This week, I’ve been reveling in a return to my teen years, but without the angst and acne. One of my favorite authors from that time, Andre Norton, has resurfaced in my reading. She (Andre was a nom de plume employed to circumvent the sexism in publishing in the early 60’s) cranked out science fiction by the yard and I ate it up.
Her characters had the depth and subtlety of Rocky and Bullwinkle, but without the humor, her story endings always seem to come less as a resolution and more to comply with some page limit her editors had imposed and every single one of her plots were identical. A young, sort of asexual loner is ostracized for a crime he did not commit and must make his way in an alien society filled with mysterious relics of a vanished society. Just the thing for a sensitive, budding homo who had no access to porn (me.)
Her writing style is the most stilted, archaic prose this side of Tolkien. I’m constantly surprised no one busts out with a “Forsooth…” occasionally. I quote from a selection at random:
“I shivered as along my spine sped a cold chill….”
No wonder I write like I do.
Oddly enough, all these gems were not some Arthurian fantasy knock offs, but space cowboy based. The loner outcast was an astronaut kicked out of his rocket ship (which had “finned down” at the space port,) armed with a ray gun, and tarted out in the latest in 1960s spacesuits.
Since Mlle. Norton (whose bio strongly hints at a sister-of-sappho background) wrote so very many books, you can usually count on finding some at just about any thrift store. My current is the classic “Moon of Three Rings.” And naturally, any story that includes the line “…do you offer to bring them thereafter and let me talk unto them.” would have this as the cover:
No wonder I’m queer