R.I.P. Andre Norton

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R.I.P. Andre Norton

Postby Steerpike » Sat Mar 19, 2005 11:14 am

I've been reading her books since the 60s. :(
Andre Norton, 93, the “Grand Dame of Science Fiction and Fantasy,” author, poet, editor, whose published works span seven decades, died of congestive heart failure in her Murfreesboro, Tennessee home, early Thursday morning, March 17th.

Andre Norton was born Alice Mary Norton on February 17, 1912, in Cleveland Ohio. She wrote more than 130 novels, nearly one hundred short stories, and edited numerous anthologies in the science-fiction, fantasy, mystery, and western genres. She the first woman to be a SFWA Grand Master and to be inducted in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. She received Skylark, Barlog, and World Fantasy awards, and was the first woman to win the Gandalf Grand Master of Fantasy award.

Her love of books began at the age of two, when her mother started reading and reciting poetry to her. While attending Collingwood High School, Ms. Norton edited a fiction page for the school newspaper, The Collingwood Spotlight, and started her first novel, Ralestone Luck, which became her second published book. She attended the Flora Stone Mather College of Western Reserve University, studying to be a history teacher. However, financial pressures forced her to quit after her freshman year. She to work to help support her family during the hard times of the Great Depression. Still, she managed to take night courses in English and journalism offered by Cleveland College, and she continued to write. She held several jobs in the literary field, including working for the Library of Congress during WWII. She also briefly owned a book store. Most importantly, she worked at the Cleveland Public Library in the children’s section. During her stint with the library, she worked in thirty-eight of the forty branches.

The Prince Commands, a historical fantasy, was Ms. Norton’s first published novel. It was released in 1934, when she was only twenty-two. She began using the name Andre that year, after publishers told her that a masculine name would help sell to her target audience of boys. By 1950, at age 38, she had nine novels to her credit. That year she left the Cleveland Public Library to take a job as a reader at Gnome Press. By the time she left Gnome Press eight years later, she had twenty-three novels and several short stories published.

In 1958 she struck out to become a full-time writer. Over the next twenty years she wrote nearly seventy novels, two dozen short stories, and edited several anthologies. One of her most beloved series, Witch World–a wondrous planet reachable through metaphysical gateways–started with a single novel in 1963. More than thirty Witch World titles followed. In 1966 she moved to Florida, and later moved to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where in 1999 she opened “High Hallack,” a retreat and research library for writers. She closed the library in 2004.

Through the years, she edited several anthologies for Martin Greenberg’s Tekno Books company, including the long-running Cat Fantastic series, which began in 1989, and Renaissance Faire, which was published by DAW Books in early February of 2005.

Her last complete novel, Three Hands for Scorpio, is set to be released in early April from Tor Books. It is the last manuscript she penned alone, and she was especially proud of it. Return to Quag Keep, a sequel to her Quag Keep from 1979, will be released as a collaboration in January, 2006.

She surrounded herself with books and cats, ending each evening reading in bed with a favorite cat curled next to her. She incorporated her love of both in the many cat anthologies she edited, and in numerous short stories. Her latest published short story, “Faire Likeness” in Renaissance Faire, features a cat she adopted. When her health began to decline in 2004, she parted with a few of her cats. However, she continued to keep the oldest–RT–by her side until the end, and she managed to feed the stray cats that frequently visited her yard.

She was quick to recommend good books to friends, and to offer advice to new authors, helping to pave the way for several people to be published. She also instructed hobbyists in the art of making jewelry. Crafting necklaces, bracelets, and earrings became a passion in the last two years of her life when she found it increasingly difficult to write at a keyboard. Jewelry she fashioned continues to be featured at her Ebay Store.

Her novels are too numerous to list in full here. However, among her many novels are: Witch World, Beast Master, Secret of the Lost Race, Star Guard, Sargasso of Space (as Andrew North), The Time Traders, Catseye, Steel Magic, Fur Magic, and The Solar Queen.

Many authors and editors collaborated with her. Among them were: Robert Adams, Alicia Austin, Robert Bloch, Marion Zimmer Bradley, A.C. Crispin, Rosemary Edghill, Martin H. Greenberg, P.M. Griffin, Grace Allen Hogarth, John Kaufman, Mercedes Lackey, Dorothy Madlee, Patricia Matthews, Julian May, Lyn McConchie, Phyllis Miller, Sasha Miller, Jean Rabe, Mary Schaub, Susan Shwartz, Sherwood Smith, and Ingrid Zierhut.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has announced the formation of the Andre Norton Award for young adult novels. Andre approved this before her death, and suggested several titles for consideration. The awards will be announced along with the Nebulas, with the first award being presented in 2006. The award will be selected following the same procedure as the Nebula Awards.

At her direction, there will be no service. She requested memorials to be made in her honor to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital (Memorial and Honor Program), 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or Veterinary Services (c/o the Noah Fund) P.O. Box 10128, Murfreesboro, TN 37129.

She is survived by her close friends and caretakers Sue and Ollie Stewart, her cat RT., and her family of fans throughout the world.

-- Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Inc
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Postby ambershadow » Sat Mar 19, 2005 12:41 pm

She was one of my favorite authors and will be sadly missed.
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Postby sevilodorf » Sat Mar 19, 2005 7:21 pm

It was a 50 cent paperback of Witch World that I picked up at the age of ten which opened the world of Science Fiction for me. An entire shelf of my home library is devoted to Norton's works with the novels [i]Catseye, Judgement on Janus, The Year of the Unicorn and Star Gate among my favorites.
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Postby portia » Sat Mar 19, 2005 8:05 pm

:( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :(

I knew she was very old and I had hear that she was not well, but I have been reading her books since the mid-fifties, and I am so sad she is gone.
Of course, in another way, she will always be with us.
She wrote books that all could enjoy, not some of the nonsense pulpy stuff, and she opened up the genre to women.

* goes off and sheds a few tears for the passing of a really great presence and of an era.*
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Postby SilverScribe » Sun Mar 20, 2005 10:02 am

Oh dear, we are losing good authors far too quickly these days.

I have an entire shelf of Andre Norton books, I discovered her just after graduating College and spent many, many enjoyable hours curled up with her stories.

A solid writer and one of the first females to really make a dent in the publishing world, she will be sorely missed.

It's a comfort however, to see that she lived a very, very long and full life. That she will survive through her work and the respect and affection of her peers and fans helps a lot too.

May she ever travel fair roads.

.
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Postby roaccarcsson » Sun Mar 20, 2005 1:50 pm

I read and reread Norton's juveniles when I was a kid - those and Heinlein's. Recently apicked up a copy of Star Guard in a used bookstore. I was intereseted in that one in particular because she lifted the plt from Xenophon's Anabasis, a fact I only tumbled to years afterwards. Frankly, it was pretty pulpy! I'm sure a lot of her later work was more intersting because written for maturer audiences, but I never got into it.
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Postby portia » Sun Mar 20, 2005 4:05 pm

You should try the "Witch World" series. Read them in order. A lot of good ideas inthat series. One or two were too much journey and not enough arriving for my taste, but still interesting ideas.
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Postby melianlorien » Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:10 pm

Andre Norton will be sorely missed. She was definitely the Grand Dame of Science Fiction and Fantasy. I loved her Witchworld series. It's my favourite series after LotR.
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