Discussion:
Andre Norton's universe
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Ahasuerus
2018-07-20 19:49:08 UTC
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As SFE3's Andre Norton article notes
(http://sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/norton_andre):

"For about two decades, starting in 1950 or so, she concentrated on
sf novels, most of them gathered into series which were in turn
treated as loose units in a broadly conceived common galactic
superseries"

Norton's ISFDB bibliography (http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?209)
lists her closely connected novels as series, but doesn't attempt to
put then in one huge super-series/universe. IIRC, the last time we
tried it, we ended up with a collective headache. Some of the
connections are tenuous and some of her series overlap, which makes it
hard to decide what goes where.

There have been a few attempts by Norton fans to create a Unified
Norton Timeline. Maureen O'Brien did it in 1995
(http://www.andre-norton-books.com/), but she doesn't seem to be
online any more. A recent attempt by Geert Cuypers
(http://www.avemariasongs.org/forerunners/timeline.htm) arranged
Norton's works differently.

Unfortunately, this stuff is complicated and none of us at the
ISFDB is qualified to judge which timeline is more accurate. Are
there any Norton fans here who would like to comment? It doesn't
have to be an exhaustive analysis, even something as simple as
"Series A, D and J are definitely part of the same universe"
would be helpful.

TIA!
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2018-07-20 21:34:17 UTC
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Post by Ahasuerus
As SFE3's Andre Norton article notes
"For about two decades, starting in 1950 or so, she concentrated on
sf novels, most of them gathered into series which were in turn
treated as loose units in a broadly conceived common galactic
superseries"
Norton's ISFDB bibliography (http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?209)
lists her closely connected novels as series, but doesn't attempt to
put then in one huge super-series/universe. IIRC, the last time we
tried it, we ended up with a collective headache. Some of the
connections are tenuous and some of her series overlap, which makes it
hard to decide what goes where.
There have been a few attempts by Norton fans to create a Unified
Norton Timeline. Maureen O'Brien did it in 1995
(http://www.andre-norton-books.com/), but she doesn't seem to be
online any more. A recent attempt by Geert Cuypers
(http://www.avemariasongs.org/forerunners/timeline.htm) arranged
Norton's works differently.
Unfortunately, this stuff is complicated and none of us at the
ISFDB is qualified to judge which timeline is more accurate. Are
there any Norton fans here who would like to comment? It doesn't
have to be an exhaustive analysis, even something as simple as
"Series A, D and J are definitely part of the same universe"
would be helpful.
TIA!
I can't do it, but I would think the most overarching categorization
would be "Forerunner Universe", keyed on mention of that word..
--
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What's not in Columbia anymore..
David Johnston
2018-07-21 01:29:36 UTC
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Post by Ahasuerus
As SFE3's Andre Norton article notes
"For about two decades, starting in 1950 or so, she concentrated on
sf novels, most of them gathered into series which were in turn
treated as loose units in a broadly conceived common galactic
superseries"
Norton's ISFDB bibliography (http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?209)
lists her closely connected novels as series, but doesn't attempt to
put then in one huge super-series/universe. IIRC, the last time we
tried it, we ended up with a collective headache. Some of the
connections are tenuous and some of her series overlap, which makes it
hard to decide what goes where.
There have been a few attempts by Norton fans to create a Unified
Norton Timeline. Maureen O'Brien did it in 1995
(http://www.andre-norton-books.com/), but she doesn't seem to be
online any more. A recent attempt by Geert Cuypers
(http://www.avemariasongs.org/forerunners/timeline.htm) arranged
Norton's works differently.
Unfortunately, this stuff is complicated and none of us at the
ISFDB is qualified to judge which timeline is more accurate. Are
there any Norton fans here who would like to comment? It doesn't
have to be an exhaustive analysis, even something as simple as
"Series A, D and J are definitely part of the same universe"
would be helpful.
I don't think that her post-apocalyptic novels can fit into the Solar
Queen's past. While that past certainly did have atomic wars, they
didn't destroy civilization to that extent. There simply isn't enough
time to recover to that level.
Robert Carnegie
2018-07-21 14:55:11 UTC
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Post by David Johnston
Post by Ahasuerus
As SFE3's Andre Norton article notes
"For about two decades, starting in 1950 or so, she concentrated on
sf novels, most of them gathered into series which were in turn
treated as loose units in a broadly conceived common galactic
superseries"
Norton's ISFDB bibliography (http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?209)
lists her closely connected novels as series, but doesn't attempt to
put then in one huge super-series/universe. IIRC, the last time we
tried it, we ended up with a collective headache. Some of the
connections are tenuous and some of her series overlap, which makes it
hard to decide what goes where.
There have been a few attempts by Norton fans to create a Unified
Norton Timeline. Maureen O'Brien did it in 1995
(http://www.andre-norton-books.com/), but she doesn't seem to be
online any more. A recent attempt by Geert Cuypers
(http://www.avemariasongs.org/forerunners/timeline.htm) arranged
Norton's works differently.
Unfortunately, this stuff is complicated and none of us at the
ISFDB is qualified to judge which timeline is more accurate. Are
there any Norton fans here who would like to comment? It doesn't
have to be an exhaustive analysis, even something as simple as
"Series A, D and J are definitely part of the same universe"
would be helpful.
I don't think that her post-apocalyptic novels can fit into the Solar
Queen's past. While that past certainly did have atomic wars, they
didn't destroy civilization to that extent. There simply isn't enough
time to recover to that level.
I'm hazy on some of the material, but IIRC the hero of
_The Beast Master_ is a refugee from devastated Earth
in a war - with the aliens, was it, I forget - that
obviously happened well into the Space Age.

And of course the Solar Queen context touches on
the matter of what a planet that was burned in
interstellar war is worth. In summary: not worth
going.

At least one Doctor Who story proposes that in future
history, humans abandon Earth a couple of dozen times
due to some emergency and come back later, before
finally the sun expands enough to wipe it out.
If you're invited to watch, don't go. On other
occasions the Doctor visits "New Earth", where people
settled afterwards, and mentions that it's just
one of many "New Earth" settlements over the years.
None of which ended well either, it would seem.
We can't have nice things.
l***@yahoo.com
2018-07-21 20:01:27 UTC
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I liked "Gray Magic" as a kid, though a couple of years ago, someone at Goodreads(?) pointed out how utterly silly it looked for the child heroes to be using giant pieces of silverware (steel, that is) as toxic weapons. (Not in terms of bacteria, for those who don't know!)

Or maybe I should use a word other than "toxic"?

Lenona.
Dorothy J Heydt
2018-07-21 20:20:39 UTC
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Post by l***@yahoo.com
I liked "Gray Magic" as a kid, though a couple of years ago, someone at
Goodreads(?) pointed out how utterly silly it looked for the child
heroes to be using giant pieces of silverware (steel, that is) as toxic
weapons. (Not in terms of bacteria, for those who don't know!)
Or maybe I should use a word other than "toxic"?
I've never read the work, so the best guess I can make is ...
maybe the enemy were magical creatures and steel blades/forks/etc.
counted as "cold iron"?
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
l***@yahoo.com
2018-07-22 21:04:26 UTC
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Post by Dorothy J Heydt
I've never read the work, so the best guess I can make is ...
maybe the enemy were magical creatures and steel blades/forks/etc.
counted as "cold iron"?
Yes, "cold iron" was a term used constantly in the story, which happens in Avalon. Huon explains to the three kids that he, they and Arthur could use iron without getting burned to the bone because they were not born in Avalon.


Lenona.
l***@yahoo.com
2018-07-22 21:34:20 UTC
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Post by l***@yahoo.com
Yes, "cold iron" was a term used constantly in the story, which happens in Avalon. Huon explains to the three kids that he, they and Arthur could use iron without getting burned to the bone because they were not born in Avalon.
Oh, and IF anyone doesn't know, it's been said that fairies' fear of iron is based on the pre-Celt people in Britain (the Beakers, maybe?), who were driven into hiding by the Celts and their iron weapons, which their victims didn't have.

I first heard that explanation in a book by Georgess McHargue (1941-2011). She was a poet and editor, and while I would instinctively call her a folklorist as well, I haven't found anyone else who called her that.

What I wonder is, why were the pre-Celts described, by other writers, to be dark-skinned, in a northern country?


Lenona.
Carl Fink
2018-07-23 13:14:57 UTC
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Post by l***@yahoo.com
What I wonder is, why were the pre-Celts described, by other writers, to be dark-skinned, in a northern country?
Because they were, maybe? The Inuit are dark-skinned. Not every Arctic people are
pale.
--
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Dedicated to ... Carl Fink!
Robert Carnegie
2018-07-24 20:53:08 UTC
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Post by Carl Fink
Post by l***@yahoo.com
What I wonder is, why were the pre-Celts described, by other writers, to be dark-skinned, in a northern country?
Because they were, maybe? The Inuit are dark-skinned. Not every Arctic people are
pale.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soap#History> maybe???

Gauls used it; Romans didn't.

Veni, vidi, stinky.
l***@yahoo.com
2018-07-25 00:16:48 UTC
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I was sorry to see from Wikipedia -

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Sapo

- that some experts, at least, have reason to believe the story of how Romans "discovered" soap is a hoax. I first heard it at a crafts fair (the weaving section, I think).


Lenona.
Peter Trei
2018-07-23 14:07:28 UTC
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Post by l***@yahoo.com
Post by l***@yahoo.com
Yes, "cold iron" was a term used constantly in the story, which happens in Avalon. Huon explains to the three kids that he, they and Arthur could use iron without getting burned to the bone because they were not born in Avalon.
Oh, and IF anyone doesn't know, it's been said that fairies' fear of iron is based on the pre-Celt people in Britain (the Beakers, maybe?), who were driven into hiding by the Celts and their iron weapons, which their victims didn't have.
I first heard that explanation in a book by Georgess McHargue (1941-2011). She was a poet and editor, and while I would instinctively call her a folklorist as well, I haven't found anyone else who called her that.
What I wonder is, why were the pre-Celts described, by other writers, to be dark-skinned, in a northern country?
There appears to have been a large scale population replacement around the
change from the late neolithic to the early Bronze Age, about 2300 BC. This is
when metal working (first copper, later bronze) and Beaker culture entered
Britain. There was another big cultural shift around 1200 BC (cf Late Bronze
Age Collapse), perhaps involving a large migration, perhaps not.
Iron doesn't appear till about 750 BC.

pt
Jack Bohn
2018-07-21 22:00:51 UTC
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Post by l***@yahoo.com
I liked "Gray Magic" as a kid, though a couple of years ago, someone at Goodreads(?) pointed out how utterly silly it looked for the child heroes to be using giant pieces of silverware (steel, that is) as toxic weapons. (Not in terms of bacteria, for those who don't know!)
Or maybe I should use a word other than "toxic"?
Some word closer to "bane," perhaps. I'd use "baleful" until I could think of something better.

Luckily I read _Gray Magic_ (which I *would* have tried to look up under the name _Cold Iron_) at an age when using what was available that way was so cool. Perhaps I was primed by so much Ruth Chew beforehand.
--
-Jack
l***@yahoo.com
2018-07-22 21:00:44 UTC
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Post by Jack Bohn
Some word closer to "bane," perhaps. I'd use "baleful" until I could think of something better.
Thank you!
Post by Jack Bohn
Luckily I read _Gray Magic_ (which I *would* have tried to look up under the name _Cold Iron_) at an age when using what was available that way was so cool. Perhaps I was primed by so much Ruth Chew beforehand.
The alternative title was "Steel Magic."

Which book of Chew's in particular do you mean?

I haven't read all of hers, but I had the impression, at least, that her first four or so were her best - including her only non-fantasy, "The Secret Summer," aka "Baked Beans for Breakfast." (I wish she'd written more like that!)


Lenona.
Jack Bohn
2018-07-23 13:32:40 UTC
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Post by l***@yahoo.com
Post by Jack Bohn
Luckily I read _Gray Magic_ (which I *would* have tried to look up under the name _Cold Iron_) at an age when using what was available that way was so cool. Perhaps I was primed by so much Ruth Chew beforehand.
The alternative title was "Steel Magic."
OK, I'll imagine that was the book I read. It would have been a hardback from the library (this same library's copy of _The Martian Chronicles_ was under the title _The Silver Locusts_; maybe, being an oil area, The Powers That Were felt more of an affinity for ores,) whereas I associate the "formerly titled" disclaimer with the slim paperbacks from the Scholastic Book Club.

Speaking of Scholastic...
Post by l***@yahoo.com
Which book of Chew's in particular do you mean?
If I had to choose one book, it would be _What the Witch Left_ with its magic gloves that gave manual dexterity for whatever task is at hand, seven-league-boots (and how the girls figured out how to use them together), and multi-colored cloak. There's just an incident in _Wednesday Witch_, but she has magic scissors that make what she snips with them smaller -- shrunk, that is, not just removed material. The Witch finds these less than useful in opening a package tied up with string, the string just gets tighter, she has to chew through it with her teeth. _The Witch's Buttons_ doesn't quite work, and is about as far as you could go in that direction. Does any family even have a button jar these days?
Post by l***@yahoo.com
I haven't read all of hers, but I had the impression, at least, that her first four or so were her best - including her only non-fantasy, "The Secret Summer," aka "Baked Beans for Breakfast." (I wish she'd written more like that!)
I don't remember, does _No Such Thing as a Witch_ come down on one side or the other?

Good gravy! As a kid I thought books were things that were around forever; here I was reading them close to when they came out, and even within a half decade of her first from 1969! Still, half a decade is close enough to forever at that age to be a good first approximation. (_Wednesday Witch_ came out the same year as "H.R. Pufnstuf". Compare/contrast her flying vacuum cleaner with Witchie-Poo's Vroom Broom, and the theme of everyday objects enchanted with the Living Island.) At some point I -or, more likely, Scholastic- decided I was too old for them, but I read up to _Summer Magic_, possibly depending on my younger siblings. I think that was the one with a bewitchin' pool, if you dunk your head under, you might come up in another body of water.
--
-Jack
Joy Beeson
2018-07-24 04:17:14 UTC
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On Mon, 23 Jul 2018 06:32:40 -0700 (PDT), Jack Bohn
Post by Jack Bohn
Does any family even have a button jar these days?
I have my mother's button jar, and I've been known to add or remove a
few buttons. Not many, because my clothes all fasten with hooks.
--
Joy Beeson
joy beeson at comcast dot net
http://wlweather.net/PAGEJOY/

---
This email has been checked for viruses by AVG.
https://www.avg.com
l***@yahoo.com
2018-07-25 00:21:02 UTC
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Post by Jack Bohn
Speaking of Scholastic...
Post by l***@yahoo.com
Which book of Chew's in particular do you mean?
If I had to choose one book, it would be _What the Witch Left_ with its magic gloves that gave manual dexterity for whatever task is at hand, seven-league-boots (and how the girls figured out how to use them together), and multi-colored cloak. There's just an incident in _Wednesday Witch_, but she has magic scissors that make what she snips with them smaller -- shrunk, that is, not just removed material. The Witch finds these less than useful in opening a package tied up with string, the string just gets tighter, she has to chew through it with her teeth. _The Witch's Buttons_ doesn't quite work, and is about as far as you could go in that direction. Does any family even have a button jar these days?
Post by l***@yahoo.com
I haven't read all of hers, but I had the impression, at least, that her first four or so were her best - including her only non-fantasy, "The Secret Summer," aka "Baked Beans for Breakfast." (I wish she'd written more like that!)
I don't remember, does _No Such Thing as a Witch_ come down on one side or the other?
Yes, it's one of the better fantasies.


Here's what I wrote at Chew's website:

http://ruthchew.com/readers-remarks/


I LOVE “Baked Beans for Breakfast,” aka “Secret Summer,” in part because of its portrait of the polite old woman vs. the mean babysitter who only likes children under a certain age.

On page 6:

“Joe wondered if it had been a mistake to bring Kathleen. She was two years younger than he was, and she could be such a nuisance. But Kathleen had begged to come along.

“She pointed out that she had much more money than he – saved up for years in her enormous china pig.”

Since the book was published in 1970, I can’t help but wonder, after reading that, if Chew wasn’t doing a gender twist on a very famous book, from three years earlier, about two runaways. Especially considering that they meet an old woman in a big old house, later!

I wish she’d written one more non-fantasy book, but the fantasies are fine too, of course. My favorite is “What the Witch Left” because of her description of the Mexican marketplace and her subtle portrait of Pilar’s bargaining tactics – she speaks fast and loudly to the boy vendor who’s her age, quietly to the young Mexican man, and she plays dumb with the American customer.

The fast-paced “No Such Thing as a Witch” is fun too, though the description on the back scared me away from reading it for a while!

“Watch out for Maggie Brown—the new next-door neighbor! And beware of
Maggie’s homemade fudge!
Maggie is NOT an ordinary person. Her fudge is NOT ordinary fudge.
One piece of the fudge makes you love animals.
If you eat two pieces of fudge you will understand animal language.
Three pieces make you act like an animal.
And if you eat four pieces… HELP!”

I am APPALLED there is only one entry for Chew (in 1975?) in over 190 volumes of the “Something About the Author” encyclopedia series. Especially since she wrote about two-thirds of her books after that! Writers more obscure than she have received two entries, and I think Maurice Sendak has four to date.

When you read her work, you can’t help but groan: “She makes it look so EASY to write chapter books for 8-year-olds!” (grin)



Lenona.

Joe Bernstein
2018-07-23 17:51:35 UTC
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Post by Ahasuerus
As SFE3's Andre Norton article notes
"For about two decades, starting in 1950 or so, she concentrated on
sf novels, most of them gathered into series which were in turn
treated as loose units in a broadly conceived common galactic
superseries"
Norton's ISFDB bibliography (http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?209)
lists her closely connected novels as series, but doesn't attempt to
put then in one huge super-series/universe. IIRC, the last time we
tried it, we ended up with a collective headache. Some of the
connections are tenuous and some of her series overlap, which makes it
hard to decide what goes where.
[snip]
Post by Ahasuerus
Unfortunately, this stuff is complicated and none of us at the
ISFDB is qualified to judge which timeline is more accurate. Are
there any Norton fans here who would like to comment? It doesn't
have to be an exhaustive analysis, even something as simple as
"Series A, D and J are definitely part of the same universe"
would be helpful.
I'm emphatically not a fan, but I did read half a dozen books alleged
to belong to a single series, and those half-dozen have alleged
connections to about half a dozen other alleged series, so maybe the
following quote from my book log will help, or more precisely, help
show the futility of the project.

(The rest of the entry, not quoted here, goes into detail as to why
I'm not a fan, as well as what I did think she did well.)

Joe Bernstein

Andre Norton
* (April 2010 and November) <Warlock>, 1960-1973, first compiled as
such 2002
all * (all November) <Ice Crown>, 1970, <Forerunner>, 1981, and
<Forerunner: The Second Venture>, 1985

["November" there should be November 2011.]

<Warlock> collects <Storm over Warlock>, 1960 and <Ordeal in
Otherwhere>, 1964, read in April 2010 (and re-read in November), and
<Forerunner Foray>, 1973, read in November. My copy of <Forerunner>,
from an edition which claims to be the book's first appearance, is
copiously, sometimes effectively, illustrated by Barbi Johnson.

My <Locus> / Contento indices claim that the six books listed above
form the "Forerunner" series. Clute in the EoSF almost agrees,
omitting <Ice Crown>. Neither is correct. Each of these books (like
many others by Norton) has a single protagonist. <Forerunner> and
<Forerunner: The Second Venture> share theirs, Simsa. <Storm over
Warlock>'s Shann Lantee meets <Ordeal in Otherwhere>'s Charis
Nordholm during the latter book. A character in <Forerunner Foray>
(not its protagonist, Ziantha) seems to be their son. Simsa's two
share no close link with the <Warlock> three, nor has any of the five
much to do with <Ice Crown> (protagonist Roane Hulme). What does
link them all is actually a common (extremely vague) future history,
which according to Clute pervades Norton's science fiction. Thus
while <Ice Crown> refers to "Forerunner"s, <Forerunner> itself, in a
cover blurb, names <The Time Traders>, 1958, and <Galactic Derelict>,
1959, as its predecessors. Much of <Forerunner Foray> is set in a
place whose name <Locus> / Contento give to a series consisting of
<Catseye>, 1961, <Judgment on Janus>, 1963, and <Night of Masks>,
1964, but not including <Victory on Janus>, 1966, which apparently
shares its protagonist with <Judgment> ... You get the idea.
--
Joe Bernstein <***@gmail.com>
Ahasuerus
2018-07-23 22:12:00 UTC
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On Monday, July 23, 2018 at 1:51:37 PM UTC-4, Joe Bernstein wrote:
[snip-snip]
Post by Ahasuerus
Andre Norton
* (April 2010 and November) <Warlock>, 1960-1973, first compiled as
such 2002
all * (all November) <Ice Crown>, 1970, <Forerunner>, 1981, and
<Forerunner: The Second Venture>, 1985
["November" there should be November 2011.]
<Warlock> collects <Storm over Warlock>, 1960 and <Ordeal in
Otherwhere>, 1964, read in April 2010 (and re-read in November), and
<Forerunner Foray>, 1973, read in November. My copy of <Forerunner>,
from an edition which claims to be the book's first appearance, is
copiously, sometimes effectively, illustrated by Barbi Johnson.
My <Locus> / Contento indices claim that the six books listed above
form the "Forerunner" series. Clute in the EoSF almost agrees,
omitting <Ice Crown>. Neither is correct. Each of these books (like
many others by Norton) has a single protagonist. <Forerunner> and
<Forerunner: The Second Venture> share theirs, Simsa. <Storm over
Warlock>'s Shann Lantee meets <Ordeal in Otherwhere>'s Charis
Nordholm during the latter book. A character in <Forerunner Foray>
(not its protagonist, Ziantha) seems to be their son. Simsa's two
share no close link with the <Warlock> three, nor has any of the five
much to do with <Ice Crown> (protagonist Roane Hulme). What does
link them all is actually a common (extremely vague) future history,
which according to Clute pervades Norton's science fiction. Thus
while <Ice Crown> refers to "Forerunner"s, <Forerunner> itself, in a
cover blurb, names <The Time Traders>, 1958, and <Galactic Derelict>,
1959, as its predecessors. Much of <Forerunner Foray> is set in a
place whose name <Locus> / Contento give to a series consisting of
<Catseye>, 1961, <Judgment on Janus>, 1963, and <Night of Masks>,
1964, but not including <Victory on Janus>, 1966, which apparently
shares its protagonist with <Judgment> ... You get the idea.
I do. Thank you.
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