Andre Norton

I’m just about finished reading Andre Norton’s Witch world.  Of course it’s an “Appendix N” title from the Dungeon Master’s Guide and it spawned many sequels and even a few collections of stories by other authors set in the same world.  But I’d never read anything by Norton apart froma short story here and there and I actually knew almost nothing about it or her.  I did know “Andre” was a pen name, as female fantasy authors used to be told their audiences were mainly boys who would not read something with a woman’s name in the byline, back in the old days.

Anyway the book is OK.  It was probably a lot more innovative in 1964, when it was published.  The story is basically a variation on the ‘sword & planet’ genre, only in this case the earthman goes to a fantasy world rather than an imaginary Mars or Venus.  However the fantasy world is pretty gonzo, with some advanced technology mixed into the otherwise relatively medieval world. It would make an interesting game setting.

When I looked into the author a bit more I was surprised to find she actually worked for the same library I do (almost 70 years ago).  In fact the branch she worked at has been relocated to be adjacent to the technical services facility I work in.  Small world.

I have to admit I don’t find her writing all that compelling, and I believe that most of herwork was aimed at the “young adult” audience (Witch world is not though).  I’ll probably still check out her  Quag Keep and it’s sequel though, since they were written specifically about a D&D campaign.

If there are any Andre Norton fans reading this…what do you recommend?

Published in: on June 23, 2011 at 6:00 am  Comments (3)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Not a fan. 🙂 The only Andre Norton book I’ve read is Quag Keep. It turned me off the author, for good! That was over 25 years ago. It’s possible that I just wasn’t prepared to appreciate the author, as a teenager. On the other hand, I wasn’t the most discriminating reader, at the time and if a book taking place in Greyhawk, failed to excite me, that says something. I’d be interested in your thoughts on Quag Keep.

  2. While I believe the Witch World series is the strongest of her work (& I recommend reading them in publication order before worrying about her other books), Sargasso of Space (1955) (& other Solar Queen books) and Forerunner Foray (1973) were good reads as well as quite influential on early SF RPGs.

  3. Actually, I was really into Andre Norton as a kid. She certainly did target that young teen reader. I only read a few of the Witch World things and didn’t find them her best. My personal favorites were the “Magic” books, particularly _Octagon Magic_. _Star Ka’at_ world was pretty good, but targeted at an even younger reader IIRC. I think I still have a copy of that, maybe I’ll bring it to gaming for you. More adult-y was _Empire of the Eagle_ which I thought was fair to good. The Gryphon trilogy started strong but slid downhill IMHO. I have fond memories of “Star Rangers”, but they are mostly about how awesome I thought that book was as a kid.

    Basically, she cranked out a lot of pulpy scifi and fantasy. It is what it is. I’m kinda surprised syfy or somebody hasn’t started cranking them out with cheap FX, but maybe she didn’t command the audience.

    Also, I was never really “fooled” into thinking she was male. I somehow knew, even as a child, that she was a female author…messed me up for years thinking Andre was a feminine name.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

This Stuff is REALLY Cool

Young scholars enthusiastic to tell you about COOL RESEARCH STUFF

Fail Squad Games

Tabletop games and adventures for gamers by gamers

Cigar Box Battle

An online resource blog for gamers and geeks focused on wargames miniatures and board games and role playing games

terribleminds: chuck wendig

Chuck Wendig: Freelance Penmonkey

Save Vs. Dragon

"We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."--Kurt Vonnegut


Old School Roleplaying and related musings

Hobgoblin Orange

My return to the world of miniature figure painting and RPGs

The Book Reviews You Can Trust!

Dawn of the Lead

Miniature wargaming and the occasional zombie

The Blog

The latest news on and the WordPress community.


Miniature Motivation

Take On Rules

Jeremy Friesen - a poor soul consumed by gaming.

Age of Dusk

Roleplaying, reviews and associated paraphernalia.

Roll to Disbelieve

"We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."--Kurt Vonnegut

A Book of Creatures

A Complete Guide to Entities of Myth, Legend, and Folklore

Making the Past

Diary of an apprentice swordsmith

Ancient & Medieval Wargaming

Using De Bellis Antiquitatis, with the odd diversion...

Riffing Religion

Prophets should be mocked. I'm doing my part.


An encyclopedia of the Cirsovan empire, thoughts on Gaming, Music and more.

2 Warps to Neptune

Surveying the Gen X landscape and the origins of geek

Inside the Shadowbox

Rolling the dice. Writing the words. Pushing the buttons. Eating the bacon. Smiling and waving.

Dagger and Brush, Daggerandbrush, dagger brush

Miniature painting, wargaming terrain tutorials, reviews, interviews and painting guides


A lair for gaming, sci-fi, comics, and other geekish pursuits.

I bought this stuff and read it so you don't have to.

Role Play Craft

Crafting ideas, options, and modules for your role playing campaign.

The Rambling Roleplayer Archives

This site is no longer being updated. Check out the new site at

Sheppard's Crook

The occasional blog of a closet would -be wargamer and modeller

10 Bad Habits

Probably not the Justin Howe you were looking for

The Weekly Sift

making sense of the news one week at a time


Just another site

Lost in Time

"What happened to Claw Carver?"


gaming, graphics, and genrefication

Stuffed Crocodile

Mazes, Martians, Mead


Role-Playing Games, Medieval History, Assorted Legends and Myths, and My Stupid Life.

%d bloggers like this: