The "Contraband" Incident: The strange case of Marion Zimmer Bradley

  • Catherine Coker Texas A&M University
Keywords: Fan fiction, Copyright


The late Marion Zimmer Bradley once said of her own most famous fictional world, "I didn't invent Darkover, I discovered it." Unlike most authors, who at best enjoy their admirers' activities, and at worst try to end them, Bradley and her sizable community of fans collaborated in the publication of a large body of work fairly harmoniously for over two decades. However, this collaboration came to an abrupt end in 1992 with an event that can be referred to as the Contraband Incident. As this overview will explain, it is a cautionary tale which illustrates how fan activity can do real emotional and monetary damage to the creator-author.

Author Biography

Catherine Coker, Texas A&M University
Assistant Professor, University Libraries, Texas A&M University