The Heritage of Hastur (Second Age #2)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780879979676
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/2/1984
  • Series: Darkover Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Marion Zimmer Bradley
Marion Zimmer Bradley
A prolific storyteller from the time she was old enough to talk, Marion Zimmer Bradley had an enormous impact on the science fiction and fantasy genres, imagining centuries of technological and culture clashes in the colonization of a distant planet in her Darkover series and recasting the Arthurian legends from the perspective of the women in his life in her 1983 masterpiece, The Mists of Avalon.

Biography

Marion Zimmer Bradley was writing before she could write. As a young girl, before she learned to take pen in hand, she was dictating stories to her mother. She started her own magazine -- devoted to science fiction and fantasy, of course -- as a teenager, and she wrote her first novel when she was in high school.

Given this history of productivity, it is perhaps no surprise that Bradley was working right up until her death in 1999. Though declining health interfered with her output, she was working on manuscripts and editing magazines, including another sci-fi/fantasy publication of her own making.

Her longest-running contribution to the genre was her Darkover series, which began in 1958 with the publication of The Planet Savers. The series, which is not chronological, covers several centuries and is set on a distant planet that has been colonized by humans, who have interbred with a native species on the planet. Critics lauded her efforts to address culture clashes -- including references to gays and lesbians -- in the series.

"It is not just an exercise in planet-building," wrote Susan Shwartz in the St. James Guide to Science Fiction Writers. "A Darkover book is commonly understood to deal with issues of cultural clash, between Darkover and its parent Terran culture, between warring groups on Darkover, or in familial terms."

Diana Pharoah Francis, writing in Contemporary Popular Writers, noted the series' attention on its female characters, and the consequences of the painful choices they must make: "Struggles are not decided easily, but through pain and suffering. Her point seems to be that what is important costs, and the price is to be paid out of the soul rather than out of the pocketbook. Her characters are never black and white but are all shades of gray, making them more compelling and humanized."

Bradley's most notable single work would have to be The Mists of Avalon. Released in 1983, its 800-plus pages address the King Arthur story from the point of view of the women in his life -- including his wife, his mother and his half sister. Again, Bradley received attention and critics for her female focus, though many insist that she cannot be categorized strictly as a "feminist" writer, because her real focus is always character rather than politics.

"In drawing on all of the female experiences that make of the tapestry of the legend, Bradley is able to delve into the complexity of their intertwined lives against the tapestry of the undeclared war being waged between the Christians and the Druids," Francis wrote in her Contemporary Popular Writers essay. "Typical of Bradley is her focus on this battle, which is also a battle between masculine (Christian) and feminine (Druid) values."

And Maureen Quilligan, in her New York Times review in 1983, said: "What she has done here is reinvent the underlying mythology of the Arthurian legends. It is an impressive achievement. Greek, Egyptian, Roman, Celtic and Orphic stories are all swirled into a massive narrative that is rich in events placed in landscapes no less real for often being magical."

Avalon flummoxed Hollywood for nearly 20 years before finally making it to cable television as a TNT movie in 2001, starring Joan Allen, Anjelica Huston, and Julianna Margulies.

Two years before she died, Bradley's photograph was included in The Faces of Science Fiction, a collection of prominent science fiction writers, such names as Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury. Under it, she gave her own take on the importance of the genre:

"Science fiction encourages us to explore... all the futures, good and bad, that the human mind can envision."

Good To Know

Aside from her science fiction and fantasy writing, Bradley also contributed to the gay and lesbian genre, publishing lesbian fiction under pseudonyms, bibliographies of gay and lesbian literature, and a gay mainstream novel.

Bradley rewrote some editions of her Darkover series to accommodate real advances in technology.

Her first stories were published in pulp science fiction magazines in the 1950s.

Read More Show Less
    1. Also Known As:
      Lee Chapman, Morgan Ives, Miriam Gardner, John Dexter
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 30, 1930
    2. Place of Birth:
      Albany, New York
    1. Date of Death:
      September 25, 1999
    2. Place of Death:
      Berkeley, California

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I Liked It!...

    Regis Hastur is the male Hastur heir, but he has no laran. He has unknowingly put up barriers of his own to block his laran. It will take a rare catalyst telepath to unlock his laran and break down those barriers. In addition to all of this, Regis his hiding more than just his laran from himself. He will be forced to face and acknowledge this in order to take his place as Hastur heir. Regis truly dreams of taking off in the powerful and impressive spacecrafts and traveling off world, across the galaxy. When Regis asks his grandfather permission to enter the Terran Empire Space Service, he is infuriated. Regis compromises with his grandfather, and promises that he will serve three years in the City Guard, before making his decision to leave Darkover for unknown and glorious Terran adventure.
    Now being hazed by other cadets for being Comyn and under the command of his boyhood friend, his laran shows itself. And because his laran is open to him, he faces the reality that his dream will not be realized to come to fruition. He will have to live up to his Hastur heritage and become the next ruling Hastur.
    Empire citizens are selling blasters in the market place of Caer Donn, (a renegade Domain exiled from Comyn generations ago). This black market selling is in direct violation of the Terrans agreement to Darkovan's Compact. With political power struggles, no one takes responsibility to right the problem. Lew, (Kennard's half-Terran son and the only one of his two sons recognized by Comyn), will travel to Castle Aldaran to confront Lord Kermiac about this violation.
    Regis becomes alienated by his new best friend, the cadet Danilo, who is also a catalyst telepath who opened Regis' laran. This type of laran is extremely rare and thought to be bred out. When Regis learns of Danilo's painful demise from the weapons master Dyan, he confronts his grandfather and Kennard.
    While at Castle Aldaran, Lew learns of Lord Kermiac's family's plan. The powerful Sharra matrix is used to show how the Terrans and Darkovans technologies can co-exist. But even with the warnings and caution, and with Lew's help to train them into a working circle, can the matrix truly be controlled, or will it control them and burn them alive when it's done with them?
    This fantastic book tells the great growing up adventure of the young Regis Hastur. I'm looking forward to reading about the rest of his rule, and to find out how he will continue to interact with Lew and Danilo, considering his acceptance and barriers are broken and he is at peace with that.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2002

    One of the best

    This book is probably one of the best in this everlasting series. The characters are as intricate as any person could possibly be, with real emotions and fears. The plot twists and turn, creating a tale no one, myself included, would want to put down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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