When I worked at a bookstore (the now defunct Walden Books), I had a co-worker that loved Andre Norton. I'd never read any of her books throughout High School, although I was certainly familiar with her name. I wish now that I did.
Norton wrote largely for what we now call the YA audience: teenagers, with fantastical adventures throughout numerous worlds and times. She was also largely ignored or dismissed for writing 'children's literature', which is a shame, because it's likely that she had as great an influence on the shape of the modern genre as Robert Heinlein, who's Juvenile novels attracted millions of fans to new worlds. Norton was the same, and influenced countless readers and writers for decades. It's fitting that the major SF award for YA fiction is titled The Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Go read Andre Norton's YA novels over on Kirkus Reviews. Sources:
- Trillion Year Spree, Brian Aldiss. Aldiss contends here that Norton was part of a growing movement in science fiction in the 1950s, along with a small core of other authors.
- Who Wrote That? Andre Norton By John Bankston. This book designed for YA readers seems to be the only Norton biography on the market right now. I used the chronology to help structure this post.
- Science Fiction, Today and Tomorrow, edited by Reginald Bretnor. Anne McCaffrey has an essay in this book that mentions Andre Norton briefly.
- The Creation of Tomorrow: Fifty Years of Magazine Science Fiction, Paul Allen Carter. Carter talks about Norton very briefly here in a larger context within the genre.
- Alternate Worlds: The Illustrated History of Science Fiction, by James Gunn. Norton has a couple of mentions here, talking about her work in the 1950s.
- Science Fiction after 1900, Brooks Landon. Landon's book is a great look, and he talks about Norton a couple of times in this book regarding her influence in the genre.
- The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction, edited by Farah Mendlesohn and Edward James. This book also mentions Norton sparingly, but does so within the context of SF, Women and the 1950s.
- The Faces of Science Fiction: Intimate Portraits of the Men and Women who Shape the way we look at the future, Patti Perret. Norton has a portrait in here, where she talks about science fiction as an entertainment medium.
- Andre Norton correspondence, literary and dollhouse, Cleveland Public Library. There's some interesting letters here that talk quite a bit about Norton's character and personality.
- Obituaries: Los Angles Times and The Guardian. Both were helpful, as they provided some good (although at times, inaccurate) details about her life.