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Old 01-18-2009, 08:59 AM   #1
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Post Bradley, Marion Zimmer: The Door Through Space v1 18 jan 2009

It is interesting just how much of The Door Through Space Bradley cribbed for her Darkover series: The Terran Empire colonizing the universe, a world bound by compact rather than charter to the Terrans, culture clash, Dry Towns, The Ghost Wind, a hint of ESP, chains binding women, the red sun, catmen, and the exclamation of the word "Sharra". These are both superficial as well as deeply thematic similarities to Darkover. In truth, if The Door Through Space was only given minor edits, it could pass as a Darkover novel. This was Bradley's first published novel and Darkover was obviously a work in progress throughout her entire career, but it is interesting to note how much of this novel she used to create an entire series of novels completely unrelated to this one. The world of Wolf could easily be Cottman IV. Had the word "matrix" shown up anywhere in TDTS I would have cried foul.

Race Cargill is a Terran intelligence agent who has been stuck behind a desk because of a bitter dispute with another agent who has "gone native". When Cargill's sister comes to Race because her husband, the former friend and agent who maimed Cargill, has apparently threatened her and her daughter, Cargill goes back into the field instead of leaving the planet for good. Adventure ensues.

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Old 11-14-2010, 11:14 PM   #2
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This book was very enjoyable. Thanks for setting this up and posting it.

I would love to check out more of Bradley, specifically her Darkover series. Anyone know where I might find it in ebook format?
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Old 11-15-2010, 12:44 AM   #3
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Fictionwise has some MultiFormat MZB, sold without geo-restrictions or DRM, directly from her estate.

Here's a collection of her Darkover short stories, written from points all along her career, and I recommend them as the best introduction to Darkover and her work in general.

You can also find a couple of her oldest Darkover novels (some of them are the out-of-copyright ones, but I think they might have new introductions by the person who handles her estate) which are admittedly not the better ones (the ones written mid-career are; best to save the ones from before the mid-60s and after the mid-80s for later reading), along with a bunch of her other rights-reverted books and some of the short stories written by the contributors to her shared-world Darkover anthologies she used to edit until that unfortunate incident after which she officially shut down all submissions.

There's currently a 50% off discount coupon for Fictionwise in the Deals forum, and if you miss that, then they seem to have a big sale every Xmas/New Year's.
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Old 11-15-2010, 01:21 AM   #4
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Thanks, that is some great information!
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Old 11-15-2010, 01:50 AM   #5
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You're welcome. Just as a tip, don't be tempted to buy any of the Fictionwise short stories labeled "Darkover series" or anything else that's not obviously a novel or collection. They've practically all been bundled up much cheaper in the collected versions and you can pick up any strays during a future sale.

Also, I had a quick peek at Kobo to see what was available from her later works. It seems like only the omnibus editions of Heritage of Hastur/Sharra's Exile and The Spell Sword/Forbidden Tower are officially available from publisher DAW, from "classic" Darkover, though there are also some co-written sequels that were produced from outlines after MZB's death. These are of varying quality and best considered glorified fanfic (which does not keep them from being okay and decently entertaining reads, just that it's best to read them later, like the lesser-quality original Darkovers).

Fortunately for you, Heritage/Exile is probably the very best in the Darkover sequence, and essential reading. You can jump into it without knowing all that much about the background, because Exile was re-written from the earlier version called "Sword of Aldones", which was the very first Darkover ever. And Heritage was written as a prequel to explain how Darkover got the way it was when it was originally setup, so this is effectively the culmination of the re-tooled, re-imagined version of the series once MZB thought she had it all figured out.

Spell Sword/Forbidden Tower is also a pretty good quality reading set, although not among the very best. The first book is more like older Darkover with a simpler adventure-type story, Forbidden Tower is a direct sequel to that, but written much later and incorporates a lot of the increasingly complex psychic/relationship ideas that MZB would incorporate into her "high" Darkover phase when the better-quality books were written.

Unfortunately, those better-quality books are mostly missing from the digital catalogue, but hopefully they'll one day put them up, and in the meanwhile, you do have the very best of them to read.

If you'd like any reading suggestions in particular (MZB wrote a wide variety of styles in her Darkover novels, so if you're looking for a YA, a quest-adventure, a gender relationships one, a coming-of-age story, or a scheming-and-plotting epic political/family drama, there's plenty to pick from if you've a particular preference), please feel free to ask in the Reading Recs forum and I'm sure plenty of people will help direct to you to the novels you might like best.
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