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Thread: Andre Norton - The Grand Dame of Science Fiction

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    Let's go to fairyland Minde's Avatar
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    Default Andre Norton - The Grand Dame of Science Fiction



    Her book, Galactic Derelict, was the first Sci-fi book I ever read. It was my dad's favorite, and he gave it to me to help quench my early thirst for reading. It didn't quench; it whetted.

    I can't say I read a lot of Sci-fi. A good amount of Asimov, plus a smattering of other random books and authors, such as Ender's Game and War of the Worlds. But I collect Andre Norton.

    The way she writes, what she writes about (usually), what she focusses on and emphasizes (or doesn't emphasize) I find likable, engaging, and comfortable. And, not only does she tell a good story, but I've learned interesting historical things from her books as well - like about the Hyksos or the post-Civil War (American) West. She writes not only sci-fi, but fantasy and historical fiction, often blending all three together. (I love how factually accurate she tries to be.)

    Here are some links to various sources on her:

    Her Wikipedia page
    An adoring article entitled Who is Andre Norton?
    Her official, fact-centered biography
    Some quotes of hers on her writing
    An extended interview (which has some good stuff in it, I think)
    Another, more conversational interview centered mainly around one story
    NY Times obituary


    I might go into other observations of mine later. But for now, what do you think?

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    Let's go to fairyland Minde's Avatar
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    Not even a VI?

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    Snomunegot munenori2's Avatar
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    Off VI, I'd guess some sort of IJ.
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    Munenori gets a cookie.

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    Snomunegot munenori2's Avatar
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    Hey, you should have said that from the get go. The replies will probably flood in now.

    I was thinking INxj, possibly INFj > INTj since there's more of a softness there than I'd expect from the latter, and she doesn't seem to have the edge I sometimes notice in Se-cre. However, I didn't read into any of the peripheral info.
    Moonlight will fall
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    Your heart will mend

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    LOL, ok, then, I'll offer cookies. But you get first dibs because you were the first one.

    I'll probably write up my own thoughts on her and post them. That would probably be more easily accessible than just links.

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    intuitive......
    Pre-2013 post are written with incomplete understanding.

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    Andre Norton, a prolific and popular science-fiction and fantasy writer whose central theme was the rite of passage to self-realization undertaken by misfits or displaced outsiders, died yesterday at her home in Murfreesboro, Tenn. She was 93.
    Seems more ethical, so perhaps INFx
    Pre-2013 post are written with incomplete understanding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by UDP View Post
    Seems more ethical, so perhaps INFx
    Yes, misfits and displaced outsiders - those are usually her protagonists. Often she begins the story right after they've lost some sort of close personal connection or sense of safety. For example a parent figure has just died. Or they've just been kicked out from their living situation (which most often has less to do with anything they've actually done and more to do with them not being liked personally by those who control the situation).

    She has recurring themes or concepts in her writings, but each time she changes or approaches them differently so that they seem brand new and distinctly unique. For example, the story of a futuristic gem dealer's apprentice looks much different than a multi-millenia-B.C. Kushite general's adventures, which in turn looks different from a ten-year-old child from the '70s' story despite the fact that they each are orphans, are facing changed and challenging circumstances, and have feline friends. Despite the motifs, the stories are unique and personally tailored enough to keep readers engaged (well, me engaged, at least).

    Speaking of felines, they appear quite regularly in her stories, and even sometimes play the stars. She shows a respect for animals and all life, in fact, and often portrays violence as foolish and done by evil people. Anyone who mistreats an animal has some form of evil in his heart, just like anyone who mistreats another person. (I would venture to guess, though, that she doesn't particularly like creepy-crawlies, like spiders or slugs, as they sometimes appear as "bad" characters. She doesn't seem as opposed to those getting squished.)

    As I mentioned above, her protagonists are quite often social misfits who do not mesh well into the pre-established social structures or hierarchies, often acting too independently or privately to please those who flourish in that structure. Generally those characters find acceptance and happiness when they find other living beings to connect and share with. To them (and her, it seems) those social structures are not necessarily bad, but more... they just exist, and one deals with them as they need dealing with. For example, having a family can be a troubling thing if they all are very different in thinking and goals and do not particularly like you. In that case, living with intelligent weasels who love and appreciate you is the better choice, apparently. But, in many other cases, family members are highly valued.

    Another example of how she views social structure might be police forces. Occasionally her characters come into conflict with them, but it's usually less because of ideological differences and more to do with the fact that the police are hindering whatever goal it is they are trying to achieve. The police in general seem to her a mostly necessary part of a well-functioning society - those whose job it is to enforce justice for the whole. Provided, of course, that they aren't corrupt or commanded by corrupt people. In which case I've noticed she refers to them as "soldiers" and not really police. (Hm, that paragraph seems unclear to me. I hope I got the gist across, at least.)

    In her stories, success comes through persevering and trying one's hardest to overcome the obstacles in one's path. Generally her characters seem less about straining toward a lofty goal and more about just dealing with what they have in front of them. There are exceptions, but that seems to be the general feel. Also, to her, being different is not wrong. Differences are useful and valuable.

    Ok, that's enough for now.

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