Which Authors Follow In Norton's Footsteps?
#1
Writing is not done in a vacuum.

Today's novels are all parts of continuous traditions of storytelling dating back to campfires, caves and shamans with political agendas of their own.

I don't know which writers Andre Norton was influenced by when she was young. But I know she's influenced many who have grown up to become great writers. You see her name in dedications all the time.

For example, Susan Krinard's KINSMAN'S OATH is dedicated to Andre Norton among others. (see my post of May 31st in the "Currently Reading" thread -- (page 5).

KINSMAN'S OATH could almost be a sequel to STAR RANGERS but has many other elements woven tightly through it.

See the thread "Is This An Andre Norton Story?".

When I read the description of the half-forgotten story he was seeking, I thought instantly of the most influential book in my life from 7th to 10th grade -- STAR RANGERS. I read it 16 times before I lost count.

I taught myself to write narrative by copy-typing several Norton books, STAR RANGERS among them. I still recommend that learning technique -- copy-typing the text that is styled the way you want to learn to write. It teaches phrasing and pacing like no other exercise.

STAR RANGERS affected me so strongly that once, when visiting Andre Norton's house, after she accepted a Witch World story from me, I happened to ask if she was ever going to write the sequel to STAR RANGERS and she said no.

Upon leaving, I just couldn't get that "no" out of my mind. I turned as I was getting into the car and called across the lawn, "Well, if you won't write the sequel, I will!" And she laughed and said, "Go ahead!"

On the plane on the way home, I outlined a trilogy -- because I didn't dare write in HER universe, so I had to create a new one. The trilogy became DUSHAU, FARFETCH and OUTREACH -- a Warner Questar paperback original trilogy. DUSHAU won me the first Romantic Times Award for Best Science Fiction Writer, 1985. The second book is my version of STAR RANGERS and the third is the promised sequel.

So Andre Norton is one of those all-time-great writers who have left footprints in the sand, footsteps that have been followed-in.

Which writers do you think best carry on Norton's tradition? Which writers have they influenced? Where do you go to get a "Norton" fix when you've read everything she has written?
Jacqueline Lichtenberg
Those of My Blood
Dreamspy
Sime~Gen: The Unity Trilogy etc.
Molt Brother
City of a Million Legends
Star Trek Lives!
Articles in Seven Seasons of Buffy and Five Seasons of Angel
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#2
Thank you for that message.

Andre Norton has many times, over the years, told someone to "go ahead" and write what comes next. It is actually one of her strengths. I'm very glad that it helped you. Now, of course, I have to go and start reading your contributions. [Tricky, tricky.]

Other than The Lady's direct heirs (those that have stories in her anthologies), the ones that most follow in her footsteps have been writers who let the technology, and magic feel like everyday occurances.

In Andre Norton's books, people don't have to tell you what device they are using to contact other people. Similarly, when I tell you that I'm going to use my Cell phone to contact you from my car, I don't have to describe it as my "hand held, remote, telephone that uses magic rays".

To me, some of the Magic of Andre Norton Fantasy is in the books by Tamara Pierce.
The Science Fiction, that I do read, seems to be best shown in some of Elizabeth Moon's writing.

And now, I'll have to find some of Jacqueline's books.
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#3
Although some of the newer Witch World authors have come close to sharing Andre's style, I find myself going back to her own books for a solid Norton fix. I think the writers who do their own thing come closest to reviving that sense of wonder for me. Andre's books are characterized mostly by originality. That is what I like the most about both science fiction and fantasy.

And I agree with Irene. Including detailed explanations of how things work dilutes the depth of a story. I so seldom come across a story where this works for me.
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#4
Quote:Originally posted by Irene
Thank you for that message.

Now, of course, I have to go and start reading your contributions. [Tricky, tricky.] ...
And now, I'll have to find some of Jacqueline's books.


I didn't mean to be tricky -- it only seems a waste of the server to repeat in one place what's been said in another. I don't know how to make a hyperlink to another post here, so you'll have to click around.

And you don't have to pay money to check out the writing of many SFWA members. Unfortunately I just checked and Moon and Pierce don't have their stuff listed here:

http://www.sfwa.org/fiction/

That's the page that lists author-sanctioned postings of samples of the author's work. I'm not sure if my listing is entirely up to date, but the idea is that fans who find some of our stuff posted around the internet can check here to see if that posting is pirated or legitimate.

The page makes a handy way for anyone to find enough free reading by an author to decide if you want to shell out actual money to buy a book.

There's a good deal of material listed under Andre Norton, too. You might want to point people who've never read her stuff to this page to get a notion of what she writes that we love so much.

I'm still hoping someone will suggest here a writer I've never heard of. Since I also do reviews, I can maybe help spread the word about those who follow in Norton's footsteps.
Jacqueline Lichtenberg
Those of My Blood
Dreamspy
Sime~Gen: The Unity Trilogy etc.
Molt Brother
City of a Million Legends
Star Trek Lives!
Articles in Seven Seasons of Buffy and Five Seasons of Angel
Reply
#5
Since I have not been on the board for that long, obviously - I have been looking back at all of the previous posts and threads, slowly but surely as time permits. I find it fascinating reading, and it certainly does add to my fund of knowledge about scifi, writing in general, and about Ms. Norton in particular. So much information to assimilate.

I apologize if someone has mentioned this in the past, but there was a question as to what authors influenced Ms. Norton for her writing. I seem to recall that she said that she was influenced by writers like Burroughs, Haggard, and the like. I wonder if someone has that information from one of their talks with her?

As many on this board have said in the past - most of us would like to write and be published. Same situation with me. I have often wondered if it is acceptible to start by mimicing the writing style of someone whose style of writing I like, and enjoy reading. That would seem to be the easiest to write, for me. Since it is easy for my brain to read the style - then maybe my brain can also imagine in that style. I had never heard of the term/technique "copy-typing", but that is exactly what I have thought about. And here, a successful and accepted author (Ms. Lichtenberg) is advising new writers to consider that method. I know this sounds redundant, but is it acceptible to do such. Obviously one would have to be VERY careful to just use the style as a guide, and not mimic the story or writing too closely. Fiction is totally different than any other writing than I have ever done. The ideas and story lines seem to come easily - just not the narrative and conversations. Those are hard to make easy to read, and to "flow". Any ideas?
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#6
Sorry, everything that I try to write starts sounding like a Contract Proposal. Now the last "Request for Quote" that I wrote would not be Fiction.... However the contract for the Baldwin Piano Design, well that was certainly fantasy. [And no we didn't get the contract.]

Thank you for pulling this thread out of the mists of time. I had forgotten it.
Irene
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#7
Andre was always telling me and many others "Go ahead and write it!" The best example in my own life is the time when I told her I had just read " The Dowry of the Rag-picker's Daughter" in the ARABESQUES anthology, and asked her what happened to the princess Jalnar. She replied "When you write it , let me know." I did and She enjoyed it immensely(her words) but said that the fact that it was a direct sequel would limit it's publishability. My feet didn't touch the ground for a week. Such praise coming from the greatest writer in the world was heady stuff indeed.

In my opinion, Pauline Griffin, Jean Rabe, and Lynn McConchie are three of several writing with a similar flavor to Andre.
For what it's worth, Andre was very impressed and enamoured of the HARRY POTTER books. She wrote a wonderful letter to Time Magazine about Harry.

Later Kind Folks--Paul
Frontiers of any type, physical or mental are but a challenge to our breed. Nothing can stop th questing of man, not even man. If we will it, not only the wonders of space, but the very stars are ours
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#8
Paul Goode Wrote:Andre was always telling me and many others "Go ahead and write it!"
...
but said that the fact that it was a direct sequel would limit it's publishability.

The Lady told me something similar when I talked to her about a sequel to Catseye. At the time someone had just reprinted Catseye and the Lady told me that a sequel could not be published. Can someone explain that to me? If she had written a sequel to one of her own books, would the problem still exist?

Quote:In my opinion, Pauline Griffin, Jean Rabe, and Lynn McConchie are three of several writing with a similar flavor to Andre.

I'll definitely second Lynn's work as having a very "Norton-esque" feel. I also recommend Julie E. Czerneda's works. The writing in her Trade Pact Universe (A Thousand Words for Stranger, Ties of Power, and To Trade the Stars) to me is very reminiscent of the Lady.

The books are set in a similar background to the Lady's free trader works (the Solar Queen books, the three-ringed moon books ((for the free trader background))--a galaxy of traders, with their allies, enemies, and intrigue). It seems to be a darker universe, but I'd judge that to be the very different times that the Lady and Julie wrote in, but I would still place Julie high in the realm of styles similar to Andre's.

P.
Paul (no, the other one)
Captain of the ISS Andre Norton

By vocation, I am a Horta-master
By avocation, I am a reader
By Dream, I am a star-roamer
By choice, I am Andrefan
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#9
First, let me qualify my statement by saying that I realize many people on this board knew Andre as well or better than I did. And, as such, I am not trying to say that I KNOW what she meant by things she said to me, or that it is absolute. This is still just my opinion gathered from her statements to me.

Several times she told me that something was not publishable, or that there was no interest in publication for some work of hers, completed or not, or just conceived. I would imagine that many times it was a statement from her agent or publisher that there was no interest in the 'thing' that prompted her to reply that way. I know that she told me several times that she had no interest in writing science fiction again - instead she only wanted to write fantasy, especially in her later years. So, I don't know if she was replying as such because her agent or publisher told her it would not sell, or she just didn't have any interest in writing it (and as such - it would not done).

Since the Solar Queen, Time Traders, and Beastmaster series all had successful (I do not know about the financial success though) sequels, I don't see why Catseye, and several of the other "universes", could not have a successful sequel written too. It would have to be interesting enough to be stand-alone, I would think IMHO, to interest publishers. So many of her stories are perfect setups for sequels that many just beg for a second or third story in the same vein. I might just be a little prejudicial since I love her work, but hopefully someone (publisher and writer) would be willing proceed. If enough parties are willing, much might be possible.
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#10
Oh, it is a good thing this forum keeps older posts! Some interesting facts are coming to light, four years after my original post.

Andre Norton's byline dates from the 1940's but the thing that kept her work at the forefront of the field so many decades was that she changed with the times. She started out writing contemporary 1930's/40's boy's adventure, not SF at all!

That is another reason that, when I framed my "sequel" to her (1950's) STAR RANGERS, I had to invent an entirely new universe. I really did consider writing it as a direct sequel -- but that universe is a Norton Universe, and it was dated-Norton as well.

Norton wasn't able to sell SF with serious, intricate and plot-driving Relationships in the 1940's and 1950's. My "sequel" won the first Romantic Times Award for Best SF - in effect establishing a field which is today flourishing.

See the co-blog I'm on with 6 famous Alien Romance Writers
http://www.aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com/

Note that Linnea Sinclair (of the Norton-Lichtenberg heritage) has (after starting in e-books) reached the point where her novels which had been issued in mass market and shelved as SF are NOW being reissued with new covers as a new-branding of the Sinclair novels and shelved as Romance.

All the lines between genres are being challenged mightily. And this isn't the first time. Norton "grew up" with those shifting boundaries, and knew when to re-brand the Norton image by going into adult fantasy.

Sinclair wouldn't be able to do what she's doing now had Norton not done what SHE did then.

Right now, I'm picking up my first love again - screenwriting, as are Jean Lorrah and Lois Wickstrom. http://www.takehollywoodbystorm.com is their site. Mine is http://www.slantedconcept.com which has almost nothing on it at this time.

As an exercise, I have just taken up the project of turning that Norton sequel trilogy (DUSHAU) into script form, rethinking what was written in narrative into a story told in pictures. Isn't it odd that a comment came to this thread just as I picked up Norton again?

I'm having as much fun as I had writing the vampire story for the Tales of the Witch World II anthology (surmounting Norton's challenge to me -- "But there can't be vampires on the Witch World!" -- but she bought the story anyway and learned about a new kind of vampire!)

That's what I mean. Norton was constantly learning, constantly open to new ideas, constantly exercising Sense-o-Wonder!

The commercial juggernaut does not turn on a dime. However, note in my original post on this thread that I mentioned how we are the direct descendants of those campfire storytellers, the shamans.

It may take thousands of years, but we do have an effect on the world.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg
http://www.simegen.com/jl/
Jacqueline Lichtenberg
Those of My Blood
Dreamspy
Sime~Gen: The Unity Trilogy etc.
Molt Brother
City of a Million Legends
Star Trek Lives!
Articles in Seven Seasons of Buffy and Five Seasons of Angel
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#11
The Mercedes Lackey novella "Moontide" in the Luna collection _Winter Moon_ reads to me like Andre Norton, specifically early Witch World Andre Norton.
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#12
Another writer whose early work seemed to be similar to that of Ms. Norton is Ardath Mayhar. I was introduced to her, along with her works by Ms. Norton about 25 years ago, and truly enjoyed those stories.

Ms. Lichtenberg's point about Ms. Norton changing with the times is certainly well taken. At a certain point though, I think she decided she would continue to write as she liked and not adopt all of the "modern" writing elements. She declined to put gratuitous sex or violence in her books. And her characters continued to be good, not 'dark' or 'grey' even. Mybe that's why I always look forward to rereading her books, they are uplifting. And the same with some other authors I enjoy reading, they are predictable from those standpoints - although the plot line may not be.

It is interesting to read how a fellow author Ms. Lichtenberg) sees the literary evolution of Ms. Norton's work over her career. I imagine that Ms. Norton had ideas for sequels to books (those we have mentioned, those we have imagined, and those we see partially planned/done - but not produced and published), but found that the books were not commercially saleable, and so went on to her next idea. It would be nice as an author (I guess) to just write for the fun of it, but that's hard to do if one has to make a living at writing and pay the bills ultimately with one's work.

I clearly need to read the Dushau trilogy - that is something to look forward to... sounds great. Maybe even see it as a screenplay?
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