The Worlds of Andre Norton

Alice Mary Norton (1912 – 2005) was best known as Andre Alice Norton, an American writer of science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction and contemporary fiction. She also wrote under the pen names Andrew North and Allen Weston and was the first woman to be Gandalf Grand Master of Fantasy, as well as the first woman to be SFWA Grand Master, and the first inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.

Common themes in her books include the presence of feudal and tribal cultures. Norton was proud of her Native American ancestry and nonhuman creatures and cultures are usually presented sympathetically in her work, with human protagonists sometimes supporting them against oppressive human regimes. Sometimes, technological and mechanised cultures are presented as negative.

As a highly popular writer of science fiction and fantasy, I thought it would be interesting to gather some of her quotes:

'Do you blame the sword for killing? It is the hand and brain behind it which holds the responsibility!’

'As for courage and will - we cannot measure how much of each lies within us, we can only trust there will be sufficient to carry through trials which may lie ahead.'

'A life that has been bought by the blood of friends must not be thrown away.'

'Do not fear so, here is one who would be a blade at your back. A shield across your breast. Here is kin, here is strength to lean upon, to share as you share in need.'

'We have met and hated, fought and died before - you and I.'

'Racial mixtures after planet-wide wars, mutant births after the nuclear conflicts, had broken down the old intolerance against the “different”. And out in space thousands of intelligent life forms, encased in almost as many shapes and bodies, had given 'shape prejudice' its final blow.'

'A wise guy doesn't spill his ignorance. He uses his eyes and ears and keeps his trap shut—'

'You can’t reason with fanatics anyway. They believe what they believe because they believe it. It’s a matter of faith. Even if you could bring them all the proof in the world they still wouldn’t change their minds.’

'Kelson winced. “We lost seven good men in the last fight.” “Good men die the same as bad ones,” Storm said. “Maybe more often. They’ll risk more to do what’s right.”’

'Each creature comes into being unique. Anything which destroys that individuality, anything which eliminates or adulterates mind or will or spirit, strikes at the very basis of life, at its greatest glory, its greatest strength, its very core.'

'Who seeks may find, who lives may learn, who loves is blessed.'

'To the spectator the ex-Commando might be standing impassively, the meerkats clinging to him, his hand resting lightly on Surra’s round skull, the eagle quiet on his shoulder. But an awareness, which was unuttered, unheard speech, linked him with animals and bird. The breadth of that communication could not be assessed outside a “team”, but it forged them into a harmonious whole, which was a weapon if need be, a companionship always.'

‘“I believe that those in the city must be left to work out their own destiny,” the hist-techneer said at last. “In a manner of thinking that choice is now a retreat. They wish life to remain as it always has been. But that is just what life never does. It goes up—one advances—or it goes down—one retreats. And if one tried to stand still—that is retreat.”’

'He discovered that lack of sight confuses the ear.'

'This was a watering place, perhaps a never-ceasing watering place—and to his desert-born-and-bred race all water was a spirit gift never to be taken for granted.'

'We never stand alone—for we are all woven into one—land, sky, rock, sand, animals—man is only a part of the whole.'


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