Ten years ago Andre Norton passed away. It was a very sad day for those of us who had met her, a terribly empty day for those who knew her well, and the closing of a massive era in the history of genre fiction. Hardly a top-rated author in the science fiction and fantasy field can claim to have NOT been influenced by Andre Norton. She was many a writer’s first favorite author.
Andre’s literary legacy will shine from the halls of science fiction and fantasy for a long, long time to come. She inspired one of the most prestigious awards that science fiction and fantasy fans bestow upon authors and she inspired several generations of authors who have gone on to match her passion for telling stories in fantastic worlds.
Andre was a private lady in many respects but she also lived an open, public life in some ways. Her famous library of 10,000 books was used to create a writer’s retreat, High Hallack, where authors could spend time researching history, science, and philosophy in a relaxed, home-like atmosphere.
Once a librarian herself, Andre became identified with the keeping and resurfacing of old, forgotten knowledge both through her stories and High Hallack. She never begrudged anyone their curiosity and even when her health was failing she often spent more time with fans than she should have. She also inspired passion, incredible passion, that played out in unknown dramas that swept up her friends and close associates.
Andre’s life would probably make a good biographical movie but her legacy is too large to share in a single blog post. Long-time Andre Norton fan Jay Watts has organized a tribute for Andre at Andre Norton Books, which is the only Website authorized by Andre Norton’s literary estate. That makes it more official than a mere fansite (and I run my own Andre fan sites). It also happens to be, in my opinion, the best resource for all things Andre Norton on the Internet.
If you don’t know anything about Andre it’s never too late to learn. Her imagination was timeless. Her writing style may strike you as different but I have never met anyone who said it was unpleasant or awkward. For me, it was magical when Andre told a story. Maybe the best stories were the ones she told in person.
Today we remember Andre in a special way, but as I like to tell people, we promised her many years ago that we will never forget Andre Norton. Keep the flame of love alive. Share an Andre book with a friend.
And, oh yes … you can also now read a previously unpublished Andre Norton story online, for free, when you visit Jay’s site. Look for “Fanus”.