Author: Marion Zimmer Bradley
Marion Eleanor Zimmer Bradley (June 3, 1930 – September 25, 1999) was an American author of fantasy, historical fantasy, science fiction, and science fantasy novels, and is best known for the Arthurian fiction novel The Mists of Avalon, and the Darkover series. Many critics have noted a feminist perspective in her writing. She co-founded a spiritual organization, the Center for Non-Traditional Religion. Her popularity has been posthumously marred by accusations against her, and her then-husband the convicted sex offender Walter H. Breen, of child sexual abuse by her daughter Moira Greyland, among others. Zimmer Bradley's first child, David R. Bradley, and her brother, Paul Edwin Zimmer, also became published science fiction and fantasy authors.
Bradley stated that when she was a child she enjoyed reading adventure fantasy authors such as Henry Kuttner, Edmond Hamilton, C.L. Moore, and Leigh Brackett, 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. At 17 she wrote her first novel The Forest House, her retelling of Norma; it was published after her death.
Bradley made her first sale as an adjunct to an amateur fiction contest in Amazing Stories in 1949 with the short story "Outpost." "Outpost" was published in Amazing Stories Vol. 23, No. 12, the December 1949 issue; it 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. Her first published novel-length work was Falcons of Narabedla, first published in the May 1957 issue of Other Worlds.
Early in her career, writing as Morgan Ives, Miriam Gardner, John Dexter, and Lee Chapman, Bradley produced several works outside the speculative fiction genre, including gay and lesbian pulp fiction novels; I Am a Lesbian was published in 1962. Though relatively tame by today's standards, her novels 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 is a science fantasy fictional world, with science fiction as well as fantasy overtones, as Darkover is a lost human colony where psi powers developed to an unusual degree, and work like magic, while technology has regressed to a more-or-less medieval stage. 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 40s and continuing in 50s and 60s, she published her own fanzines, including Astra's Tower, Day*Star, and Anything Box. She also co-edited fanzines, including Ugly Bird with Redd Boggs, MEZRAB with her first husband Robert Bradley, and Allerlei with her second husband Walter Breen. Bradley contributed to several other fanzines, including 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 story, "The Jewel of Arwen" (originally published in a different form in the fanzine I Palantir #2, August 1961), appeared in her professional anthology The Best of Marion Zimmer Bradley (1985), but 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 co-founder of the Society for Creative Anachronism and is credited with coining the name of that group.
For many years, Bradley actively encouraged Darkover fan fiction. She encouraged submissions from unpublished authors and reprinted some of it in commercial Darkover anthologies. This ended after a dispute with a fan over an unpublished Darkover novel of Bradley's that had similarities to one of the fan's stories. As a result, the novel remained unpublished and Bradley demanded the cessation of all Darkover fan fiction.