The Windsinger Series Critical Essays

Megan Lindholm


(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, science-fiction and fantasy literature saw the introduction of “larger than life” female characters who often would (or could) have nothing to do with men. For example, Salmonson’s AMAZONS! features stories of women whose power does not rely on men. Most of the stories use males as antagonists. Salmonson included Lindholm’s story specifically for its friendly heterosexual relationship, because she wanted one of “that type,” according to Lindholm.

Andre Norton’s Witch World novels (Witch World, 1963; Web of the Witch World, 1964; Sorceress of the Witch World, 1968; and Warlock of the Witch World, 1967) feature female protagonists of great power. In the Witch World mythology, a witch cannot sleep with a man and still retain her power, though there are notable (and scandalous) exceptions.

The Windsinger series appeared at a time when many of the female authors in the science-fiction and fantasy field explored alternate sexual relationships in their fiction. For example, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s wizard character Lythande in the story “The Secret of the Blue Star,” published in Robert Asprin’s anthology Thieves’ World (1979), possesses a magic that is contingent on never revealing that she is a woman. She falls in love with another woman but can make love only by using a man-wraith form to protect her secret. The character was...

(The entire section is 489 words.)