Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Darkover Landfall - Marion Zimmer Bradley

Darkover Landfall
Marion Zimmer Bradley
Daw Books
Copyright 1972

The amazon.com product description:
Darkover, a planet of wonder, world of mystery, has been a favourite of science fiction readers for many years. For it is a truly alien sphere - a world of strange intelligences of brooding skies beneath a ruddy sun, and of powers unknown to Earth. In this new novel, Mario Zimmer Bradley tells of the original coming of the Earthmen, of the days when Darkover knew not humanity. This is the full bodied novel of what happened when a colonial starship crashlanded on that uncharted planet to encounter for the first time in human existence the impact of the Ghost Wind, of the psychic currents that were native only to that world, and of the price that every Earthling must pay before Darkover can claim for itself.
The story of the first people on Darkover, two thousand years before their rediscovery by the Terran Empire, this is the very beginning of the Darkover saga. Everything began with the crash of a colony ship so bad that there was no way it could be repaired.

Darkover Landfall is nowhere near my favorite novel in the series. In fact, I'd have to say it's down near the bottom of the list. I'd read it before, but this time, I found myself gritting my teeth at character attitudes. Thankfully it's a quick read.

The whole book is littered with assumptions that any woman who doesn't want children has been brainwashed, that women are not capable of doing the same things as men at all, and should want to have as many children as possible. Etcetera, etcetera.

While I can accept that attitude in most of the Darkover series, because it's a different culture, in this book, where the characters are supposed to be from this high-tech society where equality is mandated under the laws, it just annoyed the heck out of me.

Were we really that bad in the early 1970's that this is seen as reasonable behavior?

I like most of the Darkover books, but this one, as you can see just rubbed me the wrong way completely. Still, it was interesting to see where the culture of the rest of the series originated, and for that reason alone, the book is likely to stay on my shelves. On the other hand, it leaves a heck of a lot of unaswered questions, such as where the horses, dogs and hawks of the later books came from as it sure doesn't look as though they came with the colonists, but neither were they already present on the planet.

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