Don’t Bother Me, I’m Reading


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

About mrpeenee

A former bon vivant and terror of a number of New Orleans bars in the mad, gay 1980s, I'm now quietly retired and widowed in San Francisco. I have a crooked nose due to an unfortunate Frisbee accident.

9 responses »

  1. I remember reading some of those books when I was young. Hell if I remember anything about them, though. Must have liked 'em.

    This would be before I started taking drugs.


  2. Miss J is still ruminating on the many pseudonyms for “queer”…

    She's gonna offer a made-up one, “michero”, since its the word verification word:

    “Look upon the half-naked micheros dancing together at their michero bar with the other half-naked micheros. Do you offer to bring them thereafter and let me talk unto them to know the secrets of their michero matings? Hark- do bring a video recorder, too.”


  3. I forgot what I was going to say. Miss J cracks me up. Might I suggest she put aside her novel and write gay porn instead for a quick buck? Under a suitable tacky pseudonym of course.


  4. I enjoyed the science fiction/fantasy of Mary Alice “Andre” Norton very much back in the 1960's. I think she wrote the original “Beastmaster” novel, one about a night world, and an Earth passenger on unmanned alien craft that shuttled him on an old route through the galaxy. That's all I remember.


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