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Old 06-10-2011, 08:01 PM   #9683
ATDrake
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Finished The Falcons of Narabedla by Marion Zimmer Bradley, a fairly straightforward pulp-fictiony adventure about an Earthman who gets pulled into the intrigues of a seemingly alien world.

This is one of her very early sf/fantasy novels (circa 1964, with an introduction written circa 1979), and shows a lot of the elements that would get repeated throughout her future early books:

Old-fashioned Earth-men physically or mentally kidnapped to a futuristic spin-off society to serve the local feudal lord's schemes but end up thwarting plots and finding a niche! Psionic powers and the telepath-backed aristocratic elites who wield them to keep the mindblind peasant populace in check! Struggling with the stranger who seemingly controls your body (or does s/he?)! Man-eating mutant plantlife! Remote-controlled birds of doom! Red suns and extra moons! Amber-eyed feral women! Ambiguously tricksterish effeminate men! Gender-blending maybe-neuter figures! Pseudo-technomagical Talismans which enable the interface between amazing-powers-with-a-horrific price and the people who would pay to use them! Science gone mad! Veils and Towers and Zandru, oh my!

All that's truly missing for this to be an early Darkover book are the redheads, really. Disappointingly, not a single one.

Mild recommend. I liked it and consider it worth the < $2 I think I paid for it via Fictionwise, but then I'm okay with early MZB if it doesn't cost me too much, and I suspect you have to enjoy early MZB or something very like it in the first place. Otherwise it's got mainly curiosity value.

Probably best if you really liked Winds of Darkover and/or The Spell Sword and/or Two to Conquer. E-book edition had minor occasional punctuation drops in the way of typos, but while mildly annoying, not sufficient enough to interrupt or destroy the meaning of the overall text.
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