Norton, Andre 1912–2005

views updated

Norton, Andre 1912–2005

(Andrew North, Alice Mary Norton, Allen Weston, a joint pseudonym)

PERSONAL: Given name Alice Mary Norton; name legally changed, 1934; born February 17, 1912, in Cleveland, OH; died of congestive heart failure, March 17, 2005, in Murfreesboro, TN; daughter of Adalbert Freely and Bertha (Stemm) Norton. Education: Attended Flora Stone Mather College and Cleveland College, Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve University), 1930–32. Politics: Republican. Religion: Presbyterian. Hobbies and other interests: Collecting fantasy and cat figurines and paper dolls, needlework.

CAREER: Writer, editor, novelist, poet, and librarian. Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland, OH, children's librarian, 1930–41, 1942–51; worked as a special librarian for a citizenship project in Washington, DC, and at the Library of Congress, 1940–41; Mystery House (book store and lending library), Mount Ranier, MD, owner and manager, 1941; freelance writer, 1950–2005. Reader, Gnome Press, 1950–58; High Hallack Genre Writers' Research Library, Murfreesboro, TN, director, 1999–2004.

MEMBER: Science Fiction Writers of America, Swordsmen and Sorcerers Association.

AWARDS, HONORS: Award from Dutch government, 1946, for The Sword Is Drawn; Ohioana Juvenile Award honor book, 1950, for Sword in Sheath; Boys' Clubs of America Medal, 1951, for Bullard of the Space Patrol; Hugo Award nominations, World Science Fiction Convention, 1962, for Star Hunter, 1964, for Witch World, and 1968, for Wizard's World; Headliner Award, Theta Sigma Phi, 1963; Invisible Little Man Award, Westercon XVI, 1963, for sustained excellence in science fiction; Boys' Clubs of America Certificate of Merit, 1965, for Night of Masks; Book of the Year award, Child Study Association, 1965, for Steel Magic; Phoenix Award, 1976, for overall achievement in science fiction; Gandalf Master of Fantasy Award, World Science Fiction Convention, 1977, for lifetime achievement; Scroll of Honour, Fantasy Gaming Hall of Fame, 1977; Andre Norton Award established, Women Writers of Science Fiction, 1978; Life Achievement Award, Orlando Science Fiction Society, 1978; Balrog Fantasy Award, 1979; Martha Kinney Cooper Ohioana Library Award, 1980, for body of work; named to Ohio Women's Hall of Fame, 1981; Fritz Leiber Award, 1983, for work in the field of fantasy; E.E. Smith Award, 1983; Nebula Grand Master Award, Science Fiction Writers of America, 1984, for lifetime achievement; Jules Verne Award, 1984, for work in the field of science fiction; Daedalus Award, 1986, for lifetime achievement; Second Stage Lensman Award, 1987, for lifetime achievement; Howard Award, World Fantasy Convention, 1987; E.E. Evans Big Heart Award, 1988; Readers' Award, Science Fiction Book Club, 1991, for The Elvenbane; Scientificon Award, Fandom Hall of Fame, 1994; named to Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Hall of Fame, 1996; Magic Carpet Con Award, 1997; Life Achievement Award, World Fantasy Convention, 1998.



Star Man's Son, 2250 A.D., illustrated by Nicholas Mordvinoff, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1952, published as Daybreak, 2250 A.D. (bound with Beyond Earth's Gates, by C.M. Kuttner), Ace (New York, NY), 1954.

Star Rangers ("Central Control" series), Harcourt (New York, NY), 1953, published as The Last Planet, Ace (New York, NY), 1955.

The Stars Are Ours! ("Astra" series), World Publishing (Cleveland, OH), 1954.

Star Guard ("Central Control" series), Harcourt Brace (New York, NY), 1955.

The Crossroads of Time ("Time Travel" series), Ace (New York, NY), 1956.

Star Born ("Astra" series), World Publishing (Cleveland, OH), 1957.

Sea Siege, Harcourt Brace (New York, NY), 1957.

Star Gate, Harcourt Brace (New York, NY), 1958.

Beast Master, Harcourt Brace (New York, NY), 1959.

Secret of the Lost Race ("Beast Master" series), Ace (New York, NY), 1959, published as Wolfshead, Hale (London, England), 1977.

The Sioux Spaceman, Ace (New York, NY), 1960.

Storm over Warlock ("Planet Warlock" series), World Publishing (Cleveland, OH), 1960.

Star Hunter, Ace (New York, NY), 1961.

Catseye, Harcourt Brace (New York, NY), 1961.

Lord of Thunder ("Beast Master" series), Harcourt Brace (New York, NY), 1962.

Eye of the Monster, Ace (New York, NY), 1962.

Judgment on Janus ("Janus" series), Harcourt Brace (New York, NY), 1963.

Ordeal in Otherwhere, ("Planet Warlock" series), World Publishing (Cleveland, OH), 1964.

Night of Masks, Harcourt Brace (New York, NY), 1964.

Quest Crosstime ("Time Travel" series), Viking (New York, NY), 1965, published as Crosstime Agent, Gollancz (London, England), 1975).

The X Factor, Harcourt Brace (New York, NY), 1965.

Victory on Janus ("Janus" series), Harcourt (New York, NY), 1966.

Operation Time Search, Harcourt Brace (New York, NY), 1967.

Dark Piper, Harcourt Brace (New York, NY), 1968.

The Zero Stone ("Zero Stone" series), Viking Press (New York, NY), 1968.

Uncharted Stars ("Zero Stone" series), Viking Press (New York, NY), 1969.

Ice Crown, Viking Press (New York, NY), 1970.

Android at Arms, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (New York, NY), 1971.

Breed to Come, Viking Press (New York, NY), 1972.

Here Abide Monsters, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1973.

Forerunner Foray, Viking Press (New York, NY), 1973.

Iron Cage, Viking Press (New York, NY), 1974.

The Many Worlds of Andre Norton (stories), edited by Roger Elwood, Chilton Book Co. (Radnor, PA), 1974, published as The Book of Andre Norton, DAW (New York, NY), 1975.

Outside, illustrated by Bernard Colonna, Walker (New York, NY), 1975.

(With Michael Gilbert) The Day of the Ness, illustrated by Michael Gilbert, Walker (New York, NY), 1975.

Knave of Dreams, Viking Press (New York, NY), 1975.

No Night without Stars, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1975.

Perilous Dreams (stories), DAW (New York, NY), 1976.

Voorloper, illustrated by Alicia Austin, Ace (New York, NY), 1980.

Forerunner ("Forerunner" series), Tor (New York, NY), 1981.

Moon Called, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1982.

Voodoo Planet [and] Star Hunter (Voodoo Planet also under "Solar Queen" series) Ace (New York, NY), 1983.

Forerunner: The Second Venture ("Forerunner" series), Tor (New York, NY), 1985.

Brother to Shadows, Morrow (New York, NY), 1993.

Star Soldiers (contains edited versions of Star Rangers and Star Guard), Baen (Riverdale, NY), 2001.

Janus (contains edited versions of Judgment on Janus and Victory on Janus), Baen (Riverdale, NY), 2002.

(With Lyn McConchie) Beast Master's Ark ("Beast Master" series), Tor (New York, NY), 2002.

Warlock (contains edited versions of Storm over Warlock, Ordeal in Otherwhere, and Forerunner Foray), Baen (Riverdale, NY), 2002.

Darkness and Dawn (contains edited versions of Star Man's Son and No Night without Stars), Baen (Riverdale, NY), 2003.

(With Lyn McConchie) Beast Master's Circus, Tor (New York, NY), 2004.

Gods and Androids, Baen (Riverdale, NY), 2004.

Beast Master's Planet, Tor (New York, NY), 2005.

Dark Companion, Baen (Riverdale, NY), 2005.

Masks of the Outcasts, Baen (Riverdale, NY), 2005.


(Under pseudonym Andrew North) Sargasso of Space (also see below), Gnome Press (New York, NY), 1955, published under name Andre Norton, Gollancz (London, England), 1970.

(Under pseudonym Andrew North) Plague Ship (also see below), Gnome Press (New York, NY), 1956, published under name Andre Norton, Gollancz (London England), 1971.

(Under pseudonym Andrew North) Voodoo Planet, Ace (New York, NY), 1959.

Postmarked the Stars, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1969, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1985.

(With Pauline Griffin) Redline the Stars, Tor (New York, NY), 1993.

(With Sherwood Smith) Derelict for Trade, Tor (New York, NY), 1997.

(With Sherwood Smith) A Mind for Trade, Tor (New York, NY), 1997.

The Solar Queen (contains Sargosso of Space and Plague Ship), Tor (New York, NY), 2003.


The Time Traders (also see below), World Publishing (Cleveland, OH), 1958.

Galactic Derelict (also see below), World Publishing (Cleveland, OH), 1959.

The Defiant Agents (also see below), World Publishing (Cleveland, OH), 1962.

Key Out of Time (also see below), World Publishing (Cleveland, OH), 1963.

(With Pauline Griffin) Firehand, Tor (New York, NY), 1994.

(With Sherwood Smith) Echoes in Time: A New Time Traders Adventure, Tor (New York, NY), 1999.

Time Traders (contains updated versions of The Time Traders and Galactic Derelict), Baen (Riverdale, NY), 2000.

Time Traders II (contains updated versions of The Defiant Agents and Key out of Time), Baen (Riverdale, NY), 2001.

(With Sherwood Smith) Atlantis Endgame: A New Time Traders Adventure, Tor (New York, NY), 2002.


Moon of Three Rings, Viking Press (New York, NY), 1966.

Exiles of the Stars, Viking Press (New York, NY), 1971.

Flight in Yiktor, Tor (New York, NY), 1986.

Dare to Go A-Hunting, Tor (New York, NY), 1990.


Star Ka'at, illustrated by Bernard Colonna, Walker (New York, NY), 1976.

Star Ka'at World, illustrated by Jean Jenkins, Walker (New York, NY), 1978.

(With Dorothy Madlee) Star Ka'ats and the Plant People, illustrated by Jean Jenkins, Walker (New York, NY), 1979.

(With Dorothy Madlee) Star Ka'ats and the Winged Warriors, illustrated by Jean Jenkins, Walker (New York, NY), 1981.


Rogue Reynard (juvenile), illustrated by Laura Bannon, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1947.

Huon of the Horn (juvenile), illustrated by Joe Krush, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1951.

Steel Magic, illustrated by Robin Jacques, World Publishing (Cleveland, OH), 1965, published as Gray Magic, Scholastic Book Service (New York, NY), 1967.

Octagon Magic, World Publishing (Cleveland, OH), 1967.

Fur Magic, World Publishing (Cleveland, OH), 1968.

Wizard's World, 1968.

Dread Companion, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (New York, NY), 1970.

High Sorcery (stories), Ace (New York, NY), 1970.

Dragon Magic, Crowell (New York, NY), 1972.

Garan the Eternal (stories), Fantasy Publishing (Alhambra, CA), 1972.

Lavender-Green Magic, illustrated by Judith Gwyn Brown, Crowell (New York, NY), 1974.

Merlin's Mirror, DAW (New York, NY), 1975.

Wraiths of Time, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1976.

Red Hart Magic, illustrated by Donna Diamond, Crowell (New York, NY), 1976.

Yurth Burden, DAW (New York, NY), 1978.

Quag Keep, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1978.

Wheel of Stars, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1983.

Were-Wrath, illustrated by Judy King-Rieniets, Cheap Street (New Castle, VA), 1984.

The Magic Books, Signet, 1988.

Moon Mirror, Tor (New York, NY), 1988.

Wizards' Worlds, edited by Ingried Zierhut, Tor (New York, NY), 1989.

(With Susan M. Shwartz) Imperial Lady: A Fantasy of Han China, Tor (New York, NY), 1990.

(With Marion Zimmer Bradley and Julian May) Black Trillium, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1990.

(With Mercedes Lackey) The Elvenbane: An Epic High Fantasy of the Halfblood Chronicles ("Halfblood Chronicles" series), Tor (New York, NY), 1991.

The Mark of the Cat, Ace (New York, NY), 1992.

(With Susan M. Shwartz) Empire of the Eagle, Tor (New York, NY), 1993.

Golden Trillium, Bantam (New York, NY), 1993.

The Hands of Lyr, Morrow (New York, NY), 1994.

Mirror of Destiny, Morrow (New York, NY), 1995.

(With Mercedes Lackey) Elvenblood: An Epic High Fantasy ("Halfblood Chronicles" series), Tor (New York, NY), 1995.

Scent of Magic, Avon (New York, NY), 1998.

Wind in the Stone, Avon Eos (New York, NY), 1999.

(With Rosemary Edghill) The Shadow of Albion ("Carolus Rex" series), Tor (New York, NY), 1999.

(With Sasha Miller) To the King a Daughter ("Book of the Oak" series), Tor (New York, NY), 2000.

(With Sasha Miller) Knight or Knave ("Book of the Oak" series), Tor (New York, NY), 2001.

(With Rosemary Edghill) Leopard in Exile ("Carolus Rex" series), Tor (New York, NY), 2001.

Mark of the Cat/Year of the Rat Meisha Merlin, 2001.

(With Sasha Miller) A Crown Disowned ("Book of the Oak" series), Tor (New York, NY), 2002.

(With Mercedes Lackey) Elvenborn: An Epic High Fantasy ("Halfblood Chronicles" series), Tor (New York, NY), 2002.

(With Sasha Miller) Dragon Blade: The Book of the Rowan, Tor (New York, NY), 2005.

Three Hands for Scorpio, Tor (New York, NY), 2005.

(With Jean Rabe) Return to Quag Keep, Tor (New York, NY), 2006.


Witch World (also see below), Ace (New York, NY), 1963.

Web of the Witch World, Ace (New York, NY), 1964.

Year of the Unicorn, Ace (New York, NY), 1965.

Three against the Witch World, Ace (New York, NY), 1965.

Warlock of the Witch World, Ace (New York, NY), 1967.

Sorceress of the Witch World, Ace (New York, NY), 1968.

Spell of the Witch World (stories), DAW (New York, NY), 1972.

The Crystal Gryphon (first volume in "Gryphon" trilogy), Atheneum (New York, NY), 1972.

The Jargoon Pard, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1974.

Trey of Swords (stories), Ace (New York, NY), 1977.

Zarsthor's Bane, Ace (New York, NY), 1978.

Lore of the Witch World (stories), DAW (New York, NY), 1980.

Gryphon in Glory (second volume in "Gryphon" trilogy), Atheneum (New York, NY), 1981.

Horn Crown, DAW (New York, NY), 1981.

'Ware Hawk, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1983.

(With A.C. Crispin) Gryphon's Eyrie (third volume in "Gryphon" trilogy), Tor (New York, NY), 1984.

The Gate of the Cat, Ace (New York, NY), 1987.

(With others) Tales of the Witch World, two volumes, Tor (New York, NY), 1987.

Four from the Witch World, Tor (New York, NY), 1989.

(With Pauline Griffin) Storms of Victory (first volume in "The Turning" trilogy), Tor (New York, NY), 1991

(With A.C. Crispin) Songsmith, Tor (New York, NY), 1992.

(With Pauline Griffin and Mary Schaub) Flight of Vengeance (second volume in "The Turning" trilogy), Tor (New York, NY), 1992.

(With Patricia Mathews and Sasha Miller) On Wings of Magic (third volume in "The Turning" trilogy), Tor (New York, NY), 1994.

(With Lyn McConchie) The Key of the Keplian, Warner (New York, NY), 1995.

The Warding of Witch World (three novellas), Warner (New York, NY), 1996.

(With Lyn McConchie) Ciara's Song: A Chronicle of the Witch World, Warner Aspect (New York, NY), 1998.

The Gates to Witch World (contains Witch World, Web of the Witch World, and Year of the Unicorn), introduction by C.J. Cherryh, Tor (New York, NY), 2001.

Lost Lands of Witch World, introduction by Mercedes Lackey, Tor (New York, NY), 2004.

(With Lyn McConchie) The Duke's Ballad, Tor (New York, NY), 2005.

(With Lyn McConchie) Silver May Tarnish, Tor (New York, NY), 2005.


The Prince Commands, Appleton-Century Company (New York, NY), 1934.

Ralestone Luck, Appleton-Century Company (New York, NY), 1938.

Follow the Drum, Penn Publishing (New York, NY), 1942.

The Sword Is Drawn (first volume of "Swords" trilogy), illustrated by Duncan Coburn, Houghton Mifflin (Cambridge, MA), 1944.

Scarface, illustrated by Lorence Bjorklund, Harcourt Brace (New York, NY), 1948.

Sword in Sheath (second volume of "Swords" trilogy), Harcourt (New York, NY), 1949.

At Swords' Points (third volume of "Swords" trilogy), Harcourt Brace (New York, NY), 1954.

Yankee Privateer, illustrated by Leonard Vosburgh, World Publishing (Cleveland, OH), 1955.

Stand to Horse, Harcourt Brace (New York, NY), 1956.

Shadow Hawk, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1960.

Ride Proud, Rebel!, World Publishing (Cleveland, OH), 1961.

Rebel Spurs, World Publishing (Cleveland, OH), 1962.


Malcolm Jameson, Bullard of the Space Patrol (science fiction), World Publishing (Cleveland, OH), 1951.

(And author of introduction and notes) Space Service (science fiction), World Publishing (Cleveland, OH), 1953.

Space Pioneers (science fiction), World Publishing (Cleveland, OH), 1954.

Space Police (science fiction), World Publishing (Cleveland, OH), 1956.

(With Ernestine Donaldy) Gates to Tomorrow: An Introduction to Science Fiction (science fiction), Atheneum (New York, NY), 1973.

Small Shadows Creep, Dutton (New York, NY), 1974.

Baleful Beasts and Eerie Creatures, Rand McNally, 1976.

(With Robert Adams) Magic in Ithkar (fantasy), four volumes, Tor (New York, NY), 1985–87.

(With Martin H. Greenberg) Catfantastic (fantasy), five volumes, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1989–94.

(With Ingrid Zierhut) Grand Master's Choice (science fiction), Tor (New York, NY), 1991.


(With Grace Hogarth, under joint pseudonym Allen Weston) Murder for Sale (mystery novel), Hammond (London, England), 1954, published under names Hogarth and Norton as Sneeze on Sunday, Tor (New York, NY), 1992.

(With mother, Bertha Stemm Norton) Bertie and May (biography), illustrated by Fermin Rocker, World Publishing (New York, NY), 1969.

The White Jade Fox (gothic novel), Dutton (New York, NY), 1975.

Velvet Shadows (gothic novel), Fawcett (New York, NY), 1977.

The Opal-Eyed Fan (gothic novel), Dutton (New York, NY), 1977.

(With Phyllis Miller) Seven Spells to Sunday (juvenile), Atheneum (New York, NY), 1979.

Snow Shadow (mystery novel), Fawcett (New York, NY), 1979.

Iron Butterflies (historical gothic novel), Fawcett (New York, NY), 1980.

Ten Mile Treasure (juvenile mystery), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1981.

(With Enid Cushing) Caroline, Pinnacle (New York, NY), 1982.

(With Phyllis Miller) House of Shadows (mystery novel), Atheneum (New York, NY), 1984.

Stand and Deliver, Tor (New York, NY), 1984.

(With Phyllis Miller) Ride the Green Dragon (mystery novel), Atheneum (New York, NY), 1985.

(With Robert Bloch) The Jekyll Legacy (horror novel), Tor (New York, NY), 1990.

(With Marion Zimmer Bradley and Mercedes Lackey) Tiger Burning Bright, Morrow (New York, NY), 1995.

The Monster's Legacy ("Dragonflight" series), illustrated by Jody A. Lee, Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 1996.

Contributor to numerous periodicals and anthologies.

SIDELIGHTS: Andre Norton wrote books in several genres but was best known and admired for her science fiction and fantasy. Women writers were rare in the genre when she published Star Man's Son, 2250 A.D. in 1952, yet Norton quickly became a popular favorite, with many of her books selling over a million copies each. Despite frequent critical dismissal of her work as lacking complexity, both Norton's fans and peers recognized her contributions to science fiction. She was one of the few writers to be awarded both the Science Fiction Writers of America Grand Master Award and science fiction fandom's equivalent, the Gandalf Award. As Francis J. Molson remarked in a Dictionary of Literary Biography essay: "The excitement and zest of great deeds or intrepid voyaging across galactic distances readers sense in Norton's science fiction and fantasy originate within her creative and prolific imagination, especially as it draws inspiration from and refashions material she has discovered in her extensive reading and research in history and related fields." While critics may debate Norton's literary significance, many agree that her work has been overlooked for a variety of reasons. For instance, her first books were marketed toward juvenile readers, much as the early work of Robert Heinlein had been; thus, although they were read by people of all ages, Norton's novels were dismissed as relatively unimportant.

Donald Wollheim remarked in his introduction to The Many Worlds of Andre Norton (also published as The Book of Andre Norton) that while science fiction and fantasy readers "may spend a lot of time discussing the sociology and speculations of the other writers, Andre Norton they read for pleasure. This is not to say that her works lack the depth of the others, because they do not," explained the critic. "But it is that these depths form part of the natural unobtrusive background of her novels." Molson further commented: "It is possible that the pace and suspense of Norton's storytelling may so ensnare readers that they may overlook the themes or concerns her narratives embody. Norton's science fiction is actually serious on the whole—sometimes even explicitly earnest and didactic—as it dramatizes several themes and concerns. In fact, one theme, above all others, is pervasive in Norton's [work]: the centrality of passage or initiation in the lives of many of her protagonists."

Critic and biographer Elisa Kay Sparks believed that this theme figures prominently in Norton's work. In a Dictionary of Literary Biography essay, Sparks characterized Norton's writings as "almost always … center[ing] on the process by which a somehow displaced, exiled, or alienated hero or heroine finds a new home or sense of community. From the first to the last her books insist on the necessity of cooperation between equals." Roger Schlobin, writing in the introduction to his Andre Norton: A Primary and Secondary Bibliography, noted, "Frequently, the protagonists must undergo a rite of passage to find self-realization." The story of Star Man's Son, 2250 A.D. exemplifies this theme. A young mutant, scorned by a postwar society because of his differences, quests on his own to fulfill his father's legacy, and in doing so he discovers his own self-worth. As Molson described it, the book "speaks directly and forcefully … through its convincing story of a boy's passage from a questioning, unsure adolescence to confident, assured young manhood."

The novels of the "Halfblood Chronicles" fantasy series, written by Norton and Mercedes Lackey, similarly describe the heroic efforts of an alienated young girl who struggles to reconcile her individuality and to end the subjugation of humans in a world where they are enslaved by a merciless race of elves. In The Elvenbane: An Epic High Fantasy of the Halfblood Chronicles, the first volume of the series, a human slave gives birth to Shana, a half-elven baby who is the feared "Elvenbane" of prophecy. Raised by a dragon in the desert, Shana masters her unique powers and leads the Elvenbane wizards in their struggle against the elven lords in the sequel, Elvenblood: An Epic High Fantasy. With her ability to determine the interconnected fate of the humans, elves, and dragons by her actions, Shana realizes her capacity to chart her own destiny and to fight injustice in the world around her. Reviewers cited this series as an example of how Norton created believable, compelling, character-driven fiction.

Elvenborn continues the "swelling, long-gestated epic fantasy" series, noted a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Elvenlord Kyrtian finds his military prowess to be in demand as he becomes the commander of an army opposing the Young Lords, a coalition of Elvenlord children who have risen up in revolt against their father. Kyrtian dreads the conflict with the group's offspring and is not completely convinced of the motivations and intentions of his Elvenlord kin. His doubt increases until he is eventually convinced by a group of fugitive half-elf wizards that he is fighting on the wrong side in the revolt. With war a less attractive option, he sets out to find his own missing father and to relocate the lost portal to the Elven homelands. In the meantime, other members of the oppressive and cruel Elvenlords worry that the Young Lords will ally themselves with Shana and the Elvenbane, who count powerful dragons and wizards among their ranks. Political intrigue continues to bubble in the courts of the Elvenlords, even as the revolt spreads. "Neither Norton nor Lackey could tell a really bad story if she tried," remarked Booklist reviewer Roland Green, adding that the third volume of the "Halfblood Chronicles" series teems with detail.

Norton's focus on the internal struggles of her characters makes her work interesting, suggested Schlobin in an essay published in The Feminine Eye: Science Fiction and the Women Who Write It. "Norton's reverence for the self, especially as it seeks to realize its potentials … is one of the major reasons why her plots are always so exciting. Her protagonists have to deal not only with dangerous external forces but also with their own maturation and personal challenges," stated the critic. One such protagonist appears in Forerunner: The Second Venture. While Fantasy Review contributor Carl B. Yoke found other aspects of the story disappointing, the main character Simsa "is one of those stubbornly-independent, highly resourceful, intuitive, and intelligent characters that many of us fans have come to expect and admire in Norton's work."

In resolving this theme of self-fulfillment, Norton's work frequently expresses another idea of importance to her fiction: that to understand oneself, a person must come to understand and accept others. Schlobin commented in his bibliography that Norton's "resolutions are androgynous: within themselves or in union with another, [Norton's characters] find the ideal combination of male and female characteristics. Most of all, they discover a sanctity of ideas and ethics, and they recognize their own places within the patterns and rhythms of elemental law and carry that recognition forward into a hopeful future."

For example, in what is her most popular series, "Witch World," the resolution of many of the books lies in the cooperation of male and female aspects. The Witch World includes a society of female witches who remain virginal as a means of sustaining their power; this dictate is later shown to be unnecessary and even detrimental to the witches. Characters who reject such compromises make up a great number of Norton's antagonists, stated Sparks, who wrote that "Norton consistently associates evil with the denial of such bonds, or with a lack of appreciation for individuality and liberty; opportunism, willful destructiveness, and the urge to dominate through the imposition of mechanized forms of control are characteristic attributes of her villains."

Norton's monumental "Witch World" saga consists of nearly thirty volumes, a number of which are collaborative efforts with several other authors. Storms of Victory, Songsmith, Flight of Vengeance, On Wings of Magic, The Key of the Keplian, and Ciara's Song: A Chronicle of the Witch World, all from the 1990s forward, were created in part or entirely by others under Norton's editorial aegis. Critical reception of these volumes has been generally favorable, though some reviewers lamented Norton's limited role as the series creator and editor. Beginning with Storms of Victory, the novels are set in the aftermath of "The Turning," an apocalyptic battle that leaves the Witch World devastated. As in previous volumes, Norton and her collaborators examine the process of maturation and various conflicts between good and evil.

Booklist reviewer Roland Green felt that The Key of the Keplian "is a better introduction to the Witch World than some other recent works." Ciara's Song covers events in Witch World, Web of the Witch World, and Three against the Witch World. The first three books of the series were published together as The Gates to Witch World. The Duke's Ballad, is a sequel to Ciara's Song and is "quite as enjoyable as that book," commented Frieda Murray in Booklist. Aisling, Ciara's granddaughter, is now fully trained in her witch powers, and she seeks to subdue her sorcerer brother, Kirion, before he can destroy the country of Karsten with his widely spreading evil. The destruction of Kirion will not be easy, however, as he has fallen deep into the darkness and wields formidable magical powers of his own. Aisling also suffers from a strong moral dilemma as she ponders the ethics of killing her own brother, even though he is both a villain and her fiercest foe. Murray observed that longstanding Witch World fans "won't be disappointed with this addition to the canon, nor will other, less dedicated fantasy fans" and readers.

Norton's "Time Traders" series introduces one of science fiction's most enduring species of villains, the Baldies, so named for their physical characteristic of having no body hair. The Baldies are a group of time-traveling aliens who consistently interfere in Earth history in order to drive humanity toward an unknown, but probably unpleasant, end. The protagonists of the book are members of the Time Patrol, human time-travelers who journey backward and forward in time to investigate disasters, to encourage peace among alien races, and to foil mysterious plots by the inscrutable Baldies. Baen Books reissued all the previous "Time Traders" books beginning in 2000, printing them in pairs. Time Traders, for example, contains the novels The Time Traders, from 1958, and Galactic Derelict, from 1959. Time Traders II contains the 1962 volume The Defiant Agents and Key Out of Time, from 1963. Notably, Norton revised these volumes to update elements that might seem dated to readers in the early twenty-first century, but without fundamentally changing the nature of the stories she originally told. Her updates had to accommodate more than forty years of worldwide developments in social, technological, and political areas. Russian Communists became Russian imperialists, for example, and far-ranging advancements in communications, computers, and other technology were taken into consideration. "The characters' can-do attitude and Norton's magic with a story have survived two generations in fine style," commented Roland Green in a Booklist reviewer of the revised Time Traders. In a further review of Time Traders II, Green observed: "The books bear revamping better than most of their contemporaries might because they were better written in the first place by one of SF's hardy perennials."

Norton also added new works to her "Time Traders" series with Firehand, written with Pauline Griffin, and Echoes in Time: A New Time Traders Adventure, with Sherwood Smith. "Norton and Smith don't just send an old hero through familiar paces," noted a Publishers Weekly contributor. "Ross Murdock has now moved into the laptop era." Green, writing again in Booklist, commented that even though the novel is "sometimes slack in pace, the book compensates with its humane, intelligent, original development of nonhuman races."

In Atlantis Endgame, written by Norton and Sherwood Smith, the members of the Time Patrol discover that someone has tampered with the historical events surrounding the disappearance of the fabled continent of Atlantis. More disconcerting is the possibility that a Time Patrol member might also have been involved, a possibility suggested by when newest team member, archaeologist Linnea Edel, finds an earring belonging to Time Patroller Eveleen Riordan during an excavation in the ruins of Atlantis. Suspecting interference by the Baldies, team members Ross Murdock and Gordon Ashe assemble a team to head back in time and restore the actual course of events that doomed Atlantis. The team finds that the Baldies are indeed involved, trying to prevent the rise of technology on Earth. However, they also discover another, heretofore unknown alien race that is on hand and whose presence and behavior provides some further explanation of the motivations of the Baldies. The book offers "plenty of adventure, a fair scattering of archeological trivia and some new twists on the alien-human relations that carry forward from the previous books," noted a Publishers Weekly contributor. Library Journal reviewer Jackie Cassada called the novel "a tale of adventure and mystery that should appeal to fans of alternate history and time travel." This new addition to the Time Traders series "proves that skillful writing can keep a concept launched half-a-century ago afloat today," observed Green in Booklist.

The books of the "Solar Queen" series include the more recent Derelict for Trade and A Mind for Trade. A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that this series is more than forty years old and was begun by Norton under the pseudonym Andrew North. The reviewer added, "long may it ply the spaceways—and the bookstores." In reviewing Derelict for Trade in Booklist, Green wrote observed that Norton "was thirty years ahead of her time" when she first penned the series. A Publishers Weekly contributor reviewing Derelict for Trade called the book "very nearly a model of how to update a venerable series … bringing everything … into harmony with current expectations," and felt that the original characters and concept remain intact. Green, in another review for Booklist, noted that the plot of A Mind for Trade "is tight, the suspense and action are continuous, the characters are as engaging as ever."

Critics observed that it is the mechanical, nonindividualistic aspects of science that frequently provide the conflict in Norton's work. "Though many of her novels are set in the future," remarked Schlobin, "she has no special affection for the technological and, in fact, science is most often the antagonist in her fiction." Rick Brooks similarly noted in The Many Worlds of Andre Norton that "in the battle between technology and nature, Miss Norton took a stand long before the great majority of us had any doubts…. Technology is a necessary evil [in her work] to get there for the adventure and to get some of the story to work. And the adventure is as much to mold her universe to her views as to entertain."

Norton revealed the reasons behind her distrust of technology to Charles Platt in Dream Makers: The Uncommon Men and Women Who Write Science Fiction, commenting: "I think the human race made a bad mistake at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. We leaped for the mechanics, and threw aside things that were just as important. We made the transition too fast. I do not like mechanical things very much." Norton added: "And I don't like a lot of the modern ways of living. I prefer to do things with my hands; and I think everybody misses that. People need the use of their hands to feel creative." Brooks further noted that Norton "consistently views the future as one where the complexity of science and technology have reduced the value of the individual…. So Miss Norton is actually wrestling with the prime problem, that of human worth and purpose."

While some critics, such as Brooks, observed a higher purpose in Norton's writing, they consistently remarked upon the author's ability to craft an entertaining tale. And for all Norton's skill in creating and presenting universes to her readers, she always included ideas of substance in her fiction. "The sheer size of [Norton's] world, which is infinitely extended in time and space, and in which nothing is outside the bounds of possibility, is matched by the size of the themes she tackles," claimed John Rowe Townsend in A Sense of Story: Essays on Contemporary Writers for Children. In a Norton novel, he added, "there is always something beyond the immediate action to be reached for and thought about." Because of the breadth and scope of her work, maintained Brooks, "the chief value of Andre Norton's writing may not lie in entertainment or social commentary, but in her 're-enchanting' us with her creations that renew our linkages to all life." For example, in Dare to Go A-Hunting, the fourth installment in the "Moon Magic" series, Norton describes the interplanetary adventures of Free Trader Krip Vorlund, sorceress Maelen, and a young boy who sprouts wings, learns to fly, and sets out to find a legendary population of similar winged beings.

Another quality that makes Norton's science fiction memorable, as Donald Wollheim stated in his introduction to The Many Worlds of Andre Norton, is her ability to evoke the "sense of wonder" that characterizes much of the genre. "Andre Norton is at home telling us wonder stories. She is telling us that people are marvelously complex and marvelously fascinating. She is telling us that all life is good and that the universe is vast and meant to enhance our life to infinity. She is weaving an endless tapestry of a cosmos no man will ever fully understand, but among whose threads we are meant to wander forever to our personal fulfillment." Wollheim continued: "Basically this is what science fiction has always been about. And because she has always understood this, her audience will continue to be as ever-renewing and as nearly infinite as her subjects." Schlobin similarly concluded in The Feminine Eye, "Andre Norton, then, like all special writers, is more than just an author. She is a guide who leads us, the real human beings, to worlds and situations that we might very well expect to live in were we given extraordinary longevity…. The Norton future is an exciting realm alive with personal quests to be fulfilled and vital challenges to be overcome. Is it any wonder that millions upon millions of readers, spanning three generations, have chosen to go with her in her travels?"

Norton's later series include "Carolus Rex," written with Rosemary Edghill (the pseudonym of Eluki Bes Shahar), and the "Book of the Oak" series, written with Sasha Miller. The former series, which includes The Shadow of Albion and Leopard in Exile, begins in an alternative history version of the nineteenth century. There has been no Revolutionary War, and Thomas Jefferson is governing what is still the British colony of America, which is also populated by faeries. A Publishers Weekly contributor, reviewing The Shadow of Albion, commented that "fans of the period and certainly of historical fantasy will be pleased by the amusing characters and elaborately plotted intrigue." There has also been no Louisiana Purchase, and in Leopard in Exile, Napoleon has put the Marquis de Sade in charge of New Orleans. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that in this installment "tribal deities of the unsubjugated Indians are as powerful as the Christian saints in trying to influence the future."

To the King a Daughter is the opener in the "Cycle of Oak, Yew, Ash, and Rowan" series. It features a girl named Ashen, who is a child of noble blood born in the swamps and raised by a witch healer, who is caught up in a power struggle between the houses of Oak, Yew, Ash, and Rowan. Library Journal reviewer Jackie Cassada called Ashen "an engaging and courageous female protagonist." A Publishers Weekly writer said of the second book, Knight or Knave, that "this cheerful, childlike, appealing fantasy blithely romps along after its predecessor … replete with whimsical sorcery, swordsmanship, and swampy creatures."

A Crown Disowned, the third book of the "Cycle of Oak, Yew, Ash, and Rowan" series, finds the lands of Rendel and all areas south endangered by the continued expansion of evil in the north. The creature known as the Great One is increasing his power, and his armies of human and inhuman creatures have begun inflicting damage on the southlands, which are already impaired by unaccustomed snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. The Great One's Ice Dragons descend on Rendel and the southern lands, breathing ice instead of fire and causing destruction wherever they appear. An alliance among the great houses seems to be the only reasonable choice for turning back the encroaching influence of the Great One. Rohan of the Sea-Rovers and Guarin of the Nodors are willing to help, but the bog-folk, led by Tusser, prove less amenable to ideas of uniting for war against a powerful foe. Meanwhile, another potential ally, Dowager Ysa, avoids planning for battle and instead attends to her political meddling and intrigues. If the shaky alliance that is eventually forged can hold out, their first duty will be to defeat the Great One's armies. Then, they will have to face the Great One himself, a much more formidable foe. A Kirkus Reviews writer called the book "a churning and spirited if unsurprising conclusion to this agreeable series."

Beast Master's Ark continues the saga started in Beast Master. Earth has been destroyed by vicious Xik invaders, and the surviving Terrans have taken up residence on a number of other planets throughout the galaxy. Some of the remnants of Earth's population share the planet Arzor with the indigenous Nitri. A common enemy has emerged to terrify both human and Nitri: the Death by Night, a mysterious, unseen foe that attacks in the darkness and leaves only bare bones behind. As the humans interact with the tribal Nitri, who are similar in many ways to already familiar Native American tribes, the fate of protagonist Tani becomes inextricably linked with the Nitri. Raised by her Irish mother after the Xik killed her Cheyenne Indian father, Tani has been taught to distrust most everyone, particularly the Beast Masters who seem willing to help and be accepting. Tani knows that she will one day become a Beast Master like her father, developing a tremendous ability to communicate and bond with a variety of animals, and she must find reasons to throw off the prejudices instilled in her before that day arrives. Traveling on the ark with her mother, Tani arrives on Arzor and meets Hosteen Storm, another Beast Master, who is being sought to provide some gene samples to the ark's scientists so they can regenerate an animal population. When Tani starts having nightmares about the Death by Night, Storm realizes he has an empathic ally who may be able to help him track the mysterious scourge, if she is willing to help. A Kirkus Reviews critic called Norton's Beast Master novels "one of the better SF series going."

Three Hands for Scorpio is Norton's last solo novel, completed just before her death in March 2005. "Norton's publisher, Tor Books, rushed to have one copy printed so that the author, who had been sick for almost a year, could see it," reported Beth Rucker in an America's Intelligence Wire obituary. In the book, the daughters of a prominent border lord are kidnapped as part of a longstanding, acrimonious feud. Tamara, Drucilla, and Sabina, members of the Scorpys family, are forced into the forebidding Dismals, a dangerous and gloomy underground world that threatens their lives consistently, and from which few have emerged unharmed, or even alive. Living by their wits, the sisters meet a strange young man and his powerful, catlike companion, who may be either allies or another danger to overcome. As they interact, the sisters learn to trust him, and they discover a long-held secret that affects them all. The young man also offers them a way to escape to safety, as well as a means to defeat the enemies that plague their topside world. "This tale is told with all of Norton's charm and vigor," demonstrating how and why she "maintained her popularity for more than a half-century," remarked Booklist reviewer Frieda Murray. "Grand Master Norton's first solo novel in five years belongs in every library," asserted Jackie Cassada in the Library Journal.

In a gesture symbolic of the work that bracketed her life, and of all the reading and writing in between, Norton requested that she be cremated along with copies of her first and last novels. She was consistently aware of the power and allure of writing, even in her final illness. During her decades-long career, Norton was a consistent and vigorous supporter of upcoming writers, offering advice and encouragement that helped many fledgling authors achieve publication. In 1999 she established High Hallack, a retreat and research library for writers, which lasted until 2004, when the retreat was closed and the books auctioned off. She collaborated with both established and up-and-coming authors, helping to propel them toward greater achievements in their own careers. In honor of her lifetime career and works, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) established the Andre Norton Award for young adult fiction, with the first award scheduled to be given in 2006 in conjunction with the annual Nebula Awards. "Many adults today, myself included, were first introduced to science fiction and fantasy through her books and have gone on to become readers, fans, and authors themselves," stated author and SFWA president Catherine Asaro on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Web site. "Andre Norton has done more to promote reading among young adults than anyone can measure."



Contemporary Literary Criticism, Volume 12, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1980.

Crouch, Marcus, The Nesbit Tradition: The Children's Novel in England, 1945–70, Benn, 1972.

Dictionary of Literary Biography, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 8: Twentieth-Century American Science Fiction Writers, 1981, Volume 52: American Writers for Children since 1960: Fiction, 1986.

Elwood, Roger, editor, The Book of Andre Norton, DAW (New York, NY), 1975.

Platt, Charles, Dream Makers: The Uncommon Men & Women Who Write Science Fiction, Berkley Books (New York, NY), 1983.

St. James Guide to Young Adult Writers, 2nd edition, St. James (Detroit, MI), 1999.

Schlobin, Roger C., Andre Norton, Gregg Press (Boston, MA), 1979.

Schlobin, Roger C., Andre Norton: A Primary and Secondary Bibliography, G.K. Hall, 1980.

Shwartz, Susan, editor, Moonsinger's Friends: An Anthology in Honor of Andre Norton, Bluejay Books, 1985.

Staicar, Tom, editor, The Feminine Eye: Science Fiction and the Women Who Write It, Ungar (New York, NY), 1982.

Townsend, John Rowe, A Sense of Story: Essays on Contemporary Writers for Children, Lippincott, 1971.


Analog Science Fiction & Fact, March, 1999, Tom Easton, review of Scent of Magic, p. 132; April, 2000, Tom Easton, review of Echoes in Time: A New Time Traders Adventure, p. 135.

Associated Press Newswire, December 20, 1999, Vicki Brown, "Science Fiction Pioneer Starts Genre Writers Library in Tennessee."

Booklist, May 1, 1992, Roland Green, review of Songsmith, p. 1587; December 15, 1992, review of Flight of Vengeance, p. 718; October 15, 1993, Roland Green, review of Brother to Shadows, p. 422; January 1, 1994, Roland Green, review of On Wings of Magic, p. 811; June 1, 1994, Roland Green, reviews of Firehand and The Hands of Lyr, p. 1781; July, 1995, Roland Green, review of The Key of the Keplian, p. 1866; April 1, 1996, Sally Estes, review of The Monster's Legacy, p. 1356; September 1, 1996, review of The Warding of Witch World, p. 69; February 1, 1997, Roland Green, review of Derelict for Trade, p. 929; October 1, 1997, Roland Green, review of A Mind for Trade, p. 312; June 1, 1998, Roland Green, review of Ciara's Song: A Chronicle of the Witch World, p. 1736; August, 1998, Roland Green, review of Scent of Magic, p. 1979; April 1, 1999, Roland Green, review of The Shadow of Albion, p. 1389; October 15, 1999, Roland Green, review of Wind in the Stone, p. 424; November 15, 1999, Roland Green, review of Echoes in Time, p. 609; November 1, 2000, Roland Green, review of Time Traders, p. 522; February 1, 2001, Roland Green, review of Time Traders II, p. 1042; May 15, 2002, Roland Green, review of Beast Master's Ark, p. 1583; October 1, 2002, Roland Green, review of Elvenborn, p. 309; December 15, 2002, Roland Green, review of Atlantis Endgame, p. 740; February 1, 2004, Frieda Murray, review of Beast Master's Circus, p. 956; January 1, 2005, Frieda Murray, review of The Duke's Ballad, p. 834; April 15, 2005, Frieda Murray, review of Three Hands for Scorpio, p. 1445.

Bookwatch, July, 2005, review of Dark Companion.

Fantasy Review, September, 1985, Carl B. Yoke, review of Forerunner: The Second Venture.

Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 1998, review of Scent of Magic, p. 1004; February 15, 1999, review of The Shadow of Albion, p. 258; September 15, 1999, review of Wind in the Stone, p. 1452; November 1, 1999, review of Echoes in Time, p. 1691; May 1, 2002, review of Beast Master's Ark, p. 626; August 1, 2002, review of A Crown Disowned, p. 1084; August 15, 2002, review of Elvenborn, p. 1183; November 15, 2002, review of Atlantis Endgame, p. 1664; March 1, 2005, review of Three Hands for Scorpio, p. 267.

Library Journal, August, 1990, William Schoell, review of The Jekyll Legacy, p. 138, and Jackie Cassada, review of Black Trillium, p. 147; May 15, 1992, Jackie Cassada, review of Songsmith, p. 123; June 15, 1993, Jackie Cassada, review of Golden Trillium, p. 104; November 15, 1993, Jackie Cassada, review of Brother to Shadows, pp. 103, 1425; June 15, 1994, Jackie Cassada, review of Firehand, p. 99; June 15, 1995, Jackie Cassada, review of Elvenblood: An Epic High Fantasy, p. 98; September 15, 1996, Susan Hamburger, review of The Warding of Witch World, p. 101; December, 1996, Susan Hamburger, review of Derelict for Trade, p. 152; October 15, 1997, Susan Hamburger, review of A Mind for Trade, p. 98; September 15, 1998, Jackie Cassada, review of Scent of Magic, p. 116; March 15, 1999, Jackie Cassada, review of The Shadow Albion, p. 113; November 15, 1999, Jackie Cassada, review of Wind in the Stone, p. 102; December, 1999, Jackie Cassada, review of Echoes in Time, p. 193; September 15, 2000, Jackie Cassada, review of To the King a Daughter, p. 119; November 1, 2000, Michael Rogers, review of Time Traders, p. 143; February 15, 2001, Jackie Cassada, review of Time Traders II, p. 205; April 15, 2002, Michael Rogers, review of The Gates to Witch World, p. 130; June 15, 2002, Jackie Cassada, review of Beast Master's Ark, p. 99; October 15, 2002, Jackie Cassada, reviews of Elvenborn, p. 97, and A Crown Disowned, p. 98; January, 2003, Jackie Cassada, review of Atlantis Endgame, p. 165; April 15, 2005, Jackie Cassada, review of Three Hands for Scorpio, p. 79.

Life, July, 1984, Harald Sund and Nellie Blagden, "Otherworldly Women," profile of Andre Norton, p. 112.

Publishers Weekly, June 1, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of Tales of the Witch World 3, p. 50; June 22, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of Black Trillium, p. 48; July 6, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of The Jekyll Legacy, p. 61; February 8, 1991, Sybil Steinberg, review of Storms of Victory, p. 52; September 20, 1991, review of The Elvenbane, p. 124; November 8, 1991, review of Sneeze on Sunday, p. 52; April 6, 1992, review of Songsmith, p. 56; November 9, 1992, review of Flight of Vengeance, p. 77; May 17, 1993, review of Golden Trillium, p. 70; October 11, 1993, review of Brother to Shadows, p. 73; October 18, 1993, review of Empire of the Eagle, p. 67; November 29, 1993, review of On Wings of Magic, p. 58; May 23, 1994, review of The Hands of Lyr, p. 82; July 4, 1994, review of Firehand, p. 56; February 20, 1995, review of Mirror of Destiny, p. 200; May 22, 1995, review of Elvenblood, p. 52; September 16, 1996, review of The Warding of Witch World, p. 75; January 27, 1997, review of Derelict for Trade, p. 82; September 29, 1997, review of A Mind for Trade, p. 71; July 27, 1998, review of Scent of Magic, p. 58; March 29, 1999, review of The Shadow of Albion, p. 96; October 11, 1999, review of Wind in the Stone, p. 60; October 25, 1999, review of Echoes in Time, p. 56; September 4, 2000, review of To the King a Daughter, p. 91; January 22, 2001, review of Time Traders II, p. 307; March 26, 2001, review of Leopard in Exile, p. 67; May 21, 2001, review of Knight or Knave, p. 86; July 9, 2001, review of Star Soldiers, p. 52; May 20, 2002, review of Beast Master's Ark, p. 51; September 30, 2002, review of A Crown Disowned, p. 55; December 2, 2002, review of Atlantis Endgame, p. 38; December 1, 2003, review of The Solar Queen, p. 45; January 5, 2004, review of Beast Master's Circus, p. 45; December 20, 2004, review of The Duke's Ballad, p. 41; March 21, 2005, review of Three Hands for Scorpio, p. 40; April 25, 2005, review of Beast Master's Planet, p. 44; October 10, 2005, review of Silver May Tarnish, p. 41.

School Library Journal, June, 1996, Steven Engelfried, review of The Monster's Legacy, p. 154.


Andre Norton Home Page, (December 10, 2005).



America's Intelligence Wire Online, March 17, 2005.

Guardian (London, England), March 29, 2005.


Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Web site, (December 10, 2005).

More From

About this article

Norton, Andre 1912–2005

Updated About content Print Article

You Might Also Like