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Marion Zimmer Bradley is an odd duck.

As a writer for a niche genre (science fiction), as a woman in a male-dominated field, as an occultist mystic in a stolidly Judeo-Christian world (she founded the Aquarian Order of the Restoration), and as someone who pines for the days when the genre was more fantastic, Bradley is many times over a breed apart.



That dislocation from the mainstream of society, even the mainstreams of rarefied slivers of society, has acted as a sort of crucible on her imagination. At the risk of engaging in unlicensed psychoanalysis, it seems that all this pent up desire to escape the real world has turned into a torrent she's focused at her writing. In the past several years, I've marked a focus of her work toward the psychic and the pulpy. It's hardly hidden – she said as much in the introduction to her first book:

While I was still collecting rejection slips for my early efforts, the fashion changed. Adventures on faraway worlds and strange dimensions went out of fashion, and the new look in science-fiction — emphasis on the science — came in...I think, there is a place, a wish, a need and hunger for the wonder and color of the world way out. The world beyond the stars. The world we won’t live to see.

Except her far futures don't have many futuristic trappings. Her settings are invariably medieval in flavor, with swashbuckling sword-wielders, hot-blooded heroes and beautiful damsels. It's pretty clear that this is the world she wants to live in, one of duels and kin-loyalty, where women, while they may be strong, also yield to a man's will.

We saw it in A Door Through Space, and we see it in the new Ace Double, #F-153. It's two Bradleys for the price of one (40 cents), and it, beginning to end, has Bradley's stamp upon it.

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)

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