Andre Norton Norman Culpan - Essay

Norman Culpan

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

All André Norton's old skills are here [in Iron Cage], but they are here used to make explicit a theme, the important potential of animals, which has been implicit in many of her books from the beginning. Jony, of human origin, who has been nurtured on an alien planet by creatures of about stone-age intelligence who have developed from bears, throws in his lot with them and defeats the attempts of visiting men to colonise what has become to him his home planet. Some adult readers will share—and perhaps be surprised to share—my shock at a human being's choosing to bring disaster on an expedition of morally quite normal men; but few will deplore a plea for greater concern for and understanding of animals.

Young readers will need a certain amount of sophistication to link satisfactorily the Prologue and Epilogue in which a cat is dumped in a cardboard box to die and later rescued, with the imprisonment of the young Jony and his mother in cages by alien invaders, their escape, and their safe-keeping by the indigenous bear-like creatures. (p. 52)

Norman Culpan, in The School Librarian, March, 1976.

Ashake, a Nubian princess of the blood, knows that she had a prior existence as black archaeologist Tallahassee Mitford before being pulled bodily through a time warp and into the ancient kingdom of Meroe as it is—or was—in some other continuum…. The combination of a with-it young scientist and evocative Egyptian talismans—and the omission of feline beings—get [Wraiths of Time] off to a promising start. However, the plot is opaque even by Andre Norton standards and Tallahassee's willingness to remain permanently in Ashake's body where she feels "real" and "welcomed" carries escapism farther than most will care to follow. (p. 740)

Kirkus Reviews (copyright © 1976 The Kirkus Service, Inc.), July 1, 1976.