James Nicoll Reviews

Home > Reviews > By Contributor

Reviews by Contributor: Norton, Andre (50)

A victim’s eye view of Space Vikings

Dark Piper

By Andre Norton  

14 Aug, 2015

50 Nortons in 50 Weeks

0 comments

The good news for the poor doomed bastards on the planet Beltane in 1968’s Dark Piper is that the great interstellar war is finally over. Even better, while the world lost many of its young men to the draft, Beltane itself is such a backwater that neither side saw fit to scorch the place. 

The bad news is that the war didn’t so much stop as grind to a halt after all the combatant polities suddenly collapsed. A long dark age looms, perhaps even the end of mankind’s long domination of the stars. Since Beltane was a research station that was never intended to be completely self-sufficient, the inhabitants might be able to slow the looming technological and economic decline … but they cannot hope to prevent it.

As it turns out, that won’t matter 


Read more ➤

The Sorceress’ Tale

Sorceress of the Witch World  (Estcarp, book 5)

By Andre Norton  

7 Aug, 2015

50 Nortons in 50 Weeks

0 comments

1968’s Sorceress of the Witch World picks up where Warlock of the Witch World left off. Kaththea is still recovering from being stripped of her magic by her brother (done to save her from a mistaken alliance with the extremely hunky forces of darkness). When she is separated from her friends by an avalanche, her magic cannot save her.

However, her magical potential can get her into more trouble.…


Read more ➤

The Warlock’s Tale

Warlock of the Witch World  (Estcarp, book 4)

By Andre Norton  

31 Jul, 2015

50 Nortons in 50 Weeks

0 comments

1967’s Warlock of the Witch World is the sequel to Norton’s 1965 Three Against the Witch World. Having journeyed east to Escore, a long forgotten part of their world, siblings Kyllan (the warrior), Kemoc (the scholar), and Kaththea (the witch) are now caught up in the war between light and darkness that divides that ancient land. 

Rather inconveniently for the siblings, they will find themselves divided in their choice of allies: light or darkness? Are they sure which side is which?


Read more ➤

The causality in this makes my brain hurt

Operation Time Search

By Andre Norton  

24 Jul, 2015

50 Nortons in 50 Weeks

0 comments

1967’s Operation Time Search is a stand-alone. Spoiler warning.

By the far off year of 1980, the people of Earth — or at least an Earth — have done a pretty good job of using up all the resources of their world. Other worlds beckon, but rather than reaching across space, the researchers Hargreaves and Fordham have cast their eyes across time, with some success. Their time probes have reached something, somewhere, somewhen — the past, or perhaps some alternate world — but it’s definitely not modern Ohio.

Thus far, Hargreaves and Fordham have settled for peering through time; physical transportation is for later. Or at least that was the plan until photographer Ray Osborne snuck onto the Indian mound the researchers had commandeered. Hargreaves and Fordham’s device may not have been intended to catapult physical objects through time, but as Ray discovers, it is nevertheless quite capable of punting the young man all the way from modern Ohio to … somewhere. 

Somewhere wild. Somewhere with old growth forests of a kind not seen in North America for centuries or more. Somewhere where Ray is almost immediately captured by soldiers from a place called Atlantis, soldiers who suspect that Ray is an agent of Mu.…


Read more ➤

Never underestimate the natives

Moon of Three Rings  (Moon Singer, book 1)

By Andre Norton  

17 Jul, 2015

50 Nortons in 50 Weeks

0 comments

1966’s The Moon of Three Rings is the first volume in Norton’s Moon Singer series. 

Yiktor appears to be just another world among millions, a world once home to an advanced civilization now long vanished, just as so many civilizations have flourished, then vanished, across the galaxy. Now Yiktor is a world whose current population is (seemingly) trapped in barbarism. To Free Traders, it is a possible source of valuable trade goods. To a greedy Combine seeking worlds to conquer, Yiktor looks like easy pickings. As they will learn, the great civilization that called Yiktor home is not extinct, but merely evolved beyond recognition.

Read more ➤

Destiny, Not Luck

The Year of the Unicorn  (High Hallack, book 2)

By Andre Norton  

10 Jul, 2015

50 Nortons in 50 Weeks

0 comments

1965’s The Year of the Unicorn takes us back to the Witch World, across the ocean to High Hallack. Gillan has lived among the people of that land for almost as long as she can remember, but her skin and hair brand her an outsider. She can be thankful that she is not one of the hated Alizon, High Hallack’s great enemy, but she can never hope to be truly accepted by those among whom she lives. A quiet life in a rustic abbey may be Gillan’s best option.

But that is not her destiny. 


Read more ➤

The Scouts Are Dicks

The X Factor

By Andre Norton  

3 Jul, 2015

50 Nortons in 50 Weeks

0 comments

Andre Norton was never known for bright shiny futures but 1965’s The X Factor is a gloomier novel than most of her books. Protagonist Diskan Fentress is a large, clumsy man who feels like a subhuman; he sees himself as suitable for nothing save brute labour. He has recently been reunited with the Scout father who left before he was born. Diskan believes that he falls far short of his father, Renfrey Fentress, in every conceivable way (a belief that Renfrey does nothing to correct). To rub more salt in the wound, the aliens with whom Renfrey has made his home are to Diskan’s eye without fault. Their perfection only highlights Diskan’s flaws.

Better to turn criminal than suffer under the lash of charity. Diskan steals a starship and a navigation tape (to a world his father had marked as anomalous) and heads up and out. He is lucky enough to reach his destination and survive a bad landing whole and largely unharmed. His luck would seem to have ended there. He is alone, poorly equipped, and trapped on a planet whose mysteries even his talented father was unable to unravel. What hope is there for poor, dim Diskan?

(This will get somewhat spoilery.) 


Read more ➤

Together — one and great — apart far less!”

Three Against the Witch World  (Estcarp, book 3)

By Andre Norton  

26 Jun, 2015

50 Nortons in 50 Weeks

0 comments

1965’s Three Against the Witch World returns to Andre Norton’s Witch World, a generation after the events of Witch World and Web of the Witch World. This sequel sees Simon Tregarth and his witchy wife Lady Jaelithe relegated to off-stage status. The novel focuses on their triplets: Kyllan the fighty one, Kemoc the smart one, and Kaththea the witchy one. 

All three children were born to do great things, as predicted by a fell portent, but only Kaththea is of interest to the Women of Power of Estcarp. Only Kaththea is female and therefore a potential witch. When Kaththea reaches a certain age, the witches bear her off to be educated according to their ways. Dread supernatural protections prevent her brothers from rescuing her. Kaththea is lost.

For the moment.


Read more ➤

Back to Blake Walker

Quest Crosstime  (Crosstime, book 2)

By Andre Norton  

19 Jun, 2015

50 Nortons in 50 Weeks

0 comments

Andre Norton’s 1965 novel Quest Crosstime returns to Blake Walker, last seen being adopted by the people of Vroom, a timeline-spanning civilization. Although Vroom’s central timeline depends on contact and trade with alternate Earths, recently a faction calling itself the Limiters, led by demagogue To’Kekrops, have been calling for more stringent restrictions on cross-time travel. To’Kekrops and his followers may claim they are motivated by safety concerns … but of course the truth is darker than that. 

What Walker doesn’t know is how far the Limiters will go to get their way. 


Read more ➤

Return to Warlock

Ordeal in Otherwhere  (Warlock, book 2)

By Andre Norton  

12 Jun, 2015

50 Nortons in 50 Weeks

0 comments

1964’s Ordeal in Otherwhere starts off at a sprint. When we first encounter young Charis Nordholm, a cult leader and his idiot followers1 have staged a coup and murdered her father in the process. Charis is on the run and faces an unpleasant choice: surrender to the cultists and accept whatever horrible fate they deem suitable for a heretic OR try to hide in the local jungle, where she will almost certainly be eaten.

It turns out there is a third option, which is to be captured by the rebels and then sold to an off-world trader2.


Read more ➤