The Bechdel test first appeared in 1985 in Alison Bechdel’s comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. To pass the test, the work in question (the test was originally applied to movies) has to include two women, talking to each other, not about a man. Thirty years later, the Bechdel test remains as relevant as […]
In the three novels which comprise THE SAGA OF THE RENUNCIATES, Marion Zimmer Bradley tells the masterful tale of two valiant women who face and try to break the invisible chains of custom, convention, habit and expectation with which society binds women, and women bind themselves.
Magdalen Lorne is a Terran woman born and reared on Darkover. She thinks herself the perfect Terran undercover Intelligence agent, and disguises herself as a Free Amazon to enable her to fulfill a mission to free a Terran man from kidnappers. But when she herself is captured by a band of real Renunciates, she discovers they have a harsh punishment for any pretenders: she must swear the Oath of the Free Amazons, relinquish her former life, and become a Renunciate in reality.
Jaelle has been raised in the harsh patriarchal environment of the Dry Towns. Her mother Mellora is a Comyn woman who has been kidnapped in order to breed laran-gifted offspring for her barbarian "husband." But when a desperate, pregnant Mellora dies in childbirth following a daring escape aided by a band of Renunciates, the still young Jaelle is adopted into the Guild, and becomes the Free Amazon Jaelle n'ha Mellora, a woman who has never known kindness from a man.
Together Magda, now known as Margali n'ha Tsabet, and her Guild-sister Jaelle will follow a twisting course neither could have predicted. A course which will lead them to question every aspect of themselves and of their two so-different societies. And one which will eventually set them on a life-threatening journey not only to the frozen ends of the physical world, but to the perilous limits of the spiritual overworld as well.
About the Author
She was a science fiction/fantasy fan from her middle teens, and made her first sale as an adjunct to an amateur fiction contest in Fantastic/Amazing Stories in 1949. She had written as long as she could remember, but wrote only for school magazines and fanzines until 1952, when she sold her first professional short story to Vortex Science Fiction. She wrote everything from science fiction to Gothics, but is probably best known for her Darkover novels.
In addition to her novels, Mrs. Bradley edited many magazines, amateur and professional, including Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine, which she started in 1988. She also edited an annual anthology called Sword and Sorceress for DAW Books.
Over the years she turned more to fantasy; The House Between the Worlds, although a selection of the Science Fiction Book Club, was "fantasy undiluted". She wrote a novel of the women in the Arthurian legends -- Morgan Le Fay, the Lady of the Lake, and others -- entitled Mists of Avalon, which made the NY Times best seller list both in hardcover and trade paperback, and she also wrote The Firebrand, a novel about the women of the Trojan War. Her historical fantasy novels, The Forest House, Lady of Avalon, Mists of Avalon are prequels to Priestess of Avalon.
She died in Berkeley, California on September 25, 1999, four days after suffering a major heart attack. She was survived by her brother, Leslie Zimmer; her sons, David Bradley and Patrick Breen; her daughter, Moira Stern; and her grandchildren.
Date of Birth:June 30, 1930
Date of Death:September 25, 1999
Place of Birth:Albany, New York
Place of Death:Berkeley, California
Education:B.A., Hardin-Simmons College, 1964; additional study at University of California, Berkeley, 1965-1967