Andre Norton Alan Madsen

Start Your Free Trial

Alan Madsen

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Download Andre Norton Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Of the two most recent Andre Norton novels, The X Factor and Quest Crosstime, The X Factor begins with the most promise; but it fails to fulfill that promise….

While this novel might have held "a mirror up to nature," it avoids a most significant issue for the adolescent: how is a man to come to terms with his physical makeup in his own culture? Moreover, Norton relies on the cliche that the physically handicapped possess some special affinity for, and sensitivity to, the natural world. Here this cliche is dressed out as "thought projection." Neither the science, which borders on mysticism, nor the slow-moving action will make this novel appeal to younger readers.

Although Quest Crosstime is potentially more interesting fare for girls than The X Factor, the introductory exposition is so difficult to follow that many readers will never get past the opening chapter…. (p. 10)

Alan Madsen, in Chicago Tribune Book Week (copyright © 1966 by The Chicago Sun-Times; reprinted by permission from The Chicago Sun-Times), February 27, 1966.

Lord of Thunder takes place on the same planet as an earlier story of Hosteen Storm, the Terran relocated to Arzor, which in these pages was compared with space "western." Although this begins and to a limited extent continues in a similar vein, it diverges fairly soon into complicated scientific ramifications incorporating a system of "translation" of the human body from one location to another by instantaneous means. This is never explained but it accounts for almost half the suspense of the plot. The scientific background to these "translations" is an essential element of the plot also, as it is the overt evidence of a plan to overthrow the political system of Arzor with its duality of social groups and the complications of prejudice among the Terrans against the "natives." It does not give the impression of being so completely successful a book as The Beast Master but it is still a good yarn. (p. 315)

The Junior Bookshelf, October, 1966.

The problems which may arise if the proliferation of mutants is ever accomplished in a radiation-ridden world are partly explored in [The X Factor, a] story of the fate of such a mutant [Diskan Fentress]…. The author's main intention appears to be to depict the regeneration of Fentress, enabling him to find a purpose in existence…. (p. 135)

The Junior Bookshelf, April, 1967.

After the initial shock of finding Arthur and Merlin transported to America, [Steel Magic] can be enjoyed thoroughly.

Three children find their way through a deserted garden into the land of Avalon, from whence they cannot return until they free the land from the powers of evil. They are the only ones who can handle iron and steel without harm, and armed with the cutlery from their picnic basket they set out to recover the three magic talismans that have fallen into the hands of the evil powers. Mrs. Norton does not have William Mayne's masterly touch when it comes to transporting her characters to and from present day reality, but she does handle this difficult journey far better than many, and she tells a very good tale. (p. 172)

The Junior Bookshelf, June, 1967.