Renunciates of Darkover

Renunciates of Darkover - Marion Zimmer Bradley, Margaret L. Carter, Joan Marie Verba, Diana L. Paxson, Mercedes Lackey, Vera Nazarian, Elisabeth Waters, Chel Avery, Annette Rodriguez, Deborah Wheeler, Lynne Armstrong-Jones, Judith Kobylecky, Patricia Duffy Novak, Mary Fenoglio, Patricia B. Cir Marion Zimmer Bradley is famous for her Avalon books, but what I'm a fan of are her Darkover stories, set in an original world and a blend of science fiction and fantasy. This is one of a series of anthologies that basically are collection of "fan fiction" by other authors based on MZB's Darkover. I was impressed on reread of the first such book, The Keeper's Price. Enough I ranked it just below five stars, and was tempted to give it full marks. Not that I would argue it's deathless literature, but as a Darkover fan I loved it, and was surprised how memorable the various stories were even decades after I first read it--there were some I remembered just from the title, and no story I didn't completely enjoy. The sixth anthology, The Other Side of the Mirror, was also a standout, unusual in being a collection of novellas, not short stories, including one almost a novel by Marion Zimmer Bradley. The other anthologies though, of which this is marked the ninth on LibraryThing (and eighth on Goodreads). Well, I can't say any one story is a standout. And as with the other anthology devoted to the Renunciates, Free Amazons of Darkover, some of the sexual politics seem a bit fusty. At the time I read the Darkover books as a teen, the inclusion of lesbian characters was near ground-breaking, while now I read this and feel the book suffers from everyone-is-gay syndrome I see so much in amateur fan fiction. But yes, this was one of the more enjoyable anthologies in this anthology series. It was as interesting to see a story from MZB's protege Mercedes Lackey as her soon-to-be-nemesis Jean Lamb. I particularly liked Chel Avery's "Strife," MZB's own "Amazon Excerpt" featuring Camilla and Rafaela, Diana Paxson's "A Butterfly Season" with its unusual aliens and the fairy-tale-like "Summer Fair" by Emily Alward. I don't know that this would be of much interest to those who don't already know and love Darkover--this certainly isn't a good introduction. But for a fan it should provide hours of pleasure.