Marion Zimmer Bradley

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Marion Eleanor Zimmer Bradley (June 3, 1930 - September 25, 1999) was a prolific author of largely feminist fantasy novels such as The Mists of Avalon and was a steadfast encourager of equality (and quality) in writing. In literary circles, she is often referred to by her initials, "MZB," a nickname reinforced by her good friend and editor, Donald A. Wollheim.


Born on a farm in Albany, New York, during the Great Depression, she began writing in 1949 and sold her first story to Vortex in 1952. She was married to Robert Alden Bradley from October 26, 1949 until their divorce on May 19, 1964. During the 1950s she was introduced to the cultural and campaigning lesbian group the Daughters of Bilitis.

After her divorce she quickly married the paedophile Walter Breen on June 3, 1964 some people claim she knew of his abuse and supported him in hiding it in subsequent years. They remained married until their divorce on May 9, 1990.

In 1965 Bradley graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. Afterward, she moved to Berkeley, California, to pursue graduate studies at University of California Berkeley between 1965 and 1967. Her first child, David Bradley, and brother, Paul Edwin Zimmer are published science fiction & fantasy authors in their own right. Her daughter, Moira Stern, is a professional harpist and singer.

After suffering declining health for years, Marion Zimmer Bradley died at Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley on September 25, 1999 four days after suffering a debilitating heart attack. Her ashes were scattered at Glastonbury Tor, in Somerset, England, two months later.

Literary career

Bradley was 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 encouraged in particular young female authors, she was not averse to including males 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.

She created the planet of Darkover as a setting for her own series, writing a large number of Darkover stories as a solo author and later collaborating with other authors to produce Darkover anthologies, where once again she encouraged story submissions from unpublished authors. The Darkover novels may be considered fantasy with science fiction overtones or science fiction with fantasy overtones, as Darkover was a lost earth colony where psi powers had developed to a unusual degree.

Probably her most famous single novel is The Mists of Avalon, a retelling of the Camelot legend from Morgaine and Gwenhwyfar (Guinevere's) point of view that grew into a series of books, too.

Writing as Morgan Ives, Miriam Gardner, John Dexter and Lee Chapman, Marion Zimmer Bradley also produced several gay and lesbian-themed novels in the 1960s. Though relatively tame by today's standards, they were considered pornographic when published and she refused to disclose the titles.

In 1966, Bradley became a cofounder of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and she is credited with coining the name of that group.

In 2000 she was awarded the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement.

Notable quotations

On L. Ron Hubbard: "I knew Ron when he was a small time crook".

On tabloids: "I used to love to look at the National Enquirer at the Grocery Store but I was always afraid to buy it because a truck might hit me in the parking lot and I'd be caught dead with it."



  • The Door Through Space (1961)
  • Seven from the Stars (1961)
  • The Colors Of Space (1963)
  • Falcons of Narabedla (1964)
  • Castle Terror (1965)
  • Souvenir of Monique (1967)
  • Bluebeard's Daughter (1968)
  • The Jewels of Arwen (1974) (novelette)
  • The Parting of Arwen (1974) (novelette)
  • The Endless Voyage (1975)
  • Drums of Darkness (1976)
  • The Brass Dragon (1978)
  • Ruins of Isis (1978)
  • The Catch Trap (1979)
  • The Endless Universe (1979) (rewrite of The Endless Voyage)
  • The House Between the Worlds (1980)
  • Survey Ship (1980)
  • The Colors Of Space (1963) (unabridged edition)
  • Night's Daughter (1985)
  • Warrior Woman (1987)
  • The Firebrand (1987)
  • Black Trillium (1990) (with Julian May and Andre Norton)
  • Lady of the Trillium (1995)
  • Tiger Burning Bright (1995) (with Mercedes Lackey and Andre Norton)
  • The Gratitude of Kings (1997) (with Elisabeth Waters)

Short story collections

  • The Dark Intruder and Other Stories (1964)
  • The Best of Marion Zimmer Bradley (1985)
  • Jamie and Other Stories (1988)


  • Atlantean series
    • Web of Light (1983)
    • Web of Darkness (1983)
    • The Fall of Atlantis (1987) (omnibus edition of Web of Light and Web of Darkness)
  • Darkover series (See: List of Darkover books for complete details)
    • The Planet Savers (1962)
    • The Sword of Aldones (1962)
    • The Bloody Sun (1964)
    • Stars of Danger (1965)
    • World Wreckers (1971)
    • Darkover Landfall (1972)
    • The Spell Sword (1974) (with Paul Edwin Zimmer (uncredited))
    • The Heritage of Hastur (1975)
    • The Shattered Chain (1976)
    • The Forbidden Tower (1977)
    • Winds of Darkover (1977)
    • Stormqueen! (1978)
    • The Bloody Sun (1979) rewritten and expanded edition
    • Two to Conquer (1980)
    • Sharra's Exile (1981)
    • Hawkmistress! (1982)
    • Thendara House (1983)
    • City of Sorcery (1984)
    • The Heirs of Hammerfell (1989)
    • Rediscovery (1993) (with Mercedes Lackey)
    • Exile's Song (1996) (with Adrienne Martine-Barnes)
    • The Shadow Matrix (1997) (with Adrienne Martine-Barnes)
    • Traitor's Sun (1999) (with Adrienne Martine-Barnes)
    • The Clingfire trilogy
      • The Fall of Neskaya (2001) (with Deborah J. Ross)
      • Zandru's Forge (2003) (with Deborah J. Ross)
      • A Flame in Hali (2004) (with Deborah J. Ross)
    • The Children of Kings trilogy (forthcoming) (written principally by Deborah J. Ross)
      • The Alton Gift (forthcoming)
      • The Children of Kings (forthcoming)
    • The Reluctant King (forthcoming)
    • Thunderlord! (forthcoming)
    • Omnibus editions
      • The Children of Hastur (omnibus edition of The Heritage of Hastur and Sharra's Exile) (1982)
      • The Oath of Renuciates (omnibus edition of The Shattered Chain and Thendara House) (1984)
      • The Darkover Saga (a slipcase set containing Hawkmistress, Sharra's Exile; The Shattered Chain; Stormqueen!; Sword of Chaos) (1984)
      • The Ages of Chaos (omnibus edition of Stormqueen! and Hawkmistress!) (2002)
      • The Forbidden Circle (omnibus edition of the Spell Sword and The Forbidden Tower ) (2002)
      • Heritage And Exile (omnibus edition of The Heritage of Hastur and Sharra's Exile) (2002)
      • The Saga of the Renunciates (omnibus edition of The Shattered Chain, Thendara House and City of Sorcery) (2002)
      • A World Divided (omnibus edition of Star of Danger, Winds of Darkover and The Bloody Sun) (2003)
      • First Contact (omnibus edition of Darkover Landfall and Two to Conquer) (2004)
      • To Save a World (omnibus edition of The Planet Savers and World Wreckers) (2004)


  • Darkover anthologies (edited by MZB, with some short stories by her, but mostly by other writers)
    • The Keeper's Price (1980)
    • Sword of Chaos (1982)
    • Free Amazons of Darkover (1985)
    • Other Side of the Mirror (1987)
    • Red Sun of Darkover (1987)
    • Four Moons of Darkover (1988)
    • Domains of Darkover (1990)
    • Leroni of Darkover (1991)
    • Renunciates of Darkover (1991)
    • Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover (anthology) (1993)
    • Towers of Darkover (anthology) (1993)
    • Snows of Darkover (anthology) (1994)

  • Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Worlds (1998)

Novels under pen names

  • Writing under the pseudonym Lee Chapman
    • I am a Lesbian (1962)
  • Writing under the pseudonym John Dexter
    • No Adam for Eve (1966)
  • Writing under the pseudonym Miriam Gardner
    • My Sister, My Love (1963)
    • Twilight Lovers (1964)
    • The Strange Women (1967)
  • Writing under the pseudonym Valerie Graves
    • Witch Hill (197?) (apparently never published as such)
  • Writing under the pseudonym Morgan Ives
    • Spare Her Heaven (1963)
    • Anything Goes (1964)
    • Knives of Desire (1966)


  • The Maenads (1978)


Editorial positions

Scholarly work

  • Bradley, M.Z. "Feminine equivalents of Greek Love in modern fiction". International Journal of Greek Love, Vol.1, No.1. (1965). Pages 48-58.
  • Checklist: A complete, cumulative checklist of lesbian, variant, and homosexual fiction in English (1960).
  • A Gay Bibliography (1975).
  • The Necessity for Beauty: Robert W. Chambers & the Romantic Tradition (1974)

She also contributed to The Ladder and The Mattachine Review.

External links

bg:Марион Брадли de:Marion Zimmer Bradley es:Marion Zimmer Bradley fr:Marion Zimmer Bradley it:Marion Zimmer Bradley nl:Marion Zimmer Bradley ja:マリオン・ジマー・ブラッドリー pl:Marion Zimmer Bradley pt:Marion Zimmer Bradley