Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Book Review: "The Planet Savers" by Marion Zimmer Bradley

The Planet Savers by Marion Zimmer Bradley (Ace, 1962)

After reading Moira Greyland’s memoir, The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon, I also read the first of Bradley’s Darkover novels, The Planet Savers, from 1962. I read a 1976 Ace Books edition that also includes the short story “The Waterfall,” and it was an even better read than Dark Satanic. Even though people have said that some of Bradley and Breen’s interests occasionally showed up in her writing in uncomfortable ways only recognized later, there was nothing untoward in The Planet Savers, which I found to be an interesting take on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

What if you could sublimate aspects of your personality and self that you didn’t like or find useful? What if you could compartmentalize different selves functionally, to be invoked at will when the need arises? What if you could entertain both your best self and worst self? Interesting questions, given Bradley’s history.

The slim novel was interesting and entertaining enough that I would read another Darkover book in a heartbeat. The later short story included in the paperback, “The Waterfall” is a coming-of-age and sexual-awakening tale that definitely gives women the upper hand—albeit through a near vampirism of male desire. It’s still slightly uncomfortable reading Bradley given her daughter’s revelations. (This review was previously published in slightly different form in the APA-L apazine Telegraphs & Tar Pits #4.)

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