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An Introduction to Darkover

Darkover ?

Darkover has two meanings :
  • Darkover is the name of a set of novels and short stories which plots take place in the Darkover world.
  • Darkover is the name of a planet invented by Marion Zimmer Bradley in 1958.

Darkover is in fact the name given by its inhabitants to Cottamn IV (i.e., the fourth planet of the star known by Terran astronomy as Cottman). This planet was discovered at the end of the 21st century by a lost spaceship. In fact, this ship was forced to make an emergency landing on Cottman. As it was impossible to repair, and despite the fact Cottman IV was not the planet they intended to colonize, the settlers decided to try to install themselves on this inhospitable world. After few years (or centuries ?) the inhabitants called their world Darkover. The purpose of the Darkover novels is to describe the story of the planet.

Darkover has some special characteristics :
  • The first Darkover inhabitants are the Chieris, who are nearly extinct. They have strong psychic powers and they are cross-fertile with human beings.
  • The kireseth is a Darkovan flower. Its pollen can reveal and strongly amplify latent human psychic powers.
  • Finally, Matrix crystals can be found on Darkover. These crystals can tune themselves to a human mind and amplify this way its psychic powers.

Darkover is therefore the story of the civilization build by the settlers, a civilization in which psychic powers are central. It is also the story of the rediscovery of Cottman IV, about three thousand years after the first settlement. This story is often tragic and sad, but is also full of hope.

A Darkover Encyclopedia

I am fascinated by Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover, and I would like to share this feeling. I began two years ago to write a sort of Darkover encyclopedia in French. In this work, I want to provide useful information such as a novel list, a reading guide, etc. and also precise information for fans (such as "who is the father of X ?"). The encyclopedia is far away from being complete and contribution is welcome.

copyright 96-99 Fabrice Rossi (

source file (Last modification: Wed Apr 21 17:21:45 1999)