Marion Zimmer Bradley

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Marion Eleanor Zimmer Bradley (June 3, 1930 – September 25, 1999) was an American author of fantasy novels such as The Mists of Avalon and the Darkover series, often with a feminist outlook.


  • Science fiction encourages us to explore... all the futures, good and bad, that the human mind can envision.
    • As quoted in The Faces of Science Fiction (1984) by Patti Perret
  • The horror genre—which I define as “perfectly horrible things happen to perfectly nice people for no reason at all.”
  • A story with no moral isn't worth writing; a story with no plot isn't worth reading. And if people get your point before they get your story, you are to hire a soapbox instead.
  • Often, in writing, granting the basic skill of writing a literate English sentence—which can no longer be taken for granted even in college graduates—all it takes is determination.

Short fiction[edit]

  • You have the Barbarian viewpoint, I see. Radio, for instance. We use it for emergency needs. The Barbarians used to listen to keep from doing things—I know, they even had radio with pictures, and used to sit and listen and look at other people doing things instead of doing them themselves.

The Door Through Space (1961)[edit]

Free eBook of The Door Through Space at Project Gutenberg
  • A trail without beginning has no end.
    • Chapter 5.
  • If you can’t be inconspicuous, be so damned conspicuous that nobody can miss you. And that in itself is a fair concealment. How many people can accurately describe a street riot?
    • Chapter 7.
  • Our world is rotten, but I’ve no confidence that the new world will be better!
    • Chapter 9.

Darkover Landfall (1972)[edit]

All page numbers from the mass market paperback first edition, published by Daw Books (catalog# UY1256), 3rd printing
  • “From space there was no sign of life.”
    Moray, the heavy swarthy man who was the official representative of Earth Expeditionary, and in charge of the Colonists, said quietly, “Don’t you mean no signs of a technological civilization, officer? Remember, until a scant four centuries ago, a starship approaching Earth could not have seen any signs of intelligent life there, either.”
    • Chapter 1 (p. 14)
  • He said harshly, “You are suggesting that we abandon the effort—and relapse into barbarism?”…
    “I hope not, captain. It is man’s mind that makes him a barbarian, not his technology. We may have to do without top-level technology, at least for a few generations, but that doesn’t mean we can’t establish a good world here for ourselves and our children, a civilized world. There have been civilizations which have existed for centuries almost without technology. The illusion that man’s culture is only the history of his techno structures is propaganda from the engineers, sir. It has no basis in sociology—or in philosophy.”
    • Chapter 6 (p. 70; ellipsis represents elision of a brief paragraph of description)
  • Anyone who intrigues for power, deserves to get it!
    • Chapter 7 (p. 75)
  • Spoiled brat, he thought, she’s had everything her own way all her life, and now at the first hint she might have to give way to some consideration other than her own convenience, she starts making a fuss! Damn her!
    • Chapter 12 (p. 115)
  • The trouble is, we’ve all gotten out of the habit of connecting pregnancy and sex, we all have a civilized attitude about it now.
    • Chapter 12 (p. 116)
  • Every human being needs to believe in the goodness of some power that created him, no matter what he calls it, and some religious or ethical structure. But I don’t think we need sacraments or priesthoods from a world that’s only a memory, and won’t even be that to our children and our children’s children. Ethics, yes. Art, yes. Music, crafts, knowledge, humanity—yes. But not rituals which will quickly dwindle down into superstitions. And certainly not a social code or a set of purely arbitrary behavioral attitudes which have nothing to do with the society we are in now.
    • Chapter 13 (pp. 125-126)
  • There has to be something wrong with a system that means you can take guilt on and off like an overcoat.
    • Chapter 13 (p. 127)
  • Hold on to what you know, Camilla. That’s all you can do; it’s known as intellectual integrity. If a thing is impossible, it’s impossible.
    • Chapter 15 (p. 145)
  • “Good Lord, what’s that unholy racket!”
    “I forgot you weren’t a Scot, darling, don’t you like the bagpipes?”
    • Chapter 15 (p. 147)

The Mists of Avalon (1983)[edit]

  • “To know you are ignorant is the beginning of wisdom,” Viviane said. “Then, when you begin to learn, you will not have to forget all the things you think you know.”
  • It was a long season of mourning and there were times when I wondered if I should mourn all my life and never again be free of it; but at last I could remember without weeping, and recall the days of love without unending sorrow welling up like tears from the very depths of my being. There is no sorrow like the memory of love and the knowledge that it is gone forever; even in dreams, I never saw again his face, and though I longed for it, I came at last to see that it was just as well, lest I live all the rest of my life in dreams…but at last there came a day when I could look back and know that the time for mourning was ended. (Morgaine)
  • Lancelet said, “And I must believe that man has the power to know the right, to choose between good and evil and know that his choice has made a difference…”
  • My love for you is a prayer, she thought. Love is the only prayer I know. She thought she had never loved him so much as at this moment, when she heard the convent door close, hard and final, and felt the wall shutting her in. (Gwenhwyfar).

Sharra's Exile (1981)[edit]

  • "Only men laugh, only men dance, only men weep" - Saying on Darkover, quoted by Lew Alton

Quotes about Marion Zimmer Bradley[edit]

  • I can remember depending on people like Eric Frank Russell and J. T. Macintosh to give me a good, comfortable read, to tell me a story. Whether they told me anything I didn't know or hadn't thought about or read someplace else was another matter. Later I read all of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover books.

External links[edit]

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