I first ran into Andre Norton when I was in elementary school. Some how, some way the book The Zero Stone managed to get into my elementary school library. The Zero Stone was not my first exposure to Science Fiction (that honor goes to Isaac Asimov and a collection of short stories my mom owned) but it was my first full length sci-fi. I read through it several times, confused at first but always intrigued.
It was only natural, I guess, that Andre Norton would become my favorite author later in life. It was years before I ran into Norton again: this time it was high school and a public library. It was then that I had the chance to fall in love with Andre Norton all over again. I was entranced with her Witch World series, tickled by her murder mystery and captivated by her science fiction. Andre Norton has written tons of books but my favorites are her Moon Magic series and her Witch World series.
Andre Alice Norton (born Alice Mary Norton, February 17, 1912 – March 17, 2005) was an American writer of science fiction and fantasy (with some works of historical fiction and contemporary fiction) under the pen names Andre Norton, Andrew North and Allen Weston. She was the first woman to be Gandalf Grand Master of Fantasy, first to be SFWA Grand Master, and first inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.
Alice Mary Norton was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Her parents were Adalbert Freely Norton, who owned a rug company, and Bertha Stemm Norton. She began writing at Collinwood High School in Cleveland, under the tutelage of Miss Sylvia Cochrane. She was the editor of a literary page in the school’s paper called The Collinwood Spotlight for which she wrote short stories. During this time, she wrote her first book—Ralestone Luck, which was eventually published as her second novel in 1938.
After graduating from high school in 1930, Norton planned to become a teacher and began studying at Flora Stone Mather College of Western Reserve University. However, in 1932 she had to leave because of the Depression and began working for the Cleveland Library System, where she remained for 18 years, latterly in the children’s section of the Nottingham Branch Library in Cleveland. In 1934, she legally changed her name to Andre Alice Norton, a pen name she had adopted to increase her marketability, since boys were the main audience for fantasy. Her first book was published by D. Appleton–Century Company that year, with illustrations by Kate Seredy: The Prince Commands, being sundry adventures of Michael Karl, sometime crown prince & pretender to the throne of Morvania (cataloged by the U.S. Library of Congress as by “André Norton”).
During 1940–1941 she worked as a special librarian in the cataloging department of the Library of Congress. She was involved in a project related to alien citizenship which was abruptly terminated upon the American entry into World War II. In 1941 she bought a bookstore called Mystery House in Mount Rainier, Maryland, the eastern neighbor of D.C. The business failed and she returned to the Cleveland Public Library until 1950 when she retired due to ill health. She began working as a reader for publisher-editor Martin Greenberg at Gnome Press, a small press in New York City that focused on science fiction. She remained until 1958, when she became a full-time professional writer—with 21 novels published. Kirkus had reviewed 16 of them and awarded four starred reviews.
Norton’s first published science fiction was a short novella, “The People of the Crater,” which appeared under the name “Andrew North” as pages 4–18 of the inaugural 1947 number of Fantasy Book, a magazine from Fantasy Publishing Company, Inc. Her first fantasy novel adapted the 13th-century story of Huon, Duke of Bordeaux: Huon of the Horn, published by Harcourt Brace under her own name in 1951. Her first science fiction novel, Star Man’s Son, 2250 A.D., appeared from Harcourt in 1952. She became a prolific novelist in the 1950s, with many of her books published for the juvenile market, at least in their original hardcover editions.
She wrote more than a dozen speculative fiction series, but her longest, and longest running project was “Witch World,” which began with the novel Witch World in 1963. The first six novels were Ace Books paperback originals published from 1963 to 1968. From the 1970s most of the series was published in hardcover editions. From the 1980s some were written by Norton and a co-author, others were anthologies of short fiction edited by Norton. (Witch World became a shared universe). There were dozens of books in all.
Norton was twice nominated for the Hugo Award, in 1964 for the novel Witch World and in 1967 for the novelette “Wizard’s World.” She was nominated three times for the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement, winning the award in 1998. Norton won a number of other genre awards, and regularly had works appear in the Locus annual “best of year” polls.
She was a founding member of the Swordsmen and Sorcerers’ Guild of America (SAGA), a loose-knit group of Heroic Fantasy authors founded in the 1960s, led by Lin Carter, with entry by fantasy credentials alone. Norton was the only woman among the original eight. Some works by SAGA members were published in Lin Carter’s Flashing Swords! anthologies.
In later years, as Norton’s health became uncertain, she moved to Winter Park, Florida in November 1966, where she remained until 1997. In 1976, Gary Gygax invited Norton to play Dungeons & Dragons in his Greyhawk world. Norton subsequently wrote Quag Keep, which involved a group of characters who travel from the real world to Greyhawk. It was the first novel to be set, at least partially, in the Greyhawk setting, and according to Alternative Worlds, the first to be based on D&D. Quag Keep was excerpted in Issue 12 of The Dragon (February 1978) just prior to the book’s release. She and Jean Rabe were collaborating on the sequel to her 1979 Greyhawk novel Quag Keep, when she died. Return to Quag Keep was completed by Rabe and published by Tor Books in January 2006.
She moved to Murfreesboro, Tennessee in 1997 and from February 21, 2005, she was under hospice care. She died at home on March 17, 2005, of congestive heart failure.
Her final complete novel, Three Hands for Scorpio, was published on April 1, 2005. Beside Return to Quag Keep, Tor has published two more novels with Norton and Rabe credited as co-authors, Dragon Mage (Nov 2006) and Taste of Magic (Jan 2008).
1946 Plaque of Honour from Netherlands Government for “The Sword is Drawn”
1946 The Sword is Drawn becomes a Junior Literary Guild Selection
1949 Honourable Mention in the Ohioana Library Awards for “Sword in Sheath”
1951 Boy’s Clubs of America Medal for “Bullard of the Space Patrol”
1952 American Newspaper Guild Page One Award of Distingushed Books for “Huon of the Horn”
1963 Chiana Library Honourable Mention
1963 Theta Sigma Phi Headliner Award – (TSP is an international organization for women in journalism)
1963 First woman to be presented with the Invisible Little Man for Life Achievements (“sustained excellence in science fiction”)
1965 Boy’s Clubs of America Certificate of Merit for “Night of Mask”
1965 Child Study Association Book of the Year Award for “Steel Magic”
1966 Moon of Three Rings becomes the Junior Literary Guild selection
1974 Countess of Forlindon, Baroness Forlond, and Dame of the Most Noble Order of the Flame of Anor in the Kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor (see The Peerage of Gondor and Arnor)
1975 Phoenix Award for overall writing achievement
1977 First woman to be awarded with the Grand Master of Fantasy (Gandalf) Award, at the World Science Fiction Convention
1977 Scroll of Honour – Fantasy Gaming Hall of Fame
1978 Norton Award
1978 Orlando Science Fiction Society Life Achievement Award
1979 Balrog Fantasy Award for Life Achievements
1980 Career Achievement Award at the Science Fiction Weekend ‘1980
1980 Martha Kinney Cooper Ohioana Library Award for Lifetime Achievement
1981 Inducted in the Ohio Women Hall of Fame
1983 Fritz Leiber Award DESCRIPTION!
1983 E.E. Smith Award – the Skylark
1984 Nebula Grand Master Award
1984 Jules Verne Award
1986 Daedalus Award for Life Achievement
1987 The Second Stage Lensman Award, for Lifetime Achievement
1987 The Howard, World Fantasy Convention Award
1988 E.E. Evans Big Heart Award
1989 Noreascon Three Guest of Honour
1991 Science Fiction Book Club Book of the Year Award for The Elvenbane
1994 Scientificon First Fandom Hall of Fame Award
1997 Magic Carpet Con Award
1997 Inducted in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame
1998 World Fantasy Convention Life Achievement Award
1962 Hugo nomination for “Star Hunter”
1964 Hugo nomination for “The Witch World” (category: best novel)
1968 Hugo “best novelette” nomination for “Wizard’s World”
1972 A Nebula “best novel” preliminary ballot nomination for “The Crystal Gryphon”
1992 Nebula Award Preliminary Nominee – The Elvenbane by Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey
1995 Science Fiction Book Club Book of the Year Award nomination for The Elvenblood
1973-1998 Locus Award Polls – list of nominations Ms. Norton received
Witch World Creation
From Andre Norton.Org
Witch World really grew from another idea altogether. Years ago, before I entered the sf-fantasy field of writing (no one was interested in buying ms. that were book length then), I had an idea dealing with the Norman holdings in Outremer during the Crusading period – those small baronies (ect) which were carved out and held by landless knights who did not wish to return to Europe after their long travel to the Middle East.
The section in the first book which deals with Verlaine and its heiress was an incident I had imagined for such a book. The book was never written except as scraps at the time. Then, much later, I came across the legend that the mysterious seat at the Round Table which came to be Galahad’s – The Siege Perilous – in reality dropped into another time and place those rash enough to try it who were not fitted to be seated there. That gave me an opening for an adventure tale.
Witch World was never meant to be a series – it just grew. And many of the books are based on authentic folk tales long in our knowledge. Warlock of the Witch World, for example, is really a retelling of the old Saxon story of Childe Roland. Year of the Unicorn is a version of Beauty and the Beast – and so on.
I research heavily for each book or tale – not only in the field of legend and folk story, but also in history of the middle ages and early English and British material. Over the years I have acquired an extensive personal library of folklore, history and witchcraft material to which I go for reference.
I have to ration myself now with Witch World books as I do not want to start repeating myself – which is easy to do with a too familiar background. So I do not write one as often as I wish, and I do try to get an unfamiliar background as much as I can. My most recent work is one laid in the mysterious south from which the Falconers first came and gives a clue to the reason for their warped life style – it is a shorter work entitled Falcon Blood and has a Sulcar girl for a heroine.
But one does have to deal with a great many small details and I now have a special Witch World book with backgrounds for the already printed stories, ect. so that I won’t make any glaring mistakes.
–The Norton Newsletter, Issue #1, march 1979
Witch World Bibliography
Estcarp, Escore, and Karsten
Estcarp and Escore are the primary countries where the following books are located. Estcarp and Escore are both rife with magic (witches, warlocks and Adept Sorcerers) while Karsten has very few and mostly hidden magic practitioners. Witchcraft is outlawed in Karsten and is punishable by death.
Ex-colonel Simon Tregarth was a hunted man–and the hunt was beginning to come to its inevitable deadly end. Tregarth was desperate, and his situation required a desperate solution. His only alternative was wild beyond imagining–sorcery.
Simon was forced to give himself up to the mysterious Siege Perilous, the ancient stone of Power. It would judge him, determine his worth, and then deliver him into a world in which his mind and spirit should be at home.
Simon Tregarth’s lot would pit him against an uncanny world where the laws of nature operated… differently. Where in fact, “magic” was science.
For Simon Tregarth there would be no return, he could never escape from the WITCH WORLD.
Title: Web of the Witch World
Series Cycle: Witch World #2, Estcarp Cycle #2
Status: Owned (Omnibus: The Gates to Witch World)
Simon Tregarth, whose own Earthly prowess had won him a throne and a witch-wife on an alien world, knew that both triumphs were precarious as long as the super-science of Kolder held a foothold on that planet. And his premonitions were right when those invaders from another dimension made their final diabolical strike for total conquest.
Title: Three Against the Witch World
Series Cycle: Witch World #4, Estcarp Cycle #3
Status: Owned (Omnibus: Lost Lands of Witch World)
NORTH, EAST, SOUTH, WEST…
The offspring of Simon Tregarth, half earthling, half witch-brood, realized that they alone could perceive the four directions – for everyone else, there was no East!
It was a blank in the mind, a blank in legend and history.
And when new menaces threatened, the Tregarths realized that in that mental barrier there lay the key to all their world… somewhere to the unknown eastward must lie the sorcery that had secretly molded their destinies!
Title: Warlock of the Witch World
Series Cycle: Witch World #5: Estcarp Cycle #4
Status: Owned (Omnibus: Lost Lands of Witch World)
Kyllan the warrior, Kaththea the untried witch, Kemoc, whose powers could surpass all others- these are the half-Earthling, half witch-brood family menaced by the sorceries of an unknown enemy. The burden of the struggle fell to Kemoc, who was forced to summon his untested powers in the battle to match the alien evil threatening the Witch World.
Kaththea the Sorceress called forth a power such as no longer existed on the distant planet known as the Witch World. It was a power so great that it could destroy all that she loved best – and might even prove to be a greater evil than the shadow itself. Yet there could be no other choice for Kaththea than to call on Hilarion in the death-naming. For she was a witch deprived of power and she needed a guide to regain her lost skills and her lost world. There was only this ancient one, the opener of gates, with force mighty enough…
Title: Trey of Swords
Series Cycle: Witch World #10: Estcarp Cycle #6
Status: Owned, Paperback (1st edition?)
The past and the future merge as THE LOST BATTLE OF WITCH WORLD is fought again – but this time, it must be won! For as ancient heroes walk again by day, so do ancient evils – and it is up to Yonan the weakling, and Crytha, the untrained witch-girl, to halt the Forces of Darkness by the power of the SWORD OF ICE, the SWORD OF SHADOW… and one sword more.
Title: Ware Hawk
Series Cycle: Witch World #15: The Estcarp Cycle #7
Status: Owned, Paperback
Tirtha was the last of the line of Hawkholme. Men who hated those of the Old Race had destroyed her clan, and she alone lived to carry the burden of her family’s destiny.
Driven by powerful magic to return to her ancestral home, she set out into the twisted, ruined mountains of Estcarp. Her hired guide was a Falconer, a man of an ancient warrior race who was also alone in the world, and falconless.
But a Dark One was determined to foil their mission — and only together could they hope to stand against its awesome powers.
American Kelsie McBlair falls through a gate in an ancient stone ring in the Scottish Highlands while rescuing a wounded wild cat. She and the cat and newborn kittens are besieged on the other side of the Gate by a Dark Rider and a pack of skeletal hounds. When a dying Witch bequeaths her true name and her jewel of power, Kelsie finds herself compelled to take up her sorcerous mission into the heart of Escore, the Green Valley, where magic lies in “trembling balance between the forces of Light and those of the Dark.
Title: Ciara’s Song: A Chronicle of Witch World
Series Cycle: Witch World Series #30: The Estcarp Cycle #9
Sub-Series: Aiskeep #1
Status: Owned, Paperback
Rating/Review: 4 Stars
In Karsten, Ciara of Elmsgarth is only a small girl when the edict is carried out to kill all with Witch blood, and take all they own. As a mob murderers her family, Ciara is rescued and protected by the powerful Lord Tarnoor and his son, Trovagh. As the years pass, Ciara and Trovagh grow to love each other and marry, raising children of their own. Then an evil sorcerer rises to power, and his vendetta against Ciara threatens all she loves.
Title: The Duke’s Ballad
Series Cycle: Witch World #31: The Estcarp Cycle #10
Sub-Series: Aiskeep #2
Status: Owned, Hardback, Needs to be Replaced
Born into a family with magical powers, Aisling is a young witch who fights to protect her homeland of Kars. Unfortunately, the biggest threat to Kars is her older brother, Kirion, who has chosen to use his powers for evil, and years ago forced Aisling into exile.
Since Aisling’s departure, Kirion has tightened his hold on Shastro, the Duke of Kars. Through Shastro, Kirion’s dark influence works to subjugate the entire realm.
With her younger brother Keelan helping her, Aisling returns, in disguise, to undermine Kirion’s power and defeat the evil duke. But as Aisling gets closer to Shastro, the Duke takes a liking to her, and she finds herself questioning her mission. But when a neighboring clan lays siege to Kars, Aisling and Keelan realize they must act, lest Kirion bring even more death and suffering to Kars’ loyal subjects than he has already caused.
Using all the magic, persistence and ingenuity she can summon, Aisling must somehow find a way to avoid the attention of her dangerous older brother, save the people from his murderous sorcery, and return to their Dukedom the peace and prosperity it once knew.
The best of science fiction and fantasy…Through a Gate on distant Earth, Simon Tregarth had come, to a world where witches rule supreme. In the land of Estcarp – home of the Old Race, peace-loving heirs to archaic knowledge – he drove out invading aliens and became a great and respected leader. But his children, a warrior, a warlock and a witch, fled the witches’ rule, answering an ineffable call to the forgotten land of Escore. There, they warred with the evil stirred to life by their coming…a peril that continues unabated…
The first three legendary Witch World novels from one of the most popular authors of our time.
Few authors have achieved such renown as World Fantasy Life Achievement honoree Andre Norton. With the love of readers and the praise of critics, Norton’s books have sold millions of copies worldwide. Perhaps her best loved and most influential novels, the Witch World series have been too long unavailable to readers.
But finally, in the first of two ominibuses, Witch World, Web of the Witch World, and Year of the Unicorn, the first three novels of the Witch World, are united for the first time so readers can once again step through The Gates to Witch World.
Includes the books:
Three Against the Witch World
Warlock of the Witch World
Sorceress of the Witch World
Title: Lost Lands of Witch World
Contains: Witch World: Estcarp Cycle #3-5
Status: Owned, Hardback
In the 1960s Andre Norton’s career took a fateful and important turn. Having written adventure science fiction for almost thirty years, she turned to something new, science-fantasy, with Witch World. This unique world of sorceresses and the many others who fight such adversaries as the Kolder, the Hounds of Alizon and other threats, has proven to be Miss Norton’s most beloved and popular creation. Three Against the Witch World, Warlock of the Witch World , and Sorceress of the Witch World, the fourth, fifth, and sixth novels in the series, have long been recognized as novels that comprise the core of the series, along with the first three novels.
Today, four decades after their first publication, these novels of adventure, excitement, and daring remain as fresh and original as when they first appeared. For the first time they are now available in a single volume for new readers of all ages to discover, and for fans to rediscover in an attractive, durable new format. Includes a long introduction by Mercedes Lackey.
About Andre Norton – Wikipedia
Andre Norton Award – Wikipedia
Ohio Center for the Book – Ohio Authors
Andre Norton 1989 Interview
Andre Norton, Grandmaster of Fantasy (1987 Interview)
more to come