Andre Norton: Never Truly Gone!
by Friends, Fans, Colleagues and Peers
Impossible to believe it has been 10 years since you left us!
March 17, 2015 ~ Comments are in the order received
Daybreak 2250 A.D. and real men landing on the Moon at 9 years old and I was hooked. It has been a 43 year long quest to know all of Andre’s works and it has become something I hope never gets completed. It drives me. I lay awake at night thinking - how can I get my hands on that one more thing. No other Author has such a special place in my heart. ~ Jay Watts (Lotsawatts) ~ your humble webmaster
Andre Norton was a truly great lady in herself and in her works. She moved the hearts and minds of her readers, inspiring them to reach for their own stars, and she was generous with her encouragement to those of us who followed her into the realms of story telling. I am privileged to have known her and to have been able to call her my friend. Pauline (P.M.) Griffin
I knew Andre for twenty years, we phoned, wrote, and several times I managed to stay with her for a week or two. I miss, not only the talented writer who always had time for a newbie, but my friend, with whom I talked cats, fantasy, and the trials and fun of life in general. No one is truly dead until they are forgotten. It's going therefore, to be a long time before Andre Norton is truly dead. Lyn McConchie.
Though I’m so far down on the food chain, I almost don’t exist, but as a writer, I learned to love all my characters, not just the heroes. You can tell that Andre Norton loved hers (even the scumbags). Jean Lamb
Although I enjoyed most Andre Norton books, it was the Free Trader series that really struck a chord with me. The crew of the Solar Queen was very much a family and they worked together to make their little profits on runs too small to interest big business. The characters were interesting and the captain well respected by the junior members of the crew. Plague Ship will always be one of my favorites.
Ellen Anthony, author Search for the Sun
With Naves of Dreams And Solar Queens and Star Mans Son we walked.
She took us through Keys out of Time and gates that were once locked
Our minds linked with four footed friends our own Keplians we sought.
Defiant Agents we all became as aliens in blue suits we fought
I still wish after fifty years for one more yarn she would tell
I wish that there was only some way to reach beyond that veil.
We all miss you. Ms Norton. Wait for us. Help us find the last gate.
She was simply the best friend I ever had. When she found out how very badly I wanted to go to a WorldCon being held in my own backyard of Anaheim, California but didn't have the money she paid for my membership and refused to allow me to pay her back.
The day we lost this great lady I cried for hours.
Andre was the first and only writer I ever wrote a fan letter to after reading Breed To Come. I was excited and honored when she replied. We continued writing, eventually she gave me her actual address so I could write direct instead of throw her publisher. That friendship lasted until March 17, 2005.
I will be forever grateful and humbled for her frienship.
Clear skies my dear dear friend.
Andre Norton was one of my favourite authors. Reading one of her books always feels as if I'm stepping into the landscape of my dreams, with people that I recognise and have always known. My favourite book was Beast Master, but I'm still finding books of hers that I haven't read. Ebooks have made books available now that couldn't be found in the UK previously.
I'm writing this on the day that Terry Pratchett died, and feeling very sad to know that I will never meet him nor Andre Norton, the two authors whose alternate worlds I most enjoyed visiting and loved. Their books are our legacy, and I'm very grateful to have them.
Isle of Man
From 1984 I spent 21 years with Andre either living next door to her or part time living in her house with her and her many cats. At first she was reclusive and shy about meeting other people. Turns out she had suffered from merniers’s syndrome and was dizzy at times from an inner ear disorder and would not leave the house. Her doctor who was a physiologist was giving her powerful drugs which made her slow and in a fog most of the day. Years later when a different doctor was doing a test they saw a spike on the machine and finally found out what the real problem was. Andre was immediately taken off the drugs and she became alive and animated again within a few days. Everyone who was around her daily commented on how much different she was and seemed to comeback alive in front of their eyes. Once the dizziness was under control she started to get out into the community more often and then started some interactions with fans face to face. Later when told that the doctor she was seeing was specialized for working on problems of the mind Andre said “is that why she never listened to me when I told her my knees were hurting.”
Well once she was coaxed into going to conventions she was slow to embrace adoration. This was the first time she was on stage seeing the overwhelming number of her fans clapping and cheering for her and was a bit embarrassed. She would tell the crowds that she was only trying to tell a story. She felt uncomfortable with the adoration but was gracious to everyone while still being a bit reserved. Her whole personality was rooted in the Victorian era rules and customs. She truly was a lady full of grace, with good manners and had a great sense of style especially with the jewelry she wore.
With her income she gave to needy women who were in dire straights; to cat shelters and veteran groups and on and on. She would buy light bulbs from the police benevolent society when they called on the phone asking for donations and garbage bags from the veterans of America. She found it hard to say the word no to most anyone. Every morning she would s tart off by responding to some fan letters and then get down to her current book writing, trying to do a chapter a day. By mid morning she was done writing and had lunch. Then the afternoon was spent researching and at bed time she would read a mystery story. For over a decade she had a maid that did the laundry and cleaned the house for her.
Andre was opening up to being with people so much that she started hosting Christmas tea parties at her house. After a few years of going to conventions Andre started to host annual Christmas Tea parties at her private home in Orlando and always had neighbors, friends and other writers attending. She was such a gracious host that was engaging and full of stories to tell.
I can still in my mind see her arching back with her hand to her heart while laughing at a joke during the parties while having a wonderful time. She could talk about the facts of history and make it all come alive. Andre had a lot of stories about the early days of sci-fi publishing and could talk about every publisher and editor and writer of the time, she was a gold mine of this information.
Her dream of starting her own research library finally came to pass. This was another way Andre gave to the community of sci-fi, always thinking of how she could help others, especially women writers. When she finally ran out of stories to write in her 90s Andre started designing and producing jewelry to sell on E-bay and was quit creative and successful at the endeavor. Her mind was incredible in the way it imagined. Her knowledge was vast and her actions changed people’s lives all over the world for three generations. Andre was truly one of a kind and I am so fortunate to have been a part of her life for 21 years.
Andre Norton will never die. Her body might have passed on, the new stories might have ended, but her legacy will continue forever. With her emphasis on her fully realized and varied characters---not to mention the cultures and circumstances that made them what they are---she helped expand the entire genre to include less tangible, but oh-so-human elements of motivation and causality. And once released, that genie will never go back into its bottle, for which I, for one, am very grateful.
When Jay contacted me about possibly doing an illustration for this new little treasure he's offering, (the short story - Fanus) I was honored, and, I admit, terrified. I haven't picked up a pencil to draw in a decade or more. Literally. What little art I've been doing, mostly cover art, has been digital. I'm a full-time writer/editor now, and those drawing muscles can get pretty out of shape in a week, let alone years. But I really wanted to sketch something, because that, I felt, was what Andre would want.
Let me explain.
Many years ago, a ten-year-old kid sent a fan letter to her favorite author, with a question about Kartr's ears. She wanted to draw his picture, but more, she just didn't want to sound all gushy and dumb. Ms Norton sent her a letter back, describing his ears, and, more importantly to me at the time, just being nice. A few years later, that same girl sent her still-favorite author some (very bad) photocopies of some of her pencil-sketch portraits of her favorite characters---including Kartr---and Ms Norton once again sent a very sweet and encouraging letter back.
I honestly thought she was just being nice and would eventually toss them...this was before grey-scale photocopies were possible and they were really pretty sad reproductions, but still, it made me feel all warm and fuzzy, and I never forgot her graciousness. Then, a while back, Jay emailed me asking if the photocopies he'd found in her files belonged to me and could he put them up on the site. Of course, I said yes, but I was also extremely pleased to discover that she'd kept them.
Rather like this story, typed on an actual typewriter, with hand-made corrections, those pictures she enjoyed were sketched by a real hand with a real pencil and real paper. Computer art, especially for a story about the sanctity of nature, just wouldn't be right. So...I dug out my pencil and paper and, heart racing, sat down to draw.
Easier said than done, and not just because I could barely hang on to said pencil.
I struggled with an image for the story...until I realized at last that the problem wasn't conceiving an illustration, but rather, once again, that ancient history. I'd sent her portraits all those years ago. Not illustrations, not covers, not paintings, just simple sketches. My concepts of her characters. With that insight, the panic ceased and I put pencil to paper and began carving out these enigmatic characters.
Armed with the scant handful of clues in the story, I let the pencil wander, and after playing with several possible looks, it eventually carved out these two and I knew, at least for myself, I'd found them. Her prehensile lip and his catish nose are deliberate. Don't ask me why, they just...felt right. Hardest part? Getting that "big-eyed" look without it going all squishy. I thought about redoing it and refining it, but feared it would lose something in the translation, so, like the story, you're getting the "rough draft."
And now...rather than put away the pencil and drawing pad...I find myself thinking of another character who needs a face. One of my own, born in that decade since I put the pad away. I've rediscovered my once great pleasure in that graphite-on-paper feel. So once again I find myself saying:
Thanks, Andre. Jane Fancher
Ms. Norton was one of my favorite authors growing up- she wrote of things we wanted to believe in, gave us inspiration for the future. My husband, Ken & I were fortunate to meet Ms Norton at a late time in her life and enjoyed her soft voice and great thoughts. She was always a giant in the field of science fiction and a hero for women writers.
B. Kim Hagar, Athens AL
I first contacted Andre through a fan letter to Ace Books back in the early 70's when I was a teen. I was surprised when I received a letter back from her in response. The first couple of letters were the typical fan stuff, but it quickly became friendship letters as I found out the wonderful person who had taken time out of her busy schedule to answer letters from me.
We kept up the written conversation after I joined the Air Force in 1975 and shared a phone call in the late 70's. Over the years and my tours in Korea, we exchanged letters about a lot of things, including folklore I had picked up in Korea. She sent me boxes of books as care packages and I would find things like a couple of jade dragons or a uniquely patterned blanket to send in return.
We would also share some ideas I came up with, like a sword made of dragon scale, which was later used in one of her books. Andre encouraged me to do some writing on my own, but while I collected ideas for stories, my career in the military, and after I retired, as a military contractor left little time for that. At one point in time, when I was trying to overcome a personal crisis, she encouraged me by giving me the nickname of "The Lady Jade Phoenix", as I had risen from the ashes of a part of my life I left behind. She sent me a phoenix pendant to remind me of that. It's a nickname I proudly use to this day.
I was finally able to visit her in 2003, after over 30 years of friendship, and I am glad I did. I wanted to go back, but that was not to be. I was heartbroken when I found out Andre had passed away, but she continues to live on in my memories.
Andre was more than a great writer. She was a great friend. I am very glad to have known her and that she took the time to answer a fan letter from a teenage kid.
As ever, Patricia Jaderborg
I just finished rereading (how many times I do not know) "The Last Planet", Ace edition, originally published by Harcourt Brace in hard cover, 1953 as "Star Rangers". One of my favorites. In the story she champions individuals who are "other" and "Bemmy" (Bug Eyed Monsters). This is a theme that originally drew me to her stories, as being Gay and partly Mahican, I always felt I was "other". ~ Alan Hutchinson
How lucky we are to have had that great lady living so long and have such a wonderful imagination!
I have just discovered her books, at age 45 but each time I pick up one of her books, I'm transported for a while far away with characters I care about. She was a real story teller with right amount of suspense, grit and descriptions of wondrous worlds and strange beings or civilisations.
Thanks, Andre Norton, even if you can't hear me from the worlds of the Forerunner and Witch World. ~ James Coupland
As with so many, I found Andre’s books at my public school library when I was in the 8th grade. My introduction to the worlds of science fiction and fantasy came with a book called “Ordeal in Otherwhere”. I read that book, then re-read it. From there on, I had to seek other books by Andre and easily proclaimed her to be my favorite author.
My love of her books continued through school, college and on into marriage. I scoured book stores for new releases and also for older books, because I was determined to have every book she wrote. Alas, even Andre couldn’t keep apace of my love of reading and so I ventured out and found other authors, and my lifelong love of the genre was solidified.
In 1988, I decided to do something I had never done, I wrote my very first “fan letter”. I wrote to Andre and thanked her for her books that had given me so much pleasure and opened new worlds to me. It was a short letter, but I had learned that it is never a bad thing to thank people who have been instrumental in shaping your life. I figured a secretary would read the letter, but it was okay, because I had done what I felt I needed to do. Later in that year, I had to have gall bladder surgery and was in the hospital, drifting in and out of a drug induced fog. My husband came in to visit and brought some mail for me. I was blown away to find that I had a letter from Winter Park, FL! I figured it would be just a form letter, but was I ever wrong! Andre had written a very personal letter to me, thanking me for the letter I had sent to her and talking about her love of the written word and even giving me a head’s up to a new set of books that she had coming out shortly, all about cats. That letter was better medicine than anything the doctors gave me!
Many years later, we had moved to just outside of Nashville, TN. One evening, after a day spent answering 9-1-1 calls and dispatching police officers, I was dozing on the couch. My husband handed me the phone, and whispered, “It’s Andre Norton”. I figured he was pulling my leg, but, no, it truly was Andre! We had recently discovered that Andre was living in Murfreesboro, TN, just a few miles from our home and my husband had taken it into his head to see if she was “listed” in the phone directory. She was and he with a lot more nerve than I would ever have, had called her and talked to her about his wife who was a huge fan, and she then spoke with me, talking for a little time about the writers’ seminars she was hosting in Murfreesboro and such. I hung up in awe and definitely no longer sleepy!!
A few years later, I saw the news that Andre had passed. My two “encounters” with her were brief and probably nothing that anyone else would have even thought about, but for me, I felt as though I had touched a lodestone and they will always remind me how real and personable Andre was.
I picked up one of her books off the bookmobile in seventh grade and was hooked. I love her books and am still trying to get all of them. ~ Marietta
I received notice of Andre Norton's death through an e-mail from her caregiver Sue Stewart. Ms. Stewart said that Ms. Norton died on Thursday, March 17. I cried.
I have read and collected Andre Norton's writings since I was a teenager in the 1950s. Before I received my Master of Library Science degree from Texas Woman's University in 1966, I wrote a professional paper on Ms. Norton. She was kind enough then to respond when I wrote her. Little did I realize at the time that it was rare for an author to correspond with a college student. Ms. Norton was kind and generous with her time to make suggestions and corrections to my paper about her
Many years later I met Ms. Norton at the Worldcon in Boston when she was given one of her many honors. When I learned of her 90th birthday, I started correspnding with her again. This led to me flying to Murfreesboro, TN this past October. I met Ms. Stewart, her caregiver, and Ms. Norton. I spent three delightful never to be forgotten days talking with Ms. Norton. From those conversations I learned that Ms. Norton mentored and corresponded with many writers. I know that I am not the only one who will miss her.
Sharon Faye Wilbur Arlington, TX
Andre was a caring and giving person. Every month, like clock work, she sent checks to four of her friends, making sure these women had food, electricity and water. She did this for many years! When she was hospitalized, she made sure that these women received their checks. Even on her death bed, these four women received their checks.
Andre made monthly contributions to two Native American schools, and several “no kill” cat shelters. Through her veterinarian’s office, she made monthly donations to the “Noah Fund”. This is a fund specifically for low income families to help pay for medical treatment for their pets. Andre also gave to St. Jude's Children’s Hospital in Memphis Tennessee and the Shriner’s Children Hospital in Lexington Kentucky. She even went so far as to help some of her friends with funeral expenses of a lost loved one.
Andre always helped someone in need. Including strangers! She had learned of an elderly woman, living here in Murfreesboro, who was in need of warm clothes and a coat for the approaching winter. The woman lived on a fixed income, in a senior citizen’s housing development. Andre had me go get the lady and take her shopping for clothes. After the shopping spree, I was instructed to go to her landlord and pay six months rent, in advance, on her apartment. Her generosity was truly boundless.
When Andre began making jewelry, she donated several necklace and earring sets, made of semi-precious stones, to various charity organizations for use in their silent auctions. She often donated autographed copies of her books. When the fund raising season began, local charities always came to her, as her items always assured sizeable bids! She loved making jewelry and was honored and, ironically, despite her fame, somewhat surprised that people were willing to pay high prices for it!
I could go on and on about about Andre’s generosity. When the need arose, she gave unhesitatingly, often giving beyond the need! I was very fortunate enough to be with her for a few years. During that time, I never knew her to have a selfish thought. Because she knew I suffer with dyslexia, after moving into my house in mid 2004, she insisted on opening new worlds to me by reading aloud to me every night after I helped her to bed. I would sit at her bedside and she would read to me for an half hour or more. There were times when she would “secretly” order a book for me and surprise me with it. I still have those books and, will always cherish them. They’re a constant reminder of a wonderful woman, who cared enough to see that “other worlds” were opened up to me!
I am so very thankful and privileged to have had Andre in my life. To most, she was Andre Norton, “Grand Dame Of Science Fiction”. To me, she was “Meemaw”, a title she loved and, according to her, was honored to have! I know, I’ll never again look at a cat without thinking of her! To this very day, as I look around my home at the many keepsakes I have that were hers and, as I ponder the cherished memories I have of her, I find her to be always in my thoughts and forever in my heart! Rest in peace “Meemaw”, I love and miss you very much!
Sue Stewart-The Andre Norton Estate
I can’t really say that Andre Norton had a major influence on my life. She didn’t inspire me to do great things, or become a leader, problem solver, writer, or anything other than common and ordinary, a girl from a farm background who went on to get married and work at a variety of jobs that were just a means of putting money in my pocket so I could help put food on the table for my family—consisting of a husband and a series of dogs. However, she did make those years a little more pleasant.
I grew up on Westerns and mysteries and didn’t get into science fiction until high school, when I inadvertently borrowed a book from the school library, titled Mystery Of the Martian Moons—thought it was going to be a mystery story. Well, that turned out to be pretty interesting, and opened up a whole new world—or worlds, as it were. During my junior and senior years of high school, I was offered membership in a book club sponsored by the school. (Boy, did we get some real clankers, urged on us by the school principal as being great literature. Why is great literature always so boring?) My brother and I would carefully select our choices from the available books, tending towards our newly-discovered interest, science fiction. The first Andre Norton book we obtained was The Last Planet. Hey, this is great! After that, any book with the name “Andre Norton” on it was fair game for immediate acquisition. But the books we purchased then were almost all “hard” science fiction.
I didn’t get into any of her fantasy novels until after my marriage and injury in a serious car accident, at which time, my husband bought me a book by an author he knew I favored; the book was Year Of the Unicorn. He hated it—I wasn’t too crazy about it myself. It was rather like coming into a movie in the middle, or starting a book on Chapter Nine. And, we really weren’t “into” fantasy. However, it was an Andre Norton book, so I kept it. Later on, I picked up the first of her “Witch World” novels, and all of a sudden Year Of the Unicorn was in context, as it were.
Many years later, with an ever-expanding library, I had enough of Andre’s books to start feeling like a collector. I even had one bookstore in Minneapolis trained to “feed my addiction.” It was rather pleasant, if somewhat confusing, to have them call me at work and say, “The book you ordered is in.” Book, what book? When did I order a book lately? Then I discovered that she actually wrote stuff besides science fiction. I went on to purchase the Sword trilogy, Velvet Shadows, Snow Shadows, The White Jade Fox, and Ten Mile Treasure, which nearly started a feud with my husband’s niece. I loaned her my copy and nearly had to resort to physical force to get it back—she liked it so much. I eventually had to promise her her own copy—which took me several years to obtain.
I went on to acquire anything and everything I could, even to the point of a two-week project to get a copy of Caroline. At the time we were living on a houseboat in the New Orleans area—north side of Lake Pontchartrain, actually. We were using the local library computers for our Internet connections. I found on one of the bookselling sites a copy of Caroline and clicked on “buy this book” and immediately received a message that the book was not available. After about six times of this, I went to the Interlibrary Loan clerk and asked him to get me this book. Maybe I couldn’t buy it, but I could at least read it. Well, once it was in my hands, I didn’t want to let it go, but I am really “down” on people who steal books from libraries. So, on to the computer and start typing; I could at least make a print-out. After three days, with my husband’s help, I had completely transcribed the entire book. A trip to the local office supply store netted a ream of paper duplicating the old “pulp” paper used in the “cheap” paperbacks of the era, and a good photocopy of the cover, and I was ready to produce my own copy. Careful to not infringe on any copyrights, I also created a “book plate” page stating that this copy was made for my personal library. Two more run-throughs for proof reading and page formatting, then I returned the book to the library. A local print shop owner was so intrigued by our achievement, he did the cutting of the pages for nominal cost. A bit of padding compound (usually used to make scratch pads) and I had my very own personalized copy of a hard-to-obtain book. And wouldn’t you know it, as soon as I didn’t need it, every bookseller on the Internet had copies available!
I now have at least one copy of every novel she ever wrote, and all but three of her short stories in “original” publications (I even have “The Boy and The Ogre” in the Golden Magazine); the other three stories I have in the Tales From High Hallack volumes. I have to admit, I could have wished for the publishers of the High Hallack books to have been able to reproduce the original artwork—the drawings for “White Violets” are beautiful. My husband shares (or did, until a stroke left him with only partial vision) a love of books, and our library is (dare I say it?) truly awesome. I think we may have more fiction books than our local library. (Guide Rock is a pretty small town!) Of them all, though, the Norton books are, in my opinion, the prize of the collection. I haven’t gone so far as to collect one of every edition and/or cover art; I’m satisfied with having at least one of every book or story.
I really regret not going to visit with her when we were in Tennessee and not too far from Andre’s home. I will always wish that she could have known how much pleasure she gave me, and how many times, when the “world is too much with me” I grab one of her books and bury myself in it. Feeling sorry for myself … Storm Over Warlock; news stories too depressing, what’s the future of the human race … The Stars Are Ours! Or if things are worse than that … Breed to Come. The adventures of the Solar Queen, or Beast Master Hosteen Storm are always a good way to alleviate a fit of depression or just simple boredom. To remember how much love can change things, (and how often love is shown in little things--not wildly-romantic gestures) try Snow Shadows, or The White Jade Fox. Want a good rip-roaring adventure—try Yankee Privateer, or of course, any of the Sword trilogies. Truly Andre Norton was a writer to fit any mood, any theme, any age (her “juveniles” are, almost without exception, just as good a “read” for adults.)
Sandy Larkey ~ Fan & contributor to this site
Andre Norton was ahead of the curve. She wrote about strong, intelligent and, yes, beautiful women before most and went so far as making them the, gasp - protagonist in her stories. She was an animal activist and expressed her love and protection of the environment way before these topics became in vogue. If Andre were alive today her writing would be still be considered ahead of the times. George Paige TV and Film Producer
Today, in the mail, I received a copy of “Star Mans Son” I had seen it mentioned on a “Good Reads” site and decided I needed to get a copy. I am now seventy-one years old and remember this title as one I read in the mid 1950’s when I was in elementary school. Along with some of the Heinlein books, They were the first Fantasy and Science Fiction that I read and set me on a journey lasting until the present time.
As I remember, The Fantasy and SF genre was not well represented in our county library system or in the local book stores, at this time, and it was hard finding titles after I has exhausted what there was. About this time, I discovered “ Ace" , especially the “doubles” in my local drug store and we were on the way.
By the way, my present copy of of the above title was sold once, used, in the Book Nook in Sarasota,Fl before being sold to me by Powells in Portland, Or.
All the best, Martin C. Blum
What to say about Andre Norton? How much time do you have? She meant so much to me.
She was an extraordinary writer, gifted storyteller, an excellent editor, a mentor to a generation of authors, a role model and most of all to me, she was my friend. She got me published, a debt I can never repay. She was one of the kindest sweetest people I have ever met as well as one of the most intelligent. I found it amazing just how easy she was to talk with. Her humility was both refreshing and slightly puzzling. How could she not see how beloved she was to her fans? I first discovered her books in 1962, first wrote to her in 1989 and met her in person in 1990 and was privileged to share a friendship for the next 15 years. If I had never accomplished anything else in my life, I am proud to say that I was Andre Norton’s friend.
Paul Goode ~ Long time friend
The tune below is something I wrote in honor of Andre and
is from the Leslie Fish song BANNED FROM ARGO:
Reading Andre Norton
We Read Andre Norton, everyone
Reading Andre Norton is really a lot of fun
With all her tales we’ve yet to read
And the ones we’ve read before
We’ll read Andre Norton evermore
I started with THE STARS ARE OURS
When I was eight or nine
Then I stepped into the WITCH WORLD
And I found that it was fine
I knew a burning passion, yes and endless aching need
An overwhelming hunger that forever I would feed
We Read Andre Norton, everyone
Reading Andre Norton is really a lot of fun
With all her tales we’ve yet to read
And the ones we’ve read before
We’ll read Andre Norton evermore
Her books, they span the alphabet
From A to Q to Z
Sci-Fi, Westerns, Romance and a Murder Mystery
Fantasy, Adventure and it may come as a shock
A horror story written
With her good friend Robert Bloch
We Read Andre Norton, everyone
Reading Andre Norton is really a lot of fun
With all her tales we’ve yet to read
And the ones we’ve read before
We’ll read Andre Norton evermore
Novels, poems and short stories
She’s written in her day
Book reviews and articles
She’s penned to earn her pay
No matter what she’s written, she is by far the Best
I have mostly all her stuff, but now I want the rest!
We Read Andre Norton, everyone
Reading Andre Norton is really a lot of fun
With all her tales we’ve yet to read
And the ones we’ve read before
We’ll read Andre Norton evermore
When I was seven years old I was at my grandparent's apartment on Saturday night. It was hockey night in Canada, which is boring when you are seven years old, or even when you are older. I went exploring in my grandmother's closet, looking for something to do. I found a stack of paperbacks and picked one with an interesting front cover. It was the first Ace edition of Andre Norton's The Stars are Ours! I read it, and then I re-read it. I was totally enthralled by the book. I wanted more books like that, but my grandmother didn't have any more of Andre Norton's books. She told me she would take me to the public library, and they would have more books by Andre Norton.
Twenty years later I went into grad school to become a librarian. I owe Andre Norton an enormous debt: Witch World, the Thieves Guild, the Dipple, alternate worlds, ancient Egypt, pirates and the rest of my life.
Senior Department Head
Merril Collection of Science Fiction,
Speculation and Fantasy
Andre Norton opened my eyes to new universes, starting with Steel Magic, then Moon of Three Rings and on and on. For 46 years your books have brought me pleasure and joy. Thank you for sharing your creative universes with all of us. Terry Broberg-Swangin
THE BOOKS I LOVE
The books I love I lay about, as order in the mayhem,
So that a moment’s notice might afford a chance to read them.
Though cares and toils may grow about me, waist-high to conniption,
Still, I can reach to blind side for some roborating fiction.
And when emergent life defers my reading until later,
Momentum is not lost, for my anticipation’s greater.
Conjoining worlds (commingling their several populations)
Consume my thoughts—so where-away—in my preoccupation.
For from such portals I alight with settled indecision:
How best might I return again to my improving session?
Some books must close on galaxies, while others temper nations—
Worlds and warriors stemmed about, returning to their stations.
Between the covers, life goes on, suspense and animation,
But as though sideways, not headlong, until with jubilation
I am restored and set apart from world to world again.
They all are there who touched me last, unchanged as foe or friend.
And so it is, a time and times, and all throughout the house,
My books, my friends, I read again, till I must put them down.
Nor do I hide a book away, but set it just aside
Until I can return again, rejoin the tale inside.
It is a life I value more than others known to man.
I keep good books about … and at least one is near to hand.
by Steven R. Vogel
For Grand Master Andre Norton
… who taught me and so many others to love books and reading,
and whose stories have ever been near to hand.
See the Article ~ Visiting Miss Norton ~ also by Steven
I first encountered Andre Nortons books in my high school library. I was introduced to her wonderful worlds in Catseye, Forerunner Foray, The X-Factor, Dread Companion (which inspired me to write an avant garde play for my high school drama class), Lavender Green Magic, and my introduction to the Witch World- The Jargoon Pard. In high school I was a band & drama nerd who loved fantasy & sci-fi genre stuff & played D&D. Kethan from The Jargoon Pard really spoke to me as a character through Andre's wonderful ability to capture the feelings of a teenage outsider who doesn't understand why he's different.
Those books drove me to seek out her other stories in my town library and even transfer in her books from other branches. I was truly hooked.
The first Andre novel I bought was Flight in Yictor when it came out in paperback. (Yes, I was in high school in the late '80s. I believe I just dated myself! Lol!) I saw it on the book rack at our local grocery store and felt like I'd found the holy grail. A brand new Andre Norton! I loved it. Another boy who was treated badly by others but found genuine friends who saw beneath the surface... then underwent amazing coming of age transformation... A beautiful metaphor that gave teenage me hope.
Sadly I never thought to write Andre and was much too shy to do so if it had occurred to me. I wish I could have written her a thank you letter for her wonderful stories. Though I haven't become a writer (yet? It could happen... Lol!) I love her works so much that when I discovered a wiki that was putting together a timeline of her Witch World novels, I signed up to contribute as fast as I could come up with a name & password. It has been a joy to work on elwher.wikidot.com and that inspired me to put together one for her sci-fi universe on my own Jade Dragon wiki. It's embarrassingly unfinished so far but I add to it whenever I can.
Thank you Andre Norton for all the wonder, pleasure, insight and inspiration your stories have given me all these years. May your stories be alway in print so they can be read by the future children, both human & not, out among the stars when humans reach the planets you so vividly made real for us on Earth.
When I was a girl (turned 60 in October, 2014), science fiction wasn't exactly brimming with examples of heroines who were the main character instead of heroes. The only one I knew was Podkayne of Mars. My introduction to Andre Norton was ordering Daybreak 2250 A.D. through Scholastic at school.
Imagine my thrill when I was able to browse in the adult science fiction section at my local library and discovered Ordeal in Otherwhere! It was even better when I learned that my favorite author (along with ERB) was a woman.
Later on I got to read other sf books by women, but Andre Norton remains my first. That still means a lot to me.
Sierra Vista, AZ
I first discovered Andre Norton when I was in late elementary school or early middle school. I can't remember which book I read first, but I can narrow it down to three: Steel Magic, Star Born, or Moon of Three Rings. All of them appealed to a boy who had grown up watching Jonny Quest and Fireball XL5 on television (black and white, mind you). The sense of adventure in a world with different creatures or beings really appealed to me.
After reading everything our local library had by Andre, I began asking if there were more books by her. The librarian showed me this wondrous, huge book called Books in Print, which was exactly that, a list of books that were currently in print in the United States. I discovered that I had just scratched the surface of her books, that there were many more to read. (I'm not yet sure that I knew that Andre Norton was the pen name of Alice Mary Norton, but when I did find out, I confused her with Mary Norton who wrote The Borrowers.) I began a quest to somehow obtain some of the other books to read. I know the librarian was able to get some titles for me through a rudimentary interlibrary loan program, but we were a small library in a small, rural town, and it was difficult. The only title I remember for sure that I got this way and read was Huon of the Horn.
I read a lot, voraciously, and always had a book with me in class so I could read if I finished assignments early. My math teacher in 7th grade, Mr. Grant, would walk around the room while we were working and would often pick up a book that I was reading and start reading it. Sometimes it was difficult to get it back from him! He started to bring some of his books in to loan me. I can't remember for sure if it was him, or one of my 8th grade teachers, Mr. Burkett or Mr. Finkbeiner, that loaned me some Norton books; possibly it was all three. I'm pretty sure, though, that Mr. Burkett loaned me the book that would really draw me into the world of Andre Norton: Witch World. After reading that, I think he loaned me several of the sequels.
As I began working in high school and had some spending money, I would occasionally find a Norton book for sale somewhere: the local pharmacy, a supermarket, and bookstores, which I rarely was able to go to. College brought a little more opportunity to purchase books, but I only owned less than a dozen for many years. I would reread them from time to time, but I had also moved onto other things. As a middle school librarian, I had to read a lot of books and Norton was on the back burner.
It wasn't until I was an adult and had a family that I really returned to Norton's books. I reread some of the books that I owned, particularly the Witch World books. By then we had the internet and access to a little company named Amazon. I learned that I had only a smattering of the Witch World books. I began buying books; at first, anything by Norton that caught my fancy, but especially those that took place in the Witch World. Then I narrowed to only buying Witch World books, except for the occasional old Ace paperback title.
At some point in time I bought a Polish edition of Zarsthor's Bane, simply because I liked the cover. Thus began the real quest: to collect every edition, English language or not, of every title associated with Witch World. (I define edition as different cover art, or a change in the typestyle of the title or author's name; I'm not concerned when a publisher puts a different number on it and changes the price.) To make it easier to remember what I actually own when I go to a used bookstore, I created a website for my collection. I did a tremendous amount of research on the internet, finding as many foreign editions as I could, along with cover art. After creating a bibliography for each country, I sent that and the cover art to Jay at andre-norton-books.com so that he could share with the rest of the world.
My collection continues to grow, although I've begun to despair of ever owning all of the Russian titles (I'm reluctant to give my credit card information directly to a Russian website, and I haven't looked hard enough to find one that accepts Paypal). I continue to share finds with Jay, and also find things on his site. My most recent additions include Bulgarian editions of Witch World and Web of the Witch World, of which I was unaware until browsing Jay's site. And every once in a while when I have some spare time, I'll go into Goodreads.com and add, correct, or add cover art to the information about Andre's books that are there. And when I get a moment, I'll pick up a Norton book to be transported to a different world. I still have many books in my collection that I have not yet read.
Andre Norton opened my eyes to the vastness of space and the joy of discovering alien planets and cultures with her diverse characters that included aliens, people of Color, and (gasp) women. I wish I'd had a chance to meet her. Her work is still inspiring and I read through my collection regularly.
May we meet beyond the stars someday.
Ruth de Jauregui
I encountered the Jargoon Pard in my local public library as a pre-teen, and devoured it, my very first f/sf book. I borrowed, or purchased, every Andre Norton book I could find in the next few years, and there are scenes in my head I will never forget, drawn so brilliantly by her marvelous pen.
I would not be the same person if I had not encountered her, and I am eternally grateful.
Judy Pine, Bellingham, WA
Star Man’s Son, 2250 A.D., which I purchased as Daybreak-2250 A.D., was the first scifi book I read. It was in a Scholastic Book Club offering and was completely different from any of the other types of books. Scifi was not usually offered to children of my age group.
Andre Norton opened the doors to Scifi and Fantasy for me with this book and I have never turned back. I still own this paperback book (and many others), I purchased it in 1970 when I was in the 5th grade.
This is the paperback that I still own, 45 years later.
Ten years ago, we all lost a great friend, one who was like family to many of us. She was an unusually talent writer, a spinner of tales and a maker of marvelous worlds and universes in which these tales lived. I will always remember when I first picked up Catseye, and entered one of those worlds. I was completely engrossed with the characters, the settings, and the new ideas I had never thought about before, nor read about in other science fiction books. It was not only that, but it was also the feeling of living the adventure, the suspense of not knowing what was behind the next door, or turn in the trail, and not knowing what amazing thing the next page would reveal. She always seem to have the ability to keep me wanting to read the next page, and then the next, not stopping until I found out what happened after that. What followed then for me was a 20 year adventure, never ceasing to be amazed by what ideas and characters her imagination seemed to birth. I was never disappointed reading one of her books, perhaps with the exception of when I realized that that adventure was over, and I would need to wait until the next crop of Ace books came out in a month, to see if another of her stories was included (in those days, I didn't realize how much time it took to write and publish books, and thus the time between releases). As I matured, I found that I appreciated her works more, and with a deeper understanding of the conflicts and trials her characters faced. I did not find that in any other author's books, even though I read many fine science fiction and fantasy stories by many other fine writers. They just did not have the magic that I found in Andre's stories.
About 30 years ago, I decided to write her a letter and tell her how much I appreciated her writing. She very kindly wrote back to me, and what followed was a friendship that spanned the rest of those years until her passing. She was simply one of the kindest and most genuine people I have ever met. When my daughter met her the first time, she remarked to me later that day that Andre was one of the nicest people she had ever met. Obviously, all of us have known the same lady, a genuine, caring individual - always wanting to help a friend in need, either human or "furred". She helped many young, aspiring writers to fulfill their dreams, and publish stories born from their own, fertile imaginations. She always had a kind word for people, even those not her fans, or people even familiar with her works. She always seemed to be willing to generously give to anyone who had a financial difficulty or on whom hard-times had fallen. I remember years ago meeting Lena Mae, her kindly housekeeper for many years. Even years later when Lena Mae was too old to clean the house properly, and she mostly just sat and rested, Andre still kept her in employment, and then promptly cleaned much of the house herself after Lena Mae left. She cared for all people within her acquaintance and honored them with respect, an unusual attribute for most people in this day and time. She was a true lady. One of her special loves was her family of beautiful cats. Felines were truly a family to her, her "furred" friends, and she never failed to help one in need. She not only personally cared for whichever feline wandered into her home, but donated liberally to the vets and "no-kill" animal shelters wherever she lived. She always gave, and then gave more.
When Sue notified me that Andre had died, I was devastated. I had lost a true friend of many years. A friend with whom I could discuss things going on in my life, for the good or for the bad, and someone who always seemed to have good advice, or consolation when that was all that was possible. I know all of us feel the same way about her. While I was fortunate enough to have visited her at times, and feel honored to call her friend, I know that all of us were considered like that by her. She always appreciated her fans, not so much that they bought her books, but that they appreciated her writings. We are all more than just her fans, we are her friends, and will continue to be so, hopefully keeping her memory alive in our minds and in the minds of generations to come. I miss her.
It's difficult to believe that it's been a decade since Miss Andre passed away. When Jay asked me to contribute something to the site, I thought it only fitting to offer this essay I wrote at the time, my eulogy of sorts.
Despite her physical absence, Miss Andre's grandmotherly presence, her nuggets of wisdom, her complete faith in who I was and who I would be...these remain with me. As does the very important decision I made the day she died.
In 2011, I had the honor of presenting the Andre Norton Award at the SFWA Nebula Awards ceremony. In 2013 and 2014, I was nominated for the Andre Norton Award. One of these days, I will win that damned thing and make her proud. Because that's how these stories are meant to end.
Like A Box of Chocolates ~ March 18, 2005
Having always loved the written word, it was Andre Norton that motivated me to become a writer. Her well-developed stories, multi-faceted characters, the emotional connection she created to her characters and the depth of the stories. Eloquence in a I'd rarely seen in the writing of others.
Though I truly enjoyed Beast Master, as the book, and it was the movie that motivated to my become a producer, due to how badly it was butchered in it's adaptation from the novel, what set me on that path the path to become a writer was Quest Crosstime.
I've never regretted that choice.
Scott C. Brown
Pushing The Pen
I discovered Andre Norton books by accident one afternoon at my local library when I was just a teenager. I was (and am) very picky about what I read, and many of the so-called "women's books" were, well, formulaic and often more porn than plot. And then I discovered Andre Norton's Operation Time Search and I was hooked, not only on Ms. Norton's books but on science fiction and fantasy as well. Thousands of books later, I'm still a big fan and more than a little grateful not only for that small paperback book, but for all the female authors her anthologies introduced me to.
I can't believe she's been gone for ten years, but thanks to her books, she will never truly die.
I remember the first Andre Norton book I ever read,"The Sioux Spaceman". That started my 50 year old fascination with her works. My life would have been much less without her. ~ AJB
Every writer of science fiction today began as a reader of it, each of us inspired to write – driven to write – because of the seeds planted in us by those who came before. Andre Norton was one of those great nurturers, and the two of us are surely her children, as are hundreds of our fellow writers who were first introduced to far-off worlds and times and beings in the pages of her books.
During the past few years, we've had the distinct privilege to work at adapting some of Andre Norton's most beloved creations as movie and television projects. Through that process we've had the immensely satisfying pleasure of rereading and rediscovering so many of her great tales of sweeping scope and boundless imagination. We've also had the fun of discovering just how deep Andre Norton's influence runs through today's genre media, touching everything from the Stargate franchise to Joss Whedon's Firefly and James Cameron's Avatar. Which means the creators of tomorrow's science fiction, inspired by today's greats, will undoubtedly be Andre Norton's grandchildren!
We’re proud to be part of her family, and eagerly look forward to all the members to come who will continue Andre Norton’s legacy of timeless inspiration and entertainment.
– Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens ~ a New York Times-bestselling husband-and-wife writing/producing team
I read her books when I was a child.
After I was electrocuted in 1981 with 7200 volts I had 85% amnesia. One of the things I remembered was Andre Norton. So, I started reading her stories again.
While I was recuperating, reading her stories helped me to start healing from the trauma of my accident.
I wrote to her in the 80s and shared this with her. I never knew if she got my letter. I imagine she got a lot of letters from fans.
Jesse Turtleman Hamilton
Words cannot express the joy Andre Norton has brought into my life since I first discovered at age 10. Just looking at the covers of her books brings back emotions and memories of all the hours I spent reading her tales of heros and heroines who were always true to themselves and kind to other living creatures. She gave me comfort when I was lonely, strength when I was afraid, and courage to go against the prevailing norms to live the life I wanted. Hers was the first author's name I ever learned to follow and trusted to always deliver quality, and she remains the best in my mind to this day.
Beatriz F. Fernandez ~ a Reference Librarian at Florida International University in Miami
When I was 14, I had my own special noon study hall so I could cram for a project that excited my teachers, but that I knew would isolate me further from the other students. Lunch was for reading, and I had picked up Andre Norton's STAR RANGERS because it looked interesting.
Interesting! As Kartr of burnt-off Ylene circled an immense table reading off the names of stars and planets, I started to shiver, and my eyes blurred, until he announced "Terra of Sol," and I realized that I had found a home, at least, for my imagination.
Further books showed me that most of Andre's chararacters were talented, isolated, in search of friends and a place called home and brave enough to fight for it. They made good friends to follow me to college, grad school, teaching and corporate life: kids -- scared, bullied, but able to reach out to people and visit places that the people who hurt them could never dream of.
Ten years later, I had "met" Andre Norton by letter. Somewhat more than a decade later, I was writing with her -- two books from far away: IMPERIAL LADY and EMPIRE OF THE EAGLE, set out in the ancient Silk Roads. We traded presents for our cats.
But what happens when someone whose home as been solely in her mind grows older? She no longer has the energy to give and give, and needs help herself?
When I learned that Andre had not just found a safe place to stay, but a home in which she was MeeMaw, loved and cared for by all, I had the same feeling I'd experienced when Kartr found out he'd found the homeworld. Andre had herself a home, and the home had Andre. I have rarely felt that thankful.
Susan Shwartz wrote two books with Andre Norton and authored, co-authored and edited about 28 others. Nominated twice for the Hugo and five times for the Nebula, she has been a science fiction fan since she was 10.
I think I bought and read my first Andre Norton book in 1974. It was WARLOCK OF THE WITCH WORLD and I was instantly hooked. I could not get enough of the Witch World after that, and I also ventured into many other Norton stories as well. It was many years before I learned that "he" was a "she" writing on under a pseudonym. It didn't matter.
As my exposure to other science fiction and fantasy authors expanded I judged them all by Andre's books, which were often shorter but in many ways more interesting. When I was fifteen a friend suggested that if I liked Andre Norton I might also like Tolkien. What these two authors achieved with their fiction was to elevate the reader's imagination into a believable world. I found many good fantasy authors but I seldom found an author whose words could make me see what the characters saw, feel what they were feeling, and still leave me wanting more.
I cannot estimate the many hours I spent wandering through Andre's imagination. I read some of her books so many times I had to replace them more than once. Each time I visited an Andre Norton world I discovered new details, saw characters in new ways, and realized that she wasn't just clever with her words, she was powerful. When I set out to document as many details of the Witch World as I could I found myself creating an encyclopedic project with no end in sight. There are not many authors who can pack so many interesting names and anecdotes in concise fiction and keep it readable. Andre was one of the few.
In 1992 I attended the World Fantasy Convention, and Andre was the guest of honor. There were so many other great authors in attendance and I had a lot of fun meeting them. We gave Patricia McKillip a ride on a dark road. I spent several hours chatting with Jack L. Chalker at a tiny table. Tom Doherty explained some of the ins and outs of the publishing industry to me. But my most cherished memory is of seeing Andre in the dealers' room, standing by herself, browsing through books.
How could I not say something to her? I plucked up my courage, walked up to her, and said with all the love in my heart for the great stories she had written for me, "You have no idea of who I am but I want you to know that I grew up reading your books and I just want to say 'thank you.' I suppose you have heard that a thousand times but I needed to say it."
Later at the convention Irene Harrison interviewed Andre and asked her what she hoped to achieve with all her wonderful books. "I just want to be remembered," Andre said in that humble way she had.
"We will never forget Andre Norton!" I yelled out from the back of the room and I stood up with everyone else to give her a standing ovation. I was privileged to see and speak with Andre again on several occasions after that convention, but my strongest memory is of her standing in that dealers room. That was the day I learned that Andre was not just the great author I always admired. That was the day that I learned she was a fan just like me. She told such great stories because she loved them. And we loved her.
We had to turn the last page on Andre Norton ten years ago but that was the day we started reading the story all over again. I hope we meet again some day, Andre. Until then, may all your new adventures be wonderful.
I first stumbled on Andre’s work through some battered paperbacks in our middle school library, Octagon Magic and Star Man’s Son. I already loved SF and Fantasy, and when I encountered Andre’s writing I was immediately hooked. Having exhausted the entirety of the books possessed by my school, I headed out to the public library in search of more. I have a feeling she would have approved of that process, though I never got around to telling her, myself.
It was at the public library that I discovered something else that didn’t quite change my life, but encouraged me to pursue the thing I liked best. Because when I picked up the copy of Witch World and opened the cover I saw the words Norton, Andre (Alice Mary) and I realized my favorite new-to-me author was doing what I wanted to do. What every SF book cover told me I couldn’t. All the SF book covers with men’s names on them – even Andre’s.
I finished my first novel-length work of fiction the year I turned fifteen. I got my first (of so many) professional rejection slips from a publisher the day before my sixteenth birthday. And I haven’t looked back since even though I still don’t have a novel-length work published. I am pretty certain I will someday.
Because Andre told me I would. Both the moment I found her real name on the inside of that book cover and when I finally got up the guts to send her a couple of Witch World stories I’d written back in the 1990s. I had seen the Friends of the Witch World books. I’d read some. And I wrote two stories and sat on them for, too long, it turns out. Because by the time I sent them to Andre, the publisher had given up on the project.
Andre told me she would have published both of them. She also later told me I was a great writer and would be famous someday. Still hasn’t happened, but the fact is, I make my living writing. I do it every day. You see my work in national publications probably on a weekly basis. Because I write advertising as my day job. It’s one of the reasons I don’t have much fiction published. I’m kind of burned after writing for 8 hours and churning out the word count equivalent of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy plus the Hobbit and Silmarillion every year in ads (I did the word count and wanted to translate it into something understandable.).
We corresponded for a while after that. I still have some Christmas cards from her with cute cats on them.
Because of Andre’s encouragement, I did get a short story published back in 1996. Just after that my big revisionist fantasy novel got rejected for being “too long for a first time novelist”. And I was requested to write something “more commercial.” We’ll see. Not sure if my ideas will ever be more commercial.
When Andre moved up to Tennessee writing got less frequent. I wasn’t making progress and got embarrassed, I guess. I’m sorry I stopped writing to her, but I felt guilty for not having anything to show for all her encouragement. I just kept cranking out the ad copy.
Today, I still get out Andre’s letters from time to time. And I think about what she said to me.
And then I write.
S.A. Magnuson, Chicago, IL
You can see both one of Andre’s letters and the story I sold to Plot Magazine here at my web portfolio under the fiction tab.
Like so many of the writers privileged over the years to collaborate with André Norton, I first came to know her through her wonderful books. Many were the hours of enjoyment she provided! I first met her in an autograph session at a quaint little used book store near her home in Winter Park, Florida. Over the years that followed we became friends which enabled me to experience the enchantment of spending hours listening to her “talk shop.” She was the most well-read person I have ever known and could converse exhaustively on a myriad of topics. To hear her re-tell the stories she loved was always a delight.
From André I learned the value of reading copiously to lay the foundation of good fantasy writing. During her years in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, I was able to work with her on several of her final works, typing manuscripts and doing minor edits. She paid me two compliments during that period that I will never forget. The first was her statement that she often liked the words of my edits better than hers. The second came when she handed me several pages of a story she had begun and asked me to collaborate with her on it! She had named it Rusted Armor, intending it to be a short story. But after getting a few pages written she realized it needed to become a novel. Thus began a wonderful year for me. Over the coming months I would write a portion, usually a chapter, and send it to her for feedback. Since I still lived in Florida at the time, my visits were not frequent but we were able to talk by phone and discuss the progress of the story. Following the initial idea she allowed me to plot the entire work, offering occasional ideas to enhance it.
Much developed in André’s life during the year we worked together, not all of it good. There was an undercurrent that consequently caused the completed manuscript to not be published, either before or after her death. The details of the difficulties are no longer important. What matters to me is the joy I experienced in working with my hero, assisting her and learning from her. She imparted so much to me through her friendship and mentorship and I will always cherish and revere her memory. Thank you, André, for immeasurably enriching my life!
Caroline Fike ~ Friend and fellow Author
When I am asked about my favorite Sci-Fi authors Norton's name is always
the first off my lips. I was captivated at an early age with her
stories, characters and worlds. Her tales resonate within me. My
personal favorites include Star Man's Son, Star Guard and the Zero Stone.
Thank you for offering this commemoration.
Dear Andre Norton,
Dear Alice Mary Norton,
For more than 10 years now I feel sorry that I haven’t written this letter when I first realized how you have helped me. I was thinking that I am too shy to do that, but now I feel that I was too stupid.
I want to say thank you. Thank you for saving my life. When a first loss came into my life, I had nothing and no one to hold on to. For over 6 months I was walking around, talking to people, studying and even smiling to my parents, but I was not living. I was a total fake. It was impossible for me to stay in the reality and it was impossible for me to stay in my inner world, because it was shattered to pieces. And you, you gave me your world to stay as long as I needed to gather my spirits and to collect the pieces of myself into someone.
I have been spending all my scholarship money on your books. And I have been jumping from one to another, running away from myself, until I was able to face me again. Your Witch World became my world; your heroes became my friends and even my alter-egos. Saimon Tregarth, Jaelithe, Kemoc, Kyllan and Kaththea – the names I will never forget. And you are my close friend, though I have never written you before.
The day you died I was in shock; I was telling myself that I still have time to thank you one day. But I lost not only a friend; I’ve lost an opportunity to tell you how valuable your work was and how important you were to me.
Dear Andre, you words filled me with life, when nothing else could. Thank you.
One of the first books I read, in the children’s area of the Angeles Mesa branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, was Andre Norton’s Rogue Reynard; her 1947 retelling of the Medieval beast fable. I must have been seven years old when I read it. It was a key volume in my introduction to reading. Over the next few years I made a point of checking out the new Norton books as soon as the library got them: Scarface, a pirate adventure, 1948. Sword in Sheath, a post-World War II adventure in the Indonesian jungles, 1949. Huon of the Horn, a Carlovingian fantasy-adventure, 1951. Star Man’s Son, 2250 A.D., science fiction, 1952.
By then I was entering my teens and going outside the public library to buy my own books (mostly paperbacks). I loved s-f, especially the Ace Double Books, and Andre Norton wrote some of my favorites, although under the name of Andrew North at first: Sargasso of Space, Plague Ship, Voodoo Planet. I developed wider reading tastes during my teens, and even began to criticize Norton for relying too much on the same stereotyped plot; but I always read each new book of hers. When I entered Library School at UCLA, and had to choose a Masters’ thesis, I took the opportunity to write about the works of Andre Norton – it gave me the opportunity to get her rare, earliest books that the LAPL hadn’t had, from East Coast libraries through interlibrary loan. And on, and on. Hooray for Andre Norton!
Frederick Patten ~ fellow writer
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