With Key Out of Time Andre Norton takes the Time Traders series into a more mystical realm, where the technology of the spacefaring aliens confronts the magic of the elder race of the Foanna. In many ways, this transition mirrors a transition in all of Norton’s works from the space based stories of the 50’s and early 60’s to the fantasies of the the late 60’s and 70’s.
The first two books in the series, The Time Traders and Galactic Derelict are hard science fiction dealing with time travel, alien space ships, and distant worlds. In Key Out of Time, the time agents use the alien technology to travel to a distant planet and once there use the time travel device to venture into the past of that planet, but once there, the rules of the game change and magic becomes as important and as real as alien technology and Terran science.
Norton, particularly in this period, had an ambiguous view of magic. It was often not clear whether the magic was really supernatural in origin, or simply the product of a more advance civilization of the past that had vanished. Hints one way or the other are given, but never completely explained. Even within a series, the viewpoint changes from book to book. The impression is, that Norton, herself, didn’t really care, but would adopt whichever viewpoint would best further the interests of the story at hand. In the end, this approach was successful as she had three hundred or so works published during her career.
It may be that the change in Norton’s work reflected the more general acceptance of fantasy elements during the 60’s with the success of such writers as Tolkien. Indeed, Norton served as a role model for many of the women fantasy writers that surfaced in the 70’s and 80’s. This is only fitting as Norton’s works were influenced by some of the women writers that came before her, notably Leigh Brackett and C. L. Moore.
There is no question that Andre Norton holds a very special place in the history of science fiction and fantasy writing, and for this reason, Resurrected Press is proud to bring you Key Out of Time.
About the Author
Andre Norton was the pen name of Alice Mary Norton (February 17, 1912-March 17, 2005) author of hundreds of fantasy and science fiction novels and stories. Though she had intended to become a teacher, the depression forced her to change plans and become a librarian, a career she followed until she could become a full time author. Her first novel was published in 1934. She began writing science fiction in the fifties, continuing until her death. She received both the Gandalf Grand Master Award from the World Science Fiction Society and the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America.