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by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Colonists journeying to a new home make an emergency landing on an
inhospitable planet and are stranded there. The once
technologically advanced people regress to a medieval type of
feudalism but acquire some impressive psi powers along the way thanks
to intermarrying with the planet's natives, a large supply of a
psychic ability boosting flower called Kireseth, and matrix crystals.
The Darkoverans' still spacefaring Terran cousins rediscover them a
few thousand years later and culture shock ensues as they try to
become members of a galactic Imperial society.
What worked for me:
You may already know her as the author of "The Mists of Avalon" and
"The Firebrand", but Marion Zimmer Bradley was also an excellent
writer of science fiction as well. I got into the "Darkover"
series as a teen and slurped them up quite eagerly. (Bear in
mind these novels were written from the early 1960s onward, so
some of them have a heavy dose of pro-woman thinking. But I can
live with that, as there were no stories of this sort in that day and
age. DARKOVER was groundbreaking when it came to putting women
at the forefront of science fiction and fantasy novels instead of
relegating them to the cast of supporting characters behind a "more
capable" male protagonist.)
Size-wise the women come in every shape, size, and ability.
What didn't work for me:
Opinion is divided as to how to sort out all these books. There are 20+ novels set in this
world, but the
author did not write them "in order". You can go to her home
page and see both
the publication order and the chronological order of the books and
decide for yourself how to read them. If you choose to start
with the chronologically earliest novel be forewarned it's good and
will give you a great sense of background on the world, but it isn't the
very best of the series so read a few more titles as well before making your decision
about the universe of DARKOVER. (There lots of enjoyable short
stories about this world as well, but I suggest reading at least
a few novels before trying an anthology.)
Leia meets Xena Warrior Princess in this blend of science fiction and
fantasy where laser pistol shootouts occur alongside sword fighting.
A must-read for fans of those two genres.
are some references to homosexuality in some of the books.
If you liked
the Darkover series you might also enjoy "Lady of the Knife",
of the Twins",
"Thinner Than Thou",
"Sorrows of Adoration",
"A Civil Campaign",
"The Petaybee Trilogy", "Khorii", the
"Mike Callahan" series,
"Beneath the Thirteen Moons",
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