86989) | about 15 years ago | (#1655107)

Yeah, I think you did pick up a bad one.

Re:MZB (1)

dcw (87098) | about 15 years ago | (#1655108)

I started with her Darkover books about 15 years ago. I like to think her Darkover books (and others as well) got me thru my high-school years, they gave me an escape I could take mentally, saved me from escaping in destructive ways I belive.

Re:Oh Dear... (1)

DaisyEmmett (91197) | about 15 years ago | (#1655109)

I personally loathe the use of 'passed on'. The close friends I lost, have died. Calling it 'passing on' doesn't make the harsh reality any different, that someone you knew, respected and loved is no longer here.

I regard this usage as something belonging with 'downsized' for sacked, 'reengineered' for sacked, 'employee attrition program' for sacking people, 'collateral damage' for dead civilians, etc.

Someone quoted MZB below as saying that the 20th century will be remembered as the time we ignored reincarnation. Personally, I think the 20th century will be rememberes as the time we ignored the fact of death. (Until we get the hang of telomerase).

I think just about the definitive word on how death should be handled was written by Orson Scott Card in Ender's Game [] . When my father-in-law died, his son spoke of his life in the spirit of Ender's Game, and it was one of the most moving moments of my life. Disguising a person's death does nothing to soften the blow for friends and relatives. Accepting their death and celebrating their life does, in my experience.

Please note, this post has no bearing on the good lady's death, which seems to me to be a sad affair, as so many people enjoyed her books. But saying she has 'passed on' will neither soften the blow or alter the fact.


Re:She was a Macintosh user (1)

DaisyEmmett (91197) | about 15 years ago | (#1655110)

The post was indeed deeply offensive (though I must admit to laughing, being surrounded by Mac lusers all day), but I would take issue with this 'respect for the dead' remark. The same was said to me after I complained that they took the usual Sunday repeat of the Archers off BBC radio 4 after Princess Diana and her Arab Boyfriend parked in that tunnel. When she was alive, I regarded Princess Diana as a silly, self-obsessed, manipulative, evil, bitch. Then she died. So now I'm supposed to like her? I think not.

If we are to 'show some respect for the dead', then we had better stop referring to Adolf Hitler as 'perhaps the most evil man in history', and start referring to him as 'someone who, although apparently misguided, did a great deal to improve the transport infrastructure of Germany, and was very kind to children and animals. Oh, and he started the second world war. And ordered the murder of 10 million people.'

Now I have no wish to judge the relative moral worth of MZB (and no, I am not comparing her to Hitler). But if someone loathes Mac users, then they shouldn't have to love them after they die.


She will be sorely missed (4)

Blind Zen Archer (95289) | about 15 years ago | (#1655111)

Mrs. Bradley was not only one of the most compelling scifi/fantasy authors in recent years, she was also an inspiration and guide to young authors throughout the world through her dedication to publishing those who were willing to send her their work. I did have 2 works published in her magazine, and was given advice from her in a letter advising me on how to improve my writing. She is a blessed spirit, and wherever she is now, they better treat the lady right. I'd ask anyone who was influenced by her in any way to please send condolences to her family. The world has lost a good person, and her absence will be noted.

Re:Oh no! (1)

arcum (96149) | about 15 years ago | (#1655112)

There was one other since then, Traitor's Sun, and that one actually wraps things up quite nicely, since Darkover would be considered to be going into a new phase in its history at the end of it.

Hard to grasp that she's dead, though. Last Sat? I actually checked one of her books out Sat, and had just finished reading it right before logging on Slashdot... She will be missed...

Darkover online encyclopedia (1)

frossi (96194) | about 15 years ago | (#1655113)

If you're new to MZB's famous Darkover world, you can check my Darkover web site [] .

Re:I'm not a huge Sci-Fi fan... (0)

AxeMan808 (96289) | about 15 years ago | (#1655114)

Ummmmmmmmmmm.... Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't MZB write..... THE DRAGONRIDERS OF PERN????!!!!??? Sheesh!! One would think, with the 10-15 novels in that series, one of you newcomers to the SF/F genre would have heard of it? Anyway, it's sad to me that so many of the authors I grew up reading (I read my first Sci-Fi - Starship Troopers - in '73 - I was five...Actually, I had started reading ERBurroughs John Carter of Mars series the year before, but that's not *quite* SciFi...) have started departing this world... MZB will be missed, but there are other writers taking up the reins of Fantasy with *ACTUAL CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT* [take to mean that MZB worked with plot and character, too!]...Try Glen Cook (Black Company series), David Drake (The General series), Steven Brust (Vlad Taltos the Jhereg series and connected books), and of course Janet & Chris Morris' Thieves' World and Heroes in Hell series (15 books and 10-12 books in each series)...Those are some of my faves... Fly away, MZB...And avoid the Worms! AxeMan808

Re:Her books (1)

AxeMan808 (96289) | about 15 years ago | (#1655115)

And again.... No Dragonriders of Pern?!??!!??!! What gives? Have I hallucinated all those stories? If so, I need to write them all down, and sell them; historically, they made a pretty penny ! AxeMan808

Re:Wow. :( (1)

AxeMan808 (96289) | about 15 years ago | (#1655116)

For similar "We create the framework, you create the stories" type books, try Janet & Chris Morris' Thieves'World and Heroes in Hell series... As I recall, MZB and Zelazny both started their "Shared Universe" works *after* Thieves' World proved to be a hit.... Also, try Tiptree, for Female writers back in the day...She used a male pseudonym... AxeMan808

Re:I'm not a huge Sci-Fi fan... (1)

AxeMan808 (96289) | about 15 years ago | (#1655117)

D`OH!!!! I can't believe I had a brain-fart like that!!! Of course no-one's mentioned Pern!! That was Anne McCaffrey (sp?)!!!! I always get the two confused, writings are so similiar....Oh well...Everyone's off the hook except me....But still check out the Pern stuff...It's good! AxeMan808

Re:Her books (1)

AxeMan808 (96289) | about 15 years ago | (#1655118)

AAAAAaaaaagggghhhhhh!!!! This is why I try not to put stuff in writing! Of course no-one's mentioned Pern!! That was Anne McCaffrey (sp?)!!!! I always get the two confused, writings are so similiar....Oh well...Everyone's off the hook except me....But still check out the Pern stuff...It's good! AxeMan808
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