Bradley, Marion Zimmer

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Bradley, Marion Zimmer

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  • בריידלי, מריון צימר

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  • Zimmer Bradley, Marion

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Born on June 3, 1930, Marion Zimmer Bradley was a pioneering woman science fiction writer and is one of the most acclaimed and famous writers of American fantasy in the 20th century.

Her first published story, "Outpost", was the winner of an amateur fiction contest and was published in Amazing Stories in December 1949. In May 1957, Other Worlds published the first of Bradley's works set (though marginally) in her famous Darkover universe, "Falcons of Narabedia" (published in novel form in 1964).

Bradley's first original novel set in Darkover was The Planet Savers, published in 1962. Her long-running science fiction/fantasy series of novels and stories set in this universe concern hundreds of years of history on Darkover, a planet settled by the survivors of a crashed spaceship from Earth, who interbreed with the planet's natives, resulting in a population of psionically-gifted people. Bradley not only created and wrote in this universe herself but edited a number of anthologies of Darkover stories from other authors.

Over the decades of her writing, Bradley wrote a number of other novels and stories as well (not all were science fiction or fantasy, as she wrote several gay and lesbian pulp novels in the 1960s under pen names). Besides her Darkover works, she edited a long-running anthology series entitled Sword and Sorceress designed to encourage the portrayal of stronger female protagonists in sword-and-sorcery fantasy fiction, and she wrote or co-wrote several other fantasy series. Her most famous novel was the 1983 The Mists of Avalon, a feminist and New Age retelling of the Arthurian legend, where the protagonist Morgaine (the traditional evil sorceress Morgan Le Fay) is a sympathetic heroine, and a pagan priestess who stands in counterpoise to the growing influence of Christianity in early Britain. The book won the 1984 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel and created legions of fans. A series of sequels were written by Bradley and Diana L. Paxson between 1993-2009.

Bradley was also active as an editor, having edited a number of fanzines and prozines, most notably Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine (1988-2000).

Bradley's work was nominated for a number of awards and honors over the course of her career. She won (posthumously) the 2000 World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement.

Her literary and personal legacies, however, have been repeatedly tarnished over the years. Bradley's second husband, Walter Breen, was notorious for allegations over the years against him of child molestation. Bradley married Breen in 1964 despite being aware of, and never reporting, his behavior. Breen was arrested and charged in 1991 with 8 counts of child molestation and sentenced to 10 years in prison, where he died of cancer in 1993. In 2014, Bradley's legacy took a harsher blow when her daughter Moira Greyland accused Bradley of having sexually abused her from the ages of 3 to 12. Bradley died on September 25, in Berkeley, CA in 1999.


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