Marion Eleanor Zimmer Bradley (June 3, 1930 September 25, 1999) was a prolific Speculative Fiction and Fantasy writer who was often regarded as having a feminist bent to her work. MZB, as she was known to fans, was a co-founder and the namer of the Society for Creative Anachronism.
She was most famous for her Darkover series and the novel The Mists of Avalon. She was a contributor to the Thieves' World setting, with a sequence of stories featuring Lythande, Mage of the Blue Star. She also dove into gay and lesbian Pulp Fiction early in her career.
Recent detailed allegations of sexual abuse regarding her own children and those of others, and her marriage to serial child molester Walter Breen, for whom she may have procured victims, have irreparably tainted her work, over two decades after her death.
Works by Marion Zimmer Bradley with their own trope pages include:
- Black Trillium (in collaboration with Andre Norton and Julian May) and her solo sequel, Lady of the Trillium
- Darkover series
- Lady of Avalon
- The Lythande stories
- The Mists of Avalon
Other works by Marion Zimmer Bradley provide examples of:
- Alien Abduction:
- In The Brass Dragon, the protagonist initially can't remember the last year of his life, but unexpectedly finds that he now knows a lot more about mathematics than he used to. He and his alien companions were trapped on Mars for most of that year, since they had to wait for an enemy ship to be available to ambush for transport back to Earth. They passed the time by teaching the protagonist a lot of math.
- In Hunters of the Red Moon, the protagonist, who is sailing around the world alone, is kidnapped off his boat by the Mekhar (who trade in slaves, and were expecting more people to be on the boat).
- Amazon Brigade: The original Amazons in the Trojan War retelling The Firebrand.
- Atlantis: Web of Darkness and Web of Light are set in Atlantis.
- Contemptible Cover: Hunters of the Red Moon
- Fictional Color: In The Colors of Space, the substance necessary for interstellar stardrive shows up as this, though only under a light too bright for normal humans to stand.
- Generation Ship: Endless Universe is an example of "Generation Ship Planting FTL Gates".
- Genie in a Bottle: In "A Dozen of Everything", a young woman is given a djinn in a bottle as a wedding present from an eccentric aunt.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: "Elbow Room" is something of a twist: the woman chosen for duty on an isolated station is actually all alone; the other people she thinks are there are her other personalities. She briefly flips out when she realizes this, but then goes back to the way things were.
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Hunters of the Red Moon.
- Impersonating the Evil Twin: Done inadvertently in The Door Through Space; the hero and his antagonist both fit the same general description, and when the hero realizes that the bad guys have mistaken him for the other guy he proceeds to take advantage as best he can.
- Katanas Are Just Better: The hero of Hunters of the Red Moon is abducted by aliens and ends up being chosen for a Hunting the Most Dangerous Game-type reality show. He is given the choice of a wide range of hand-held weapons from across the galaxy and is happy to spot a Japanese katana which he uses to be one of the rare survivors of the game.
- Knife-Throwing Act: Knives of Desire (written under the pen name Morgan Ives) is about a woman who becomes involved in a lesbian relationship after joining a circus to be the target girl for a female knife thrower.
- Literal Genie: In "A Dozen of Everything", a young woman is given a djinn in a bottle as a wedding present from an eccentric aunt. She wishes for trousseau, but finding the old-fashioned djinn unfamiliar with the term, she carelessly instructs him to give her "a dozen of everything" and to put it all in her room. This goes about as well as one might expect.
- Made a Slave: In Warrior Woman, the amnesiac protagonist is sold as a pleasure slave to the gladiators. She becomes a gladiator herself when she halves a newbie's skull with his own sword during inspection.
- My Secret Pregnancy: In Centaurus Changeling, Beth hides her pregnancy from her husband. The only problem is that, as she soon discovers, the air on the planet they are living on is highly poisonous to pregnant women... And it is revealed in the end that she was mind-controlled by a local to get pregnant without him knowing.
- Non-Human Lover Reveal: The Wild One — Boy meets werelynx.
- Operator Incompatibility: In The Colors of Space, humans need to be in stasis to use the FTL drive. Or so the aliens who invented the drive claimed.
- Perspective Flip: The Firebrand retells the Trojan War from the perspective of Kassandra.
- Queer Romance: The Catch Trap revolves around two trapeze artists, both male, who fall in love.
- The Reptilians: In The Brass Dragon, the Dikri are a race of cold, ruthless dragon-like aliens who can shape-shift into human form. They act as renegades, interfering on primitive worlds in violation of interstellar rules.
- Sdrawkcab Name: Falcons of Narabedla — "Narabedla" is the reverse of Aldebaran, the name of the brightest star in the Taurus constellation.
- Settled for Gay: A female friend of Tommy's suggests this in The Catch Trap because she wants to concentrate on her career but would like to have a husband who won't interfere with her lifestyle. Tommy is still holding out hope that someday he can openly be with his true love, Mario.
- Suffer the Slings: In Warrior Woman, a mighty warrior with a sword and shield faces off against a small man with a sling and dagger in the gladiatorial arena. The protagonist thinks it's a mismatch. She's right, although she misses her guess on who's going to win; the mighty warrior drops with a hole in his forehead.
- Translator Microbes: Marion Zimmer Bradley disliked this trope and tried not to use it; when she resorted to it in Hunters of the Red Moon, the translator sometimes wouldn't convey cultural nuances or figures of speech.
- Twice-Told Tale: Night's Daughter is a retelling of The Magic Flute.