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Marion Zimmer Bradley

Marion Zimmer BradleyAKA Marion Eleanor Zimmer Bradley

Born: 3-Jun-1930
Birthplace: Albany, NY
Died: 25-Sep-1999
Location of death: Berkeley, CA
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Remains: Cremated (ashes scattered)

Gender: Female
Religion: Eastern Orthodox
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Lesbian
Occupation: Author

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: The Mists of Avalon

Author and editor Marion Zimmer Bradley is remembered both for the helping hand she extended to so many young writers and for her own impressive body of work in the genres of science fiction and fantasy especially her female-centered Arthurian novel The Mists of Avalon and her Darkover novels. The editor of the long-running Sword and Sorceress anthology series, which encouraged submissions of fantasy stories featuring original and non-traditional heroines from young and upcoming authors, Bradley is considered by some to be the mother of feminist science fiction and to have been a significant force for the redress of what had long been an underrepresentation of female voices and perspectives in science fiction.

Born in 1930 in Albany, New York, Bradley grew up in an abusive family on a run-down farm in upstate New York, in the midst of the Great Depression. Although she had hopes of becoming an opera singer, she was thwarted by lack of money and health problems. Her writing career was sparked by an amateur fiction contest in Fantastic/Amazing Stories in 1949, and in 1952 she sold her first professional short story to Vortex Science Fiction.

Marion Zimmer Bradley's career as a novelist was launched in 1961 with her first novel, The Door Through Space. In 1962 she published the first in what would prove to be a long and well-loved series of Darkover novels. The novel, Sword of Aldones, was soon nominated for a Hugo Award. Her novel The Forbidden Tower would also be nominated for a Hugo, and her The Heritage of Hastur received the Nebula Award nomination.

Bradley broke major ground with her 1983 The Mists of Avalon. The single most successful novel of her career, it won the 1984 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel and has continued to rank among the top five trade paperback books on Locus's bestseller list. Meanwhile Bradley's Darkover novels attained such popularity that other authors began generating their own Darkover stories, which Bradley allowed to be collected together in anthologies and published for public consumption. A certain amount of Darkover's popularity surely derives from its inclusion of both gay male and lesbian relationships as well as Bradley's invention of The Free Amazon Society. Its women characters provided inspiring heroines for young female (and male) readers at a time when the women's movement had yet to find mass acceptance.

Meanwhile Bradley's own lesbian leanings spurred her to contribute several gay and lesbian-themed novels in the 60s (under such pseudonyms as Morgan Ives, Miriam Gardner, John Dexter and Lee Chapman). Although the works were relatively tame by current standards, they were viewed as pornographic during the more pronouncedly homophobic era of their publication. In addition Bradley contributed to The Ladder, the national newsletter publication of the lesbian social and advocacy group The Daughters of Bilitis (to which Bradley had been introduced by Barbara Grier in the 1950s). She also contributed to its gay community counterpart publication The Mattachine Review.

Bradley was married and divorced twice -- once to Walter Breen, a gay man and a convicted child molester. (It has been noted that some of Bradley's own writing has distinctively pedophilic themes.) She had three biological children, one with first husband Robert Bradley and two with Breen, as well as several foster children. In 1980 she and Breen were ordained in the Eastern Orthodox priesthood by gay bishop Mikhail Itkin and for many years she provided pastoral counseling at the Gay Pacific Center.

Marion Zimmer Bradley is credited with cofounding the Society for Creative Anachronism (a name she herself selected) in 1966. The Society is a hobbiest organization devoted to studying and recreating the Renaissance and Middle Ages -- primarily from Western Europe, but also from such regions as the Middle East and Japan.

Husband: Robert Alden Bradley (m. 26-Oct-1949, div. 1963, one child)
Husband: Walter Breen (gay, convicted child molester, m. 14-Feb-1964, div. 1979, d., two children)

    University: BA, Hardin Simmons University (1964)

    Society for Creative Anachronism Co-founder, and coined the name
    World Fantasy Award 2000 Lifetime Achievement
    Ordained Eastern Orthodox (1980)

Author of books:
The Planet Savers (1962)
The Sword of Aldones (1962)
The Bloody Sun (1964)
Star of Danger (1965)
Winds of Darkover (1970)
The World Wreckers (1971)
Darkover Landfall (1972)
The Spell Sword (1974)
The Heritage of Hastur (1975)
The Shattered Chain (1976)
The Forbidden Tower (1977)
Stormqueen! (1978)
Two to Conquer (1980)
Sharra's Exile (1981)
Hawkmistress (1982)
Thendara House (1983)
City of Sorcery (1984)
Heirs of Hammerfell (1989)
Rediscovery (1993)
Exile's Song (1996)
Shadow Matrix (1997)
Traitor's Sun (1999)
The Mists of Avalon (1983)
The Forest House (1994)
The Lady of Avalon (1997)
The Door through Space (1961)
Seven from the Stars (1962)
Falcons of Narabedla (1964)
The Brass Dragon (1970)
Hunters of the Red Moon (1973)
The Endless Voyage (1975)
Drums of Darkness (1976)
The Endless Universe (1979)
The Survivors (1979)
The Ruins of Isis (1980)
The House Between the Worlds (1981)
Survey Ship (1980)
Colors of Space (1983)
The Inheritor (1984)
Night's Daughter (1985)
Warrior Woman (1985)
The Fall of Atlantis (1987)
Dark Satanic (1988)
Black Trillium (1990)
Witch Hill (1990)
Lady of the Trillium (1995)
Tiger Burning Bright (1995)
The Gratitude of Kings (1997)
The Catch Trap (1979)
The Firebrand (1987)


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