Marion Zimmer Bradley Analysis

Other literary forms

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Although Marion Zimmer Bradley is known primarily as a novelist, she also wrote some short fiction as well as nonfiction, publishing several collections of short stories and a few essays. In addition to her writing, Bradley made a name for herself as an editor. She founded Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine in 1988, and she also edited numerous anthologies, notably the Darkover anthologies and the Sword and Sorceress series. The Sword and Sorceress series has continued since her death as Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Sword and Sorceress.


(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Marion Zimmer Bradley was one of the most prolific female science-fiction and fantasy authors, with more than sixty novels to her name and others written under pseudonyms. Although she was nominated for both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award, science fiction’s highest honors, she never won either, despite the fact that her novels contributed to the growth of science fiction and fantasy in numerous ways. After her death, she was honored with a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 2000.

In her fiction, Bradley pushed the boundaries of sexual taboos, especially concerning homosexuality, with her sympathetic homosexual characters. It could also be argued that she, like fellow fantasy writer Andre Norton, served as a role model for many women who wanted to write science fiction and fantasy. As an editor, Bradley published many authors’ debut stories and helped other women writers become established in what had traditionally been a male-oriented field. Her lasting contributions to the field of science fiction and fantasy are the Darkover and Avalon series, both of which continue after her death. Twenty-seven Darkover novels were published under her name, some of which were under way when she died and completed by others.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Arbur, Rosemarie. Leigh Brackett, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Anne McCaffrey: A Primary and Secondary Bibliography. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1982. A comprehensive bibliography through the early 1980’s in the Masters of Science Fiction and Fantasy series. Includes indexes.

Arbur, Rosemarie. Marion Zimmer Bradley. Mercer Island, Wash.: Starmont House, 1985. Provides a great overall look at Bradley’s work, with biographical and chronological overviews as well as analyses of the fiction, divided into types such as Darkover, non-Darkover science fiction, and fantasy.

Browne, Pat, ed. Heroines of Popular Culture. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1987. Contains an essay discussing Bradley’s debt to the Beguinal societies in the use of sisterhood in her Darkover novels.

Hildebrand, Kristina. The Female Reader at the Round Table: Religion and Women in Three Contemporary Arthurian Texts. Uppsala, Sweden: Uppsala University Library, 2001. Places Bradley’s work within the context of the history of the Arthurian legends and women’s literature in general.

Kaler, Anne K. “Bradley and the Beguines: Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Debt to the Beguinal Societies in Her Use of Sisterhood in Her Darkover Novels.” In Heroines of Popular Culture, edited by Pat...

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