Andre Norton: Never Truly Gone!

A Tribute: Part 2

by Friends, Fans, Colleagues and Peers

Impossible to believe it has been 10 years since you left us!

 March 17, 2015 ~ Comments are in the order received

 

Continued from Tribute part 1

 


We see death as an end because the one we look for is no longer physically present, but the person lives on in our hearts and minds and in the legacy of deeds they have done. And, if we have believe, there is no Last Gate, just a Road Beyond to another world where we can all hope one day to be reunited.

-Mike Brenner

     I first encountered Andre Nortons books in my high school library. I was introduced to her wonderful worlds in Catseye, Forerunner Foray, The X-Factor, Dread Companion (which inspired me to write an avant garde play for my high school drama class), Lavender Green Magic, and my introduction to the Witch World- The Jargoon Pard. In high school I was a band & drama nerd who loved fantasy & sci-fi genre stuff & played D&D. Kethan from The Jargoon Pard really spoke to me as a character through Andre's wonderful ability to capture the feelings of a teenage outsider who doesn't understand why he's different.
      Those books drove me to seek out her other stories in my town library and even transfer in her books from other branches. I was truly hooked.
      The first Andre novel I bought was Flight in Yictor when it came out in paperback. (Yes, I was in high school in the late '80s. I believe I just dated myself! Lol!) I saw it on the book rack at our local grocery store and felt like I'd found the holy grail. A brand new Andre Norton! I loved it. Another boy who was treated badly by others but found genuine friends who saw beneath the surface... then underwent amazing coming of age transformation... A beautiful metaphor that gave teenage me hope.
      Sadly I never thought to write Andre and was much too shy to do so if it had occurred to me. I wish I could have written her a thank you letter for her wonderful stories. Though I haven't become a writer (yet? It could happen... Lol!) I love her works so much that when I discovered a wiki that was putting together a timeline of her Witch World novels, I signed up to contribute as fast as I could come up with a name & password. It has been a joy to work on elwher.wikidot.com and that inspired me to put together one for her sci-fi universe on my own Jade Dragon wiki. It's embarrassingly unfinished so far but I add to it whenever I can.
      Thank you Andre Norton for all the wonder, pleasure, insight and inspiration your stories have given me all these years. May your stories be alway in print so they can be read by the future children, both human & not, out among the stars when humans reach the planets you so vividly made real for us on Earth.

Jay Demetrick

 

When I was a girl (turned 60 in October, 2014), science fiction wasn't exactly brimming with examples of heroines who were the main character instead of heroes.  The only one I knew was  Podkayne of Mars.   My introduction to Andre Norton was ordering Daybreak 2250 A.D. through Scholastic at school.  
Imagine my thrill when I was able to browse in the adult science fiction section at my local library and discovered Ordeal in Otherwhere!  It was even better when I learned that my favorite author (along with ERB) was a woman.
Later on I got to read other sf books by women, but Andre Norton remains my first.  That still means a lot to me.
Ann Nichols
Sierra Vista, AZ


 

     I first discovered Andre Norton when I was in late elementary school or early middle school. I can't remember which book I read first, but I can narrow it down to three: Steel Magic, Star Born, or Moon of Three Rings. All of them appealed to a boy who had grown up watching Jonny Quest and Fireball XL5 on television (black and white, mind you). The sense of adventure in a world with different creatures or beings really appealed to me.

After reading everything our local library had by Andre, I began asking if there were more books by her. The librarian showed me this wondrous, huge book called Books in Print, which was exactly that, a list of books that were currently in print in the United States. I discovered that I had just scratched the surface of her books, that there were many more to read. (I'm not yet sure that I knew that Andre Norton was the pen name of Alice Mary Norton, but when I did find out, I confused her with Mary Norton who wrote The Borrowers.) I began a quest to somehow obtain some of the other books to read. I know the librarian was able to get some titles for me through a rudimentary interlibrary loan program, but we were a small library in a small, rural town, and it was difficult. The only title I remember for sure that I got this way and read was Huon of the Horn.

I read a lot, voraciously, and always had a book with me in class so I could read if I finished assignments early. My math teacher in 7th grade, Mr. Grant, would walk around the room while we were working and would often pick up a book that I was reading and start reading it. Sometimes it was difficult to get it back from him! He started to bring some of his books in to loan me. I can't remember for sure if it was him, or one of my 8th grade teachers, Mr. Burkett or Mr. Finkbeiner, that loaned me some Norton books; possibly it was all three. I'm pretty sure, though, that Mr. Burkett loaned me the book that would really draw me into the world of Andre Norton: Witch World. After reading that, I think he loaned me several of the sequels.

As I began working in high school and had some spending money, I would occasionally find a Norton book for sale somewhere: the local pharmacy, a supermarket, and bookstores, which I rarely was able to go to. College brought a little more opportunity to purchase books, but I only owned less than a dozen for many years. I would reread them from time to time, but I had also moved onto other things. As a middle school librarian, I had to read a lot of books and Norton was on the back burner.

It wasn't until I was an adult and had a family that I really returned to Norton's books. I reread some of the books that I owned, particularly the Witch World books. By then we had the internet and access to a little company named Amazon. I learned that I had only a smattering of the Witch World books. I began buying books; at first, anything by Norton that caught my fancy, but especially those that took place in the Witch World. Then I narrowed to only buying Witch World books, except for the occasional old Ace paperback title.

At some point in time I bought a Polish edition of Zarsthor's Bane, simply because I liked the cover. Thus began the real quest: to collect every edition, English language or not, of every title associated with Witch World. (I define edition as different cover art, or a change in the typestyle of the title or author's name; I'm not concerned when a publisher puts a different number on it and changes the price.) To make it easier to remember what I actually own when I go to a used bookstore, I created a website for my collection. I did a tremendous amount of research on the internet, finding as many foreign editions as I could, along with cover art. After creating a bibliography for each country, I sent that and the cover art to Jay at andre-norton-books.com so that he could share with the rest of the world.

My collection continues to grow, although I've begun to despair of ever owning all of the Russian titles (I'm reluctant to give my credit card information directly to a Russian website, and I haven't looked hard enough to find one that accepts Paypal). I continue to share finds with Jay, and also find things on his site. My most recent additions include Bulgarian editions of Witch World and Web of the Witch World, of which I was unaware until browsing Jay's site. And every once in a while when I have some spare time, I'll go into Goodreads.com and add, correct, or add cover art to the information about Andre's books that are there. And when I get a moment, I'll pick up a Norton book to be transported to a different world. I still have many books in my collection that I have not yet read.

Mike Grimm

http://www.fowlervillehistory.org/andrenorton/


      Andre Norton opened my eyes to the vastness of space and the joy of discovering alien planets and cultures with her diverse characters that included aliens, people of Color, and (gasp) women. I wish I'd had a chance to meet her. Her work is still inspiring and I read through my collection regularly.

May we meet beyond the stars someday.

Ruth de Jauregui
www.alienstarbooks.com

 

I encountered the Jargoon Pard in my local public library as a pre-teen, and devoured it, my very first f/sf book. I borrowed,  or purchased,  every Andre Norton book I could find in the next few years,  and there are scenes in my head I will never forget,  drawn so brilliantly by her marvelous pen.
     I would not be the same person if I had not encountered her,  and I am eternally grateful.

Judy Pine, Bellingham, WA


 

     Star Man’s Son, 2250 A.D., which I purchased as Daybreak-2250 A.D., was the first scifi book I read.  It was in a Scholastic Book Club offering and was completely different from any of the other types of books.  Scifi was not usually offered to children of my age group.
    Andre Norton opened the doors to Scifi and Fantasy for me with this book and I have never turned back.  I still own this paperback book (and many others), I purchased it in 1970 when I was in the 5th grade.
     This is the paperback that I still own, 45 years later.
   Janet Tietz

 


     Ten years ago, we all lost a great friend, one who was like family to many of us.  She was an unusually talent writer, a spinner of tales and a maker of marvelous worlds and universes in which these tales lived. I will always remember when I first picked up Catseye, and entered one of those worlds.  I was completely engrossed with the characters, the settings, and the new ideas I had never thought about before, nor read about in other science fiction books.  It was not only that, but it was also the feeling of living the adventure, the suspense of not knowing what was behind the next door, or turn in the trail, and not knowing what amazing thing the next  page would reveal.  She always seem to have the ability to keep me wanting to read the next page, and then the next, not stopping until I found out what happened after that.  What followed then for me was a 20 year adventure, never ceasing to be amazed by what ideas and characters her imagination seemed to birth.  I was never disappointed reading one of her books, perhaps with the exception of when I realized that that adventure was over, and I would need to wait until the next crop of Ace books came out in a month, to see if another of her stories was included (in those days, I didn't realize how much time it took to write and publish books, and thus the time between releases).  As I matured, I found that I appreciated her works more, and with a deeper understanding of the conflicts and trials her characters faced.  I did not find that in any other author's books, even though I read many fine science fiction and fantasy stories by many other fine writers.  They just did not have the magic that I found in Andre's stories.

     About 30 years ago, I decided to write her a letter and tell her how much I appreciated her writing.  She very kindly wrote back to me, and what followed was a friendship that spanned the rest of those years until her passing.  She was simply one of the kindest and most genuine people I have ever met.  When my daughter met her the first time, she remarked to me later that day that Andre was one of the nicest people she had ever met.  Obviously, all of us have known the same lady, a genuine, caring individual - always wanting to help a friend in need, either human or "furred".  She helped many young, aspiring writers to fulfill their dreams, and publish stories born from their own, fertile imaginations.  She always had a kind word for people, even those not her fans, or people even familiar with her works.  She always seemed to be willing to generously give to anyone who had a financial difficulty or on whom hard-times had fallen.  I remember years ago meeting Lena Mae, her kindly housekeeper for many years.  Even years later when Lena Mae was too old to clean the house properly, and she mostly just sat and rested, Andre still kept her in employment, and then promptly cleaned much of the house herself after Lena Mae left.  She cared for all people within her acquaintance and honored them with respect, an unusual attribute for most people in this day and time. She was a true lady.  One of her special loves was her family of beautiful cats.  Felines were truly a family to her, her "furred" friends, and she never failed to help one in need.  She not only personally cared for whichever feline wandered into her home, but donated liberally to the vets and "no-kill" animal shelters wherever she lived.  She always gave, and then gave more.

     When Sue notified me that Andre had died, I was devastated. I had lost a true friend of many years.  A friend with whom I could discuss things going on in my life, for the good or for the bad, and someone who always seemed to have good advice, or consolation when that was all that was possible.  I know all of us feel the same way about her.  While I was fortunate enough to have visited her at times, and feel honored to call her friend, I know that all of us were considered like that by her.  She always appreciated her fans, not so much that they bought her books, but that they appreciated her writings.  We are all more than just her fans, we are her friends, and will continue to be so, hopefully keeping her memory alive in our minds and in the minds of generations to come.  I miss her.

   Victor Horadam

 


 

It's difficult to believe that it's been a decade since Miss Andre passed away. When Jay asked me to contribute something to the site, I thought it only fitting to offer this essay I wrote at the time, my eulogy of sorts.
     Despite her physical absence, Miss Andre's grandmotherly presence, her nuggets of wisdom, her complete faith in who I was and who I would be...these remain with me. As does the very important decision I made the day she died.
     In 2011, I had the honor of presenting the Andre Norton Award at the SFWA Nebula Awards ceremony. In 2013 and 2014, I was nominated for the Andre Norton Award. One of these days, I will win that damned thing and make her proud. Because that's how these stories are meant to end.

Alethea Kontis

Like a Box of Chocolates ~ March 18, 2005

 


     Having always loved the written word, it was Andre Norton that motivated me to become a writer. Her well-developed stories, multi-faceted characters, the emotional connection she created to her characters and the depth of the stories. Eloquence in a I'd rarely seen in the writing of others.
     Though I truly enjoyed Beast Master, as the book, and it was the movie that motivated to my become a producer, due to how badly it was butchered in it's adaptation from the novel, what set me on that path the path to become a writer was Quest Crosstime.
I've never regretted that choice.

Respectfully,
Scott C. Brown
Pushing The Pen

www.PushingThePen.com

 

I discovered Andre Norton books by accident one afternoon at my local library when I was just a teenager.  I was (and am) very picky about what I read, and many of the so-called "women's books" were, well, formulaic and often more porn than plot.  And then I discovered Andre Norton's Operation Time Search and I was hooked, not only on Ms. Norton's books but on science fiction and fantasy as well. Thousands of books later, I'm still a big fan and more than a little grateful not only for that small paperback book, but for all the female authors her anthologies introduced me to.  
I can't believe she's been gone for ten years, but thanks to her books, she will never truly die.
Sincerely,
Peggy Smith

I remember the first Andre Norton book I ever read,"The Sioux Spaceman". That started my 50 year old fascination with her works.  My life would have been much less without her. ~ AJB 

     Every writer of science fiction today began as a reader of it, each of us inspired to write – driven to write – because of the seeds planted in us by those who came before. Andre Norton was one of those great nurturers, and the two of us are surely her children, as are hundreds of our fellow writers who were first introduced to far-off worlds and times and beings in the pages of her books.
     During the past few years, we've had the distinct privilege to work at adapting some of Andre Norton's most beloved creations as movie and television projects. Through that process we've had the immensely satisfying pleasure of rereading and rediscovering so many of her great tales of sweeping scope and boundless imagination. We've also had the fun of discovering just how deep Andre Norton's influence runs through today's genre media, touching everything from the Stargate franchise to Joss Whedon's Firefly and James Cameron's Avatar. Which means the creators of tomorrow's science fiction, inspired by today's greats, will undoubtedly be Andre Norton's grandchildren!
     We’re proud to be part of her family, and eagerly look forward to all the members to come who will continue Andre Norton’s legacy of timeless inspiration and entertainment.

– Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens ~ a New York Times-bestselling husband-and-wife writing/producing team
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_and_Garfield_Reeves-Stevens

 

I read her books when I was a child.
After I was electrocuted in 1981 with 7200 volts I had 85% amnesia. One of the things I remembered was Andre Norton. So, I started reading her stories again.
While I was recuperating, reading her stories helped me to start healing from the trauma of my accident.
I wrote to her in the 80s and shared this with her. I never knew if she got my letter. I imagine she got a lot of letters from fans.
Jesse Turtleman Hamilton

 

Words cannot express the joy Andre Norton has brought into my life since I first discovered at age 10.  Just looking at the covers of her books brings back emotions and memories of all the hours I spent reading her tales of heros and heroines who were always true to themselves and kind to other living creatures. She gave me comfort when I was lonely, strength when I was afraid, and courage to go against the prevailing norms to live the life I wanted.  Hers was the first author's name I ever learned to follow and trusted to always deliver quality,  and she remains the best in my mind to this day.  
Beatriz F. Fernandez ~ a Reference Librarian at Florida International University in Miami
http://beasbooks.blogspot.com/ 

 

   When I was 14, I had my own special noon study hall so I could cram for a project that excited my teachers, but that I knew would isolate me further from the other students. Lunch was for reading, and I had picked up Andre Norton's STAR RANGERS because it looked interesting.
   Interesting!  As Kartr of burnt-off Ylene circled an immense table reading off the names of stars and planets, I started to shiver, and my eyes blurred, until he announced "Terra of Sol," and I realized that I had found a home, at least, for my imagination.
   Further books showed me that most of Andre's chararacters were talented, isolated, in search of friends and a place called home and brave enough to fight for it.  They made good friends to follow me to college, grad school, teaching and corporate life: kids -- scared, bullied, but able to reach out to people and visit places that the people who hurt them could never dream of.
   Ten years later, I had "met" Andre Norton by letter.  Somewhat more than a decade later, I was writing with her -- two books from far away: IMPERIAL LADY and EMPIRE OF THE EAGLE, set out in the ancient Silk Roads. We traded presents for our cats.
   But what happens when someone whose home as been solely in her mind grows older? She no longer has the energy to give and give, and needs help herself?
   When I learned that Andre had not just found a safe place to stay, but a home in which she was MeeMaw, loved and cared for by all, I had the same feeling I'd experienced when Kartr found out he'd found the homeworld. Andre had herself a home, and the home had Andre.  I have rarely felt that thankful.
Susan Shwartz
Susan Shwartz wrote two books with Andre Norton and authored, co-authored and edited about 28 others. Nominated twice for the Hugo and five times for the Nebula, she has been a science fiction fan since she was 10. 

   I think I bought and read my first Andre Norton book in 1974.  It was WARLOCK OF THE WITCH WORLD and I was instantly hooked.  I could not get enough of the Witch World after that, and I also ventured into many other Norton stories as well.  It was many years before I learned that "he" was a "she" writing on under a pseudonym.  It didn't matter.
   As my exposure to other science fiction and fantasy authors expanded I judged them all by Andre's books, which were often shorter but in many ways more interesting.  When I was fifteen a friend suggested that if I liked Andre Norton I might also like Tolkien.  What these two authors achieved with their fiction was to elevate the reader's imagination into a believable world.  I found many good fantasy authors but I seldom found an author whose words could make me see what the characters saw, feel what they were feeling, and still leave me wanting more.
   I cannot estimate the many hours I spent wandering through Andre's imagination.  I read some of her books so many times I had to replace them more than once.  Each time I visited an Andre Norton world I discovered new details, saw characters in new ways, and realized that she wasn't just clever with her words, she was powerful.  When I set out to document as many details of the Witch World as I could I found myself creating an encyclopedic project with no end in sight.  There are not many authors who can pack so many interesting names and anecdotes in concise fiction and keep it readable.  Andre was one of the few.
   In 1992 I attended the World Fantasy Convention, and Andre was the guest of honor.  There were so many other great authors in attendance and I had a lot of fun meeting them.  We gave Patricia McKillip a ride on a dark road.  I spent several hours chatting with Jack L. Chalker at a tiny table.  Tom Doherty explained some of the ins and outs of the publishing industry to me.  But my most cherished memory is of seeing Andre in the dealers' room, standing by herself, browsing through books.
   How could I not say something to her?  I plucked up my courage, walked up to her, and said with all the love in my heart for the great stories she had written for me, "You have no idea of who I am but I want you to know that I grew up reading your books and I just want to say 'thank you.'  I suppose you have heard that a thousand times but I needed to say it."
   Later at the convention Irene Harrison interviewed Andre and asked her what she hoped to achieve with all her wonderful books.  "I just want to be remembered," Andre said in that humble way she had.
   "We will never forget Andre Norton!" I yelled out from the back of the room and I stood up with everyone else to give her a standing ovation.   I was privileged to see and speak with Andre again on several occasions after that convention, but my strongest memory is of her standing in that dealers room.  That was the day I learned that Andre was not just the great author I always admired.  That was the day that I learned she was a fan just like me. She told such great stories because she loved them.  And we loved her.
   We had to turn the last page on Andre Norton ten years ago but that was the day we started reading the story all over again.  I hope we meet again some day, Andre.  Until then, may all your new adventures be wonderful.
--
Michael Martinez
http://www.michael-martinez.com/ 

I first stumbled on Andre’s work through some battered paperbacks in our middle school library, Octagon Magic and Star Man’s Son.  I already loved SF and Fantasy, and when I encountered Andre’s writing I  was immediately hooked.  Having exhausted the entirety of the books possessed by my school, I headed out to the public library in search of more.  I have a feeling she would have approved of that process, though I never got around to telling her, myself.
   It was at the public library that I discovered something else that didn’t quite change my life, but encouraged me to pursue the thing I liked best.  Because when I picked up the copy of Witch World and opened the cover I saw the words Norton, Andre (Alice Mary) and I realized my favorite new-to-me author was doing what I wanted to do. What every SF book cover told me I couldn’t.  All the SF book covers with men’s names on them – even Andre’s.
   I finished my first novel-length work of fiction the year I turned fifteen.  I got my first (of so many) professional rejection slips from a publisher the day before my sixteenth birthday.  And I haven’t looked back since even though I still don’t have a novel-length work published. I am pretty certain I will someday.
   Because Andre told me I would.  Both the moment I found her real name on the inside of that book cover and when I finally got up the guts to send her a couple of Witch World stories I’d written back in the 1990s.  I had seen the Friends of the Witch World books. I’d read some.  And I wrote two stories and sat on them for, too long, it turns out.  Because by the time I sent them to Andre, the publisher had given up on the project.
   Andre told me she would have published both of them.  She also later told me I was a great writer and would be famous someday.  Still hasn’t happened, but the fact is, I make my living writing. I do it every day.  You see my work in national publications probably on a weekly basis.  Because I write advertising as my day job.  It’s one of the reasons I don’t have much fiction published. I’m kind of burned after writing for 8 hours and churning out the word count equivalent of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy plus the Hobbit and Silmarillion every year in ads (I did the word count and wanted to translate it into something understandable.).
   We corresponded for a while after that.  I still have some Christmas cards from her with cute cats on them.
   Because of Andre’s encouragement, I did get a short story published back in 1996.  Just after that my big revisionist fantasy novel got rejected for being “too long for a first time novelist”.  And I was requested to write something “more commercial.”  We’ll see.  Not sure if my ideas will ever be more commercial.
   When Andre moved up to Tennessee writing got less frequent.  I wasn’t making progress and got embarrassed, I guess.  I’m sorry I stopped writing to her, but I felt guilty for not having anything to show for all her encouragement.  I just kept cranking out the ad copy.
   Today, I still get out Andre’s letters from time to time. And I think about what she said to me.
And then I write.
S.A. Magnuson, Chicago, IL
   You can see both one of Andre’s letters and the story I sold to Plot Magazine here at my web portfolio under the fiction tab.  
http://sa-magnuson.wix.com/magnuson-marketing#!portfolio/vstc1=suzanne%27s-editorial

 

     Like so many of the writers privileged over the years to collaborate with André Norton, I first came to know her through her wonderful books. Many were the hours of enjoyment she provided! I first met her in an autograph session at a quaint little used book store near her home in Winter Park, Florida. Over the years that followed we became friends which enabled me to experience the enchantment of spending hours listening to her “talk shop.” She was the most well-read person I have ever known and could converse exhaustively on a myriad of topics. To hear her re-tell the stories she loved was always a delight.
     From André I learned the value of reading copiously to lay the foundation of good fantasy writing. During her years in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, I was able to work with her on several of her final works, typing manuscripts and doing minor edits. She paid me two compliments during that period that I will never forget. The first was her statement that she often liked the words of my edits better than hers. The second came when she handed me several pages of a story she had begun and asked me to collaborate with her on it! She had named it Rusted Armor, intending it to be a short story. But after getting a few pages written she realized it needed to become a novel. Thus began a wonderful year for me. Over the coming months I would write a portion, usually a chapter, and send it to her for feedback. Since I still lived in Florida at the time, my visits were not frequent but we were able to talk by phone and discuss the progress of the story. Following the initial idea she allowed me to plot the entire work, offering occasional ideas to enhance it.
     Much developed in André’s life during the year we worked together, not all of it good. There was an undercurrent that consequently caused the completed manuscript to not be published, either before or after her death. The details of the difficulties are no longer important. What matters to me is the joy I experienced in working with my hero, assisting her and learning from her. She imparted so much to me through her friendship and mentorship and I will always cherish and revere her memory. Thank you, André, for immeasurably enriching my life!
          Caroline Fike ~ Friend and fellow Author

When I am asked about my favorite Sci-Fi authors Norton's name is always
the first off my lips. I was captivated at an early age with her
stories, characters and worlds. Her tales resonate within me. My
personal favorites include Star Man's Son, Star Guard and the Zero Stone.
Thank you for offering this commemoration.
Sincerely,
Randolf Keith

Dear Andre Norton,
Dear Alice Mary Norton,
For more than 10 years now I feel sorry that I haven’t written this letter when I first realized how you have helped me. I was thinking that I am too shy to do that, but now I feel that I was too stupid.
I want to say thank you. Thank you for saving my life. When a first loss came into my life, I had nothing and no one to hold on to. For over 6 months I was walking around, talking to people, studying and even smiling to my parents, but I was not living. I was a total fake. It was impossible for me to stay in the reality and it was impossible for me to stay in my inner world, because it was shattered to pieces. And you, you gave me your world to stay as long as I needed to gather my spirits and to collect the pieces of myself into someone.
I have been spending all my scholarship money on your books. And I have been jumping from one to another, running away from myself, until I was able to face me again. Your Witch World became my world; your heroes became my friends and even my alter-egos. Saimon Tregarth, Jaelithe, Kemoc, Kyllan and Kaththea – the names I will never forget. And you are my close friend, though I have never written you before.
The day you died I was in shock; I was telling myself that I still have time to thank you one day. But I lost not only a friend; I’ve lost an opportunity to tell you how valuable your work was and how important you were to me.
Dear Andre, you words filled me with life, when nothing else could. Thank you.
Always yours,
Alexandra Serbay


One of the first books I read, in the children’s area of the Angeles Mesa branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, was Andre Norton’s Rogue Reynard; her 1947 retelling of the Medieval beast fable.  I must have been seven years old when I read it.  It was a key volume in my introduction to reading.  Over the next few years I made a point of checking out the new Norton books as soon as the library got them:  Scarface, a pirate adventure, 1948.  Sword in Sheath, a post-World War II adventure in the Indonesian jungles, 1949.  Huon of the Horn, a Carlovingian fantasy-adventure, 1951.  Star Man’s Son, 2250 A.D., science fiction, 1952.

By then I was entering my teens and going outside the public library to buy my own books (mostly paperbacks).  I loved s-f, especially the Ace Double Books, and Andre Norton wrote some of my favorites, although under the name of Andrew North at first:  Sargasso of Space, Plague Ship, Voodoo Planet.  I developed wider reading tastes during my teens, and even began to criticize Norton for relying too much on the same stereotyped plot; but I always read each new book of hers.  When I entered Library School at UCLA, and had to choose a Masters’ thesis, I took the opportunity to write about the works of Andre Norton – it gave me the opportunity to get her rare, earliest books that the LAPL hadn’t had, from East Coast libraries through interlibrary loan.  And on, and on.  Hooray for Andre Norton!

Frederick Patten ~ fellow writer




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