"I just don't want to be forgotten."
It's what Andre Norton told people before she left this world in 2005. With an ugly dispute over her work that finally concluded in the Tennessee Court of Appeals this week, that fate was probably ensured. Norton's caretaker Sue Stewart won her appeal against Texas oncologist Victor Horadam, returning the science fiction and fantasy legend's rights to her control after a lower court ruling. What happened here?The lawsuit over Norton's work was filed back in July. When Norton passed, her nurse and caretaker Sue Stewart lost out on the right to control to fan Victor Horadam. She appealed to a Tennessee court and the unique settlement will let Stewart control royalties over Norton's extant work, while Horadam retains rights to all the unpublished work. In the case, Horadam claimed to receive some 500 letters from Norton during her lifetime. Stewart fired back at Horadam's claims in her appeal and on the web, saying that he was one of many. To be honest, the fact is that Norton gave Stewart power of attorney in a video will, and we're surprised Horadam ever prevailed in the first place. As Norton intended, he'll still have rights over unpublished work, though there isn't much of it — extensive diaries and story outlines for books never written might prove valuable down the road.
Norton was one of the more prolific authors in the genre: her signature Witch World series would eventually grow to number some fourteen books. Her writing generally skews young, but Norton brought Arthurian legend head-to-head with alien technology in a trendsetting fantasy-sci fi mix, Merlin's Mirror, and for that we thank her. Arguably the best novel from her vast collection and a good starting point for new readers is Star Born, availably freely from Project Gutenberg. Star Born [Project Gutenberg]