Read Stormqueen! by Marion Zimmer Bradley Free Online
Book Title: Stormqueen!|
The author of the book: Marion Zimmer Bradley
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 4.37 MB
Date of issue: June 1st 1978
ISBN 13: 9780879976293
Read full description of the books Stormqueen!:Despite the title, this book is not mostly about the 'Stormqueen' (Dorilys of Aldaran). Many people talk (and even agonize) about her, but she has difficulty achieving (to paraphrase Ashleigh Brilliant) a speaking part in her own life. I most strongly resent the argument of one of her tutors that we all have to learn to do things we don't like to and aren't good at. This is exemplary of the bullying attitude of the whole Darkovan society. The Chieri had (presumably) the same or even greater talents--but THEY don't seem to have developed a bullying culture.
The hero, really, is Allart Hastur. He's burdened with a terrible 'gift', which he explains to his bride as "I do not see only the future that WILL be, but the futures which MAY come to pass...". These visions are so overwhelming that he becomes paralyzed with indecision, especially since he can't see the causes of the futures. Allart Hastur is also the source of a quote I'd thought came from a later book. He points out that if you can't trust your enemies to respect a truce flag, there's not much point in defeating them, since you also can't trust them to abide by the terms of surrender.
I should say that the hazards of the breeding program are not properly expressed. The problems of stillbirths and nonviable offspring are not the only problem. There's an old Punch cartoon in which a magnificent bull tells an etiolated aristocrat that he could have been as fine an animal, if he had chosen his ancestors as well. But that bull is not superior in any meaningful sense. If he had to compete with wild cattle, deer, sheep, etc, he wouldn't make it. Domestic cows require, for one thing, quite sophisticated midwifery (try any of James Herriot's books, if you doubt it). They're bred to exaggerate certain traits that are not necessarily survival traits--they just make the creatures more useful to HUMANS. Cultivar humans are no more likely to be able to survive outside a carefully nurturing culture. Humans are as genetically varied as they are (not very) because that variation is vital to adaptability.
I have to say that I find the general anthropocentrism appalling. The casual abuse of humanoid creatures because 'they're not really human' and therefore don't count is bad enough. It's worsened by the denigration of nonhuman intelligence. I don't know the mental capacities of chervines, for example--they're treated with considerably more respect than aircars. But I'd be willing to bet that they have quite a bit of native cunning and problem-solving ability, given their own heads.
One technical point--the argument that if humans needed fur, they'd be born with it, is absurd. Even if humans had originated on Darkover (instead of the tropics of Earth), the assumption that humans change genetically to fit their environment is unfounded. It's based on a misunderstanding of the time scales involved. You'd think that a citizen of a society which is engaged in deliberate genetic modification would know this--but most of the characters aren't really educated on the subject. The proposal to resolve chilling by generating more heat is pointless. The body is ALREADY producing more heat than it needs. The trick is to keep from LOSING the heat. One solution is the one already in play--load on the fat. Another, which is dismissed, is to layer external coverings--including, but not limited to, fur.
As for the notion that humans are inherently combative and must be bullied into living peaceably with each other, it looks to ME like the bullying is in the other direction. People who are NOT naturally inclined to 'battle' for everything are remorselessly harassed, and the bullies argue that it's for their own good. Quite possibly, of course, the bullies are turning their own insecurities outward. It's hard to say. But whatever the cause, the result is terrible in terms of burned fields, contorted lives, and agonizing deaths. Let's hope that Allart finds a way to introduce at least SOME humane reforms.
Anent the proofreading problems, I note a consistent tendency to spell the color 'violet' as 'violent'. Freudian? Perhaps.
The argument that wars promote genetic fitness is set aside here, because the counterargument that this no longer applies in a warfare of random killing is considered paramount. What's not considered is that it was ALWAYS nonsense. Consider the premise: we have people of variable genetic fitness (already you're in trouble, since there's very little genetic variation among humans in general, but especially here, where the founder population was very small). We're going to force these people to engage in gladiatorial combats. The brave and strong will survive--and the brave and strong are more fit for survival in general. But even granting the latter premise (questionable at best, since avoiding danger is arguably the better survival strategy), the brave and strong are MORE likely to be killed in such (imaginary) conflicts. The weak and cowardly will hang back, and it's the brave and strong that will be mowed down in the 'valley of death'. But the 'valley of death' is not off in the Mojave Desert or on the moon or somewhere--in the poem, it was in Crimea. People LIVE in Crimea. Not only will the '600' die when someone blunders. So will the goatherds and the farming peasants. The fields of war are (too often) agricultural fields. Maybe it IS for the 600 to 'make reply' and 'question why' rather than 'do AND die' (not 'or'), whether clingfire from aircars enters the picture, or not.
As for the idea that children as old as eleven have no empathy or mature decisionmaking powers, I think this must be promulgated by people who don't remember BEING 11. Speaking personally, I understood the concept of the permanence of death well before I made eleven. And if I was supposed to develop more empathy later, it didn't happen. Maybe it's like wisdom teeth--in some people it develops late--or not at all. I don't see how telepathy or other psychic powers would really make a difference. But I'm dead sure that trying to beat people into empathy is a dead end (literally, in this case). The lesson that beatings teach is that bullies rule--so you have to become the worst bully--and only then will you be let alone. Not a good way to eliminate bullying, it seems to me.
I'm going to reread the whole series, having completed all the novels written in Bradley's lifetime in the series.
This one comes second, and one point which I didn't remember when I first reviewed the book--the fact that one element of figuring out how to determine which possible futures are the most probable comes from the ability to predict the behavior of fires and weather.
Read information about the authorMarion Eleanor Zimmer Bradley was an American author of fantasy novels such as The Mists of Avalon and the Darkover series, often with a feminist outlook.
Bradley's first published novel-length work was Falcons of Narabedla, first published in the May 1957 issue of Other Worlds. When she was a child, Bradley stated that she enjoyed reading adventure fantasy authors such as Henry Kuttner, Edmond Hamilton, and Leigh Brackett, especially when they wrote about "the glint of strange suns on worlds that never were and never would be." Her first novel and much of her subsequent work show their influence strongly.
Early in her career, writing as Morgan Ives, Miriam Gardner, John Dexter, and Lee Chapman, Marion Zimmer Bradley produced several works outside the speculative fiction genre, including some gay and lesbian pulp fiction novels. For example, I Am a Lesbian was published in 1962. Though relatively tame by today's standards, they were considered pornographic when published, and for a long time she refused to disclose the titles she wrote under these pseudonyms.
Her 1958 story The Planet Savers introduced the planet of Darkover, which became the setting of a popular series by Bradley and other authors. The Darkover milieu may be considered as either fantasy with science fiction overtones or as science fiction with fantasy overtones, as Darkover is a lost earth colony where psi powers developed to an unusual degree. Bradley wrote many Darkover novels by herself, but in her later years collaborated with other authors for publication; her literary collaborators have continued the series since her death.
Bradley took an active role in science-fiction and fantasy fandom, promoting interaction with professional authors and publishers and making several important contributions to the subculture.
For many years, Bradley actively encouraged Darkover fan fiction and reprinted some of it in commercial Darkover anthologies, continuing to encourage submissions from unpublished authors, but this ended after a dispute with a fan over an unpublished Darkover novel of Bradley's that had similarities to some of the fan's stories. As a result, the novel remained unpublished, and Bradley demanded the cessation of all Darkover fan fiction.
Bradley was also 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. Although she particularly encouraged young female authors, she was not averse to including male authors in her anthologies. Mercedes Lackey was just one of many authors who first appeared in the anthologies. She also maintained a large family of writers at her home in Berkeley. Ms Bradley was editing the final Sword and Sorceress manuscript up until the week of her death in September of 1999.
Probably her most famous single novel is The Mists of Avalon. A retelling of the Camelot legend from the point of view of Morgaine and Gwenhwyfar, it grew into a series of books; like the Darkover series, the later novels are written with or by other authors and have continued to appear after Bradley's death.
In 2000, she was posthumously awarded the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement.
In 2014, Bradley was accused of sexual abuse by her daughter, Moira Greyland, who claims that she was molested from the age of 3 to 12. Greyland also claimed that she was not the only victim and that she was one of the people who reported her father, Walter H. Breen, for child molestation. In response to these allegations Bradley's publisher Victor Gollancz Ltd announced that they will donate all income from the sales of Bradley's e-books to the charity Save the Children.
- From Wikipedia
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