Reading post #6

I’ve just finished reading The best of Marion Zimmer Bradley, which is a collection of short stories with sci-fi elements. There are a total of fifteen stories, and subjects ranging from alien invasions to time travellers to more realistic representations of life on Earth.

Most of the stories haven’t got much to do with each other, except for the sci-fi or fantasy setting, although there are some major themes that cross over stories like romance, death, fighting for some moral purpose and looking into the depths of the human mind. Bradley also has a knack for portraying relationships that are not romantic, perhaps even the opposite, as well as coming up with very innovative ideas and giving them a clear shape with her writing, which varies in quality, but is mostly entertaining to read. Most of her stories have a strong plot, and she also conveys the idea of feminism in some of them.

An admirable point would be the ideals she presents for the human race – in one story she creates a kind of Utopia, which is seen as the antithesis of Utopia in the main character’s point of view until he learns of caring about the little things; Bradley can also present the idea of mass hallucination with the added twist that the real world, which is exactly like ours, is the illusion, and the unreal world of people’s relaxation imaginations turns out to be the real one.

I think I’ve only read the Mists of Avalon (parts one and two) by M. Z. Bradley before (and these were the Estonian translations), which weren’t as likeable as these short stories, but then again, I read these recently and her Avalon series several years back, so it’s not really comparable.

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