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Darkover, Planet Of Wonder, World Of Mystery, Has Been A Favorite Of Science Fiction Readers For Many Years For It Is A Truly Alien Sphere A World Of Strange Intelligences, Of Brooding Skies Beneath A Ruddy Sun, And Of Powers Unknown To Earth In This Novel, Marion Zimmer Bradley Tells Of The Original Coming Of The Earthmen, Of The Days When Darkover Knew Not Humanity This Is The Full Bodied Novel Of What Happened When A Colonial Starship Crashlanded On That Uncharted Planet To Encounter For The First Time In Human Existence The Impact Of The Ghost Wind, The Psychic Currents That Were Native Only To That World, And The Price That Every Earthling Must Pay Before Darkover Could Claim Him For Itself


10 thoughts on “Darkover Landfall

  1. says:

    Night settled over the world of the four moons the dark sun sank in a strange clear twilight and the rare stars appeared One after another, the moons climbed the sky the great violet gleaming moon, the paler green and blue gemlike discs, the small one like a white pearl In the clearing where the great starship, alien to this world, lay huge and strange and menacing, the men from Earth breathed the strange wind and the strange pollen borne on its breath, and curious impulses straggled and erupted in their forebrains.A starship headed for the Coronis colony crash lands on a mysterious planet in unknown space Deprived of all transportation and communication, the ship s crewmates and colonists begin exploring the surrounding lands, and through a series of discoveries and harrowing events, they suddenly find themselves in grave peril Darkover Landfall was pretty amazing It s definitely your classic Robinsonesque stranded in a strange place story, but it s wonderfully told The descriptions of the alien setting, the tensions between the crew members and the inclusion of several wonderfully intriguing twists made this one of the best novels I ve read this year.I have no idea if this was the right place to start, but MZB herself repeatedly stated that you could read the books in whichever order you wanted, so I m going to trust her on that It definitely required no prior knowledge of anything, so so far, so good.The writing is as good as it gets It s not particularly eloquent, but it s good The characters are only mildly interesting, but it s hard to expect than that from a book that s only supposed to introduce the world and the story The only real negative part is that you learn very little about said world, but then again the book is not even two hundred pages long.And yet there is one thing that will be a huge detriment to many people considering this book Why do so many incredibly skilled artists have to be despicable people If you re a person who does not read books written by people whose opinions and or actions are worthy of the utmost contempt, don t even touch this.Marion Zimmer Bradley is one of my favourite authors Ever The Avalon books were some of my first adventures into the field of SF F, alongside other favourites like LotR and Dune, so she was always a writer I respected Unfortunately, even your favourite author can be among your least favourite people MZB and I have never shared any opinions that I know of Much of her political and social thinking is outrageous from my point of view But I could always live with that I read books written by people I disagree with on important issues, just like I have friends I disagree with on important issues But I cannot respect someone who did what MZB allegedly did For those of you not aware of the case, I won t elaborate here, but simply googling her name should tell you everything.I have never had any problems separating the work of an author from the opinions and actions of that author, but I know many people do, so I thought it best to mention it.Conclusively, diverting the focus back from the author to the book, this is the best sci fi novel I ve read in a long, long time.


  2. says:

    It is very difficult to read this in 2011 One of the characters assures himself he s no male chauvinist while thumping around, whinging about how he has to include female scientists on his survey team and telling them to zip up their parkas because their t shirts are indecently clingy I get that this was published in 1972, when MZB had no idea what gender equality would look like in a ideal form, but this ain t it A hysterical woman has already been slapped into sense, by the way And I m only on page 43 aaaand now I ve finished Oy This was painful I d hoped that by going back to the spaceship part of the Darkover saga, I d get something with men and women on equal footing you know, sort of like the same era in Pern Hell no The first third of the book is relentlessly sexist, the second is some sort of psychadelic drug trip involving orgies, and then the last third Babies It s allll about babies Specifically, about how every woman in the colony will have to have many children, and how they ll not be able to do any real work while breeding, and they ll enjoy it.I do not react well to any exchange where a man is laying down the law in a look, missy sort of way And that happens constantly in this wretched book, even on topics where the male character has no authority to speak of Do I remotely think that women who signed up for working on a colony ship would be oblivious to the implications if they were to be stuck on a colony No, I do not It s just so bizarre, this endless litany of women behaving like spoilt children by following careers at least, this is how it s written and then refusing to recognize the biological imperative of childbirth and having to be set straight by men What the hell There s an actual argument put forth about how modernization and career mindedness has unnaturally bred maternal instinct out of women Was this a leading gender studies theory in the 60s 70s Gender idiocy aside, this was just a boring book MZB isn t particularly good at intrigue or politics or anything, really Having inexplicably read through almost the entire pile of books my friend loaned me reading anything at hand is a terrible compulsion , I m ready to say MZB s a mediocre sci fi writer They re all surface, no depth to them, she s incredibly inconsistent not just between books but within a single manuscript, her characters are boring, and if you re going to use telepathy in a book, then probably best to not also put the character s non audible thoughts in italics as well In almost every book, I had the feeling that something interesting might be happening in Darkover just somewhere other than where MZB was writing.Having wasted a massive amount of time on Darkover, all I can say is get out now, save yourself It s rubbish.


  3. says:

    Two thirds into this book and I m setting it down for good While it begins an interesting enough crash landing and survival story, there is too much relentlessly sexist material here for me to sit by and endure Perhaps I was expecting something different from a woman author who has at times flirted with feminism, but this is ridiculous A woman is denied an abortion because apparently the colonists will need all the babies they can get This is frustrating enough But then a man explains to this woman that her unwillingness to bear a child is a mental illness He explains, this is biological Even back in the 20th century, they did experiments on rats and ghetto populations and things, and found that one of the first results of crucial social overcrowding was the failure of maternal behavior It s a pathology Man is a rationalizing animal, so sociologists called it Women s Liberation and things like that, but what it amounted to was a pathological reaction to overpopulation and overcrowding Women who couldn t be allowed to have children, had to be given some other work, for the sake of their mental health But it wears off most of them, once they re out of the crowding of Earth, recover their mental and emotional health, and the average Colony family is four children which is about right, psychologically speaking By the time the baby comes, you ll probably have normal hormones too, and make a good mother If not, well, it will at least have your genes, and we ll give it to some sterile woman to bring up for you Trust me. If you think you can stand this sort of tripe, be my guest As for me, this one goes in the dustbin.


  4. says:

    I know I have a lot of reviews that have become backed up but I must admit I have been righting a few outstanding wrongs like the story of Darkover.I first came across the series in the early days of my getting in to reading what I wanted to read as compared to what school told me to read It was during the early days of book hunting where I would rummage through any old box of books I would stumble across at the charity stores or car boot sales sorry English thing Now it did mean my literary vocabulary was rather limited but it did bring some real gems to light even if I didn t realise it at the time.Marion Zimmer Bradley or as the book covers would put it MZB and her Darkover series was one such find Now at the time I sort of recognised the name as being linked to an epic world building saga which it is but so much but I didn t really know much else, so for a few pounds one of the joys of such hunting was the price you paid I walked away with a lot of books And so I started to explore the world of Darkover, its inhabitants and their strange relationships Now some years later I learn that to the true aficionado this is science fantasy than science fiction, dont worry I am not going to poke that one but it does explain something.Anyway I digress as I usually do I finally found the first book in the series something that I think I should have looked for long ago as even thought this is a short book it does explain what is going on and how the foundations were set for what would then develop in to the series and the books I read which I enjoyed reading so many years ago So if you want to read the story that set up the world in a modern classic this is a fascinating read but one thing I do realise now, one that does not affect the other books, its is curiosity rather than required reading.


  5. says:

    I m a fan of Marion Zimmer Bradley, but my affection for her rests not on the Avalon books, which I didn t care for, but her Darkover series Darkover is a lost colony of Earth that falls back into a medieval society Ruled by a psychically gifted aristocracy, after centuries it s rediscovered by a star spanning high tech human federation, giving the series a feel of both science fiction and fantasy The Darkover series as a whole features strong female characters, but it has enough swashbuckling adventure to draw the male of the species, and indeed this series was recommended to me by a guy when we were in high school Although some books are loosely connected, having characters in common, they were written to be read independently and were written out of sequence This makes it difficult without a guide to know what story to start with Darkover Landfall comes first chronologically in terms of the timeline of the events of the series, but it isn t where I d recommend you start First, it comes relatively early in MZB s career, when she was just coming into her own as a writer, and there are much stronger books in the series Second, I think you get pleasure out of this origins book if you first enjoy other books in the series, so as to get the most enjoyment out of seeing how it all started I d suggest the 1979 version of The Bloody Sun or The Spell Sword and its sequel The Forbidden Tower or The Shattered Chain my own introduction or Heritage of Hastur as better starting places and books that should be read first before tackling this one.


  6. says:

    This is the first Darkover books in terms of internal chronology, showing the emergency landing of a Terran colony ship on the remote planet, and the subsequent struggle to create and maintain a viable society on an alien world without high technology It doesn t feel anything like the main books of the series, which are high science fantasy with psychic powers, but I enjoy it anyway It works perfectly for me as an unabashed fantasy about exploration and colonisation MZB tries to depict the danger of an alien landscape, where apparently harmless flora fauna can kill, and she also tries to show how much intense manual labour is going to be necessary for even a bare chance of survival, but that s not the part of the book that s emotionally real to me What comes through instead is a romanticised joy of exploration, in which each hill climbed reveals a beautiful valley filled with animals which can both be appreciated aesthetically exploited for human gain and without any of the real world horrors of cultural environmental destruction that accompanied historical exploration in the real world Hand in hand with this is a fantasy of escape escape from computers, escape from technology, escape from the complexity of modern society The people who are shown as the happiest are a group of Celtic back to nature colonists, who eagerly embrace lives as farmers and potters, and their community is depicted in heavily romantic terms As to the sexism I can never decide if it s a reflection of MZB s own beliefs about women at the time of writing It shows up both within male POV characters who insist on their own lack of male chauvanism while believing that women should only perform tasks if there s no man who can do it better, and in the narrative assertion that women who don t want to have children have been brainwashed by society, and that women s liberation is actually just a safety valve created by population pressure The character sexism is well within the realm of satire, but the narrative itself seems to support the idea that all that inconvenient female talk about equal rights will vanish if the women can just have enough babies Is this dystopian horror hidden behind the happy glow of Darkover science fantasy Or is this just MZB s best guesses at evolutionary biology from the very early 70s Either way, it s creepy as heck, and turns the book from the perfect comfort read into something disturbing, which is perhaps all for the best.


  7. says:

    I m well aware of the scandal that s emerged since Marion Zimmer Bradley s death but I loved this series when I was a kid, and so when I stumbled on an old paperback, I thought I d revisit it.maybe the rest of the series was better This book exists solely to explain how the society the series focuses on came about Since I only dimly remember a lot of the details, I probably missed some subtle cues But there s basically no plot It starts post crash Then some stuff happens But there s no real driving conflict, and the main characters barely have arcs There s no book here.But that s not the part that made me want to throw this across the room I had vaguely remembered MZB as being a feminist writer This was earlier in her career, I suppose, butoh my god I feel like most of her male contemporaries did not go as far out of their way to make sure we all knew that women are fragile, illogical, emotionally driven morons Seriously, barely two or three pages can pass without her making some kind of comment denigrating women At first, I thought that the viewpoint character was going to get his comeuppance and learn an important lessons But no, apparently he s right Women really are fragile creatures who need to be protected and who annoyingly keep thinking they have a right to make their own wrong decisions.I think the crowning moment is when the astrophysicist, who got pregnant while under the influence of hallucinatory sex pollen, wants to get an abortion and is refused on the grounds of needing the genetic diversity Now, the conflict makes sense But the completely unsympathetic doctor mansplains to her that she s being selfish and hysterical, including the jaw dropping passage, the first results of curcial social overcrowding was the failure of maternal behavior It s a pathology Man is a rationalizing animal, so sociologists called it Women s Liberation and things like that, but what it amounted to was a pathological reaction to overpopulation and overcrowding Women who couldn t be allowed to have children had to be given some other work, for the sake of their mental health But it wears off I wish I could say this passage was ironic, or meant to indicate that the speaker is an asshole But the rest of the book supports him as being right.I don t even know what to do with that.So yeah, I think I can safely write off revisiting any of these.


  8. says:

    AHAHAHA 1970s My favourite part the bit where the male lead goes I m not a chauvinist, but HERE ARE SOME TOTALLY SEXIST OPINIONS EVEN FOR THE 70s I paraphrase I wish there was detail about everyday survival stuff It feels like a sketch to explain some backstory than a novel.


  9. says:

    Not a review of any particular edition Coming to this after Thendara House was a bit of a letdown for me I wanted to like the characters a lot than I did, and I wanted to embrace their philosophies than I could I was able to sympathize with exactly two Judy Lovat and Camilla Del Rey Well, three, but the third is a spoiler view spoiler If only this had been written after 1972.Falling in the early days of Bradley s SCA involvement, it seems natural to me that she should create a fantasy world in which her Earth colonists are forced back to the Middle Ages If her imagination had only extended to a world in which the colonists weren t trapped pre women s lib, I might even have believed they came from a spacefaring society A world that had passed a Terran Bill of Rights supporting gender equality could not have come about with so many reactionaries scattered in the population Because what else am I going to call people who patronize women endlessly, in that world Their attitudes don t square with their legislation at all Shall I presume that the colonist types are also the ones who want to roll back women s lib Bradley can paint a broader picture of an egalitarian society, but she can t, when it comes down to it, make her men believably part of that society at this point in her career Where in other novels I am able to accept that some people must die in order to keep the populace strong, in this one the idea leaves me sick to my stomach Once the Darkovans have forgotten their Terran heritage, I can also see them forgetting why eugenics got such a bad rap For the colonists, this exaggerated natural selection the pointed non use of the little technology the group had should have been a reminder of certain human rights violations You know, like the gassing of defectives under Hitler Or the forced sterilization of women of color Even if in later novels she revises her thinking, in this one it cannot be denied that the ideal colonists are willing, at the end of the book, to let a woman bleed to death it s implied that she is doing so in an obstetrical context, because the woman, Laura, is otherwise ambulatory and able to communicate No injury is mentioned So either that s a placenta previa they couldn t manage, or it s a plain old miscarriage But we don t find out Ewen and Heather don t even examine her We re meant to trust, what, that the medical staff s rudimentary laran now dictates what s best It s the coldest, creepiest passage I ve read in a long time.The justification for the forced birthing is similarly nauseating Women on Earth have been brainwashed out of having kids what You mean there was a childfree coup That ll be the day Even now a woman has to fight for the right to take herself out of the gene pool Even now that the planet is supporting six billion plus lives, we still recognize that a one child policy restricts human rights, and so it remains unique to the Chinese Camilla isn t given any kind of choice No one puts it to her that she might strike out on her own, forfeiting the protections of the new colony, rather than participate in this breeding program None of the colonists get that choice A particular social contract is forced upon them, out of which they cannot opt They are not allowed to choose their way forward By the epilogue, I d say she s been brainwashed in reverse she s had seven kids survive infancy, implying there were others who did not, and in order to broaden the gene pool, she s had them by multiple fathers As for Judy Lovat, she s crazy until men decide she s not Fabulous She knows who fathered her child, and she has to persuade her friends that she s sure Apparently you can only be sure of who you had sex with if the other participants were human or something MacAran and Camilla can vouch for each other just fine, and Heather, MacLeod, and Ewen ditto, but Judy, who went off on her own after a man whose heart would ve given out well before cough completion who can prove she actually had sex, given she s knocked up nah, she s nuts I d have run away to live with the chieri at that point I don t like these colonists much They make what was otherwise a great story painful Their viewpoints are conservative even for 1972 I can see how a conservative society would ve grown out of them, but as protagonists, they kinda suck I wonder what Bradley thought of them as she filled in the timeline Did she think of them as I think of the Puritans There s a tangent I meant to explore This story, whether or not that was the intent, is pretty much the founding of Plimoth rehashed Two groups with conflicting purposes and ideas, a ship getting so lost the other colonies aren t reachable, a harsher winter than anyone s known before, the problem of the natives shit, son, you might as well call that crashed starship Mayflower and be done In that context, the colonists are almost palatable Until you remember what happened next in history Let s just say I don t give much for the chieri s chances hide spoiler


  10. says:

    There has been some debate about how good of writer MZB was If I am being totally honest, I would have to say that she is not the best writer in the world, and considering the massive amount of work she put out, some of it is hack work.The Darkover novels always stand out, however Part of this for me is that there is almost consistent theme of the good of the society versus the rights of the inidivual in the books, even in the earlier ones That theme is one full view here Landfall tells the story of the colonization of Darkover It is nice to see the real gods and goddesses that later Darkoveran characters talk about One of the undercurrents in the novel is the relationships between men and women It seems that the men assume control too quickly, that women are forced into subservient roles Is it sexism, Bradley seems to be asking, or something If given the chance, will equality be thrown aside The most controvesial aspect is the refusal of an abortion to a main character, a non colony woman who is trapped on the planet While I wanted to smack the cold hearted male doctor, one has to admit the question in a colonizing sitution should abortion be allowed Bradley really challenges the reader here, and that is a good thing.