Marion Zimmer Bradley

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Marion Zimmer Bradley
MarionZimmerBradley.jpg
Born Marion Eleanor Zimmer
(1930-06-03)June 3, 1930
Albany, NY, USA
Died September 25, 1999(1999-09-25) (aged 69)
Berkeley, CA, USA
Pen name Morgan Ives, Miriam Gardner, John Dexter, and Lee Chapman
Occupation Novelist, Editor
Nationality United States
Genres Fantasy, Science fiction

www.mzbworks.com

Marion Eleanor Zimmer Bradley (June 3, 1930 – September 25, 1999) was an American author of fantasy novels such as The Mists of Avalon and the Darkover series. Many critics have noted a feminist perspective in her writing.[1] Her first child, David R. Bradley, and her brother, Paul Edwin Zimmer were also published science fiction and fantasy authors in their own right.

Biography[edit]

Born on a farm in Albany, New York, during the Great Depression, she began writing in 1947. She was married to Robert Alden Bradley from October 26, 1949 until their divorce on May 19, 1964. They had a son, David Robert Bradley (1950–2008). During the 1950s she was introduced to the cultural and campaigning lesbian group the Daughters of Bilitis.

After her divorce Bradley married numismatist Walter H. Breen on June 3, 1964. They had a daughter, Moira Greyland, who became a professional harpist and singer, and a son, Patrick, later to be known as Mark Greyland.

In 1965, Bradley graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. Afterward, she moved to Berkeley, California, to pursue graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley between 1965 and 1967. In 1966, she helped found and named the Society for Creative Anachronism and was involved in developing several local groups, including in New York after her move to Staten Island.

Bradley and Breen separated in 1979 but remained married, and continued a business relationship and lived on the same street for over a decade. They officially divorced on May 9, 1990, the year Breen was arrested on child molestation charges of a 12 year old boy.[2] She had known about Breen's sexual interests and previously accepted his sexual abuse of a 14 year old boy.[3]

Religion[edit]

Bradley was baptized at the age of seventeen, on July 5, 1947 at Christ Church Cathedral (Episcopal) in Hartford, Connecticut. In the 1980s, Bradley was a neopagan but by the 1990s she had returned to her earlier faith, telling an interviewer: "I just go regularly to the Episcopalian church... That pagan thing... I feel that I've gotten past it. I would like people to explore the possibilities."[4]

Death[edit]

After suffering declining health for years, Bradley died at Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley on September 25, 1999, four days after suffering a debilitating heart attack.[5] Her ashes were scattered at Glastonbury Tor, in Somerset, England, two months later.

Literary career[edit]

Bradley made her first sale as an adjunct to an amateur fiction contest in Amazing Stories in 1949 with the short story "Outpost", which was published in Amazing Stories Vol. 23, No. 12, the December 1949 issue. The story had previously appeared in the fanzine Spacewarp Vol. 4, No. 3, in December 1948. Her first professional publication was a short story, "Women Only", which appeared in the second (and final) issue of Vortex Science Fiction in 1953.[6] Her first published novel-length work was Falcons of Narabedla, first published in the May 1957 issue of Other Worlds. When she was a child, Bradley stated that she enjoyed reading adventure fantasy authors such as Henry Kuttner, Edmond Hamilton, C.L. Moore and Leigh Brackett,[7] especially when they wrote about "the glint of strange suns on worlds that never were and never would be." Her first novel and much of her subsequent work show their influence strongly.

Early in her career, writing as Morgan Ives, Miriam Gardner, John Dexter, and Lee Chapman, Marion Zimmer Bradley produced several works outside the speculative fiction genre, including some gay and lesbian pulp fiction novels. For example, I Am a Lesbian was published in 1962. Though relatively tame by today's standards, they were considered pornographic when published, and for a long time she refused to disclose the titles she wrote under these pseudonyms.

Her 1958 novel The Planet Savers introduced the planet of Darkover, which became the setting of a popular series by Bradley and other authors. The Darkover milieu may be considered as either fantasy with science fiction overtones or as science fiction with fantasy overtones, as Darkover is a lost earth colony where psi powers developed to an unusual degree. Bradley wrote many Darkover novels by herself, but in her later years collaborated with other authors for publication; her literary collaborators have continued the series since her death.

Bradley took an active role in science-fiction and fantasy fandom, promoting interaction with professional authors and publishers and making several important contributions to the subculture. In her teens she wrote letters to the pulp magazines of the time, such as the above mentioned Amazing Stories and Thrilling Wonder Stories. Starting in the late 40's and continuing in 50's and 60's she published her own fanzines, such as Astra's Tower, Day*Star and Anything Box to mention a few. She also co-edited fanzines: for example Ugly Bird with Redd Boggs, MEZRAB with her first husband Robert Bradley and Allerlei with her second husband Walter Breen. She also contributed to several other fanzines, such as The Gorgon and The Nekromantikon. In the 1970s, as part of the contemporary wave of enthusiasm for J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional world of Middle-earth, she wrote two short fanfic stories about Arwen and published them in chapbook format; one of them, "The Jewel of Arwen" (originally published in a different form in the fanzine I Palantir #2, August 1961), also appeared in her professional anthology The Best of Marion Zimmer Bradley (1985), although it was dropped from later reprints. She continued to contribute to different sci-fi and fantasy fanzines and magazines throughout her career.

In 1966, Bradley became a cofounder of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and is credited with coining the name of that group.[8][9]

For many years, Bradley actively encouraged Darkover fan fiction and reprinted some of it in commercial Darkover anthologies, continuing to encourage submissions from unpublished authors, but this ended after a dispute with a fan over an unpublished Darkover novel of Bradley's that had similarities to some of the fan's stories. As a result, the novel remained unpublished, and Bradley demanded the cessation of all Darkover fan fiction. [10]

Bradley was also the editor of the long-running Sword and Sorceress anthology series, which encouraged submissions of fantasy stories featuring original and non-traditional heroines from young and upcoming authors. Although she particularly encouraged young female authors, she was not averse to including males in her anthologies. Mercedes Lackey was just one of many authors who first appeared in the anthologies. She also maintained a large family of writers at her home in Berkeley. Ms Bradley was editing the final Sword and Sorceress manuscript up until the week of her death.

Probably her most famous single novel is The Mists of Avalon.[11][12] A retelling of the Camelot legend from the point of view of Morgaine and Gwenhwyfar, it grew into a series of books; like the Darkover series, the later novels are written with or by other authors and have continued to appear after Bradley's death.

The noted critic Damon Knight has written[13] "Her work is distinctively feminine in tone, but lacks the clichés, overemphasis and other kittenish tricks which often make female fiction unreadable by males."

In 2000, she was posthumously awarded the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement.

Bibliography[edit]

Novels[edit]

  • Falcons of Narabedla (1957)
  • The Door Through Space (1961)
  • Seven from the Stars (1961)
  • The Colours Of Space (1963)
  • Castle Terror (1965)
  • Souvenir of Monique (1967)
  • Bluebeard's Daughter (1968)
  • The Brass Dragon (1970)
  • In the Steps of the Master - The Sixth Sense #2 (1973) (based on television series The Sixth Sense, created by Anthony Lawrence)
  • The Jewel of Arwen (1974) (novelette)
  • The Parting of Arwen (1974) (novelette)
  • Can Ellen Be Saved? ([1975]) (adaptation of a teleplay by Emmett Roberts)
  • The Endless Voyage (1975)
  • Drums of Darkness (1976)
  • Ruins of Isis (1978)
  • The Catch Trap (1979)
  • The Endless Universe (1979) (rewrite of The Endless Voyage)
  • The House Between the Worlds (1980)
  • Survey Ship (1980)
  • The Colors of Space (1983) (unabridged edition)
  • Night's Daughter (1985)
  • Warrior Woman (1987)
  • The Firebrand (1987)
  • Black Trillium (1990) (with Julian May and Andre Norton)
  • Lady of the Trillium (1995) (with Elisabeth Waters (initially uncredited))
  • Tiger Burning Bright (1995) (with Mercedes Lackey and Andre Norton)
  • The Gratitude of Kings (1997) (with Elisabeth Waters)

Short story collections[edit]

  • The Dark Intruder and Other Stories (1964)
  • The Best of Marion Zimmer Bradley (1985)
  • Jamie and Other Stories (1988)
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover (Darkover collection) (1993)

Series[edit]

  • Atlantean series
    • Web of Light (1983)
    • Web of Darkness (1983)
    • The Fall of Atlantis (1987) (omnibus edition of Web of Light and Web of Darkness)
  • Colin MacLaren series
    • The Inheritor (1984)
    • Dark Satanic (1988) (published already in 1972 by Berkley, NY)
    • Witch Hill (1990) (published possibly already in 1972 by Greenleaf under the pseudonym 'Valerie Graves')
    • Heartlight (1998)
  • Survivors series(with Paul Edwin Zimmer)
    • Hunters of the Red Moon (1973)
    • The Survivors (1979)

Anthologies[edit]

  • The Best of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine (1994)
  • The Best of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine — Vol. II (1995) (with Elisabeth Waters)
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Worlds (1998)
  • Spells of Wonder (1989)

Novels under pen names[edit]

  • Writing under the pseudonym Lee Chapman
    • I am a Lesbian (1962)
  • Writing under the pseudonym John Dexter
    • No Adam for Eve (1966)
  • Writing under the pseudonym Miriam Gardner
    • My Sister, My Love (1963)
    • Twilight Lovers (1964)
    • The Strange Women (1967)
  • Writing under the pseudonym Morgan Ives
    • Spare Her Heaven (1963)
    • Anything Goes (1964)
    • Knives of Desire (1966)

Poems[edit]

  • The Maenads (1978)

Music[edit]

  • Songs from Rivendell (a.k.a. The Rivendell Suite) music and arrangements for several poems from the novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (1960) - included with other Tolkien songs on Broceliande's CD "The Starlit Jewel", available from Flowinglass Music. (Recorded earlier with many of the same musicians by the group Avalon Rising)

Editorial positions[edit]

Scholarly work[edit]

  • Bradley, M.Z. "Feminine equivalents of Greek Love in modern fiction". International Journal of Greek Love, Vol.1, No.1. (1965). Pages 48–58.
  • Checklist: A complete, cumulative checklist of lesbian, variant, and homosexual fiction in English (1960) and addenda (1961, 1962, 1963).
  • A Gay Bibliography (1975).
  • The Necessity for Beauty: Robert W. Chambers & the Romantic Tradition (1974)

Other works[edit]

She also contributed to The Ladder and The Mattachine Review. As Elfrieda Rivers or Elfrida Rivers, she contributed at least to the underground newspaper The East Village Other, the neopagan periodical Green Egg and also Sybil Leek's Astrology Journal, where she wrote horoscopes and book reviews and had her own column as well as occasionally worked as editors with her husband Walter Breen.

Pseudonyms[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.enotes.com/contemporary-literary-criticism/bradley-marion-zimmer
  2. ^ Serrano, Richard A. (October 3, 1991) "Rare Coins Expert Charged With Child Molestation". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 5, 2008.
  3. ^ Rothon, Robert (February 17, 2007). "For the love of coins, past lives and boys". Retrieved April 23, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Marion Bradley; Writer of Fantasy Novels", obituary, LA Times
  5. ^ Marion Zimmer Bradley, 69, Writer of Darkover Fantasies, New York Times, 29 Sep 1999, http://www.nytimes.com/1999/09/29/books/marion-zimmer-bradley-69-writer-of-darkover-fantasies.html
  6. ^ Publication Listing - Title: Vortex Science Fiction Vol. 1, No. 2, Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  7. ^ Edward James ,"Bradley, Marion Zimmer", St. James Guide To Fantasy Writers, ed. David Pringle, St. James Press, 1996, ISBN 1-55862-205-5, p. 68-71.
  8. ^ "Latter-Day Knights Battle for Imaginary Kingdoms", The Epoch Times
  9. ^ "...Marion Zimmer Bradley, came up with 'Society for Creative Anachronism' which quickly caught on."
  10. ^ Coker, Catherine. 2011. "The Contraband Incident: The Strange Case of Marion Zimmer Bradley." Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 6. doi:10.3983/twc.2011.0236. Texas A & M University, College Station, TX
  11. ^ "Marion Zimmer Bradley, 69, Writer of Darkover Fantasies", obituary, NY Times
  12. ^ "Marion Zimmer Bradley", obituary, The Independent
  13. ^ Knight, Damon (1962). A Century of Science Fiction. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 136. Retrieved July 21, 2012. 

External links[edit]