Hastur Lord – Marion Zimmer Bradley and Deborah J. Ross

I’m a big fan of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover books – I managed to track every single one of them down by haunting Ebay , Abebooks and a couple other sites. I’ve kept reading the series even after Bradley’s death, when others have continued the stories. From what I understand, Hastur Lord was something that Bradley had written quite a bit of, and had to set aside for various rumored reasons.

The book is not the newest chronological tale – it looks back to the early days of Regis Hastur’s reign as Regent of Darkover, chronicling how he made peace with that office, which he had not wanted as a young man. It also explains how he came to be married to Linnea Storn, despite also having a life-long relationship with his best friend, Danilo Syrtis. I’ll admit, this is where the book falls apart for me.

It’s not the story’s fault – there are good reasons for why this triangle exists, and why it would culturally work, and I think it’s probably handled pretty well in that respect. But I’m the child of a gay man that ‘did the right thing’ by getting married because that was what at the time he believed he had to do to have a family, and that kind of triangle just doesn’t work. I’m completely projecting my own experience here, probably unfairly, but that’s what kept me from completely enjoying the book. It’s a shame, because the beauty of science fiction and fantasy is that they can take cultural norms and turn them upside down and sideways. But I guess this just goes to show you that we really are a product of our experiences, and I suspect that’s what gives everyone a limit to how truly open-minded they can ever be.

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2 thoughts on “Hastur Lord – Marion Zimmer Bradley and Deborah J. Ross

  1. hmm. I always see Zimmer-Bradley as an idealist hoping that this world will work better than our own. She is the single author I encountered in college who even included gay characters.

    I didn't know even with that that any gay people had families until about four years ago. Talk about insulated. But she opened a door I'd never hear about any other way…just so you know that maybe that was the kind of thing she had in mind.

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  2. Actually, I agree with you. I, for the most part, really respect how her books treat gay characters. I think this particular story hit a little too close to home. It's why I'll never see Brokeback Mountain. That particular story line will never be comfortable for me.

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