The Sword of Aldones (1962) by Marion Zimmer Bradley

TheSwordofAldones“There is– MORE? No, no, dear Marion. This is the part of me you never knew would come. My telepathic powers have–” I shook my head tersely as I haltingly explained what I have had to explain too many times before. I sighed. “Must I say this again if only to say it once more? Marion, when we were in rapport, it was only as a duty– I was blocking you from truly entering my mind because… because–” I broke off interjectingly. I just could not do this to this poor, young, beautiful girl. But I had to. “Marion, it is because your book is not good for me.”

She looked at me weepingly, silent with her sweet, girlish eyes. Must she make me prolong this torture! “My telepathic powers make me vulnerable to your clumsy, stilted style and convoluted plotting, Marionhia.” I added the Darkovian pet name, to soften the blow. “Marionhia, when we are in rapport, it is as if… it is as if–” I looked away, grievously, and then continued, explainingly, “…I fear my telepathic powers will absorb your childish, cumbersome prose!” I quickly added, confessingly, “And, beyond the shitty prose, those accusations are disturb–.” I glanced fleetingly at my beloved, girlish foe, and–

She was– GONE!

I had told her warningly. But she is no hero.


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14 thoughts on “The Sword of Aldones (1962) by Marion Zimmer Bradley

  1. Hestia says:

    Heh, nice.

    Revelations that Bradley was apparently a really, really horrible person aside, Sword of Aldones is an early work, and it shows. Her prose was always florid, but in later books she made up for it some by exploring messy and complicated things.

    Sword of Aldones sure doesn’t, though! Her early books were seriously amateurish.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Discovering Mists of Avalon was a major moment in my teen years and while I have terrible book memory, I’m pretty sure those books weren’t this terrible. I am a little astounded that this was published when she was in her thirties, despite the “rewriting” she did on this story that she drafted in her teens. Tone-deaf to those youthful sensibilities… and that brings us back to the icky stuff.


      • thebookgator says:

        Discovering Bradley, period, in my teens was a major moment. Preferring her works to Thomas Covenant was a no-brainer for my teenage self. And all issues aside, the Renunciate series was my first exposure to positive representation of women who love women (and in some cases men), so I’ll appreciate her just for that.


  2. Hestia says:

    I was thinking that too, that it was amazing this was published at all. But then I think about some of the new books I’ve read, and they’re pretty bad, too.

    Yeah, there’s a whole generation of us who loved The Mists of Avalon. It feels like such a betrayal of all the good things we saw in that book, doesn’t it?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Widdershins says:

    I remember being over-the-moon excited when I discovered her Darkover books … then I started reading them.

    Loved the Mists of Avalon. 🙂 … but with almost all those ‘retelling’ stories, I want the ending to be different. I want the author to be bold/brave enough to go out on a limb. That goes into Alt History territory though, doesn’t it? And we can’t have that!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “To soften the blow.” Since when?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Rabindranauth says:

    I was going to make a comment about your review and then the newscaster in the background just belted out the headline ‘Policeman remanded for killing wife on International Women’s Day.’ and I think my brain died after that.

    But seriously, your review makes this sound like a weird, pre-PNR based off of Jane Austen porn. Morbid curiousity almost makes me want to find out . . . Almost.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nope, stay away. It’s more like teenage fanfic with a really heavy-handed effort at authorial self-insert with their crush. I think her later stuff isn’t as terrible, though I haven’t been able to get past page 5 on the next book.


  6. […] Zimmer Bradley a little, one of my favorite authors from my high school and college days, but Sword of Aldones (1962) needed a good mocking because it is awful in so many goofy ways, and a cogent essay on the […]


  7. […] preteen’s self-insert fanfic that unself-consciously acts out sentimental scenes with her crush. (Here is my own version of this torture. […]


  8. It is difficult for me to read Bradley with naive eyes, but I try (since in 1962, while it may be common knowledge that she is weird, I don’t know if they know she is evil).

    But her stuff just ain’t that good. Aldones was the first of her books I couldn’t even finish:

    But she’s got a streak of violence in all her works that, in hindsight, is telling.


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